Daemon X Machina, the wicked game that debuted on Nintendo Switch in 2019, is finally seen on PC by XSEED. It does so by adding several technical possibilities and a respectable number of contents, but the lack of ambition after the project might not live up to your expectations.
With open arms. This is how you should receive a previously exclusive game from this or that platform. Over the past few years, on PC we have enjoyed a good list of games with these characteristics. Most of them come from Xbox One, but we will also have Death Stranding, which has been closely related to PS4. And the Nintendo games? We have already been able to enjoy Octopath Traveler on Steam, and in the future, we can also play The Wonderful 101: Remastered. But now it’s the turn of Daemon X Machina de Marvelous, a game of wicks that was originally released last year and that is back in all its splendor thanks to the technical possibilities of its new platform.
We all know that Daemon X Machina has an artistic director of an anime cut and with the most particular cel-shading, combining a reduced color palette with really pronounced shadows, more typical of an obscurantist manga than of a hyperrealistic game. It is a matter of style, not brute force. The PC adaptation of the game knows this very well, so even with the technical improvements, it puts at our disposal, in the end, we talk about a fairly faithful recreation of the original game. There is nothing wrong with that: we already really liked the original ‘look’ as we indicated in the analysis of Daemon X Machina for Switch and after all, we talked about a clearly improved version, as we will explain below. What we don’t like so much is that fidelity is transferred to all aspects of the program, because there it happens to be conservationism.
Aspects such as the interface or controls have been translated to PC practically at a 1: 1 ratio with respect to the console version, to the point, that key mapping and menu navigation feels almost like a command. For many, it will be frustrating to discover that we cannot scroll through the many options of their menus with the mouse pointer, or that we often have to move through overlapping interfaces, less intuitive than we would like. It is a game that would certainly win some points if it felt more comfortable if it had opted for a longer and more ambitious development to adapt to PC as it should. But let’s not fool ourselves: it would be unrealistic to ask something like that for a production of discreet size and oriented to a niche audience.
An uncomplicated action formula
Like many other science fiction videogames, Daemon X Machina takes us to a universe where the threat is a rampant AI, once controlled by man, and currently works with the hostility expected of any autonomous machine. And although the story is certainly more or less pampered and has its point, the reality is that the appeal of the game lies in points such as replayability, aesthetics or personalization of our pilot and our fuse.
The truth is that at those levels, the game is not bad at all. For example, the campaign is structured in missions of different ranks, and similar to what happened in games like Monster Hunter, we will end up repeating some missions in search of credits and additional modules to continue improving our wick. We also have an online cooperative mode where we venture to hunt enemies at procedurally generated levels, with semi-random variations, and even a PvP with fast and competitive games.
The hangar where we change the pieces and the appearance of our wick (called Arsenal) is, curiously, another great attraction, because we have a wide variety of unlockable paintings, stickers and small elements of all kinds to sow chaos in style. Of course, each piece is backed with a complete character sheet that summarizes with relative precision how long we can be in the air, how much we weigh or how long it takes to set a goal, among other things. It also has a testing ground to practice shooting or mobility of the character, something we will do very often. It’s a matter of style, not brute force
On the table, everything is fine: it is just what a game of these characteristics needs, neither more nor less, and does its homework in this regard. But the complaints we had with the summer premiere of 2019 are more or less the same as we have today: the level design is somewhat simple or poor, some surprise factor is missing, something that makes us think otherwise, at least until the additional missions that previously had to download. Enemies force us to change weapons in some circumstances, but little else: we rarely take advantage of the verticality of the map, elusive, or coverage. It is a constant open battlefield where practically everything comes down to being properly pertechado and having some aim. Somewhat simple, to understand us.
Of course, it compensates enough to have at our disposal all post-launch content updates included outbound. Or almost. The cooperative and competitive multiplayer features were not there originally, and they are great additions that undoubtedly extend the life of the game in the best sense; although if we put on tiquismiquis we may miss collaborations with Eureka Seven or even The Witcher, which are present in Switch and do not reach PC for legal reasons. It is a shame not to have these contents within our reach, but we must bear in mind that all these collaborations are reduced to simple ‘skins’ that do not impact the gameplay. Thus, we are more interested in improvements and developments at the technical level.
How is the jump from Switch to PC resolved?
The announcement trailer of Daemon X Machina for PC was not particularly explanatory: we were promised all the action of the original game at 60 FPS, mouse and keyboard compatibility, and all the contents that did not involve third-party licenses, so we had to wait to get the game card to Steam and have it in hand to discover the improvements of greater weight. What is the matter? Well, in a bittersweet mixture: we are happy with the result, but we also have the feeling that the nuts could have been tightened to find around the product.
Marvelous offers us a sufficient list of graphics configuration options, including multiple resolutions, predefined limits of 30, 60, 120, 144 and 200 FPS; and the possibility to choose between four qualities of textures and shadows; three of edge smoothing (off, FXAA or TAA), activation of additional effects and even a 3D resolution bar that ranges between 80 and 100%. As we said above, it is a matter of aesthetics rather than brute force, and the differences are more than noticeable between each option. Taking into account the profile of the title, we are surprised by this variety of options, and we would only have liked to have some more to customize the field of vision.
In addition, it is a frankly permissive game at the hardware level: the recommended requirements include nothing less than a GTX 1060 or an RX 580, and an i7 6700 or Ryzen 5 2600; but the minimum drops a lot, to the GTX 660 or the Radeon HD 7870 in graphics, and the i5 3470 or FX-8300 processors. Realistically, any team that you use to play video games usually should be able to run the game above 60 FPS and at high quality, and if this is not the case, we have plenty of options to adjust it to our needs, up to the limit of what we usually call ‘potato mode’. If you need any help, we offer you an optimization guide for DXM on PC.
On the other hand, the game also has a strange menu of mapping controls, which is structured by profiles. That is, instead of “restoring default options”, we have a default control profile and several fully customizable tabs that can be overwritten and exchanged to our liking and are sensitive to mouse side buttons. We must warn you, yes, that the translation of the console controls to PC is somewhat rough, and sometimes we wish that some actions would have been reconsidered mechanically inside and outside the wick. For example, tasks as simple as changing weapons from the keyboard or knowing when we command our exotraje to ascend and descend feel somewhat chaotic in the early hours.
This sensation extends throughout all the menus, including the main menu, which forces us to navigate from one option to another using key instead of cursor; but at least we are glad to see that by saving this and the odd stranger, the action responds correctly to the mouse and the control of our wick and our avatar is also correct.
We would have liked a more ambitious ‘port’ of Daemon X Machina to PC, perhaps with a simpler and more natural navigation interface for this platform, but we cannot say that we are disenchanted with the results of the adaptation: the general calculation is quite positive, both at the graphics level (surprisingly) and at the controls during the mission.
- Customization, scale fighting … still a good game of wicks
- The graphic options, although not many, are a success
- It features the notable additions of the cooperative and competitive multiplayer …
- … although it is a shame not to have collaborations with third parties
- Menu navigation and some controls do not feel natural on PC
- Missions remain somewhat poor and repetitive, that has not changed anything