Preview: Daemon x Machina looks at the sacrifices players have to make

Daemon x Machina is going to be Nintendo’s major mech game for the Switch. In it, players get to create a pilot who will act as a mercenary and fight to protect innocent people. Well, part of it is to make the world a better place. It is also about becoming strong enough to survive and earning some money along the way by defeating the Immortals AIs that decided to consider humans enemies after the moon fell. But what the demo is good at even pointing out early on is how the game shows the sacrifices made in the name of power.

In Daemon x Machina, players start out as ordinary. Our avatars are new to the mercenary lifestyle. They are just getting into a new, basic mech. Their first mission is to take a test with Orbital to determine if they would make a suitable member of the Outers community and be capable of defeating Immortals. They have only underwent one surgery so far to prepare for this new lifestyle; a neural link terminal has been installed to connect and work with the mech.


However, this quickly changes. After this initial test, which is easy to pass, you are introduced to the Lab. One of the major ways to spend funds earned from missions is on additional surgeries. These are framed as being possibly optional, but the benefits can provide immediate and much-needed boosts to a pilot. For example, one of the first body modifications is Lock-On. For 1,000c, you get intraocular implants that let an Outer lock on to enemies like Immortals. The Daemon x Machina demo warns you and says, "This will drastically affect your body." Once it is done, your character’s eyes change. They become inhuman. In the character customization menu, you can no longer change your eyes’ appearance. They are permanently glowing orbs, noticeable enough that even in the hub, you can see the change.

They’re one of many changes. As you earn more money and keep returning to the hub and Lab, you can spend more money to alter yourself. Going with Increased Femto Absorption causes glowing blue veins to appear on your face, due to your nerves being laced with an artificial chemical and mechanics. Other adaptations may not be as obvious, like the Increased Mobility that improves an Arsenal’s air and ground movements, is only a 1,500c injection. But still, Daemon x Machina is always showing you what you have done to yourself in exchange for additional skills and the effect each of these surgeries has had on your body.

There is also the looting to consider. In the second mission, the Daemon x Machina demo alerts you to the importance of picking any valuable meat off of the bones of the dead. Though, in this case, that refers to defeated Arsenals and the armor and weapons you might still be able to use. These carcasses are usually found in dangerous areas, where enemy Immortals can be firing down on you. You are only allowed to take one part from the fallen mech. Instead of wondering or worrying about how things happened, you have to push aside any attachments and make a split second decision about how you can benefit from this person’s misfortune.

The world Daemon x Machina is set in is a harsh one. Surviving is a trial. Our characters are going to have to be strong to survive. That means making sacrifices. The demo highlights the sorts of tough decisions we will have to make and things we give up for them. Body modification and surgery plays a major part, as people have to decide if they will give up their humanity and normal appearances in the name of getting additional skills that could keep them alive a little longer. They may have to abandon things like compassion and concern after stumbling upon a fallen ally’s mech in the field, instead seeing how it might be able to benefit them. It seems like the game is going to show us what kind of lengths people might have to go through, going so far as to letting us see the physical effect it can have on our characters.

You will be able to play Daemon x Machina on the Nintendo Switch in 2019. A demo is immediately available.

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