With so many games coming out lately, it wouldn't be hard to miss a gem like Metal Arms: Glitch in the System. The game is an unassuming shooter starring cutesy robots, and on first glance it might look convincingly like a shallow children's title. But spend a few hours with Metal Arms and you'll find that the kiddie exterior hides mission after mission of surprisingly hardcore combat action. Though its balance is a little questionable at times, Metal Arms has quietly come onto the scene to offer one of the most visceral and most satisfying shooting experiences in quite a while.
Fight the nefarious plans of General Corrosive in Metal Arms: Glitch in the System.
The cartoony premise of Metal Arms won't exactly tip you off about the game's intense combat. You play as Glitch, a custom-built robot salvaged by a ragtag group of rebellious droids fighting against other militaristic robots in a massive bot civil war. The droid rebellion is locked in combat with the malicious Mil Bots under the command of the evil General Corrosive, and the two factions are battling it out for control of their planet, Ironstar. Since the battle isn't going so well for the droid rebellion, Glitch is sent out as a last-ditch strategy, a one-robot army tasked with taking out the Mils from the inside. There's a lot of humor and style in the struggle between Corrosive and the rebellion, from the World War II newsreel-style introduction of the conflict to the tough-talking colonel and foul-mouthed robo-mechanic that bring Glitch back from the scrap yard. Overall, the story is a little basic, but it's pretty entertaining, especially since a game like this doesn't really require much of a story at all.
Metal Arms' real meat is in its intense, dynamic combat. Mechanically, this is all standard third-person shooter fare--you run around the maps, jump, ride down zip lines, and obliterate every Mil in sight with extreme prejudice. The "Metal Arms" part of the game's title comes from the fact that Glitch can replace his right arm with a wide assortment of weapons that fit right into his shoulder socket, and his left arm (though it doesn't detach) can manipulate all sorts of secondary weapons and support devices as well. The weapons are pretty typical of shooters: There's a basic laser, a machine gun, a shotgun, a rocket launcher, and so on. These weapons are pretty weak to begin with, and they don't hold much ammo, but you can improve them throughout the game by purchasing or finding upgrade kits, and once the weapons are thoroughly powered up, you'll be able to kick serious bot butt. The secondary weapons include various kinds of grenades, a scope for zooming, and that sort of thing. The weapons strike a solid balance, and the game does a good job of presenting you with enough varied enemies and situations that all of your equipment will come in handy at one time or another.
What makes Metal Arms' combat so intense is a combination of factors. The weapons seem to pack a really hard punch, thanks to their great visual effects and sounds. The game also features some really crazy robot-on-robot violence, embodied mostly in the way that the Mil grunts die. One solid hit can tear off a robot's arm or head, causing him to run around, wildly spraying the area haphazardly with his weapon. A death blow will remove the Mil's entire torso, leaving only the legs to run blindly around the combat area. Finally, it's not all that hard to simply reduce an enemy grunt to a violent shower of parts and shrapnel. Metal Arms' combat is really dynamic, too, in that the behavior of enemies and the way a scenario plays out changes every time you replay it. Though the enemies always spawn in the same place, they're smart enough to move around fairly intelligently, and the combat feels more realistic and alive than in many other action games.
Glitch can swap out his arm for all kinds of powerful weapons.