Repost: Metal Slug XX Review

Metal Slug XX is the newest installment of the Metal Slug series and a port of the previously released Nintendo DS Metal Slug 7. Metal Slug has shown up on the PlayStation Portable before in the Metal Slug Collection which combined the six previously arcade titles on one UMD. The issues with the UMD included long load times and small freezing issues something that hampered the overall experience with the title.

With XX, the issues have more or less been addressed and Metal Slug XX is a much more streamlined release.

Plot

Thankfully, the plot of the Metal Slug titles has been near the bottom of importance for the arcade shooter. This time around the team is still facing the same enemy that they have before except enemy soldiers arrive from the future.

The importance of the plot is very unimportant to the overall experience to Metal Slug XX and those who play the game really only want the classic arcade experience.

The Look

The title has always used sprites and a 2D left to right presentation and it is no different in XX. The visuals are crisp and look better than on Metal Slug Collection and it does looks like there is more detail in the characters, animations, and most importantly the explosions.

Each team member retains their memorable appearance and nothing is unexpected. The animations of the title are among the best that still use sprites with a total lack of slowdown from all the action. There isn’t a game on the PSP that looks this good that still uses sprites.

The Sound

Metal Slug XX again uses the same set of sounds that previous games have, though they sound much more dimensional. Explosions and gunshots have a good amount of bass and even the simple pistol has a direct attack rather than a hollow sound that was noticeable on the Collection UMD.

If any of the previous titles have been played or even in the arcade, then nothing is going to be unexpected. Metal Slug XX is more of the same, but all the sounds and the soundtracks is classic and changing anything is really unnecessary.

Function

Metal Slug XX uses the analog or directional pad for movement and aiming and the face buttons for shooting, throwing grenades, and jumping. The shoulder buttons are used to switch between the three weapons that are able to be used. There are some new weapons like the electricity gun which fires a stream of electricity that attacks everything on the screen.

There are also new vehicles and enemy types, but they all pull from the same Metal Slug universe theme. Every motion is the same from the previous games and it is the quintessential two dimensional shooter on current handhelds.

Even though Nintendo DS received a version of the title first, PSP owners should not miss this game.

One issue does present itself again however. Each section of levels has to be loaded which is something I would have thought to be addressed. It is much faster than Metal Slug Collection, but it breaks the immersion of the title.

In addition to the main story, there is a “Combat School.” This mode is more of a survival and time trial mode where players are given a set number of lives and have to complete an objective. It uses the same levels as the main story, so for those who memorized the enemy movement should not have a problem.

The title also supports two player over ad-hoc with two PlayStation Portables and two UMDs. Metal Slug has always been more fun with co-op and it’s nice to see the title supports it.

Decisions

Metal Slug XX is a great title for pickup and play. The main story doesn’t take long to compete, but the Combat School missions might take some time. But even after completing the story mode, it is still a great game to pick up months later and fly though again. The repeatability of the title is its greatest strength and a constant for the series.

While the Collection might have more content, XX plays better and feels like what the Collection should have been. The Metal Slug series has been around for a long time and each new release just reminds of why the 2D shooter has lasted so long and why it doesn’t need to change.



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