Monday, May 23rd, 2022

Metal Max Xeno: Reborn Review (Switch)

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Western Metal Max fans don’t call you spoiled for choice, especially when it comes to English releases. Series fans would be more accurate to say “I’m hungry for Metal Max.” During the 31-year life of the series, only two games were released in English. The 2006 Metal Saga (named after the trademark issue at the time) and the 2018 Metal Max Xeno. For English-speaking fans, Metal Max Xeno is relevant here. Metal Max Xeno: Reborn, as the title suggests, is a reimagination of the game.

Originally released on PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and PC, Metal Max Xeno is different from the traditional turn-based RPGs that make up most of the Metal Max franchise. Instead, Xeno was a free roaming action game with hybrid RPG elements. Walk around freely and explore primarily barren environments. Movement was frequently interrupted by randomly appearing enemies, including insect-like creatures, tanks, mechas, and occasionally “desired” boss enemies.

The game loop consisted of going out into the wilderness, finding additional survivors to participate in your goals, leveling up with an endless parade of cannon feed, and destroying big bosses for profit. .. At the end of the day, return to headquarters (named Iron Base) to upgrade your tanks and acquired vehicles to further adventure and improve your load capacity to survive your next sortie. Futuristic tank-based action RPGs are rare, so Xeno was a light, straight, limited shift, seeking a little more depth to sink his teeth. Xeno Reborn was created to scratch this itch.

Metal Max Xeno: Reborn Review-Screenshot 2/7
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Xeno Reborn is not just a remix of the elements of the original game. Much of Xeno’s basic framework remains, but the visuals, character art, game mechanics, progress system, and plot elements have all been revised and recreated in a way that is unrecognizable from the previous ones. The original Xeno feels like a prototype of what ended up in a radically different game.

The character art has been revamped, but what hasn’t changed is the character in the game. The character portrait of OG Xeno was provided by metamorphosis illustrator Non Oda, but was replaced by the design by Oga Takeshi, the character designer of Gravity Rush 2. This, combined with the adjustment of certain plot points and the discovery of the character, resulted in the removal of some of the original Xeno’s overly sexual character art. There are still undressed characters on the crew, but if you’re a fan of the original art style, you can unlock Oda’s art by completing Xeno Reborn’s story mode.

Another visual upgrade is the redesign of Iron Base. It doesn’t look like a funny disco smart lamp in the future, it looks like the development team actually put a 3D modeler into the work. The headquarters of your team now looks like a proper fortress, with lots of steel gates and an industrial facade that lives up to its name.

Metal Max Xeno: Reborn Review-Screenshot 3/7
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The original Xeno was very straightforward (it felt deep because there was almost nothing in the game except the drive from point A to point B on the quest line), but Xeno Reborn It mitigates some of this linearity by overhauling the way players interact with their enemies. Instead of randomly spawning enemies around the environment, in Xeno Reborn, the enemies are already on the battlefield. This allows you to decide whether to engage or simply overtake the enemy.

Tank driving is now handled differently. With Xeno, all you had to do was push the left analog stick to move forward. Instead, Xeno Reborn sets acceleration to ZR and retreat to ZL. This is actually a bit like controlling Warthog from Halo. It’s an interesting touch as it gives each vehicle a unique feel with a physics dash that jumps over the dunes. The main character, Talis’ tank (the main character), feels heavy and tanky, but repair specialist Yokki’s buggy is often too supple, agile, and too light to be in his own interest. The specific vehicle you want to control can be switched with the tap of the Y button. This is useful for tactical reasons.

Metal Max Xeno: Reborn Review-Screenshot 4/7
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You can also use a discreet buggy to zip it into a tight space and sniper your enemies, but the larger the caliber cannon and the wider range of the tank, the more likely it is to reach the target from a distance. .. This is a type of tactical consideration never provided by the original Xeno. Unfortunately, when it comes to shelves and structural geometry, game clashes are pretty unforgiving. If you’re rolling down a tank hill and aiming for a ramp to the next area, clipping the slight edge of the wrong polygon will result in a dead end. This is a kind of vehicle logic. Because a real dune buggy can jump over most of the game’s unnatural barriers that prevent you from accessing certain areas too early.

In addition, in Xeno, in addition to sniping enemies from a distance, you can also fire shots to bring the vehicle out of the aggro range, although it was in combat or not in combat. This allows players to “pull” specific enemies one at a time, thinning out crowds that can quickly be overwhelmed, or eliminating Franks surrounding much more difficult bosses.

