Title: Daemon X Machina
Developer: Marvelous Entertainment
Release Date: 13th Sep 2019 (US/Canada), 13th Sep 2019 (UK/EU/AU)
Where to buy: AMAZON.COM
About the product
- They say it was the greatest disaster in recorded history…
- The moon tore apart, turning the sky into a kaleidoscope of red light that illuminated all who watched from below.
- Survive this apocalyptic new age when the self-evolving weapons called “Immortals” have turned on their creators and waged war on humanity.
- Mech Control is really good
- Variety of customization options
- Colorful cel-shaded
- The missions get repetitive
- The plot is convoluted and cut-scenes are a little flat
- Performance can drop during fights
DAEMON X MACHINA REVIEW
Did the developer improve the game before launch?
Daemon X Machina may end up being a big improvement when the game launches this week. After the developer launched a demo in February and explained that he wanted feedback on how to improve the game, several players instead interpreted it as a near-completion product and decided it was a bit tasteless, and they would not buy it.
Fast forward seven months and it’s fair to say the developer is right: Daemon X Machina has certainly improved in many ways thanks to user reviews. However, this raises two questions: how much has it improved and is it too late to turn back those who were disappointed with this extremely early demonstration? We can’t answer – only time and the graphics will say – but we can at least confirm that the completed game is a solid job, even if it is not quite essential.
WHAT IS THE GAME ABOUT?
In the game you work as an unnamed rookie mercenary who specializes in driving giant frogs, your job is to take multiple paid missions to do your bit in the fight against artificial intelligence, which turned against the human race after sending some strange radiation across a colliding moon.
This is not all bad news: this radiation also extends your capabilities, meaning that your fully customizable avatar has more to offer than your average citizen. The other team that you have with you in your quest is the mercenaries, who, depending on whether you envision a piece of each mission, get up and leave.
This whole idea of the characters popping in and out can soon make it difficult to gain a grasp of the plot, and as the story develops, you start to get a load of conspiracy theories and you will start thinking, “Can you trust this team, can you believe that ?, Can we believe the company we’re working for “shenanigans”, it can be a bit complicated at the top.
It’s not the fault of acting (which is usually high quality) or even the dialogue, which is well-written. There are so many active ingredients to play here: it’s like playing chess and removing new ones every few turns. It is important to involve different characters to stand silent and talk to each other Doesn’t help: The setup is as dull as it sounds, even if they’re interested in what they’re saying, and it can be difficult to concentrate.
Games like this do their talking on the battlefield, of course, and it’s here where Daemon X Machina shines for the most part. Mech games can be a bit of a pain to control but that isn’t the case here at all: your Arsenal (which is what the game’s mechs are called) the hefty command list can initially seem quite daunting, it only really takes a couple of missions before you’re swooping around with a giant a&#… well, a 50-foot robot. A graceful one, though.
When you’re in the air movement is a simple case of looking in the direction you want to go and heading that way, while more extreme altitude changes can be controlled with either the ‘B’ button (to quickly boost upwards) or pressing in the left stick (to kill your jets and drop quickly downwards).
A useful set button assigned to ‘R’ is an essential piece of kit, especially as the game progresses and you find yourself in increasingly larger firing lines. When on the ground, you’re also able to exit your mech and run around on foot, though this is rarely useful: technically it lets you continue to get involved in the action while you wait for a partner to repair your downed mech, but you’re so vulnerable in this state that it almost always results in death, at least in the early stages of the game.
THE BATTLES AND WEAPONS
The battles are satisfying. There is generous play help here, which means as you look in the general direction of the enemy you will lock on them and start shooting at them with accuracy. Some of the self-proclaimed ‘hardcore’ may object to this, but it makes sense: many standard game players are up in the air as well, and it would be a bit odd.
If you are extreme, the impressive giant mech did their best to accurately take down a basic flying enemy. There is something very grateful about taking a group of five or six enemies and selecting them one at a time with relative ease. This targeting aid also somewhat offsets the annoying feeling of dual controls that you usually get when playing switches in manual mode: since you don’t have to be focused on your targeting, it’s far less frustrating.
You have the option of switching to motion-controlled targeting if you like, but we were happy enough with the standard settings that we didn’t feel the need to change the replacement. If you have been previously rejected by soft games because of their apparent complexity, this is the one you may have been looking for.
However, customization is the main order of the day. As well as the extensive options available to you in creating the look of both your pilot and your mechanics, there is a substantial amount of weapons that can be unlocked as you progress: your main and side missions, other looting wrecks of downed enemies.
While your mech starts with the basic combination of an assault rifle in one hand and a shield in the other, before long your hangar will be stocked with swords, laser guns, sniper rifles and the like, giving you plenty of options.
CAN YOU HAVE MULTIPLE WEAPONS?
You can’t take all your weapons to fight with you, but the game is at least generous in this regard: it is possible to enter a mission with a weapon assigned to your left hand (fired with the ‘ZL’ button ‘, one assigned to your right ( ‘ZR’), a rocket launcher on your shoulder (‘L’), an ‘auxiliary weapon’ such as a grenade or landmine (‘Y’) and two other spare weapons that you can attach to the pillars above you and replace your main ones whenever the situation warrants.
This means lengthy battles – and they can be very time-consuming, especially when fighting bosses – can at least stay fun while making the most of the weapons at your disposal. It’s a nice meh game, but Daemon X Machina is not without its faults. Despite taking user feedback and customizing the game accordingly, the elements of the game can still be quite overwhelming, especially for beginners.
Your HUD consists of less than 21 elements, ranging from three different gauges to an ammunition counter of all weapons to a whole host of icons that show the health of each element of your mechanics. The detailed options menu lets you exclude any of what you see fit, but they are all useful to some extent, so we do not recommend this: you just have to go through that initial adjustment period.
The plot recurs after a while. Most of the game is really just a case of “do a mission, pay, watch a cut scene, do the next mission” and as the plot gets more complex and your inventory gets bigger (although you can sell some off) you begin to realize that it is merely a judgmental and repetitive situation. Although there are some variations to the missions – one minute you defend buildings, the next you take other mercenaries down the road – it still doesn’t escape what is a fairly rigid structure. If you are bored of the single-player missions, there is also the option of engaging some staff, either online or locally, with up to three other players.
These are generally pretty meaty (you’ll fight with giant bosses, scratching with groups of powerful enemy wicks, that sort of thing) and give decent cash rewards for completion, though in the grand scheme they are still more of the same thing. If you loathe the idea of other people, you can take these alone, and as you play through the main story, you also unlock AI partners to recruit and fight alongside you (though they are often used as chocolate tea).
If you’re still stuck on Daemon X Machina, my advice is simple: download the free prologue demo, which is currently available on the eShop switch. This gives you the first few missions and, if you like them and decide to buy the full game, you can hand over your saved file. While many other demonstrations are too short to penetrate the full picture of the game they represent, the fact that Daemon X Machina is such a formal experience means that you will reach the end of the Preface.
At its core, Daemon X Machina is a solid mech action game that runs well and gives the player generous help with tuning options. Its mission structure can be repeated, and its plot is so difficult to capture, you should have a good time playing it.