STAFF REVIEW of Metal Arms: Glitch In The System (Xbox)


Monday, December 15, 2003.
by thrAsher

Metal Arms: Glitch In The System Box art Robot Town is the last bastion of hope for the race of bots that inhabit it. Seems General Corrosive and his hordes of Mil bots are out to take over the world. You are Glitch, a bot that has spent an indeterminable amount of time lying about as a junkheap. However, thanks to the observant duo Screwed and Hosed, you are brought back to Robot Town and reactivated just in time to throw a wrench into the plans of the Mil army and it's terrible leader....


Wow. Talk about fun. From the getgo you will be impressed. Everything here has been done before, but never quite so smoothly and never quite so adorably, either. This game is as cute as it is sinister, as tough at is is smooth, as good as it gets in nearly all respects. Gameplay varies from the standard 3rd person blastorama to armored vehicle races, manning a cannon to fend off waves of assault vehicles, bot domination scenarios where a Mil bot is key to moving on, etc. etc. etc.
The controls are easy to use, and your inventory menus are a cinch to handle. Weapons come in all shapes and sizes, and are for the most part all upgradeable (you collect washers for use in trading at certain spots in the game). Enemies are not the brightest, but bring a lot of firepower and numbers to the table in their defense. I've read of control issues (sloppy aiming) and have yet to really notice this. The game runs at a solid 60 FPS and has some very large, very impressive levels. With 'special' chips and other items hidden on nearly each level, the replayability factor of the single player game alone is greatly enhanced. Mutliplayer is also great (even w/o system link or Live) and runs just as well as the main game. Many of the MP maps are unlockable only through the main game, so be sure to get all the chips you can find.
Metal Arms delivers on all fronts as far as gameplay. I found myself comparing it to Halo many, many a time, especially when hijacking a Loader or a RAT vehicle.


For a cross platform release, this game shines graphically. Glitch is rendered very nicely, and is animated very well. Bots will end up getting bits and pieces of them shot off as you blast away, and watching them explode into a burning patch of parts is a joy to see. The Mils will often be left as only a pair of legs, haplessly running about like a ... well, a bot w/ it's head blasted off. Levels look great, and the color palette is wide and lovely. While not necessarily pushing the X to its limits, Metal Arms does have some impressive graphics. Enemies come in all shapes and sizes, from the small and frail to the big, bad and ugly. There is little if any recycling of textures, so each level looks and feels different then the last. Great, great job here by the Swingin' Ape boys.


Another fantastic job done. Weapons all sound great. Robots scream in terror or holler announcing your arrival. They taunt and tease when you die a stupid death, and they say things such as "Wish there were more like him around" when you - presumably at least - do well. I can't really remember off the top of my head how the music is, but I do know it's not so noticeable as to detract from play. Voiceovers are done very well (I love that Sergeant Alloy sounds like Rip Torn) and there is actually a surprising amount of profanity (all bleeped out, of course) for such a cutesy looking title, certain to get a giggle out of most gamers. Altogether, sound is good, although I did notice a time or two where in the heat of battle, a transmission from an ally would become muted and flat, almost cutting out. This only seemed to happen at most twice, but was still noticeable.


Suggestions:
A sequel, system link (at least) and Live capability. And build it for the Xbox first, then dumb the graphics down for the competition.... Fantastic job, otherwise.


Overall: 9.0 / 10
Gameplay: 10.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 9.0 / 10

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