By Marisa Alexander / October 2nd, 2019
|Title||DAEMON X MACHINA|
|Release Date||September 13th, 2019|
|Age Rating||Rated T for Teen – Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Language|
With the full release of DAEMON X MACHINA, the time has now come to review the full product. I already looked through the Prologue Demo, and as such I am going to cut straight to the meat of the review rather than setting up introductions. Did the full game meet my expectations? As someone who was hopeful for this game, it’s time to find out.
The story itself is perhaps the weakest aspect of the game. The game’s plot isn’t bad per se, but rather the developers’ focus was more on the visuals and gameplay. As such story beats serve more as a backdrop to missions and the setting as a whole. This issue becomes relatively obvious towards the end of the game when plot twists are flung at the player one after the other. As a whole, it is still intelligible but relatively underdeveloped.
Meanwhile, characterization of the cast is also strange. The game’s cast is filled with clichés, but some characters are still given time to truly develop more towards the end of the game. This isn’t applied equally as some cast members are quickly forgotten while others are featured regularly in missions. As a whole, the theme of fighting for one’s beliefs is actually portrayed strongly throughout the game. While most of your fellow mercenaries do fight for money, it is usually just to help finance themselves, rather than out of greed. Some want to get strong, some fight for justice, and some just fight to survive. As such characters, while not the pinnacle example of narrative, can still be enjoyable in their own right.
However, going from the game’s weakest aspect to its strongest, the gameplay is where the game is at its best. With plenty of AIs and mechs to destroy with an arsenal of your choice, the action can be absolutely riveting when it shines. However, when it is very lackluster, the exact opposite is true. It can be a boring slog at certain points that drive the game down. I mentioned in the demo that there was too much ammo to be found. That is still true but only for certain parts of the game. In other parts, it is far too easy to run out of ammo simply due to the lack of any ammo pick-ups. This doesn’t necessarily make the game harder, rather it just makes it more tedious.
Now, one of the potentially worrying aspects about the game is if the loot system would make the game grindy. By ripping equipment off of downed mechs, you can find new pieces of armor and weapons for you to use, be they shotguns, missile launchers, or heavy or light armor. Thankfully, the game doesn’t pressure you to grind missions to get equipment to advance through the game. You are able to survive with equipment you naturally accumulate as well as creating new weapons and armor in the factory. As such, you are never unprepared for the encounters ahead.
However, that just leads into how easy DAEMON X MACHINA is. Missions are absurdly easy as a whole, as enemies typically have a hard time hitting you and enemy mechs are not aggressive enough most of the time to even remotely out-damage you. The usual lack of challenge is an exception for defensive missions and the final boss. Defensive missions in this game are effectively a luck of the draw, as either the enemy just completely destroys whatever you are trying to protect or they don’t even focus on it. Meanwhile the final boss can effectively auto-hit you from the opposite end of the map, alongside having a large health bar with hardly a single health or ammo pick-up to be found. As such, you have to resort to a method that is not exceptionally clear. As a whole however, for an otherwise easy game, the game’s more lax nature doesn’t detract from the quality of the gameplay. Yet if you are looking for a consistently hard challenge, it isn’t to be found here.
The presentation still holds up, with hardly any issues to be had. Many of the bosses and mechs in DAEMON X MACHINA inspire awe, be it the former’s gargantuan presence or the latter’s robust design. Some of the more desolate areas look cool as well, rather than bog standard wastelands of nothingness. There are only two technical oddities I have noticed. I played the game portable so I am unsure if this is an issue docked but the game would stutter for about half a second on a select couple of missions, particularly when there were a lot effects going on at once. Another is the feel of attacking mechs with a straight-on explosive hit. The massive amount of hit stun from a knockdown or knockback causes an invulnerability state but doesn’t stop continuous knockback from occurring. As such mechs, including yourself technically, can be stuck in continuous hit stun but unable to take damage until it stops.
In my comments about the demo I mentioned that the audio, while fine, is not particularly notable. I would like to retract that statement, as the audio design has grown on me. For example, the gargantuan bosses have very distorted but fitting moans and wails that really set the tone quite well. The soundtrack for DAEMON X MACHINA is also enjoyable, being surprisingly varied instead of keeping to rock and metal. It is a fun soundtrack, one that lends itself to the soundtracks of classic mecha anime and games. The voice acting for the cast, cliché or not, is also serviceable. It may not be stellar, but the voice actors put on some fun voices to listen to.
As a whole, I still say DAEMON X MACHINA met my expectations. Mecha games, from my own personal experience at this point, aren’t made to be perfect in any regard. I truly believe that Kenichiro wanted to craft a game that would satisfy fans of the genre and he has definitely set out to meet that expectation instead of going above and beyond. The game’s mechanics are exceptionally solid, with only occasional points of mediocrity and bad design.
However, thanks to the game’s structure, it will be difficult for newcomers or players from outside of the genre to truly get into it, particularly those who would rather do longer game sessions or enjoy more varied play. The price tag of $59.99 further compounds the issue, being yet another barrier of entry. In the end, I enjoyed DAEMON X MACHINA, but this comes from the perspective of someone who always was interested in the genre. Depending on if you are a fan or not, I recommend waiting on a price drop. For me personally, I hope the release revitalizes the genre so we can see even more Mecha games.
Review copy provided by the publisher
ActionDaemon X MachinaMarvelous EntertainmentNintendoSwitch