With the recent renaissance of console exclusives hitting the PC, we were showered with a plethora of previously unplayable (that is if you’re on a PC) games. There is now something for everyone. Racing games, RPGs, story-rich adventures and so on. Yet, there has been one genre on all platforms that is kinda niche in its offerings. Mech games are anything but plentiful but whenever they appear, they are sure to leave a mark. Front Mission series, Armored Core series, and even that weird Ring of Red game were the culprits for so many gaming hours I sank into my PS2. And now, I have something new in my hands. Well, more like something old, but upgraded with a touch of a facelift. DAEMON X MACHINA first appeared on Nintendo Switch in 2019 and now a year later, we get to play it on a PC with some added goodies.
” You are an Outer, a new breed of human being that appeared in the aftermath of the Moonfall calamity. As a mercenary for the Orbital organization, you are on the front line of a desperate war for humanity’s survival against the Immortals – corrupted AIs that have rebelled against their human creators. Piloting a fully customizable mech known as an Arsenal, you must team up with mercenaries like yourself and complete missions to defeat the Immortals once and for all. But be careful—in a war fought by mercenaries, today’s allies can become tomorrow’s enemies.”
Flashy description blurb but what does it tell us? It is a fast-paced mech game ala Armored Core where you can change your weapons on the fly and oh boy, there sure is an abundance of what you can shoot your enemies with. Assault rifles, canons, energy sword, shields and so on. They’re available as a mission rewards and more often as the enemy drops. Let’s continue.
” From the visionary minds of Kenichiro Tsukuda and trailblazing mech designer Shoji Kawamori…..”
Wait, what??!!! Hold the heck up! The father of Armored Core and an acclaimed mech designer have their hands in this?! Well, color me interested now. Enough talking, let’s start this game up.
As I said, the PC version of DAEMON X MACHINA comes with a few improvements such as additional Arsenal parts and weapons, Outer modifications, Colossal Immortal battles, and an Exploration Mission co-op mode. Enemy variety in the game is not huge but they’re cleverly sprinkled throughout the missions so you never feel like you’re fighting the same waves of them over and over. Drones and tanks are easy meat but some boss battles and enemy mechs are sure to put your reaction time on the edge. In DAEMON X MACHINA, there’s no such thing as a perfect mech setup. While the weapons come in a great variety, it’s really up to the player and their personal preference when it comes to what to pick (for me, a strong assault rifle + a light sword was a winning combo), so there’s no end in customizing. But customizing doesn’t stop just there. You are given almost limitless options when it comes to pimping your mech with decals, colors, sigils and so on. One thing that I noticed at this point is the extremely bareboned tutorial. On the first few missions, the game will tell you the mere basics of aiming, shooting and picking up loot but anything more complex such as evading enemies, weapon selection and skills is up to you to discover – often through trial and error approach.
The game plays in a polished cell shading style in lieu of the Borderlands series and XIII. It’s pretty smart design choice since it gives it more of that anime-ish feel. It does feel a bit weird sometimes, like the character faces were oiled up so they could shine even more and mech that just came out of a car wash. With its campy dialogue, voice acting and character design, playing DAEMON X MACHINA often feel like binging a whole season of some anime. Also, the color palette in the game will take some time to get used to. Everything is saturated and emphasized with flashy colors, giving it some unique cyber-neon-punk feel. In the end, it looks great and it runs great. I had no issues hitting over 60 fps at any point during my playthrough, even with multiple enemies on the screen and their missile spam.
Because I mentioned the everpresent anime feel above, you should expect the voice acting to be over the top sometimes and almost all of the characters having their drama queen moment(s). When it comes to the soundtrack, it’s certainly there but there is also nothing I could single out as being memorable. The weapon effects are a bit above generic and were given some attention during development. After a short while, you can tell what weapon the enemy is using based on audio cues alone (instead of, you know, waiting to kill them and picking up the said weapon). In short, the voice acting got some extra polish while everything else took a back seat.
DAEMON X MACHINA landed itself in a peculiar spot. Surely, the game could use ironing despite being just fine as it is. It has the luck of appearing in a rough of mech games so it’s not like you can pick some other similar game to play (that you haven’t played already). If anything, the extensive customization options when it comes to weapons and mech visuals puts it on the “above average” shelf so consider giving it a try. The huge selection of weapons also extends itself onto the replay value of DAEMON X MACHINA so once you finish one playthrough, there are new ways of play to discover as you slice through the enemies instead of blowing them up.
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