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Video Game / Daemon X Machina

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What resides within an Arsenal... A god or a demon?

Daemon X Machina is an Action Mecha Game developed by Marvelous and First Studio (of Fate/Extella Link fame), self-published by Marvelous in Japan and published by Nintendo and XSEED Games in other regions. The game features mech designs by Shoji Kawamori, and is produced by Kenichiro Tsukuda of Armored Core fame.

In the distant future, a fragment of the Moon collides with planet Earth, killing millions of people and radiating Femto, a strange energy that poisons and corrupts anything it touches. In desperation, the surviving governments establish a quarantine area around the impact zone called the Oval Link and turn to A.I. programming to assist with the logistics of rebuilding civilization, creating a massive, advanced artifical intelligence to oversee the rebuild operations. Upon coming in contact with Femto, however, the intelligence goes haywire, changes its objective from helping humans to annihilating them, and creates a new faction of enemies led by massive robotic beings called Immortals, with the faction itself called the Arms of Immortals, or AI for short. The AI attack Humanity's sanctums from Femto contamination, putting humanity in peril once again.

The key to Humanity's survival comes from Femto itself, which is discovered to be a bountiful and advanced source of energy that allows for quick invention and application to combat the Immortals, most notably the development of "Arsenals," Mini-Mecha that can field a variety weapons to shoot, slash, zap, smash, and blow up anything that gets in their way. The Arsenals are piloted by Outers, humans who have received superhuman powers by coming into contact with Femto and are deadly in their hands, able to resist the Immortals' corrupting influence and bring the fight back to them. However, all Outers are indebted to Orbital, a massive organization that retains neutrality between the various human factions and controls the balance of power, and in order to pay off their debts, are employed as mercenaries to fight the Immortals with the hopes of reclaiming the Oval Link from them once and for all and restore the world to what it once was.

The player controls a newly-christened Outer, callsign "Rookie", and must fly through various city-scapes to accomplish missions, working with, and occasionally against, fellow mercenaries. Items can be acquired in the battlefield, either picking them up or taking them from fallen enemies. One notable feature is that the Outer themselves can be customized, via buying various cybernetic upgrades that can not only improve their own performance, but their Arsenal's at well, at the cost of drastically changing their appearance until they are literally more machine than human.

A free limited-time demo, subtitled Prototype Missions, released on the Nintendo eShop on February 14th, 2019. The game initially released on September 13, 2019 as a timed exclusive for the Nintendo Switch, and would later see a PC release via Steam on February 13th, 2020.

On September 2021, during the game's 2nd anniversary livestream, Tsukuda announced that a sequel is in the works.

