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Review

Metal Wolf Chaos Review - Mindless Mayhem

  • First Released Dec 22, 2004
    released
  • Reviewed Aug 15, 2019
  • PS4
  • PC

Chaos in the capital.

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From Software wasn't always the renowned developer it is today, but by and large it still produced interesting, worthwhile games in the early PlayStation and Xbox days. The studio's rich history is absolutely worth exploring, and once you start down that rabbit hole, 2004's Metal Wolf Chaos is sure to catch your eye. A game starring the fictional President of the United States is an intriguing setup. The fact that he pilots a mech stuffed to the gills with an arsenal of giant weapons is a near-irresistible premise. Metal Wolf Chaos is one big schlocky joke at the US' expense delivered in the form of an action game, and because there aren't many nations or cultures that are fit to be mocked with such gusto, it feels like a rare opportunity that warrants investigation.

Perhaps for obvious reasons, Metal Wolf Chaos never completed its planned journey westward back when Bush was in office and the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan put us on more international shitlists than usual. Fifteen years later, amid very different (though arguably worse) political and cultural climates, From Software's tongue-in-cheek parody of US stereotypes is finally open to widespread interpretation. There are aspects of its bombastic campaign that coincidentally bring to mind the worst of our current predicament, but the Metal Wolf President Michael Wilson, his secretary Jody, and the main villain, Vice President Richard Hawk, never let you forget that this is first and foremost a series of surface-level jokes played up with B-grade voice acting.

No Caption Provided

"Jody: Mr. President, I haven't been this happy since...Since that supermarket going-out-of-business sale, when I was searching for my favorite candy and...I found the last bar all covered in dust at the back of the rack! And the expiration date was still good!

Michael Wilson: I know the feeling, Jody."

Once you dive into missions, any goodwill earned by these ludicrous exchanges--in the face of a coup d'etat--eventually fades. The Metal Wolf mech is a bullet-belching powerhouse that carries four weapons on each side (from a wide range of pistols, bazookas, flamethrowers, you name it), and cycling through its arsenal quickly becomes second nature as you need to contend with limited ammo and a small variety of enemy types. Wreaking havok and causing massive explosions is gratifying for a while, and the only argument for actually playing the game versus watching a recap of the cutscenes online.

Otherwise, the missions you face are largely rote and devoid of merit. Optional tasks like rescuing hostages--by destroying cages with small-arms fire--and poking around levels for unlockable weapons aren't much of a draw either. Perhaps they would be for a completionist looking for an excuse to get more out of the experience, but the net gain from these activities never makes them feel essential or worth deviating from your path of destruction. The variety of locales and scenery is appreciated and does help renew some curiosity, but the look of a stage only takes you so far, and a new map layout doesn't mean a whole lot without clever moments to make it shine.

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Some stages try harder than others, but seemingly without the intended results. Heading into the mission based in Arizona puts you in the middle of a dense Old West town with streets just big enough for some happy-go-lucky mech action. It's also one of the few missions that puts you toe-to-toe with another mech--three at once, in this case. Doing battle in the confined corridors is more interesting than fighting out in the open (as experienced in other missions), but it also means that you can find ways to trick the shallow AI into getting stuck on the corner of a building. It's easy pickings at that point as you fire away on your hapless foes. It's neither challenging nor enjoyable, perfectly illustrating the fact that gunplay and explosions alone can't resolve Metal Wolf Chaos' consistently mediocre designs.

A lot of time has passed since the original release, and there's reason to expect that certain aspects could have been ironed out in preparation for Metal Wolf's formal reintroduction. That's not to say the entire game should have been reconsidered, but there's definitely room for less-intense changes that could make a major impact, such as adding mid-level checkpoints. Simple as they are, Metal Wolf's levels can be very long and drawn-out, coming close to the 15-minute mark in many cases. So often there are either surprise difficulty spikes or threats of instant death, and if you fail to survive because of a momentary lapse of judgment, you will have to play the entire level from the beginning. Fall off a dock mere meters from the shore? You're dead. Accidentally cause collateral damage at the wrong time? You're back at square one. When death can come in a flash, to have to go back to the beginning of a long level that's achingly routine feels like a great excuse to put the controller down and walk away.

