Metal Max Xeno Reborn Review – Not the Best Entries for this Otherwise Great Series


I always enjoyed exploring games that were made exclusive to Japan. Not only does that mean I can put my Japanese knowledge to the test, but it also saves you endless hours of waiting for it to have a localized copy. And that’s how I came across the Metal Max game franchise when I was searching the Nintendo 3DS catalog in Japan, and the post-apocalyptic stories and cyberpunk art styles are right up my realm of interest.

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Metal Max Xeno was originally released on PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation Vita back in April 2018, with an English localization by NIS America. Now after two years, we have Metal Max Xeno Reborn, which is sort of a “remake” of the original game that promises to come with more content and uses a different engine.

Unlike the traditional turn-based RPGs that comprise the majority of the Metal Max franchise, Xeno was a free-roaming action game with hybrid RPG elements. Players will be free to roam and explore largely barren environments, and fight against randomly-spawning enemies ranging from an assortment of insectoid creatures, tanks, mechs, and more. However, although the name “Reborn” sounds like it would be a better, improved version of the game…it certainly doesn’t live up to the moniker, and I can certainly explain why.

*This game was reviewed on PC.

Metal Max Xeno Reborn Review – Gameplay

A Watered-Down Adventure with Less Text

Metal Max Xeno Reborn has a unique worldview, which takes place in the former location of Tokyo Bay, now a desert referred to as Distokio by its inhabitants, approximately a century after the “Great Annihilation” in which the supercomputer Noah attempted to destroy human civilization in order to prevent further ecological disasters. Before its destruction, Noah sends an order to its creations, “SoNs”, to completely exterminate humanity. The SoNs quickly began to overwhelm and destroy the remaining settlements in the Distokio area, leaving only a secret technologically advanced underground bunker called the “Iron Base” as the last surviving settlement.

In this post-apocalyptic world, players will take the role of Talis, the protagonist who lost his mother and has set out on a quest for revenge. His objective is to reduce every single one of the machines that were deployed by Noah into scrap.

However, if you enjoyed the engaging story from the original Metal Max Xeno game, you’ll certainly be disappointed, as the story in Reborn is severely watered down. For one, the iconic “Red Rev”, the red tank that is considered an iconic icon of the series is nowhere to be seen, despite it appearing as Talis’s tank on the title screen.

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Explore The Desert World of Dystokyo

You’ll venture on a journey to explore the vast deserted world of Dystokyo, a place that has long since been devastated by the Great Apocalypse caused by the artificial intelligence Noah. Defeat (or avoid) enemies and collect scraps you can hopefully save any survivors that are out there, somewhere.

Throughout your journey in Metal Max Xeno Reborn, you’ll encounter strong enemies with bounties on their heads. The higher the number, the stronger the enemy. Defeating them will earn you a hefty reward, but you must make sure to kit out your tanks with strong weapons. Because if they see you, that’s it. One blow from their attacks is enough to heavily damage your tank.

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Customize Your Tank However You Want!

One of the key features of Metal Max Xeno Reborn is that you can customize your tank however you want. Rename it, paint it, change the cannons: everything is possible! You can do all that directly from the Iron Base by spending the materials and Gold you’ve gathered in your world exploration. It’s actually quite fun to play around with different loadouts for your tank once you get around to unlocking new guns and slots to put them in.

The Digital Deluxe Version also gives some strong weaponry and engine parts that can be equipped on your tank. While they aren’t the best pieces of equipment ever, they can certainly help you get a head start. You’ll need lots of parts considering that the more you progress, the more party members will join, and each of them will need a tank that’s fully fitted if they ever hope to survive out there in the wild.

▼ No Red Rev? Fine! I’ll make my own then

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▼If you wondered about the world of Metal Max Xeno Reborn like I was, grab your DLC supplies from the place where you first started the game.

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The Two Combat/Exploration Styles

In Metal Max Xeno Reborn, you have two options when it comes to combat or exploration: You can either hop on your tank and explore the world, or you can travel on foot. While traveling on your tank is significantly faster, there are many places such as tight gaps that you can only pass through if you are on foot.

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In Metal Max Xeno Reborn, combat begins as soon as you get within an enemy’s area of vision, and the system reminds me of the ATB mechanic that was common in some Final Fantasy games. That being said, it’s not nearly as precise as you’d imagine, because any enemy can join in uninvited and start plowing at you if you’re not careful.

I’ve had instances when from one second to another, I had missiles and other attacks coming at me from all directions, which was definitely not fun. Thankfully, dying doesn’t seem to inflict too much of a penalty, aside from you returning to the Iron Base and starting your sortie once again from your warp point of choice.

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Sloppy Translation And Lackluster Graphics

Two things that really bothered me about Metal Max Xeno Reborn were its substandard translation and lackluster graphics. First, the localization has to be one of the sloppiest I have ever seen, from badly formatted UI prompts to straight-up missing and/or incorrect text being displayed.

The graphics of Metal Max Xeno Reborn also made me feel like I was playing on a mobile, instead of a promised better graphics as a remake title. The entire map of the game feels extremely copy-pasted, with the futuristic look of the Iron Base as well as the character models feeling inferior and bland, which is weird, given that it was promised that the graphics would look “better” and “greater” with the new engine.

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Last Impression on Metal Max Xeno Reborn

From the lackluster story to the weird turn-based and open-world hybrid combat mechanics, the game feels…incomplete. Even it is said to be an “open-world” title, the desert doesn’t really allow for much in the way of exploration. There are a lot of invisible walls that hinder you to explore its supposedly vast fantasy world.

As if the developers could have done more, but didn’t. It’s like they were actually going to do something really nice with the Metal Max Xeno game but just didn’t care to put much time into development. And it’s a far cry from what was advertised, as this was one of the three titles developed to celebrate the series’ 30th anniversary.

That being said, this is the first time the series ever comes to PC in English, so if you’re not a story person or someone who likes the simulation aspect and views the story as a second requirement, Metal Max Xeno Reborn might be for you. But for me? Metal Max Xeno Reborn gets a 3 out of 5.

METAL MAX Xeno Reborn Grade

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