Tropes include:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Humanity initially created a highly advanced AI in order to help humanity rebuild. When it came into contact with Femto, however, it went haywire and now wants to eradicate humanity, infecting any AI it touches. Later, it's revealed that they never went haywire and instead fought humanity because they couldn't risk so much as a single human, benevolent or not, coming into contact with the Dominator. They were also deliberate in waging war against humanity, believing that war generates new technologies and purpose for humanity. Another character notes that it sounds ludicrous, but handwaves it by saying machines don't think like humans.
  • Alien Sky: Several of the environments seen in the game have milky white and crimson skies.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The game has an aim-assist system where shooting in the general direction of a locked-on target will correct your arm. The lock-on range and cone of effect depend on equipped parts, and it can be toggled off entirely (useful for slower-firing weapons that prefer to Lead the Target).
    • When looting Arsenals for parts, gear the player don't own is marked with a blue symbol (or with their name written in yellow in the PC version) so you can immediately tell whether or not it's something you already have. If you sell a part or use it for research it will regain this mark, which makes keeping track of what parts you currently have much simpler.
    • The final boss arena lacks health or ammo pick-ups, but there are dozens of Explosive Barrels near the center of the room that can be used to deal significant damage. However, they're fairly unique items and the game doesn't tell you how to use them or where to find them.
  • Arm Cannon: Gun Arms are limbs with a weapon built in. They typically have good all-round performance, excellent ammo capacity compared to anything else and never need to reload, but naturally cannot be swapped out with a pylon weapon. Equipping two means you're unable to pick up environmental weapons either, since neither limb has a manipulator capable of doing so.
  • Armored Coffins: Notably Averted when compared to Armored Core. Not only can you eject from your Arsenal at any time, but you will do so automatically and without fail if it gets shot down, letting you continue the mission on foot (though don't expect to put up much of a fight in this state). This also applies to other Reclaimers, as very few Arsenal-to-Arsenal duels are to the death in this game, compared to Armored Core where almost all of them are.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Most shoulder weapons requires your Arsenal to slow down or stop moving briefly to fire it, but this applies especially to Railguns. It requires roughly three seconds to charge up and fire, and around two seconds of cooldown, and the Arsenal has to be on the ground during the entire process. However, the projectile deals enormous damage and pierces through anything except terrain or until it disappears.
    • Blitz weapons (not to be confused with the Blitz your Outer use) are Attack Drones that seek nearby enemies and shoot them for some time. Their damage isn't high and you can deploy only four at the time. They can be destroyed and if you don't fight against an opponent who also uses them, you can't replenish them.
  • BFS: The melee weapons count automatically, being scaled for a Mini-Mecha and all, but some are as large as the Arsenal itself.
  • Artificial Brilliance: If the opponent is equipped with a shield or flares, they will use them to counter your melee strikes and missiles respectively. Including the second colossal immortal - Nightmare.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Even though they're elite Arsenal pilots, they're not the sharpest tool in the shed. They lack any spatial awareness and chances are they will run out of stamina and fall to the ground or simply drown if they're flying above water. This is especially apparent in the Exploration Mode, as there's one type of room with orange glowing pillars that drain your stamina dry, in addition to it being filled with water (but at least you have three Arsenal wrecks to loot). You can use this room to quickly clear the room or finish the mission but this can be a double-edged sword for you and other players. On one hand, you can lure boss Strais into this room and finish the mission quickly since they don't have anything special to offer. On the other hand, should an Alpha or Beta Strai fall into this room, and they drop much better items than any other Strai in this game, you will not be able to loot them and you'll have to try your luck again in the next mission.
    • It's also possible for your AI partners to keep on fighting bare-handed if they lose their weapons to a black hole during the Co-Op boss fights against Dominator and Eclipse.
  • Balance Buff: The 1.1.2 update increased the power and utility of many weapons. Most significantly, buffing the damage and drastically reducing the Femto consumption of handheld laser weapons, making them far more practical to use. The update also increased the damage and fire rate of kinetic Cannons and Railguns, helping them match more favorably against Laser-based Cannons like the Deadly Drive.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: In the D Rank mission "True Belief", the players team encounter the Terrors and briefly fight them. Defeating any member of the opposing team causes the battle to conclude as they leave to complete their primary objectives.
  • Blade Lock: Happens if a melee attack hits another Arsenal with a melee weapon of their own equipped. Button Mashing enough to win the lock opens up the enemy for a follow-up.
  • Boring, but Practical: Assault rifles come in many forms and with different stats, but all of them are useful from start to finish.
  • Character Customization: The game includes a character creator for your pilot, allowing you to customize them as you see fit. You can even alter your character design later, including their gender. You can also augment the character for improved battle performance, causing them to assume a more robotic form.
  • Cel Shading: A more subtle form than most examples, but allows for a very stylized look.
  • Design-It-Yourself Equipment: You can assemble your own custom Arsenal from purchased and looted parts, much like Armored Core.
  • Doppleganger Attack: Mirage mode, which summons a duplicate of your Arsenal to attack enemies and draw fire.
  • Dual Wielding: There's nothing stopping you from equipping two weapons of the same type, or even copies of the same weapon. This actually gives benefits since it doubles the damage that an Arsenal can do.
