Daemon X Machina
Switch version tested
Nothing says “death from above” than a strike to an opponent in a 10 storey death machine with bullets bigger than your whole body. In our exposure to anime and the Gundam life, we’ve all seen how cool it is to pilot either walking tanks and steel combatants. Co-created by Kenichiro Tsukuda of Armored Core fame, comes a new mech title which graces the Nintendo Switch.
The Earth is picking up the pieces after the moon crashed into it. Along with its own debris, it emitted a special substance which enabled mecha pilots, or Outers, newfound abilities. It also caused AI to go haywire and massive adversaries, known as the Immortals, to wage a war against humanity’s only hope. While undertaking missions, and climbing the ranks, a bigger plot is unfolding. A glitch in the system is causing these different merc factions to engage in battles against each other. Or could it be something else?
Aesthetically, the game does itself well. Cell-shaded fisticuffs, explosions, and all the gunfire and laser beams you can handle. It’s not too far from DBfZ but years ahead of Jet Grind. The rock tunes complement the fast-paced movement that DxM is. Usually a compliment to a game like this. The character voices are some of dub gaming’s greats and anime alums, which don’t feel overly tiresome. The chatter on comms may get a little repetitive, but sometimes, there could be a story.
Missions are dolled out in both main and free in order to become the cure of the Immortal mess. Free being the fact that they bode no real consequence to the story. Main story tasks have a few in-game cutscenes. The multiplayer has both co-op and four-way duels. Pilots can also play locally. I didn’t feel much of a slowdown from what it was in single player. The enemies are usually the cannon fodder, but the variances happen a bit later on. Some stages are pretty much the same, but there is a bit of difference.
The Arsenals are the star of the show and are barely remised of any of the character’s wrongdoing. Each lead pump nearly as weight heavy as the next. With about 2 guns/weapons per hand, and several other options, DxM throws a lot of options at you at once. I’d spend several minutes configuring just to get the right amount of kick. The Arsenals have a gimmick called Femto, which allows several other abilities. From a second shield to flight, the Femto powers it. Even a clone, made from Femto, can help. It mimics what you bring to the table, but controlled by an AI.
The hanger’s access is one of the best features of DxM. It’s timely, so if you’re looking to test out your toys before a mission: feel free. The training area gives you enough things to do and kill with the ease of switching. Don’t like a laser cannon you just equipped? take it off and double-check your loadout with ease. Shop and Factory are used to build out your mech. While finding parts is a cheaper alternative, getting parts from enemies is quite satisfying. Especially when you utilize them on the field right away. Your Arsenal comes with 4 slots for hand weapons, so switching around is fun between them.
Machina has its’ flaws in the armour. The characters are nearly predictable in the mission acceptance area. There will always be a bit of dialogue between mercs. Two will accept the contract with one being on the outs or indisposed of the briefing. The mercs in the field are not at your mercy to control. They act on their own accord, which was something I’d look forward to more if they weren’t usually just following me. This goes into the story, even though its ability to allow players to become the Jet Li of mecha through use of cars as bombs, and road speed indicators as quick melee attacks, is a telltale sign of how serious the story can become.
There are small loading areas in the hanger when new Strais appear in training. The garage is the only place you are able to visit, which limits your digging into the characters. The missions lack a bit of variety between them aside from boss battles, destroying AI et al until later on in the game. Things get a bit more interesting after, but it takes a while to do it. Protecting cars smaller than the mechs piloted is quite a test. Not too many weapon choices to stick with. Lack of a first-person viewpoint is a small complaint. Ejecting from your mech with your pilot skills seems to assist a little.
Daemon x Machina is still a decent mech game that depends on its mecha fans to undertake the task of a package deal. Because of the focal point of where the tender loving care was put, Marvelous delivered on those things in ample form. Yet the meat of the package barely bodes itself the unearthed sign to shake.