As you may be aware, this game is 15 years old. You may be thinking “why are you pointing this out?” Well. loads of old games get remade or remastered, and often times they are great. But, this game still looks old, feels old and, generally, hasn’t aged well. It comes across as if Metal Gear and Gundam had a baby; this baby was then controlled by the American president, who has a cowboy attitude towards everything.
The game released back in December 2004 on the Xbox exclusively in Japan. It garnered a bit of a cult following, with gamers keen to get their hands on it in the west. Developed by Fromsoftware (who we know and love from the Souls-bourne series of games) originally, they’ve handed over porting duties to General Arcade. The basic premise goes as such; you play as a large robot with a large amount of fire power, and you fight single handed through the military forces in your way that are trying to take Americas freedom.
You play as President Michael Wilson, and you are fighting the rebelling army who is under the Vice Presidents Richard Hawk’s control. He believes that its his right to control the country and succeed your rule. After a brief cut scene, you blast your way out of the White House in your mech and begin shooting and blowing everything up in your path. It’s just from this starting point you will quickly see how mad and crazy this game is – you’re a president, killing thousands and blowing everything, up in your own country in the name of freedom.
Right off the bat I struggled with the controls, mainly as it feels like you’re almost fighting against your mech itself. Trying to make it boost, hover and generally move around is a mission in itself, most of the time I would just walk around the levels rather then flying or dashing everywhere as it was just a lot simpler. This also doesn’t help when the aiming is rather tough. Depending on what weapon you’re using, you will have a green box on your screen and if anything is in that box you will be pretty much guaranteed a hit. However, this box will change size depending on what weapon you have equipped. For instance, if you use the shotgun, the box will be huge allowing for much easier hits. But if you then equip a rocket launcher the box will become very small and will need to be more precise with your aim. The biggest enemy, however, is the camera. Often times, you’ll be fighting that more so than the enemies on the battlefield.
Weapon wise, there’s a plethora of choices, with over a hundred to work with. From the off though, you start with six. As you blast your way through the levels, you will find pick ups both with weapons as well as light and heavy ammo, and health pick ups. There’s quite a variety in the actual arsenal mind; you can use everything from a .44 and shotgun up to missile launchers and mini-guns, there will be plenty of guns to keep you busy mowing down all the enemies. The one slight issue I have with the weapons though, is you don’t see what you need before you enter each mission. This could have been great to know, especially when it comes to the bullet sponge boss fights.
Enemies in the game are pretty basic looking – though this is to be expected from a game this old and dated. Everyone is square and chunky, and this is what really does hold the game back to me, all they have really done is up the resolution to the HD standard we’d expect these days. The game does have a cool upgrade system built into it, which is thankfully not too complex to grasp. All you need to do is complete missions and you will gain money (this is also found through play). This money can then be used to upgrade and improve your weapons.
As alluded to elsewhere, the visuals are dated, and voice acting is so bad it made me laugh every time they spoke. Part of this is simply down to the age of the base game, but where other re-releases have fared well, Metal Wolf Chaos XD unfortunately doesn’t really try hard enough to conceal it’s origins.
It was a struggle to play this game for multiple reasons. It’s weird story and awkward gameplay just haven’t aged anywhere near well enough to hold up. If you’ve always been curious, and didn’t live in Japan in 2004, then you might find some worth here; but somehow I doubt the wait will have been worth it.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.