Well, this one is going to be rather mixed, I’ll tell you that much. Daemon X Machina is coming to PC, marking a glorious day for fans of mech shooters. If you want a quick version of this Daemon X Machina review, this game can be quite enjoyable but extremely repetitive. There’s a lot of praise I could be saying for Daemon X Machina but at the same time, it also can be held back by quite a few aspects.
The game starts establishing its lore from the get-go. After the moon was torn apart, humanity employed the use of AI to survive. Unfortunately, an evil machine race known as the Immortals started to turn the AI against humanity. As such, mech pilot mercenaries known as the Outers are assigned with multiple tasks to ultimately defend humanity.
This is an extreme oversimplification of the game’s premise, by the way. The game wastes no time to drop tons of lore and characters on your face. Yes, I’m pretty sure you’re getting the Star Traders: Frontiers vibes over here and the same criticism stands. The amount of lore and story can be extremely daunting to new players. However, I believe that this isn’t that big of a deal because it’s quite easy to digest.
More importantly, the plot doesn’t seem to be Daemon X Machina’s main appeal. While there is a ton of stuff for players to delve into, it’s left as supplementary material. The point of the story is that the player (a rookie Outer) is going to pilot a mech and be at the center of a war between man and machine.
Of course, you’re not the only Outer that’s out on a mission. There are a lot of characters that the player will come across their journey. This colorful range of mercenaries come with their own motivations and goals. Some of them are in it for the money, others legitimately want to defend the planet. You know, the usual character archetypes you might see in a game like this.
Every character has a unique personality and an equally unique design. Of course, you can thank the designer Yusuke Kozaki for that. in case you need a refresher, he’s the man responsible for the character designs in No More Heroes.
I actually liked the personalities of some of these mercenaries. From Savior’s fascination with literature to Johnny G’s resolve to be the best at what he does; Daemon X Machina allows you to find an attachment to characters that line up with your ideals. Unfortunately, there are a lot of mercenaries to meet and once again, it can be daunting to new players.
Yes, I admit that the character interactions are charming. However, I think the game doesn’t allow them to truly shine on their own because the spotlight is constantly thrown away from them. I mean, one of the most prominent examples is Artist. He literally appears for one mission and then he isn’t heard from until way later into the game.
Unfortunately, that also means there is a problem with the story as a whole…
Who?… What?… Why?
I believe that the story has a lot of pacing issues. Like Final Fantasy VIII, major plot points are left behind supplementary material and character conversations. Not to mention, you’re also told about events and other characters as if you knew about them all along. While I appreciate the fact that the game wastes no time in doing obvious explanations; I also think that it’s pretty easy to get confused if you don’t follow the dialogue quite well.
There are a lot of underlying story elements told in different ways. Consortiums hire mercenaries to do their work, paying them, but each faction of mercenaries functions differently. One faction could be a group of prisoners piloting Arsenals to pay their debts to society. Meanwhile, another faction of people is capable of cheating death itself (somehow).
Not only are you tasked with remembering each of the consortiums hired by Orbital:
- Bullet Works
- Immortal Innocence
- Western VII
- Panzer Crown
- Five Hells
- Steel Knights
- Panzer Crown
You are also expected to remember every member of those consortiums and their allegiances. Not only that, you have to keep track of the companies that hire you and the overall story that unravels in front of you. While I managed to catch on and follow along, I can’t say the same for someone who wants to understand everything that’s going on.
However, I believe that the story is the last thing a player should be seeking in this game. Daemon X Machina’s story can be deep but it also can be predictable and boring. Honestly, it won’t be a factor for those who just want to jump in and destroy things in their mechs (Arsenals). So… Let’s do that.
Fighting with an Arsenal
In Daemon X Machina, you take control of an Arsenal. Essentially, it’s a mech that you can pilot (duh). Arsenals can use a wide variety of weapons to deal with enemy AIs. You have access to left and right weapons as well as a shoulder-mounted weapon, a special equipment chip, and extra weapons to swap to on your left and right pylons.
Not only that, but every single bit of your Arsenal is customizable. You’ll be able to change your armor parts and even enhance them with custom chips. Players can straight purchase weapons or armor with the credits gathered after missions. There’s a variety of weapons from mini-guns and sniper guns to bazookas, flame throwers, and even tesla cannons.
However, if you want to get up close and personal, you’ll have access to swords and shields. Not only that, but you are also able to use the environment as pseudo weapons. Environment assets such as signposts and cars can pretty much be used as weaponry to strike enemies down.