Metal Wolf Chaos is an old game with a wild reputation, and though it lives up to it in some ways, it's not good in general. At best, it's a curio that helps inform the story of From Software's trajectory over the years. At worst, it's a frustratingly shallow experience that fails to capitalize on it's best qualities. The From Software of yore deserves applause for punching up so confidently, and in style, to a degree, but Metal Wolf Chaos doesn't live up to the hype that's been building for well over a decade.

Back To Top
The Good
The Metal Wolf mech is a joy to control
A solid variety of locales keeps the atmosphere feeling fresh from mission to mission
The Bad
Menial and repetitive objectives bog down most missions
Some of the most "difficult" scenarios can be easily cheesed
Certain instant-death scenarios feel unwarranted
A frustrating lack of checkpoints exacerbates pacing issues
The quirky dialogue eventually wears out its welcome
4
Poor
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Despite wanting to for years, Peter never played the original Metal Wolf Chaos on Xbox. He completed the game on PS4 in roughly nine hours, and spent an additional hour testing the PC version. Complimentary review codes were provided by Devolver Digital.
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NSA_Protocol44

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Edited By NSA_Protocol44

Sorry Peter but i LOVEEEE how they depict the US.

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Bread_or_Decide

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Getting the physical gamestop copy.

Not a game that I really care what reviews say.

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sladakrobot

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Dont read too much into the jabs at the USA.
This is simply a 10-15 yo game from a japanese dev which reflects the japanese stereotype thinking of the USA...just like our stereotypes of japanese or asians(Ninjas,Samurai,Kung Fu).
With that said,the current price is too high imo,ill wait for a price drop

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robertbyronz

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I haven't tried this game yet. Maybe after it goes on sale or sth.. but I do want to point out.. that it's also on XBOX.. something Gamespot didn't mention here. this is just so everyone knows for those interested that are on Xbox. ugh.

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walbo

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@robertbyronz: they do this all the time now. Always have to Google if the game is on the platform of my choice and olso can't take any of the reviews serious either as the ones I have read always has to have politics involved for some incredibly dumb reason. I would recommend finding some good youtubers for decent honast reviews.

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xantufrog

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xantufrog  Moderator

@walbo: no, readers do this all the time. It clearly states all of the platforms above in the game information box - including Xbox.

The platform(s) listed at the top are the ones they reviewed. Not the ones the game is available on

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walbo

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@xantufrog: if it clearly stated it then readers wouldn't do it all the time would they lol. Still a backwards method as I had to click on game info then a little picture of the game(with no reference what it's for) to go to another page to see what it is available on.

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xantufrog

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xantufrog  Moderator

@walbo: that's fair. Although, this is really a mobile issue - the desktop websight doesn't require any other pages or yadda yadda - it's just listed there in a box on the right side of every review

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sladakrobot

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@xantufrog: It say here right now: "PC,Playstation +2 more"(desktop)
Since i dont get the info on Gamespot which these other plattforms are ,i have to search elsewhere.
I wouldnt knew that this is also a Xbox game if it didnt appeared on the Xbox store few weeks ago

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xantufrog

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Edited By xantufrog  Moderator

@sladakrobot: no you don't... it's a collapsed label. Click on it and it shows the other platforms. You simply don't need to go elsewhere.

That being said, I agree with you - it's obviously not clear, because people get confused all the time. So they should change it

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sladakrobot

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@xantufrog: doesnt show its clickable

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xantufrog

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xantufrog  Moderator

@sladakrobot: except the fact that it's a different color and has a + sign, like is common for expandable text menus?

Look, like I said, I agree with you since evidently you and others miss this all the time: they should do it differently. But it's not hidden and I figured it out almost immediately when the site was redone. Just saying, it's not a conspiracy to hide the truth or something

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sladakrobot

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@xantufrog: Never said it an conspiracy,it seems just like someone didnt implemented the expand function.
But after you mentioned that you clicked at the "+" sign to expand the info,i tried it again myself and oh boy,thats in my case as small as a pixel...very easy to miss and i tried to hover over the whole label back and forth and the cursor never changed its shape.
Ok,maybe someone of the staff reads this and the clickable area could be made bit larger?

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walbo

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@xantufrog: ah OK yea it's mobile I use. O well I know now so thanks anyway.

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brizown

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Thank you for basing another game review on your subjective political perspective. This is exactly what gamers are looking for when we seek to find out whether a game is fun to play.

