Long before the Dark Souls series became a runaway success, FromSoftware attempted to break into the western market with their 2004 mech shooter Metal Wolf Chaos. There was just one small problem – not a single publisher was interested in releasing the Xbox exclusive in either the US or Europe.

And so Metal Wolf Chaos remained in Japan. Then as gamers began to learn of its existence, mostly thanks to the rise of YouTube, its notoriety slowly began to spread. This isn’t your typical shooter, you understand – it’s balls to the wall insane, starring a fictional US President and exaggerated themes of American patriotism.

A small print run combined with demand from Xbox collectors and FromSoftware fans has pushed up prices over the years, with copies routinely selling for as much as £150 on eBay. Skip forward to E3 2018, where Devolver Digital announced they were finally bringing Metal Wolf Chaos to the west, at a somewhat more modest price of around £20.

Reviews of Metal Wolf Chaos XD – out now on PS4 and Xbox One – are mixed so far, and it’s easy to see why – the gameplay mechanics are stuck in 2004, and it’s a mere HD re-release rather than a full-on remaster; very much a warts and all experience. It still provides a bombastic experience, thankfully. Or as one reviewer put it, it’s like watching a movie that’s so bad it’s good. There are even traces of the Souls series present, such as grinding and returning to previously cleared areas.

Age of Wonders: Planetfall has gained some impressively high scores, meanwhile. It’s a deep strategic world-building sim with tactical turn-based tactical battles and RPG elements. There’s a lot going on, and yet somehow, it still manages to feel refined. A decent pace and excellent combat make this winner, critics claim.

Then we have Damsel, a vampire-slaying side-scrolling action platformer centred around small bite-sized levels. Our review went live earlier today, where it garnered 6/10. “Despite being a well-intended attempt at putting a few twists on the platforming formula, Damsel doesn’t come together as a whole. It feels like a core component is missing, which in turn gives is a forgettable, slightly throwaway, feel,” we said.

The Xbox Tavern’s review is live as well. They enjoyed it a tad more, dishing out 7/10. “The art style and audio in this game is what made it for me, and for their debut big screen game I think Screwtape have really done a good job,” was their verdict.

Must Dash Amigos also hits Xbox One this week. It’s an on-foot racer with a Mexican theme, sharing a few similarities with the Micro Machines series. Although it does feature tournaments, time trial modes, and kart racer-style weapons, it’s less of a racer and more of a party game. We’ll have a review soon.

Now here’s something seldom seen these days – a movie tie-in. The Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under Pressure launches exclusively on PS4. Sony’s flagship system also gets Gravity Ghost – a puzzle-platforming adventure set amongst the stars – and Wonder Boy Returns Remix, which went down reasonably well on Switch back in May.

New release showcase

Age of Wonders: Planetfall

9/10 – PSU: Age of Wonders: Planetfall is a game on an epic scale in every sense of the word. Both a world-building strategy sim and a turn-based tactical RPG, Planetfall offers a wealth of content to keep players engaged for a long time to come. While some initial commitment is needed to get past the learning curve, playing becomes smooth and intuitive within a couple of hours. Armchair generals with a penchant for lasers, robots and mysterious planets will find plenty to enjoy in this tremendously deep title.

9.0 – God is a Geek: Everything about Age of Wonders: Planetfall feels like it was considered thoroughly and tested to within an inch of its life, and that’s no mean feat for something as intricate and involving as this. Whether you’re a veteran of the genre or a relative newcomer, Planetfall’s excellent combat, impeccable pace and impressive variety will keep you plotting and planning your rise to glory for a long time.

8/10 – TSA: The science fiction setting puts a compelling new spin on Age of Wonders: Planetfall, with a lengthy single player campaign and half a dozen contrasting factions to see rise from the ashes of the Star Union. There’s some niggles I have on console, but this is easy to recommend if you’re hankering for a new 4X strategy game.

7/10 – The Metro: Age Of Wonders: Planetfall isn’t short of flaws but it isn’t short of ambition either. It takes on far too much at once, but if you’re willing to compensate for its failings it’s surprisingly easy to have fun with. You can argue that it’s not the player’s job to make up for a game’s faults and that’s true, but if you put in that extra bit of effort you might just find yourself falling for the game anyway.

Metal Wolf Chaos XD

4.5/5 – TheXboxHub: It is worth it just for the satire and writing alone, but thankfully underneath the supercharged politics there also lies a supercharged mech action game which gives you so many guns to play with, in so many different ways that you can’t help but feel like a kid in a candy store.

7.5 – Destructoid: Metal Wolf Chaos fulfills this criteria because of its unique premise that wouldn’t be out of place in the late ’80s, combined with From Software’s penchant for mechicular (I just made this up) combat. If you hate old games and crave the newest visual advancements, avoid it. For everyone else: there is something here you can sink your teeth into that’s more than just a novelty relic.

7/10 – TSA: Metal Wolf Chaos XD is definitely a child of its time. It’s an over the top action fest that has a few issues with it, but can provide a decent amount of entertainment. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the game is seeing FromSoftware’s early work and recognising the systems the company would settle on to make the big leap to the more famous follow-ups in the Soulsborne style of games.

6/10 – GameSpew: Like a movie that’s so bad that it’s actually quite good, there’s something about Metal Wolf Chaos XD that makes you fond of it despite its flaws. So, if you like strange curios and want to unravel one of the craziest stories ever committed to video game form, you should maybe give it a go. Everyone else, however, is probably better off giving it a wide berth.

5.5 – IGN: Metal Wolf Chaos XD is a bare bones HD upgrade that brings the bonkers cult classic West for modern consoles, including its cumbersome gameplay and outdated designs.

Gravity Ghost

Subdivision Infinity DX

Must Dash Amigos

New digital multi-format releases

  • Subdivision Infinity DX
  • Sagebrush

New on PSN

  • Gravity Ghost: Deluxe Edition
  • The Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under Pressure
  • Wordsweeper by POWGI
  • Wonder Boy Returns Remix
  • The Escapists 2 – Game of the Year Edition
  • MachiKnights -Blood bagos-
  • Arcade Archives X MULTIPLY
  • Genesis

New on Xbox One store

  • Animus Stand-Alone
  • The Forbidden Arts
  • Damsel
  • Roarr! Jurassic Edition

New Nintendo retail releases

  • Ugly Dolls: An Imperfect Adventure
  • Ultra Wings
  • Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet Complete Edition

Next week: Remnant: From the Ashes, Exception, Ancestors Legacy, VASARA Collection, Aritana and the Twin Masks, Instant Sports, and Slay the Spire (Xbox One).