It’s by no means a good tactical shooter, but you can occasionally use covers like a broken bridge to protect yourself from missiles and enemies in the air. However, the placement of enemies is not very clever. Enemy visibility is indicated by a long, colored “beam” once within range and a rapidly filled “alert” bar that participates in combat when full. You can anticipate this by getting close enough and choosing to attack first. If you destroy an enemy before attacking, the alert meter will disappear and you have a chance to sneak up on the next enemy. It’s not a stealth game, it just acts aggressively on the battlefield, but it adds depth to the Xeno Reborn experience that the original game didn’t have. Most battles can be abandoned, but having a boss makes it much harder to escape.

Metal Max Xeno: Reborn Review-Screenshot 5/7
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You can also take advantage of junky geometry recognition to attack enemies while enjoying the protection provided by the same obstacles by firing through seemingly stiff objects such as rising dunes and bridge stanchions. ..

Nevertheless, it’s a much tougher game than the original Xeno. Bosses can be very difficult here, requiring repeated scrutiny of the environment, smashing enemies for money and materials, completing reward missions, and exploring the ruins of upgrade parts. To survive the dystocia ruins, it is essential to upgrade the tanks and their weapons, as well as the personal equipment loadouts for each character. Rather than just leveling up as you did in the original Xeno, Xeno Reborn earns points to upgrade each character’s skill tree. Certain characters are suitable for certain discipline types such as drive, repair, medical, militia, and survival. Certain characters have special skill categories, such as Talis’ Neftech Tree. Even Metal Max’s mascot and fourth support character, Pochi (added exclusively to Zenoliborn, who owns the recently released spin-off game Metal Dog), was simply labeled “dog.” It has its own skill tree. This allows you to customize the team’s effectiveness in combat more deeply, and when combined with these skills in combination with vehicle weapons, it adds a considerable amount of depth.

Metal Max Xeno: Reborn Review-Screenshot 6/7
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However, what alleviates the feeling of actual results here is that there is no game over state. Whether the entire crew wipes out your boss or suffers from a tank that is almost destroyed in the field, whether by KO or by choice to return to the iron base, you are simply healed and in optimal condition. Repaired to, and you go again, the wear does not get worse. This is probably useful for both beginners and veterans, given that the challenge level of the game is tougher than previous versions of the game, but Xeno Reborn doesn’t feel the real risk. You can save it anywhere, so you can quickly reload it just before a tough boss.

Speaking of reloading, the load time of Xeno Reborn is important. There are few deal breakers, but the fast-moving zone will be loaded into the game, so be prepared to wait for a while on the Switch. The frame rate is also sometimes a bit chunky, the hazy blur / speed effects (especially when driving) are distracting, and monster models often look low budget. This is not a high production game and will appear on almost every turn. Weird glitches also occur frequently. For example, an enemy’s pocket, if left unattended for a while, will not only walk, but will begin to “jump out” around the AI ​​path. Funky lighting effects are clearly one of Xeno Reborn’s great visual improvements, but they are often so dazzling that you’re reading the menu or aiming at any target during combat. It is difficult to confirm.

Metal Max Xeno: Reborn Review-Screenshot 7/7
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It’s possible that a small tweak to the UX could have reduced the frustration of the game. For example, when browsing items such as weapons in the store, a comparison display that shows how they are compared to what the X-weapon is equipped with is useful. Similarly, during combat, it’s up to you to remember the nuances of all items, as only the name is displayed, not the item description. Had these types of oversights been as noticeable as some of the other features, Xeno Reborn would have felt like a much more complete overhaul than little experimentation.

Still, overall, Reborn is definitely a version of Metal Max Xeno that everyone should play. Visually, the vehicle looks a bit more worn than the previous cell-shaded vehicles on the PS4 and PS Vita. Another great visual touch is how to ride on a vehicle driven by a character such as Pochi or Toni. Similarly, a character whose vehicle is destroyed in battle will ride a tank / buggy / van until it returns to the iron base.

Fortunately, an English release of Xeno Reborn will be released shortly if you are considering importing this title. Unless you’re good at Japanese or better, this is a very easy game to import, given the number of item descriptions, monster glossaries, and quest objectives. Fortunately, it won’t be a problem anytime soon, so it’s a good idea to wait for the imminent English version to be removed.