METAL MAX Xeno Reborn is a disappointment. The long-running post-apocalyptic RPG series finally makes an appearance on PC and unfortunately, it isn’t looking too good.

Alright so I have a lot of issues with this game, but I’m gonna start with the biggest: the combat. Even speaking as a fan of turn-based strategy games – the combat here is just outright painful. It is far too slow, far too cumbersome, and has too many menus for its own good. Here you have a game where you’re rolling around in a tank and have to pause every single time you want to attack, select the weapon to attack with, slowly line up your aim, and then shoot it off only to repeat this whole process for each and every enemy in the area.

It becomes this process of move, pause, menu, shoot, move, pause, menu shoot – it doesn’t flow well and is really just an odd fit for a game like this. The combat is far too simplistic to warrant needing the extra depth offered by a turn-based system, so I have to wonder what the goal was here. Because even when you do get in an extended fight, it really just boils down to sitting there and waiting until you’re able to shoot again. 

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There is an auto-shoot function, but it can only be toggled once you are actually in combat, so it’s effectively useless because most of the time you’re just taking out enemies one by one or in small groups where usually one or two shots finishes the job. Really, the most depth you’ll get is from character skills and tank customization which allows you to equip weapons of different categories and elemental types, but the end result hardly changes.

One hour in, I was like – okay, maybe it will get better. Three hours in – no change. Six hours? Still nothing and by that point I had run into several of the game’s bosses and am still not sure how the balancing is supposed to work here. The normal enemies take like one shot to kill, but then bosses are these massive sponges that can easily two-shot you and have so much health that I’m hardly even sure if I am damaging them. A lot of the time, I would simply roll past them and move on to the next area where enemies became manageable again.

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To take down bosses, you got to do a good bit of grinding, both for XP and for materials to upgrade your stuff and honestly, the combat is so barebones and boring that the idea of doing that just is not appealing. Especially so when you’re rolling through these large, open and empty environments with the most basic of graphical assets. I understand this is not a AAA title, but it’s also being sold for $40 and looks like a mobile game, with low-res textures across the board and the most static of environments. Yeah, it’s supposed to be some post-apocalyptic setting, but I personally don’t think that should excuse such lazy level design – it’s like something we would get from a Compile Heart game, complete with invisible walls everywhere.

Unlike a Compile Heart game though, the story does not take up a massive chunk of the experience – and it is honestly better off this way because the story that is here may just be even more barebones than the gameplay. In fact, writing this review, I cannot name any character off the top of my head that isn’t the protagonist that I myself named – they are just that forgettable and hardly receive the development needed to make the story in any way interesting.

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And that is all before you get to the technical issues, of which I had quite a few when playing. I will give PQube – the publisher – some credit, it is better than some of their other PC ports, but still below what I would consider satisfactory. For one, the keyboard and mouse controls. The Steam store page actually lists the game as having none, but keyboard controls do exist (and that’s just keyboard, no mouse). None of the buttons can be rebound though, so you’re stuck holding shift and the arrow keys to rotate the camera – so yeah, don’t even think of picking this one up if you don’t have a controller to play it with (also worth noting that those controls cannot be changed either).

The game also only has three graphical settings: brightness, resolution choice between 720p and 1080p, and fullscreen or window toggle. That’s it – it is the most barebones of ports and unfortunately comes with some technical issues on top of that. During my first two hours with the game, I had it freeze completely on me on two separate occasions – still playing the game audio, but no longer accepting any inputs and forcing a restart to fix. I didn’t have the issue past that two hour mark, but it’s worth mentioning regardless.

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So no, I cannot recommend METAL MAX Xeno Reborn. A disappointing first showing for the series on PC, METAL MAX Xeno Reborn brings some good ideas to the table, but is bogged down by its numerous bizarre design choices and technical issues. The gameplay is slow and monotonous, the level design and graphics are mobile-game level, and the game freezing and lack of proper controls are not a good look either. It’s just a low effort port all around and unfortunate to see as a series I was excited to check out for the first time.

Quote: A disappointing first showing for the series on PC, METAL MAX Xeno Reborn brings some good ideas to the table, but is bogged down by its numerous bizarre design choices and technical issues.

METAL MAX Xeno Reborn retails for $40 USD on Steam. It is also available on PS4 and Switch.

I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.