Long before they were known for crafting controller-throwing classics like Dark Souls, Bloodborne and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice a little Japanese developer called FromSoftware was all about the metal – as in metal mechs. Unless you were a diehard Xbox fan who didn’t mind importing those Japanese-centric titles that never saw the light of day in the US, chances are you’ve never actually played Metal Wolf Chaos before (though you’ve probably seen it).
An original Xbox title that wowed Japanese fans back in 2004, the time was right to bring a little of that ridiculous mecha love stateside, and that’s exactly what we have with Metal Wolf Chaos XD.
You’re probably going to expect a political angle when I talk about this game, so I’m going to take a different route entirely: Metal Wolf Chaos XD is all about mechs, and mechs are fantastic. I think I prefer the sort of highly advanced flying mechs we see in games like Zone of the Enders. The mech you’ve got here is more of a smaller model, something more akin to the Elemental armor seen in Battletech, but there’s still plenty of heavy metal action to go around here.
The plot? Well, you’re Michael Wilson, President of the United States. You’re going to deal with a coup from the Richard Hawk, the Vice President. As you do so, Hawk runs a hilarious propaganda campaign to impugn your actions and there’s a whole lot of hot-blooded screaming all around. It’s pretty excellent.
Dealing with that coup is mostly going to entail piloting your mech to various hotspots around the nation and blasting them to pieces. You’ve got numerous weapons with which to accomplish this, and your mech’s backpack holds numerous selections at once so you’ve got some variety. That’s…about it, really. You can unlock new weapons and upgrade what you’ve got, but it doesn’t change the fact that you’re mostly blasting whatever you’re told to blast and doing your best to avoid getting shot too often. From Software might have developed this game nearly two decades ago, but Armored Core this ain’t.
You see that bit above about “two decades ago?” Yeah, this one’s pretty old. Don’t expect anything too impressive on the graphical side of things. Characters and environments are blocky low-poly affairs and animation tends to be…workable, at best. Really, Metal Wolf Chaos probably wasn’t too impressive even back in the day, with most of the production budget clearly going to the absolutely insane cutscenes and plot.
That’s really why you’re playing this one, by the way: the plot. It’s nuts. Unless you were a serious Xbox importer back in the day chances are you haven’t played Metal Wolf Chaos before, which means you missed out on one of the craziest, most ludicrous games ever made. Thankfully, you’re able to make up for lost time with this excellent port – better late than never! If you want a good laugh and don’t mind slogging through some uninspired mechery for it, Metal Wolf Chaos XD might be just what you’re after.