Stop me if you heard this one before: you’re in a world ravaged by evil A.I. Earth’s biggest cities, reversed-terraformed into wastelands. Technology evolves into an elite force of destruction, while you have to save an ancient library from those exact evil forces out to destroy it… so your temporary partner in crime can tag it with some killer graffiti work. Honestly, I didn’t see this coming. Step inside the hangar and ensure your mobile weapon of choice, the Arsenal, is ready for combat in Daemon x Mechina. As stated in the Nintendo Direct, the Prototype Missions demo has become available a few weeks back. Knowing my Armored Core feels, I took her out for a spin.
Aesthetically, Machina does animation look and feel right. The characters are not robotic in their cutscenes. The cell-shaded look is well placed for its’ target genre. Even on the HD screen, nothing is lost. Felt like I was checking out Iron Man Armored Adventures again. If Jet Set Radio pioneered this look, and Arc Systems being the new leaders with Xrd and DBFZ, Machina carries it forward without anything stiff. Quite a difference here from its’ counterparts or previous items to even coat the title with that sort of paint. PS2’s Zone Of the Enders 2 comes to mind in this regard. The mechs work well with this title. 4 missions (or orders) were given in this foray for pilots to undertake, including the tutorial mission. The other characters have been other mercenaries hired to assist you or engage against in the game’s story itself. The loot system is also cool. Why buy guns? just find them and take them from the field after the enemies are down! The music is also hinting towards the genre with guitar rifts to enhance the feel of laying waste to your AI adversaries. The mecha design talent is from the said series, so the Arsenals look quite sharp. The controls are reminiscent of these types of titles, with a mechanic that allows pilots to harness their inner creative side and use objects as weapons. I found taking up a car and chucking it, as a projectile, pretty satisfying.
Machina has a few issues for myself. Personally, I can’t tell if the NPCs hold their own actions to heart. Falcon’s a lead, yet he’s down pretty quickly. I’d expect Falcon to stay more afloat than the others through his combat skill and rank, but surprisingly, lower members Johnny and Artist were spray-painting the enemy the better than him. The mecha itself felt a bit slower than expected, even during a booster. Probably meant to be under this speed as a standard. Flying through the bullet storms and dodging missiles didn’t render as danger-ridden or frantic as other mech games allowed. A boon? possibly, but maybe a difficulty setting change could remedy this. Civilian Form is not covered in the tutorial, which leaves one nearly defenceless. Once your mech is depleted in VP, you are on your own if you eject. NPCs won’t revive your arsenal or repair as you can. In the Gunfort mission, the disadvantage against the boss is blatant if you are de-meched.
Dodging a huge laser or gunfire as if you’re re-enacting the opening scenes for Force Awakens, but even with the defence turret: you’re still outgunned. Even if you augment your avatar, they may not be able to assist the NPCs. Builds cannot be tested – which has always been a staple to the Armored Core series. An extremely resourceful feature left out, having one to throw down in an order to procure the “will it work?” apparatus of the build you just put together. Hard to say I like just driving my car off the lot and into the battlefield. The speed felt like an issue on myself, also. The fps seemed to change between the population of the screen. Battles are taken into an area. Rubberbanding occurs if one steps out, having the mech drive itself back. No ring counters or anything, which seemed to be weird to see in Machina.
Daemon X Machina thus far is the high tier mecha shooter it aims to become with a dash of cel-shaded anime. With a couple of things I’d hope would be on the fix docket by the release, what it achieved thus far is admirable to say the least. The innovation to a formula is definitely apparent with some needing a bit of explanation. Prototype missions is a handful of a bigger picture, yet paints the title in potentially peculiar light for the good. Daemon x Machina will rip through Switch consoles this summer with this pilot all the ready to enter its’ complete form, cliche anime laughs, screams, and all.