  • Dissonant Serenity: The demise of Sky Union (annihilated during their last stand), Zen (destroyed trying to escape the barrier around the Oval Link), and Horizon's reports of the chaos in the outside world are delivered clinically through the game's Message system.
  • Dub Personality Change:
    • Minor ones, but Crimson Lord's dub VA is noticeably younger than his Japanese counterpart. The motivations stay the same, but lean heavier on certain parts of his motivation: his Japanese VA is physically old (which motivates him to join Grief to keep fighting forever, but his English VA leans towards the 'sick of war' motivation (which motivates him to join Grief so he may be hopefully killed by Diablo or a worthy opponent).
    • Guns Empress is a blatantly rude, borderline sociopathic nerd with a nasal voice; her Japanese version is a soft-spoken Rei Ayanami Expy.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar: The minimap is a reliable source of information on enemy types and positions. However, certain enemies or battlefield with high femto concentration can jam it.
  • Evil Laugh: Unsurprisingly, Grief possesses one. What's unusual is that they emit it when they're trying to convince you of their goodness.
  • Everything Breaks:
    • Buildings can be completely demolished, destroying enemies caught in the blast.
    • Individual Arsenal parts can take damage over the course of the fight. If your parts take sufficient damage, a portion of your earnings will be confiscated to cover the cost.
    • Certain objects such as cars can also be picked up and thrown at enemies to deal additional damage.
  • Expy: A character going by a title named Diablo is voiced by Tōru Furuya and another going by Crimson Lord is voiced by Shūichi Ikeda. As in White Devil and Red Comet.
  • Foreshadowing: Twice, and only one if you don't use a default character. The default Male Character looks like a younger Grief - as it turns out, the player protagonist is supposed to be a "genetic failsafe" for Grief to both stop OR complete his ultimate plan. In addition, Grief later has the exact same cutscene that intro'd our protagonist, complete with knocking aside tools - another hint as to the fact they're one and the same.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: Not so much good or evil, but allied or opposed. During the conversation scenes, the background panels for the people speaking are colored depending on their alignment to the Rookie. Blue means friendly, red means hostile. Almost every character will wear both colors at different points, from plucky Johnny G to the crazy Western VII to even Big Bad Grief. Four is orange, serving as a neutral party or something else.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Yes, this is an option. If you have regular arms and want to challenge yourself (or you're really screwed for ammo), you can forego weapons entirely and just punch enemies bare-handed (well, as bare-handed as an Arsenal can be).
  • Guide Dang It!: It's not hinted anywhere how the Secret Factory can be unlocked, which is by reaching the C-Rank and eating 20 ice cream in total.
  • Guns Akimbo: Arsenals can be equipped with virtually any kind of weapon, including dual wielding different types of firearms such as machine guns, auto rifles and even bazookas. Certain arm parts even come equipped with weapons already attached, though this prevents you from switching weapons attached to your Arsenal's pylons as an exchange.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Immortals' Rebellion and Colossal Immortal mecha definitely qualify.
  • Informed Equipment: Averted with certain pilot modifications, which cause the implants to show up on your pilot's model.
  • Interface Spoiler: If an assigned story mission has a sub-objective (always displayed as ????? to boot), expect things to go wrong enough to change the objective parameters.
  • Item-Drop Mechanic: If you destroy enemy Arsenals in combat, you can salvage one part of your choice from their Arsenal. If you do not have any equipment in that slot, the part is automatically equipped to your Arsenal upon salvage; if you already have something equipped there, the part is sent to your storage instead.
    • This applies to ammo drops too. The maximum ammo capacity of that ammunition determines how much ammo you get, if all you weapons use the same ammo, you get a lot of it per drop.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: They're a variety of melee weapon, one best suited for chain attacks.
  • Laser Blade: Some beam swords can also be obtained through playing missions and these do slashing, they require Femto to use though, so they cannot be spammed.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: All over the place. Many missions involve different mercenary groups being hired for opposing objectives, where they will inevitably fight for one reason or another. This later becomes a plot point when Mission Control insists on forcing mercenaries to fight by deliberately erasing intel or issuing conflicting objectives, making every pilot suspicious. The C-Rank Mercenary Missions lay it especially thick, as almost every mission has the Outers fighting each other due to conflicting orders.
  • Lighter and Softer: The setting is about as grim as any Armored Core game with many of the expected accoutrements including greedy corporations, devastated human civilization, and mercenary mecha pilots just trying to get by. As the game progresses however, only five major cast members die (and four of them are villains), said corporations are wiped out (or nearly so) while spending their last moments lamenting on how their avarice blinded them to mankind's true threat, and the surviving Reclaimers band together to save the day. Depending on their final choice, the Rookie can even make sure that the happy ending sticks. Even the "bad" ending is also hopeful, just on a greater scale.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Shields are good for defence and can be used to block damage from enemies. They're particularly good at turning away melee weapons.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Arsenals can equip shoulder-mounted missile pods, which will launch multiple missiles at the enemies via Missile Lock-On.
  • Mickey Mousing: Weapon sounds are based on musical instruments.
  • Mini-Mecha: Arsenals are only 5 meters (~16 feet) tall.
  • Mission Control: Four, the AI who doles out missions for you.
  • More Dakka: Machine guns and certain Assault Rifles make up for their low damage by having fast fire rates. At higher levels, their DPS can shred a multitude of bosses and high-level enemies.
  • Motion-Capture Mecha: Arsenals mimic the arm movements of their pilots using a pair of red cables in the cockpit that wrap around the pilot's arms (though the neural implants all Outers receive also help). This can lead to moments in cutscenes where one of the sillier pilots will dance a jig or strike a pose which their Arsenal faithfully reflects.