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Mogan

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Mogan  Moderator

@brizown: I would hope so, because there's really no other way to do it.

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brizown

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Edited By brizown

@Mogan: So if we go back to the 90s were all the classic gaming mags referencing political agendas related to their perspective on Bill Clinton or George Bush? Interestingly enough they were able to review games without making it about their personal subjective political views. It's almost as though we now have a generation of reviewers who are incapable of doing their job because they have no control over their ego. I'd like to see how people would respond if Fox news started a game review site in which they based game reviews on seeking out liberal components of the gaming experience to criticize.

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Mogan

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Mogan  Moderator

@brizown: I think it's more that we've got a generation of gamers so fragile they get triggered over everything, and then blame "politics" as the reason they're mad at somebody on the internet's opinion of a video game.

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brizown

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@Mogan: I'm 37 and I'm not a political party hard-liner. Shall we go back and rescore a masterpiece like The Last of Us to a 4 because it contains gun violence which is insensitive to the current state of our country? Should Gamespot hire a vegan reviewer who gives every game in which meat is a healing item a bad score? Should we rescore every game that specifies a binary gender for the protagonist? His review is literally based on his perception of the political depiction in the game instead of the mechanics and gameplay. If you think that's an effective review you are delusional.

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Mogan

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Mogan  Moderator

@brizown: That is some delusional ranting, man. The Good/Bad breakdown make zero mention of any political depictions, so the reviewer clearly didn't let whatever his personal political feelings are dictate the score. I think you just went looking for a reason to rant about politics.

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brizown

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@Mogan: Guess that's why so many other people commented on exactly what I'm talking about, we're all just making it up!

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Gelugon_baat

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@brizown: Aren't you all really making it up?

I, for one, am ambivalent about people making commentary about the political climate in the article that they wrote. It's their piece, and if I don't want to read it, I just speed-read over it.

Why spend so much effort arguing over what someone wrote about some piece of fiction - and an entertainment product for that matter?

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brizown

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Edited By brizown

@Gelugon_baat: It's a recurring theme with Gamespot. The writers seem to think each review is an opportunity to sneak in political commentary. We're not on Gamespot reviews for political commentary, end of story. They should leave that for other writing projects or a blog.
The problem is when they make casual jabs and comments about America/politics they are inviting a response. The bigger problem is that Gamespot, like Twitter, does not allow anything other than Democrat/liberal feedback. Anything outside of that comfort zone is an account ban.
So really Gamespot does not support free speech, practices biased censorship, and therefore should not be allowing their writers to practice free speech outside of properly reviewing a game for their assignment.

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Gelugon_baat

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Edited By Gelugon_baat

@brizown: Hah-hah. "Free speech".

That's almost all that you would get from me. One of the other responses that you would get from me is that "freedom" is an illusion, at best, and a bad idea at worst.

The other response that you would get from me is that free speech is the most misused human right, if you haven't noticed already.

You probably have, since you are not the first (by very, very far) to make that spiel about free speech not being practiced in sites like GameSpit, but you likely put principles higher than practicality.

So no, I don't give a shit about "free speech" being suppressed here and there anymore. Over the years of observing how people misuse it, I have been disabused of the notion that it is a sacred thing.

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cetaepsilon

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I don't think the game had anything to do with war in Afghanistan and Iraq. It was made in the same spirit as are you bad enough dude to save the president.

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Fernin-Ker

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Maybe I just have shit taste, or maybe this game is only So Bad It's Good for some people. But I love the hell out of it, and am happy to finally have a proper western release. If it doesn't click for Mr. Brown here, well then that's unfortunate for him. But I urg anyone interested to at least give the game a shot. Much like EDF, you'll love it, or hate it. But you won't know until you try.

Also this little line, "and because there aren't many nations or cultures that are fit to be mocked with such gusto" in its presentation is pretty much ultra tacky as it doesn't just insult presumably simply the current shite administration, but every American as a whole. After all this American culture you seem keen on indiscriminately shotgunning is the same one that's been fighting for equality for decades, even at the expense of beating on its other half. But then again maybe like most pundits the notion that America is more than just far right stereotypes is beyond you.

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

@Fernin-Ker: I am finding it increasingly annoying that writers criticise USA/Australia and the like yet if we criticise certain other nations or cultures and you are automatically racist or an Elitist. Double standards.

