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Daemon X Machina Review Roundup: Fragile Parts

Daemon X Machina Spider Boss Battle

Daemon X Machina reviews released earlier today and the long-awaited mech game has made its mark as a Nintendo Switch exclusive, despite having some issues along the way. Daemon X Machina is very much a game that appeals to a niche demographic in the gaming community, but its a large enough one thanks to anime series like Gundam that it has the potential to be extremely profitable if done right.

Apparently, however, whether Daemon X Machina has been done correctly is very much up for debate. In Screen Rant's review of Daemon X Machina, it was mostly praised as a game that provides some interesting and fresh gameplay on a platform where it occupies a unique space, and others have echoed that sentiment. Daemon X Machina is a mech game that sees players work in teams with other mech users to help prevent catastrophe, but it's much more about the exciting, fast-paced, 360 degree combat than anything else - well, that, and perhaps its customization system. The game allows players to pick up scrap parts from defeated enemies and equip them on the fly, making for some interesting battle dynamics that can shift at a moments' notice if a player notices a new part that could turn the tide.

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Whether that's enough to salvage the scrap metal of some of Daemon X Machina's shortcomings remains murky. So far, the game occupies a 71% average review score on Metacritic, just barely above what many would consider the cutoff for a decent pick-up. OpenCritic paints a rosier picture with an average review score of 75% and a "strong" rating, which only serves to highlight how divisive the game has been among those who have reviewed it thus far. As a potential spirital successor to long-forgotten greats like Armored Core and Mech WarriorDaemon X Machina had a lot of hope riding on its bulky, metal shoulders - here's where critics landed on it.

Daemon X Machina Worm Boss

VICE - Recommended: "More Than Just The Second Coming of Armored Core" - Austin Walker

 ...there’s more than one way to make a game about giant mechs, and like most of the best examples in this wide genre, Daemon X Machina zeroes in on its own vision and realizes it as best as it can. It is bright and energetic and filled with character, and those are the qualities you need to carry a curious, new generation of players into the fray long enough for them to find their footing in such a niche style of game. That DXM feels so distinct beyond that is just a bonus.

Eurogamer - Recommended - Martin Robinson

 When you're dancing through abandoned cities with skyscrapers that come crumbling down under the weight of all that excessive firepower, all while you pirouette in between them and unleash your arsenal of shoulder-mounted rockets and clips of bullets from your oversized assault rifle into a swarm of robotic rascals, all that we've missed in Armored Core's absence comes into sharp focus. There are a lot of moving parts here, in short, and they're not exactly well-oiled. Daemon X Machina clanks along like a rusty old robot, and I think that's part of its charm.

Destructoid - 7/10 - CJ Andriessen

 ...the sum total of my experience with Daemon X Machina is positive. The combat is amazing, the game is bright and colorful, the framerate mostly holds up in either docked or handheld mode, and the hangar is great to tinker around in, checking out all the different configurations of my mech. That's what I'm going to remember out of all of this, which is safe for me to say because most everything else in this game is pretty forgettable.

IGN - 6.5/10 - Joe Skrebels

Like a mech without a pilot, Daemon X Machina is a beautiful shell with not enough to fill it. It’s a frustrating thing - simultaneously proving that there’s life in this old genre, but failing to inject much of interest beyond the base level. I was thrilled enough by the opportunity to truly micro-manage a mech for the first time in a while, but there just wasn’t enough to do with my creation once I was done tinkering.

Kotaku - Not Recommended: "Endless cutscenes and dialogue, repetitive fights..." - Natalie Degraffinried

 I wanted to like Daemon X Machina, but as I played, I kept wondering how much more fun it might have been if the developers had zeroed in on some of the more enjoyable elements instead of providing so many customization options and wrapping everything in such a convoluted story. There are some genuine bright spots in the gameplay and even some enjoyably ridiculous characters, but there’s honestly just too much of…everything. It should be a good problem to have, but in a world that’s changing for good, Marvelous never truly figured out what they were fighting for.

Daemon X Machina Energy Slice

Overall, it would seem that many people have enjoyed Daemon X Machina for its combat and spin on the archetypal inclusions in mech video game mechanics, but have almost universally disliked the game's story, which never seems to find the pacing many wanted out of it. That's not necessarily a death knell for developer Marvelous's new game, however. The Nintendo Switch is all about portability and gaming experiences that can help bring that out as a feature, and as a game that doesn't feature what appears to be the most involved story, pick-up-and-play should be an option for anyone who owns Daemon X Machina, making it an appealing transit game.

For mech fans, it appears Daemon X Machina is a must-own title that scratches an itch that too often goes completely ignored by modern developers. For everyone else, though, careful consideration might be required before deciding whether or not to pull the giant robot-sized trigger on one of the fall's most visually dynamic but airy releases.

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