Metal Wolf Chaos (Xbox) review
"Thankfully though the action is a standard mix of slam, bam, thank you ma'am with just the right blend of high yield ka-pow. Viewed from a suitably panoramic third person perspective, players are taken on a veritable cross country tour of the United States, hitting all the major landmarks with an impressive amount of gusto and force."
In today's terror filled climate, it's hard not to appreciate a game that tries to make light of our otherwise, bleak situation. Where the evening news fires off horror story after spine chilling horror story into a global subconscious, Metal Wolf Chaos attempts to turn things around with its cheesy antics and over the top action. I mean seriously, who could find fault with the idea of an American President personally fighting off a homegrown coup d'etat from the cockpit of his very own mech? And what type of person would knowingly hold back a smile as Jodie, our co-conspirator and ever loving support jockey, lauds the outrageous destruction with a wonderfully subversive, "Ohhh Mr. President!". Ok, so perhaps those looking for something intelligently innovative may feel a little left out. Everyone else however should just sit back, relax and enjoy this ride. After all, dissent and patriotism are one and the same. Two sides of a single coin, however different their methods may be...
DNN News Flash: Terrorist strike damages the White House, martial law declared...
In the not too distant future, mankind has found itself standing once more on the edge of yet another precipice. You see, natural resources are running dry, unemployment is at an all time high, and major world economies are on the brink of collapse. And it's into this melting pot of global unrest that players are thrown, cast as the beleaguered 47th President of the United States and thusly told to set things straight. The problem is though, the Vice-President has used this opportunity to take control of the nation's military and frame you as public enemy #1. Unless that is you make a stand for freedom, and take back your country, one city at a time.
But with the combined armed forces of the world's last superpower against you, how does one go about orchestrating their own personal revolution? The answer of course lays in the sleek designs and high maneuverability of the Metal Wolf medium sized attack mech. Nearly triple the height of your average grunt and twice as wide, it holds a definite position of authority thanks to its heavy armor and varied assortment of kick arse munitions. With some 100+ weapons to choose from and the ability to dual wield like John Woo in heat, players are sure to relish their fully customizable arsenal even if the newly established government does not.
The only question is, are you ex-President enough to kill your own men?
It's with such dark thoughts hanging in the air that the camera makes its way slowly across the front lawn of the White House, eventually coming to rest on the window of the Oval Office itself... dramatic pause for effect... and the window explodes as you begin your dash to freedom. Quick now, escape while you can! Cut through the tanks and helicopters that have rallied against you to where Air Force One is being prepped for take off, deep under the Lincoln Memorial. And as utterly ridiculous as that may sound, seeing the mammoth Presidential jet take to the skies as it erupts from the still waters of the Reflecting Pool is a sight to behold. It's Hollywood x 100, illogical insanity pumped to the max. The dialogue though is another story entirely, perhaps we should just let it speak for itself...
"Mr. President! You destroyed their forces! I'm sure you've lost their vote". "I'm doing it for freedom Jodie, let's never give up.".
Putting the grief behind us, you may be pleased to know that the action is a standard mix of slam, bam, thank you ma'am with just the right blend of high yield ka-pow. Viewed from a suitably panoramic third person perspective, players are taken on a veritable cross country tour of the United States, hitting all the major landmarks with an impressive amount of gusto and force. You'll battle giant tanks on the streets of LA, hunt down a number of military bases around the Grand Canyon, then storm Alcatraz Island before the Vice-President can decimate much of the western seaboard. Yet through it all you're the bad guy. The nightly news accues you of terrorism, Metal Wolf this and Metal Wolf that. Can't they see what's really going on here?
As controversial as the subject matter may be, Metal Wolf Chaos been made all the more memorable thanks to the use of From Software's patented, Otogi 2 graphics engine. Buildings shatter with a violent burst of intensity when placed under fire, cars explode, and an incredible number of enemies charge in like lambs to the slaughter. Yet oddly enough, never once does the frame rate ever take it a hit. Silky smooth perfection meets larger than life destruction... hang on, haven't we heard this before?
It's continuing with the Otogi 2 comparisons that players may be disheartened to learn how Metal Wolf Chaos has been seemingly cut from the exact same mold. From the oddly familiar controls to the high speed dash and other miscellaneous stylings, the resemblances are the very definition of uncanny. Then having had a chance to let that sink in, a shrug of the shoulders sets everything straight and it's back to the job at hand. A quick pit stop between missions yields the usual upgrades, bigger bangs for your buck and a little strategic planning besides. Should you carry the sniper riffle into what looks like a skirmish? Or are the heavy machine guns better suited for the mission at hand? Decisions, decisions, plan that arsenal well.
The biggest strike against the good name Metal Wolf however can be found in its overly brief, and at times, uneven challenge. Difficulty spikes abound as players swing from a number of near schizophrenic highs to the numerous walk in the park lows. And then just as things really begin to gel, the flag falls on the final battle and it's time for life to return to normal. You've vanquished the bad guys and there's freedom for all. Hurrah for democracy, and hurrah for you too! Whatever you do though, don't look to Metal Wolf Chaos for your celebratory tunes as what we've got here is a bland selection of rock tracks and mediocre power chords. Yawn inducing stuff to be sure, none of it representative of the epic struggle you've just endured. Oh well, elevator music for metal heads it is. So much for the party, where should we go from here?
Oddly enough, it's sentiments such as these that perfectly sum up the entire Metal Wolf Chaos experience. It's gaming's equivalent of a guilty pleasure, and labelling it as such will free you from any and all long term expectations you may or may not have had. And while you're sure to have a blast going through the motions, once all is said and done the game will return to your shelf, never to be seen from again. Like a Japanese proverb once said, "the destination becomes meaningless in the face of a journey", and if you can live with that statement then here's a game for you. You'll be terrorist to some and a hero to many, ultimately though you'll end up forgotten... for better or worse, enjoy it while it lasts...
DNN News Flash: Your country is now safe, return to your homes. A special announcement will be made shortly...
* Lightning fast mecha action with an eye for teh absurd
* There's some 100+ weapons for players to enjoy
* The fully destructible backgrounds are a blast to dismantle
* Tight controls and easy to navigate menus
* A slightly improved Otogi 2 engine powers the insanity
* Graphically, Metal Wolf Chaos can't help but impress
* Importers take note, much of this game has been presented in English
* Featured Xbox Live support will record your combo attacks
* An uneven challenge will keep players guessing
* Metal Wolf Chaos is almost woefully short
* The bland soundtrack does little to excite
* Some may see the ultra cheesy dialogue as being too much to handle
Staff review by Michael Scott (February 15, 2005)
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