This game is satire which should not be up for scrutiny as it is not deliberately aimed to offend and should not be likened to the real world either.

It is clear in reality they do far more right in the West than other places or they wouldn't come here. Let's just leave it at that.

Everything is just grossly over dramatised for whatever reason when it comes to the USA even more so than Australia and maybe that is how forward Trump is with tweets and such but it really needs to stop as it's not helpful and it is insulting to Western way of life which obviously other people are envious of.

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Gelugon_baat

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Edited By Gelugon_baat

@deviltaz35: Hah-hah! You had been reminded that Westerners and their cultures are the punching bags for social commentary! Heck, social satire, even!

Why else would Westerners - utter "Jesus!" for this and that exclamation? Hah!

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deactivated-5d560a230ad3c

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The editors at Gamespot just can't seem to keep their political beliefs tucked away, can they? "There aren't many nations or cultures fit to be mocked with such gusto", eh? Well, as an American citizen, that's hugely offensive. I happen to like the United States and what we've accomplished in 243 short years. Point me to a country that does more good on this globe - past or present. Do us all a favor -write about video games and keep your offensive geo-political beliefs to yourself. It's not relevant and, frankly, no one's interested.

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

@deactivated-5d560a230ad3c: I wouldn't bother i was banned from IGN for questioning something so you might find the same thing happen here.

Basically just nod , agree with everything they print and you will be fine lol.

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lebanese_boy

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@deactivated-5d560a230ad3c: Oh you poor soul, did Gamespot make you cry?

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DEVILTAZ35

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@lebanese_boy: One would need Therapy if that ever happened lol.

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johnny0779

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Edited By johnny0779

I guess some Sony fanboy will fall for this mess...on the other hand Xbox fans already played this back when it used to be fun

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Gamerforlife96

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@johnny0779: damn xbot ypu are trying way too hard

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johnny0779

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@gamerforlife96: not trying hard at all...the truth in my words might be "hard" for you to process.

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Gamerforlife96

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@johnny0779: nah its not xbot the game was medicore back then

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Yams1980

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Edited By Yams1980

30 fps though. Why remaster a game if you aren't going to improve the gameplay experience?

This is an action game, 30 fps is trash, it would have been the most important part of the game to remaster.

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DEVILTAZ35

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@Yams1980: It was apparently to do with the game's physics engine on Xbox. It's only a remaster so still using the same code. This is From Software code you are talking about too don't forget. They are notorious for problematic experiences as far as framerate goes.

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Yams1980

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@deviltaz35: reminds me of Skyrim. The physics behaved really weird the higher the fps went after you unlocked them over 60. Not sure if the special edition had this problem or not.

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Ootakiri

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From Software need to remaster the Otogi Series.

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Fernin-Ker

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@ootakiri: I think I'd literally die from joy if they did.

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Just1MoHr

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When MS is selling XBOG games with graphical boosts at $10, $25 for this game is pricey for a quick gaming fix. And on top of it no physical release of this game, tsk tsk. Modern & free to play games give you so much more for the buck than this. Had it been remastered ala Crash Bandicoot N' Sane Trilogy or Spyro, then it would warrant $35, but being as it is I will wait for a sale even though I am a mech enthusiast. I would pay $25 for MechAssault 1 & 2 Lonewolf though as there is online game play & replay-ability.

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DEVILTAZ35

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@just1mohr: It's something like $35 in Australia so consider yourself lucky. I'll wait for a 50% off sale. Dreamcast guy really liked it and i tend to side more with him than Gamespot reviews as he knows what he is talking about.

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TJDMHEM

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I'll pass on this.

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DEVILTAZ35

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@TJDMHEM: From software could have put this money into fixing Bloodborne frame pacing and added enhancements for Pro.

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Metal Wolf Chaos More Info

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  • First Released Dec 22, 2004
    released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 4
    • + 2 more
    • Xbox
    • Xbox One
    In this unusual giant robot action game, the president of the United States dons powerful battle armor to defend his country against invading forces.
    8.2
    Average Rating93 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Metal Wolf Chaos
    Developed by:
    General Arcade, From Software
    Published by:
    Devolver Digital, From Software
    Genre(s):
    Simulation
    Theme(s):
    Sci-Fi
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    Blood, Mild Language, Violence