The announcement of DAEMON X MACHINA kind of came out of left field when it was revealed last year.
DAEMON X MACHINA is a brand-new, fast-paced mech action game from Kenichiro Tsukuda. In it you take your Arsenal, a fully customizable powered suit, out for an array of missions to surmount the enemy at all costs. Choose and equip your Arsenal with a multitude of weapons, obtain more from downed enemy Arsenals, and swap them on the fly to suit your strategy in the face of ever-changing threats.
In the demo you defend Earth across four fast-paced demo missions and defeat corrupted A.I. controlled robots using your Arsenal, a fully customizable mechanized battle suit. Choose and equip your Arsenal with a multitude of weapons, obtain more from downed enemy Arsenals, and swap them on the fly to suit your strategy in the face of ever-changing threats that may bring the end of the world.
The first thing that you get to do when you start the demo is create your character. First you can pick between male or female and then, like I did, spend way too much time choosing everything from hair colour to eye colour (you can make your eyes two different shapes and colours) and more. You’ll also get to choose some battle scars and customize the three-tone colour scheme to your uniform.
I liked the customization, though for the most part in the demo you don’t really get to see your character. While you’re in the base you can run around a little bit, but there’s virtually nothing else to do in the base aside from selecting the console to customize your Arsenal or begin the next mission. I’m wondering if there is more that you can do outside of the Arsenal in the full game.
The battles themselves are pretty straight forward. You run or fly around shooting the bad AIs that come in to attack. Defeat all of the enemies and you’ll complete the mission. Rinse and repeat.
My main problem with the missions themselves is that there is so much going on that it’s hard to get a handle on everything. With the large scale of how big the Arsenals are, everything is very small around you. Some of the enemies are small and hard to see unless you’re right on top of them. Add to that the fact that nearly everything can fly, and an enemy could be right on top of you but if you’re floating in the air looking down you can start to take fire and have no idea where it’s coming from. Left? Right? Up? This ended up making me spin around wildly looking for the offender. A pointer on the HUD would br helpful.
While the HUD does spotlight your enemies on the screen, the markers are white square that don’t really stand out. It would have been nice to have a marker or pointer that gave you an idea where to look if you were being attacked from off screen.
Another quality of life improvement that hopefully happens before the full release of the game is the ability to lock onto enemies. With the chaotic nature of these battles it’s really easy to lose your target and even keep your target in your sights. Another thing that I hope they do more with is the mini-map. I found that it wasn’t detailed enough and there didn’t seem to be a way to pull up a full sized map with more information. Being able to do this to aid with finding where enemies are coming from and where healing / items are on the fly would be really helpful during the sometimes chaotic battles.
My final critique is from the fourth stage in the demo, which is a boss battle where you face off with three other Arsenals. I didn’t have any issue with the battle itself, however it took a very long time and there wasn’t really any way to see the life of the boss. At times the narrator would announce that the boss was 25% damaged, 50% damaged, and so on. However when the battle rages on for more than ten minutes and you’re no surer now than you were ten minutes ago how close you are to beating the enemy, it makes for a frustrating battle. Especially when you hit a bad break, get blindsided, are defeated and have to start over.
The boss battle in the demo implied that there were weak points on the boss, but nothing seemed to change when attacking these weak points.
I’m optimistic that the game will get better as development is continuing. The demo DAEMON X MACHINA: Prototype Missions is available now in the Nintendo eShop. The full DAEMON X MACHINA game is set for released in Summer 2019.