Who would have thought that after Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, From Software’s next project would have you sitting in the driver’s seat of a mech in an attempt to rescue the United States of America from the wrath of the vice president? We’re only half-joking: Metal Wolf Chaos XD is an updated version of a 2004 Xbox exclusive that never made its way out of Japan, but this release is still every bit as ludicrous as it sounds.
So, here’s the pitch: the year is roughly 2025 and America is struggling with civil and economic unrest. In order to gain control of the government and bring about change, vice president Richard Hawk launches a successful coup d'état, dethroning president Michael Wilson in the process. He’s not about to sit around and accept his fate, though, and so Wilson hops into a mech in an effort to take back America. Oorah!
Working your way from the west coast to the east, you’ll take on fairly basic missions that will have you blowing up military strongholds, disarming bombs, and rescuing the civilians trapped in between. It’s actually fairly similar in scope to that of an Earth Defense Force title – you’ll mindlessly mow down enemies before pummeling your targets with bullets to take them down. Enjoyable indeed, but there aren’t too many mechanics or features to engage with here.
You do have the chance to unlock new weapons and upgrade your loadout between missions, but that’s about as far as it goes in terms of any depth. Metal Wolf Chaos XD is a simplistic mech shooter, so it’s a good job that its narrative is so much of a draw.
We cannot state enough how utterly bonkers the plot is. The premise alone was enough to catch our interest, but the game cranks up its absurdity the more you progress. News bulletins turn all of your efforts to save America on their head to make you enemy number one, while transmissions between president Wilson and the few officials he still has on his side are the funniest things. You’ll be laughing at it just as much as you’ll chuckle with it.
As an experience from 2004, the game obviously can’t compete with titles developed natively for the PlayStation 4. Upscaled textures, a redrawn user-interface, and remastered voice acting help out somewhat, but you’re still going to be reminded at every turn that this is a game from 15 years ago. Clunky controls make switching weapons cumbersome, buildings disappear into thin air once destroyed, and visuals aren’t up to scratch in general. It’s something you’ll get used to eventually, but we’re struggling to think of literally anything positive to say about the title’s presentation.
Metal Wolf Chaos XD shows its age in pretty much every way, but its enjoyable and simplistic gameplay loop is enough to give you something to chew on. Alongside one of the most insane narratives in all of video games, it’s a From Software joint that needs to be seen to be believed.