Like weeb shit? Like robots? Or mecha? Then chances are you’ll love Nintendo’s latest exclusive in what I’ve touted as “The year of the Switch”, Daemon X Machina. Before all the goods, and perhaps a surprising number of them, let’s get the weakest aspect of the game out of the way: The story. It’s in the future, huge corporations.. sorry.. “consortiums” fight over this newfound and super powerful resource called femto… or whatever the fuck.. Are you bored yet?
The consortiums are constantly trying to screw each other in a pseudo-cold war world where they aren’t really in all-out war against each other; they just happen to send mercenaries from different mercenary groups in contradictory missions. Oh you’re sent to destroy this illegal facility? We’re here to defend it. All the while they have to team up against Immortals– giant robots that can corrupt other AI and attack humans, take over bases, etc…
And yes, all the archetypes of here! The ones who ramble off into pseudo philosophy 101, super cute voice girl, unnecessarily psychotic (but hot) girls, huge/destructive idiot guy, the old/wise veteran, legendary pilots that people fanboy over, and, hell, Daemon X Machina even has a snobby –but of course highly skilled– young head of a family with an equally dangerous butler/pilot… and more. Not kidding; the damn butler is called Knight and has his own, awesome Arsenal (the mecha here are called Arsenals, btw).
Now to the things that still have me hooked :
- Missions: It might be a small thing to you, but remember missions? They were these great little things that were around before every other damn game had to be open world.
- The Visuals: Everyone knows the Switch isn’t the most powerful console, but cel shading can work wonders when used properly; and this game is a prime example. Even when action is hectic with six Arsenals in combat surrounded by other drones, bullets, missles, lasers, and corrupted AI, things move along smoothly.
- Customization: This game has filled the void that Armored Core left. You can customize your character’s appearance. Which is cool, but honestly, who cares? You just see that in the cutscenes and what really matters in a game like this is: will your bipedal tank look badass? Yes. And there are so many weapons and options to tinker with. You can take four weapons into the battlefield at once. Or a shield and three guns. Shield, sword, two guns. Two swords, one gun, one shield. A gun arm, and two other options for the other arm.. You get the idea. Oh, and yes, there’s laser swords in the mix too, nerds.
That’s not the end of the offensive/defensive capabilities. You can also have one shoulder and one auxiliary attachment. They range from long distance cannons (personal favorite), multi lock-on missiles (which look great), radar scramblers, mid-air trap mines, flares to distract oncoming missles… And more.
- Combat: Oh yes. The satisfying, addictive battles. The first few missions are pure cake. You’ll feel like a Gundam pilot as you mow down wave after wave of dumbass corrupted AI. Once you start to master how hectic it can feel to face off against the other pilots, the game can at times feel like the great intros to Gundam and Macross. You’ll soon be surprised at how you survive going up against multiple pilots by yourself (80% of the time, you have back up.. 80). The fighting experiences can also vary greatly depending on the build of your Arsenal (I have 4 different builds). I suggest you get to tinkering when you’re stuck.
The one thing that could’ve been greatly improved is the sword combat. While the katanas allow for cool chain attacks against the weaker enemies, using it against other pilots just becomes a mash fest until they drop. Not to mention, they have just two animations for the sword attacks. I still recommend you always carry one (devastating and no ammo), but I’m hoping the sequel has better sword mechanics. Oh, laser guns, cannons, and swords all require femto. Keep that in mind.
In closing, my biggest cons are the story (which is surprisingly well developed, just meh) and the lack of polish for the sword combat. Aside from that, I couldn’t recommend it more. The combat alone is worth the price of admission. 3.75/5 Arsenal Manuals.