Mech Love And War!
I was a little dubious about getting this game, if brutally honest. I’d read quite a few reviews that were mixed, with a lot of reviewers pointing out that the single campaign was mixed with tedious characters and dialogue and the same repetitive motions between missions. To some degree, they were right! Yet taking the time to play this game with an open mind,what soon emerges is a fantastic and decently polished mech shooter, that continues and never fails to impress.
The story involves a moon crashing into a planet, that radiated enough energy to turn AI against humanity. Your character joins the Outers. A group of pilots who command mechs, suddenly fused with special powers from the strange energy. Thus bestowed as humanity’s protectors and guardians, as the war against the Age of Immortals(AIs) rages on…
You start with naming your pilot character, and taken to a deep and impressive customisation screen. Players can change everything from hairstyles, skin colour, facial features and once happy with your creation, it’s off to the main hub of the game. Here, there’s a mission select console containing hangar, where you can fully customise your mech,from paint colours for mech body parts, decals, and of course armor and weapons parts for installation. Shop where you can obviously buy and sell mech parts you collect from missions and also factory where you can develop and customise equipment and also add attachments to boost armor and weapons.
Mainly and most importantly, it’s the missions and the actual battles that are of main interest. Players choosing open missions get a story and cutscenes containing dialogue between the characters. Then after completing certain missions you open up free missions. These are replayable and give players opportunities to constantly farm for drops off fallen enemies and the chance to get better mech parts.
Missions are a complete blast from the off. Standard missions will contain little objectives that may change mid battle, and involve generally taking down any enemy around the battlefield. There are also changes in the structure with some missions requiring you to escort a certain target to an area or defend a target from ongoing enemy attack.Each battlefield having different environments from desert to industrial, with destructible areas giving small strategic advantages.
Controls take a short while to get used to, with the main controls assigned to the 4 trigger buttons. L to fire shoulder weapon and R to boost, with the other left and right triggers used to fire from each arm respectively. B to boost jump up.
Visually, everything has a manga type cel shaded look which is an absolutely gorgeous sight to behold! Your mech flies around in third person mode, blasting and firing at enemy bots, dodging gun fire in intense and utterly engaging mech to bot, mech to mech dogfights. Taking out gun placements on buildings or blasting ground forces such as tanks and vehicles whilst constantly manoeuvring from ground to air, air to ground to scoop up ammo drops from destroyed bots or scavenging mech parts from fallen enemy mechs. Metal to metal carnage and destruction, all rendered smoothly without any stutter or drop in framerate!
Advancing through missions, you will rank up, and also meet various characters throughout the game. Tied to various factions, you and your fellow pilots interact with a female voiced main computer called four. Four intervenes throughout the game, giving mission orders and general information, or may intervene and change objectives such as, for example, the sudden appearance of a colossus immortal!
These giant mechs(Colossus Immortals) act as the games bosses. Huge megaton monsters carrying great weight and power and masses of energy. It is here that the game difficulty really spikes and should you be ill equipped with weak armour and weaponry, you can be looking at defeat and mission failure in no time. Learning boss moves and targeting weak points helps but it’s at this point where players realise that they need to look at collecting better mech parts and not just replaying free missions constantly. Luckily a quick and better solution is to participate online…
Online mode is accessed from a terminal to the right of the main terminal in the hub. Here players can access online and local Co-Op modes, and join up to 4 other players to take on various mission scenarios involving other enemy mechs and heavily armored giant mechs. Once taken down, the top 2 players dealing damage, enter dual mode and fight to the death with the winner gaining bonuses. More importantly, players here can scavenge for better mech parts than you would get early in the main game.That is if you survive the mission!
To summarise, Daemon X Machina has a lot more under its bonnet than first thought. The Campaign mode may seem tedious to some with the cutscene/dialogue/mission repetition between missions. Personally I really enjoy the characters diverse range of personalities and the dialogue between them. Fans of Armored Core or even God Eater and a tinge towards Freedom Wars will immediately feel at home with the game structure and mechanics. Online is very good, enjoyable and a great way to get better parts and an experience I would urge players to participate in, as soon as possible. Sound is enjoyable with a decent soundtrack and plenty of explosion noises and radio interaction between pilots on parts of missions,adding immersion and atmosphere. Top all that with a 20 to 30 hour campaign and an estimate of 100 hours to get all the mech parts the game offers. Loads of unlockables and a massively deep customisation system, which rewards players by turning your little weakly armed mech into a roving, walking robotic beast of mass destruction! It’s just great to see the transformation.
In a word… EPIC!
Deep customisation to suit your style of gameplay. Great graphics and sound. Nice control system. Online play richly rewarding and fun.
Campaign/Story and character interaction layout may prove tedious and repetitive to some. Difficulty spikes may lead to replaying free missions repeatedly or forcing going online if that’s not your thing.