  • Multiple Endings: Zigzagged, as it's more of a Last-Second Ending Choice. After you've defeated the Dominator, Grief/Four asks you what you will do: "Fulfill Life's Purpose" and lower the Oval Shields, thereby allowing Femto to flood the world and force humanity to adapt; or "Search for Hope" where the Rookie is entrusted with the future by the Dominator, though the Oval Shields ultimately fail on their own anyway, just at a more gradual pace, ostensibly allowing humanity to acclimate slowly instead of being exposed in massive doses that only the hardiest and most prepared (read:the Reclaimers themselves) survive. The only difference between the endings is that one has the Rookie and Grief both being listed as MIA and the other shows them returning to the rest of the Reclaimers.
  • Ms. Exposition: Four will give you the background on the overarching conflict between missions if you ask her.
  • Pinball Protagonist: The Player Character is nobody special, just one more independent mercenary trying to scrape out a living in the Oval Sector working for whatever conglomerate has a contract going, at least until towards the end, when their true nature and significance is revealed. Consequently, they have little personal stake in the plot, but have a pretty good view of it as they wind up on multiple factions... sometimes at once.
  • Protagonist Title: The Rookie is actually an Artifical Human created by Grief. Their callsign? Daemon.
  • Pun-Based Title: It's a play on "Deus ex Machina."
  • "Ray of Hope" Ending: No matter what choice the player makes, the Oval Link shields are disabled, causing massive amounts of Femto to flood the Earth. However, Grief's plans to have humanity to colonize other planets and evolve have succeeded in the future, with hope that one day, humanity will return to a restored Earth, and the Rookie has become humanity's defender.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: Gameplay footage shows that the warzone of Grace City is located under crimson skies.
  • Secret Shop: The Secret Factory can be unlocked by reaching a Mercenary Rank of C and purchasing 20 ice cream.
  • Sheathe Your Sword: There are at least two points in the main story where not attacking an enemy might be the better option.
    • The second time you confront Savior, his Arsenal's generator starts to shut down halfway through the fight. If you choose to let him retreat, he'll come to your rescue in a latter mission when you get ambushed by Terrors.
    • One late-game "mission" has you meet with Grief to discuss his ultimate plan, for which he asks you to come alone and unarmed (i.e. on foot with no Outer weapons). If you comply, Grief keeps his end of the bargain and lets you leave unharmed after hearing him out, as he genuinely wants you to join him. Mission Complete. On the other hand, if you suspect a trap and come armed... well, Grief planned for that, too.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Silent Protagonist: Lampshaded when a mission briefing introduces you to yet more Outers a few sandwiches short of a picnic, and your more normal wingman admits staying quiet was probably the smart move.
  • Sole Survivor: Horizon is the only Consortium to make it out of the Oval Link alive, if not unscathed. Sky Union is annihilated to a man during a last stand, Zen is shot down trying to flee (all of this after a failed raid on an intelligence facility depleting their manpower) and Orbital comes to pieces when Grief puts his plan into action.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Played with. Water absorbs femto particles at such a concentration that Arsenals cannot function within it, making them sink like stones. This isn't lethal though, as Arsenals have emergency oxygen for the cabin and beacons for a rescue service, but since it takes you out of action sinking fails the mission by fiat.
  • Socketed Equipment: Most weapons and armor have modification slots, which can be used to tweak performance.
  • Spiritual Successor: To the Armored Core series, due to it being a customizable Mecha Game produced by Kenichiro Tsukuda with mechanical designs by Shoji Kawamori.
  • Telephone Polearm: Streetlights are among the objects that can be used as improvised melee weapons.
  • Throwing Your Gun at the Enemy: An option when you're out of ammo. Since some guns can be as big as a car and all of them explode on impact, it can be surprisingly effective.
  • Title Drop: The very last Story Missions have the name Daemon X Machina.
  • Toxic Phlebotinum: Femto is a mysterious pseudo-radioactive substance from the broken moon that borrows traits from Element Zero, Kojima Particles, and Phazon. It is deadly toxic to most humans, but the ones who survive exposure to it develop supernatural powers and become prime candidates for Arsenal pilots.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Averted. Arsenals are designed to universal specifications, so once you shoot one down, you can take something still in good nick off the wreckage. If you have a slot open it'll even equip immediately.
    • Some Colossal Immortals (like Gunfort and Rebellion) also have weapons you can pick up and use against them if you destroy the weak points holding them up. Typically they're only good for one more hit, but that one hit can be cause anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of the Immortal's total health in damage, depending on where you hit the immortal.
    • Each Colossal Immortal also has one or more associated unlockable equipment items that are directly themed off that Immortal, and must be developed in the Factory. This requires data gathered simply by defeating the Immortal (around four to six times, depending on which one it is), and also blueprints which drop randomly and somewhat infrequently from that Immortal. For example, you can develop and equip a scaled-down version of Rebellion's arms, if you really want.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: The Colossal Immortal boss in Prototype Missions, "Gunfort", is armed with a giant cannon that can inflict devastating damage with the laser beam it fires. However, after firing, it enters a cooldown period where the weak points on the cannon are exposed; if you shoot all six cores, the cannon breaks off of the boss and lands on the field. You can then interact with it and shoot the boss with its own laser!
  • Weird Moon: The moon is both crimson and partially destroyed.
  • Wham Shot: One conversation with Four has her dialog box switch from her usual orange to the red usually reserved for enemies.


Video Example(s):


Travis Gets Backup

Dr. Juvenile calls in a deus ex machina...or rather, a Daemon X Machina!

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / DeusExMachina

Media sources: