How much do you really like mechs: Daemon X Machina

I, like I think a lot of people on this forum, love mechs. Maybe, like some folks on this forum, I was anxiously looking forward to the Switch’s debut mech game, Daemon X Machina. A demo or “prototype” of it dropped this week and basically I have been losing my mind trying to find the free time to give it a shot. I finally found that time this morning and… well I am creating this topic because I want to talk about how I am feeling.

There seems to be a lot of room to customize a mech to suit your aesthetic style and fighting style and the graphics are pretty cool looking but… there’s a weird cheesy hardrock soundtrack, a threadbare generic story (thus far), kind of weird cliched characters boardering on offensive and, maybe I am old and simple now, but I found the controls really wonky and not great. So, here I am wondering if my love of mechs and the prospect of a game where I might have endless customization options is up against a game that otherwise is not cutting it for me.

Have other folks played? What are you feeling?

Edit: looks like Heather Alexandra has written about it for Kotaku.

2 Likes

I was excited too, but I cooled off a bit by the end of the last available mission. I didn’t realize it would be one of those arena-based Monster Hunter-y games ala God Eater, Toukiden, etc. but with a mech aesthetic. I don’t mind that format so much, but my main contention with that genre is how repetitive and grindy it gets after the beginning. None of those games have beaten Monster Hunter in this format, and from what I’ve played here Daemon X Machina will be no exception.

As far as the controls go…yeah they felt a bit weird:

  • I think weapons wouldn’t continue firing if you held down their button after reloading…I’d have to let go and press them down again. I’d have to try again to confirm that this is a thing, but if it, is that’s a strange decision to make.

  • It makes sense to have buttons for ascent/descent, but they have their own weird mechanics that the game doesn’t really explain: the ascent button is really a jump, that doesn’t actually activate till you let go of the button??? And if you don’t press it again then you just fall back down, so you have to press the button, then press it again and hold it till you’re actually hovering. It feels like more work than needed, considering how you’ll find yourself in the air more often than not due to the increased mobility and the larger number of airborne enemies. As for descending, it seemed like holding it down long enough caused your jets to just give out, so that you’d drop to the ground instead of simply hovering lower. I can see the use of that, so maybe this was more an issue of a lacking tutorial.

  • Oh, uh the game also glitched out and wouldn’t let me do anything with the shoulder buttons at the end of the 2nd mission! Had to restart the whole thing, which was frustrating when you realize you’re not doing enough damage to the giant robots, and you just have to wait for the NPCs to swoop in and end the mission.

And yeah, that “Artist” character is basically a problematic caricature, along with the lady antagonist in the last mission. The writing for the characters in general are extremely Anime, but not in a great way…and it’s worse that due to dialogue running during the action, that I have to have the English VO on to catch what they’re saying. It’s bad enough to have to read the dialogue, I don’t wanna hear it via mediocre/over-acted VO too >_<

…Anyway, I still hope it makes up for it with more mission variety, and the customization you mentioned. The most interesting part was the Lab you unlock, which allows for body modifications that are actually reflected on your character…permanently it seems?! That has interesting implications but we can only speculate on how much this impacts the game later on.

Anyway, ionno, I can still see this being fun, but I have this sinking feeling that to enjoy the full game I would have to fight with the writing and overall structure of the game.

1 Like

These mech designs are extremely Armored Core 4/4A.

Which, obviously, I love.

Oh, one more thing regarding the actual combat: Maybe it’s just me, but once you have the firing and doging and flying around down, it feels…a bit too basic? It became more apparent to me in the 3rd mission: When fighting the AI mechs (the ones that are much spongier than the drones and tanks), and then the rival mercs, there wasn’t much to do besides keeping your distance and keeping them in your sights, with the occasional missile salvo. There wasn’t much reason to dodge unless it was to just back up from the target, so the fights would just feel much less mobile and dynamic than you’d expect from these flying mechs.

The 4th mission seemed much more exciting since it looks like you fight a big boi, but this led to its own specific frustrations:

  • Man that thing was a big ol’ bullet sponge.

  • Slight spoiler for the fight: The game mentions weak points that help take it down a bit faster, but you don’t get much visual feedback from the damage you inflict. What’s worse is that at some point, I was no longer getting lock-ons unless I was right up-close. What this ended up doing was give me even less feedback to what I was hitting in the mech, till I realized it seemed like my mech’s head got damaged/destroyed, leaving me very little range for my lock-on…this is just my guess anyway, since of course the game didn’t explain this mechanic.

  • In other arena-based monster hunters, when attacking your targets, you’re focused on figuring out what attacks to use, when to risk a bigger but slower move vs something safer but less damaging, etc. etc. In what I’ve seen here so far, once you’re at a safe distance from the target, there’s not much to do besides strafing around as needed and just keeping your fingers down on the shoulder buttons. The only dynamic I saw in the last fight was a context-sensitive object you could use that could deal big damage to the target, at the expense of being very very vulnerable while setting it up (which btw felt like the slowest,clunkiest part of pre-World Monster Hunter). But otherwise, it just feels kinda…stale? I don’t find myself zooming around or doing anything terribly exciting when fighting the non-chaff enemies.