I must say that the weapon variety is amazing. While you do start with a pathetic pea shooter, it’s easy to acquire new weapons quickly. Additionally, you can also collect new resources through downed Arsenals. The game really lets you take control of your Arsenal style, letting you make your Arsenal be suited to your needs.
Frantic and Fast-Paced Battles
If you think that Daemon X Machina will be a walk in the park, think again. The game doesn’t pull its punches and throws enemies at you that are as quick as they are deadly. Outmaneuvering them with quick reflexes and constant firing is key to success. As such, you’ll constantly be on your toes, searching for enemies while shooting at them.
If you want an example of how fast things can get, check out this video of one of the side missions:
As seen before, you can also end up fighting against members of other Consortiums. Some of them are pretty easy to defeat while others pose quite a challenge. Finally, you will be able to fight colossal mechs that have high health pools.
The action is constant and the player will have to be quick. It is both the deadliest asset you have and the most essential tool of survival.
Hired Hands to Save the World
Progression through the game is handled on a mission basis. Every mission has objectives the player must accomplish like destroying a number of enemies on a time limit. Other missions can range from getting the final blow or completing a mission as fast as possible.
Players also get access to Free Missions, which are essentially side missions. Free Missions can be replayed as many times as the player desires and can net extra customization items such as decals and paint jobs. Of course, you can also use Free Missions as a way to gather Credits, which lets you purchase more weapons and armor components.
Becoming the Best Version of Yourself
The best part about the customization is that even your avatar is customizable. The character creation is deep and exhaustive. However, you can also develop your Outer to provide upgrades to your Arsenal through the lab. Credits are basically used to keep upgrading your capabilities for your Arsenal and your Outer avatar. You can acquire skill tree upgrades that boost the performance of your mech or upgrade the combat abilities of your own body whenever you decide to exit your Arsenal and navigate the environment on foot.
And yes, this means that there will be sections where you will not be piloting a mech. If your mech goes down, you’ll be able to continue on with your own set of weapons and grenades. Of course, being human limits you to just grounded combat. But, at the very least you do stand a fighting chance even when your mech goes down.
Further upgrades include minor buffs acquired through the Ice Cream Shop. In it, you can mix certain flavors to get some buffs that will improve your Arsenal or Outer during combat. Attachments that give bonuses to equipment can also be removed or added to your weapons and armor.
Like I mentioned before, the customization options are varied and allow you to experiment. It’s a pretty great feature, all things considered. The more you play, the better the rewards get. This might remind some players of games like Monster Hunter World or God Eater.
Performance and Other Quirks
Daemon X Machina offers a fantastic soundtrack that’s filled with rockin’ tunes for battles. However, music can also become atmospheric and even moving at times. I believe that the music composition is solid and fits the mood of some cutscenes quite perfectly.
The game runs at a smooth 60 FPS. With graphical details being quite spectacular. The cel-shade approach was definitely the right way for this game to be developed. Every character and set piece is colorful and environments stand out enough on their own. The level variety is quite good as well, so it’s almost guaranteed you won’t be playing on the same battlefield a repeated number of times.
There’s also a multiplayer element to Daemon X Machina. You can pair up with your friends to take on certain missions together. Whether locally or co-op, you’ll have your own share of fun. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work the same way as Temtem. In other words, you won’t be able to play through the game’s story cooperatively. Instead, you’ll be given some missions that are made specifically for co-op.
Daemon X Machina is an amazing game for its niche market. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really make anything exceptional to bring in new fans. The story can be confusing and boring for new players and the multiplayer aspects can also be limited. However, that doesn’t hold the game back when you take its positives into consideration.
The gameplay is fun and easy to pick up. While the controls and the customization might seem daunting, it can also be a fast-paced adventure that can be enjoyed by multiple players at once. The real thrill of the game definitely comes from the number of customization options. It simply allows players to use their Arsenal as they wish with a huge weapon variety.
If you’re looking for a game like God Eater and enjoy mech games, this game might be your cup of tea. The game made a perfect transition from the Nintendo Switch to PC; the gameplay is fast-paced and frantic; the characters are a joy to listen to and work with; there simply is a lot to like about this game. In the end, Daemon X Machina is fun for what it is, and that’s all it needs.
What do you think about our Daemon X Machina review? Are you going to get the game on PC? Do you have the Nintendo Switch version? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. Are you ready to take on other mechs? Check out our Mechwarrior 5 review.