DAEMON X MACHINA - Launch Trailer - Nintendo Switch
Who it Caters to
For about as long as we can remember, the role that Mechs play in video games have been quite substantial, as they help to illustrate the far distant future that humanity may one day experience. They can be customized and designed to your own liking and when trouble arises they become tools to save humanity, though not in all cases. Gundam of course is a great example of this where Mechs help to emphasize the relationship between man and robot, and how this relationship can create unpredictable yet exciting situations. So what are we getting at? Well the folks over at Marvelous and the mastermind behind the iconic Armored Core series, Kenichiro Tsukuda, have come together to give us Daemon x Machina. This game takes great inspiration from the likes of Gundam and of course the classic Armored Core series, but implements modern features that help to accentuate the excitement and thrill that you get when piloting a Mech in battle.
What to Expect
Anyone who has dabbled with the Armored Core series will find some remnants of the game embedded within the gameplay which is sure to excite fans of that particular series. With plenty of high-flying acrobatic maneuvers paired with dazzling special effects that decorate the screen in an anime-like fashion, Daemon x Machina is a game that showcases just how cool Mechs can be. For those who like customizing their Mechs for a more personalized experience, Daemon x Machina allows you to go all out to ensure your Mech looks prepared for battle. From equipped weapons, to specific body parts and even the color variation of your Mech, Daemon x Machina gives you freedom to play around in order to create the Mech that suits your playstyle. The Hangar within the game serves as the main hub and is where you’ll be able to see your mission briefings as well as other options available to investigate.
While Daemon x Machina expresses itself beautifully with flashy special effects to really bring the game to life, it’s nothing we truly haven’t seen before. We don’t mean this in a bad way since the game overall looks fantastic, but it’s nothing groundbreaking. Stage designs are varied and provide a nice open environment for your Mechs to battle in but with their own limitations. One major selling point that we feel does make Daemon x Machina quite distinct comes down to the UI and menu design, which is really fitting of the games overall premise, and serves its purpose well. Nothing feels too overwhelming on screen and that’s a very good thing since most of your focus should be on shooting down the enemy forces, rather than grow concerned about how the UI looks. Character designs are good but not great since a lot of the time the way in which emotions are shown aren’t as compelling and lip syncing isn’t great either.
One thing that we immediately noticed and to some degree found a little bit annoying were the constant recycling of voice overs during battle. The constant “URRGH” and “AHHH!” during a battle really turned us off in a way because it robbed us of that cool experience of hearing the lasers and explosions that play a much bigger role in gameplay. Voice acting was decent and did help to bring characters to life in a good way, but it really didn’t sell us completely. It felt dry at times and left us feeling a little deflated, although on the other hand, the OST itself is truly where the game shines. If there’s one thing that definitely did catch our attention it was the music and how well it complimented the game and its theme. So in spite of the voices driving us mad at times, the music really helped to bring things back into balance.
With all that being said about the visuals and music, the gameplay is perhaps where many of you are curious about. Well we can say with honesty that Daemon x Machina is a well designed Mech action game, that has its flaws. No game is ever truly perfect and so it’s important to remember that while we’d like to have a luxurious experience, a lot of the time it’s just not going to happen. What we’re trying to get at here is that while Daemon x Machina serves its purpose by giving us a true action oriented experience, it does come with some notable flaws in its design. For starters, the overall movement of the Mechs in game felt stiff and didn’t really give off a good impression. One example is when jumping into the air to engage in air-to-air combat then shifting back to ground combat. This sequence felt very slow especially when trying to descend back to the ground in order to take out enemies, and it left us feeling a little disappointed. The battles themselves were fun but the way in which your Mech moves just didn’t feel very fluid and oftentimes things just didn’t sync very well. Your guns for some reason didn’t really sound like guns at all but more like you were shooting an air gun, which we felt could have easily been improved.
That lack of realism is what drew us away even more because in spite of the game illustrating a more anime-esque type of design, it would’ve been nice to have each gun you equip come with their own distinct sounds. Not just sounds but actual realistic sounds that help to create more authenticity and thrill during battles. There were times when the enemy AI would just not cooperate and would hide in a corner, avoiding battles altogether. We literally had to go hunting for the enemy on the map because in order to complete the mission all enemies had to be wiped out. This enemy AI thought it would be funny to hide underneath a large piece of a building that nobody would ever traverse to and it took us quite a while to discover its location. This brings us to another point that we feel Daemon x Machina could improve on and that’s the map. Armored Core we feel did a spectacular job with how the map system worked, giving players a well designed system that helped to bring the experience to life even more. In Daemon x Machina a lot of the time, there were just too many small icons scattered across the map which felt a little overwhelming. The game does explain what each icon represents but when you’re on an important mission the last thing you want to see are dots peppered all across the map layout, which just creates distraction.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
On the plus side, Daemon x Machina serves its purpose as an action Mech game that incorporates features that allow players to create a unique experience. While the missions are quite short they do in fact have their perks as once again, it’s always cool to see Mechs in action flying around and shooting each other frantically. The game does a good job of teaching players how to properly pilot their Mech and deal damage when necessary but we felt more could’ve been done to illustrate the importance of movement and how to better optimize it in battle. We would’ve liked to have more freedom in terms of melee and being able to utilize combos to deal more damage when we’re low on ammo (which is quite rare to be honest but still something to point out). We really found no reason to drop our weapons and proceed to using Mechs as a punching bag because the variety of attacks that you have are extremely limited, and so you sort of felt forced to just stick to your main tools. In the end, Daemon x Machina is a fast and fun title that you can rip through fairly quickly if you’re well versed in Mech combat style games. Once you do clear it though, that’s pretty much it sadly...
The OST in the game is very good and we love that it helps to compliment the gameplay.
Level designs were really well done and the ability to customize your avatar and Mech is a big plus.
A fun title that can help to pass the time.
Missions felt shorter than expected, at least in the earlier portion of the game. We would’ve liked longer missions to really satisfy that action experience.
Voicing wasn’t really impressive in our books.
Sound effects for weapons just didn’t give off a realistic vibe and really made the game feel underwhelming.
Honey's Final Verdict:
Daemon x Machina is the latest attempt from producer Kenichiro Tsukuda, to bring the Mech gaming world back to life. While we certainly do applaud his efforts to create a unique experience we would’ve liked to see some improvements in the areas we mentioned in the review. Hopefully if there’s a sequel more time can be devoted to creating a more robust experience for players! We hope you will find our review to be insightful and that it helped you to make a better purchase decision. Be sure to leave your comments below and let us know your thoughts.
Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!