I’m hoping I’m just missing something, or that the demo just didn’t give those options out yet. In either case though, I’m still a bit cool on this, which is too bad considering the great aesthetic.

1 Like

This is definitely true and very annoying.

2 Likes

So!

I am new to the mech genre. (I’m actually watching my first Gundam show (08th MS Team) right now. (Karen is my girlfriend and I love her.)) But I really like big fightin’ robots? So a lot of things are unfamiliar to me! I’m gonna read what y’all are saying in depth in a bit, but I’m just gonna drop my current feelings right now.

Regarding narrative: nothing is really clicking right now. The Immortals have potential to be interesting antagonists, but right now, there’s nothing really making it seem nice. None of the characters seemed to break out of cliche, and if Falcon is supposed to be a Native American stereotype like I think he is, it fuckin’ sucks. EDIT: yo yeah the “oh no fat queer-coded villain lady!” and Artist seem extremely BAD

Regarding aesthetic: The mechs look great! Nothing new, but everything we’ve seen so far is cool enough to engage me. The grunt enemies are pretty dull so far. I also honestly thought the boss looked kind of silly to me. Also, I actually really like the soundtrack? Like, it’s cheesy as all hell and is extremely extra but it’s really fun and endearing to me? Dissapointed they’re not naming the mechs Daemons tho, Arsenal isn’t all that interesting

Regarding gameplay: Okay! I feel like this where this game will make-or-break right now. I’ve noticed some people not really liking the controls here, but when I opened it back up today, I found myself really getting into them. At first, I didn’t really like them, but I started to click with them… There’s some stuff that needs improvement (firing, weapon switching, etc) but for the most part I enjoy them. I hope they make melee a bit more interesting; as it stands, the sword I got only has a single slash. I’m hoping they at least give it a combo!

The missions right now… aren’t really all that fun. The creep clear isn’t really interesting and gets boring fast. However, anytime I was actually up against another Arsenal, I started so see potential for something really fun. The boss battle is a bit of a grind, but I saw potential there, too. Dodging and strafing and all that feels good. Out-of-mech gameplay seems uninteresting, but that’s probably the point. The mech customization seems really fun. I’m looking forward to tinkering with my load out and looking extremely cool.

I think deep down I wanted a structured, deliberate single-player campaign. Starfox, Platinum games, etc. But it’s become clear that that’s not what this game is going to be. When I was in base, I noticed four different launch pads, and it hit me: “Oh. This is going to be a multiplayer game.” Then it made a lot more sense. The creep clear, wave-based combat, the long boss battle, the loot system, the fact that femto seems to only be used to resurrect other players, the out-of-mech gameplay, it all made sense. Unfortunately, while I get the appeal of those games and have put some time in, I’ve never really been a big fan of these games. I’ve always been a pretty solitary player, partially because I don’t have a lot of people who would play games with me consistently. So as much as I think I’d enjoy this games constituent parts, it’s probably a game not made for me. Which bums me out. I wanna fuck with dope mechs yall!!

PS Tell me what y’all named your mech. I’m going for that witch aesthetic so I named it “女王箒 (Joōhōki)” which means Queen’s Broom because fuck you im gay

6 Likes

@Alveric @VertigoCharades

I’m willing to bet that reloading problem is something they can fix. It’s annoying for sure. Also, there’s an auxiliary part for descent jets. Another frustrating thing: getting pushed out of bounds takes your mech on autopilot, which can pilot you straight into attacks, and also lasts way longer than it takes to get back. Like, just give me a “leaving combat area!” warning and make me pilot back to the area. Basic stuff.

I think a problem with the mech-on-mech combat is that you have way too much space. You can pretty much just kite a massive circle around anyone trying to get close to you, or just constantly strafe. I could see this combat being more engaging and have more to it the rings were way tighter. Yeah, I’m bummed this game is going to be one of those multiplayer arena games, but I’d be lying if I wasn’t swayed by “wow, my big robot wife”

2 Likes

I played through the first 3 missions last night and I’ll pretty much echo the sentiment already shared. I’m not a mech or anime guy but thought I’d give this a go. Was hoping for something akin to Dynasty Warriors with robots.

Combat seems a bit too floaty and skatey. It doesn’t really feel like I’m controlling a big machine. I also found the UI really busy and found it a bit hard to parse what was happening, I might just be getting old. The characters and story are really cliche without any charm.

I did notice on the mission screen there might be hidden mission objectives. It’d be cool if they have missions where if you do X action by a certain time the mission changes ala Dynasty Warriors.

