This isn’t a review of the PC port of Daemon X Machina as we already reviewed the game on the Switch, here. Instead, we’re looking at what has changed or improved with the PC port when compared against the Switch version of the game. Thanks to Marvelous and XSEED, the PC port is surprisingly well done and will likely convince you to double-dip if you’re a fan of the genre and you have a decently equipped PC.
When Marvelous INC and XSEED released Daemon X Machina on the Nintendo Switch last year, it was received well. It was exactly what Mecha game fans had been craving for ever since Bandai Namco stuck a fork in their acclaimed Armored Core series. Fast combat, more mech customization than you could shake a stick at and it was fun. However, the downside to the game the horrible framerate that would drop below 20 frames per second or worse when the action got hot and heavy. It wasn’t pretty and I’m sure that put more than a few people off of the game.
Fast forward to February 13, 2020, where Daemon X Machina is going to see a PC release. I have to say I didn’t expect this to happen. Especially since the game was pegged as a Switch-exclusive. Thanks to Marvelous and XSEED, we were able to get our hands on an early copy of the game. After several hours with the game, this is definitely the definitive version of the game – not to throw any shade at the Nintendo Switch version. Everything you loved about the Switch version, minus the collaborative DLC (Code Geass, Eureka Seven, Witcher) is present. Though I fully expect the modding community to create all sorts of models, so those DLC perks won’t be missed.
I’m sure there are some people out there worrying about the port, but let me try my best to put you at ease. This is not merely a port, not at all. A number of PC-centric options such as adjusting the visual quality have made it into the PC release. Including the ability to disable the dreaded bloom, lens flare, depth of field and chromatic aberration because we all know how much people love those features. The only thing missing is the ability to adjust the FOV. The game is fine without it, but I would have liked the ability to widen my playing field view.
Most importantly, the framerate drops are gone. Even on a modest PC, I didn’t encounter any of the slowdowns that plagued the Switch version. Gone are the massive framerate drops that would put a dent in the combat, especially when a colossal immortal would jump into the battlefield.
Sweeting the pot is the ability to play at a higher visual resolution, including 4K if you have the hardware to push those pixels. Adding to that, most of my time with the game was playing with the various resolutions and even at 4K, the game didn’t drop 60FPS. Granted the machine I was using was a beefy box that consisted of an AMD Ryzen 7 2700x and an Nvidia RTX 2080 Super. Still, I was happy to see that there had been some serious optimization put into the game. Marvelous was also very open to issues spotted during my sessions, and when I presented my findings they were quick to patch it up.
While the Switch version lacked any anti-aliasing, there are several methods presented with both FXX and TAA. Though the game looks great even with either smoothing methods disabled. The draw-in distance is vastly better here as well. While the textures are sharper compared to the Switch version, with higher quality assets in place. Visually it looks like a different game. Even the cutscenes that are rendered in-game look better.
The game also loads much faster. I’ve installed it on both an SSD and a mechanical hard drive and while the SSD was faster, it wasn’t by much. Jumping into a mission takes between 5-10 seconds while exiting them takes about 2-3 seconds; all on the mechanical drive. Easily one of the bigger advantages of playing this on the PC.
As expected, the Xbox One and Xbox 360 controllers are natively supported. Thanks to Steam, you’re also able use the DualShock 3/4 controller. Just don’t expect to see the button prompts and the display to reflect that of the controller. It’s also worth mentioning that I wasn’t able to get DS4Windows to work with the game. It was only when I disabled it did Steam pick up my DualShock 4 controller.
Keyboard and mouse support are also included, though I didn’t play with it as much as I did with the controllers. Naturally, the KBM combo does offer better control, but the gamepads work just as well. You’re also able to fully rebind and keyboard and gamepad button mappings. Just keep in mind that only shows once you start the game, not at the main screen – which is an odd choice in my honest opinion.
The only thing I didn’t get a chance to try out was the online mode as there were very few people playing the PC version during my time with the game. I know there were some playing the game, as indicated by the ranking screen. They just never seemed to be online when I was. I would have loved to tell you all how it played in the multiplayer and co-op modes, but it wasn’t meant to be.
This is a solid port, putting all of my previous concerns about this being a lazy port to rest. Kudos to Marvelous INC/XSEED for putting out a port of this caliber and I hope that everyone who enjoyed the game on the Switch but wanted a better overall experience will take notice. That all said and done, if the repetitive gameplay from the Switch version wasn’t to your likely, you likely won’t be a fan of this game either. For everyone else, who wanted a better experience, it’s here and waiting for you.
Daemon X Machina releases for the PC on February 13, 2020.
** This impression piece was based on the review copy of the game and the final build **