I really didn’t like what I played of it. Like, everything about this game is something I think I’d like. The characters seem interesting, there’s a great Suda51 color scheme, I like robots, I like big robots, and I liked that I could make a girl with blue skin and pink hair. But man… that combat sucked.

Like shooting, really shouldn’t feel this empty and meaningless. I think the shots were all lock on, but who knows? I spent most of the demo hunting for ammo. There were minibosses in one mission that I couldn’t fight at all cause I had used all the ammo in the level, giving me nothing to do.

I don’t like the mech controls either. The boost feels so damn heavy that actual dodging is strained and awful. I don’t know what the shield does, and really I need a Kingdom Hearts enemy lock-on for fights as 360 as this.

This whole demo was confusing and irritating to play. I might skip this one entirely.

1 Like

Gonna echo the sentament that i found this demo very mediocre.The chacters/story were kinda bad, the controls i dunno if they were bad, but i didn’t care for them. It never really felt good to move or fight. The game kinda ran poorly too haha. So yeah, giving this one a big ole skip.

Funny that i spent yesterday night playing two different demos (this and Yoshi) and came away from it going “Yep, those are two games i’m not gonna buy!”

Mine is “lil doggie” as I thought it was funny to say “get along lil doggie” over and over as I tried to move around the boss battle.

wow… i… cant beleieve u wloud say this… about my best frniend Yoshi… wow…

1 Like

To be fair to Yoshi, that demo actually met my expectations as opposed to Daemon, which fell honestly quite short. It was a charming, lighthearted game that i expected to hit the same level of quality i felt when i played Tearaway Unfolded. And it did! That just unfortunatly isn’t the type of experience i’m willing to pay 60 dollars for. Sadly for Yoshi, because Nintendo, its unlikely to ever drop in price so unlike Tearaway, i probably won’t ever get to it. But unlike Daemon, if you think you will like Yoshi, i think you will!

1 Like

I enjoy looking at the pretty mechs in the pretty environments a whole lot. The actual combat seems kinda boring though. It’s almost like if you gave a jetpack to a generic barebones third person shooter military man. It’s not really Zone of the Enders in enabling you to do a bunch of cool maneuvering with your mech, or Mech Warrior in feeling big and strong in your mech. It’s just kinda there. I wish I could make the cool stuff in the cutscenes happen in the gameplay.

I’m also really not a fan of the Monster Hunter structure personally. It’s not so bad if you still get a story worth paying attention to, like I thought God Eater had, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. The mythos and plot seems pretty cookie cutter.

2 Likes

I imagine combat being more fun with more powerful weapons, but this is definitely more a vehicle for living that #MechLife than it is a pinnacle of Mech-based entertainment.

Also the demo reminds me quite a bit of an unusual little E-Shop game called Earth Wars, which is kind of like Odin’s Sphere meets God Eater. Not a comparison I expected to make, but it’s definitely in there.

1 Like

Oh shit that’s the game with the creepy-headed characters! I’ve only avoided that game purely cuz those head shapes paired with their faces still creeps me out too much

I was definitely having problems telling what was going on and how to avoid it, especially with swarms of flying enemies or the really big robot I died to. It kept using some kind of energy field to shove me away, and I don’t know how I was supposed to tell it was coming or get out of the way of it while I’d been using my sword. Which I wish tracked a bit better, it seems very prone to overshooting a target.

Does anyone understand the pylon slots? Do they auto-fire? Is it another set of weapons to switch out to that I equipped before getting a tutorial explaining it? What use is the shield? I tried using it, but got blown back and essentially stunlocked until it ran out of durability.

In short, the combat feels bad, and I probably won’t pick it up, but I am intruiged by the surgical alterations to buff your stats, the Monster Hunter-esque mission structure doesn’t bother me as someone who loves those games, and I hope the characters get more complicated and less stereotypical than I’ve seen so far.

1 Like

Ahaha! The title didn’t initially ring a bell but that description did.

1 Like

Having tried it myself after looking closer at the control mappings, yeah the pylons are just for storing other weapons to swap into the arm on its side.

I didn’t do anything with the shield and simply swapped it out with another rifle as soon as I got the chance. Dual-wielding long rifles on a mech, cool! Having to release and hold down the trigger buttons again after reloading the guns, boo!

I still might give this another chance this weekend, just in case something may click once I get a better mastery of the controls…

1 Like

I am neither pro or anti mech, but I was interested in this game especially because of the multiplayer but…man… that was just no good.

I couldn’t tell if shots were hitting, or even if I was shooting half the time. I am immediately put off by action games where the size of the floating numbers that materialize is really your only way to tell much damage you’re doing. Ideally the game would give you that indication through animations, but I’ll take a health bar over near meaningless numbers any day.

The less said about Artist the better. I didn’t finish the demo so I’m not sure I even saw the villain everybody is taking about.

Not sure if 5 months is enough time to salvage this.

1 Like