Mechs and Multiplayer

Daemon X Machina was free last week on the Epic Games store. I was surprised it was being offered so soon after release. However a quick Google search fixed that. The game is almost 2 years old on PC. It’s also a PC port of a Switch game which released in September 2019. I added it to my Steam wishlist in May 2021 which is probably why I thought it was a newer title. DXM offering 4 player co-op was an instant pick up for the squad. If only just to play it once and see what it was all about.

I had booted up the game  last Thursday to create a character and try the first mission. For a console port, playing with a controller was not a pleasant experience. The controls feel floaty and I found it hard to aim (even with aim assist) which makes fighting difficult. Fighting controls are important for a mech game since all you’ll be doing is shooting things.
By the time we all got together on Friday, I had touched the game once while CC had completed the whole story…

This time around I opted for keyboard and mouse controls. These are much better but take a bit to get used to. There is no cursor. All of the menus are control through the keyboard, like I said, it’s a console port. Menus aside, the actual flight and fighting controls were much more enjoyable.
Multiplayer is available right after character creation. The tutorial doesn’t even have to be started before you’re allowed to group up. I always love to see that in a multiplayer game.

We had a hell of a time getting connected to each other though. There isn’t a join or invite option in the Epic Launcher, instead someone has to make a room and the others have to go to the in-game friends list to join whoever created the room. We kept getting errors when trying to join rooms this way. We tried creating a public match and had everyone search for the room at the same time. We would either get a random person or no one could connect to the room a all.

After a about 30 minutes of trial and error, we found if SuperToast hosted the room we could all join on him. I have no idea why this is the case, but it worked! A similar issue happened when we tried to play Remnant: From the Ashes together. I’m not sure if it has something to do with launching the game through Epic.

There’s two main types of missions available for multiplayer: Exploration and Missions. 
Exploration involves running around a map killing enemies and collecting parts from fallen mechs until the party reaches the boss room. The bosses are big ol’ damage sponges and take some time to down. Afterwards the mission completes, you have a minute to run around and pick up any loot you missed before getting sent back to the hub. The whole thing takes about 10 minutes.
The mission mode, from what we could tell, let’s you team up for some of the story missions/bosses but isn’t a true co-op story mode. CC noted that some of the bosses either don’t appear in the story or have more difficult encounters in multiplayer. 

Missions come in two flavors, fight a big, bad, mech killing, robot boss or fight 4 mercenary mechs. We fought the Gunfort, which looks like a cross between the Spike Walker from Trove and the Profit Taker from Warframe. We fought a giant train with guns. I think we might have fought some sort of final boss in a mission called the Nightmare. It was a big, presumably evil/antagonistic, mech that fired all sorts of laser beams at us. He was by far the hardest encounter we had. We had to run it a few times before we took it down.
The mech parts from the Missions are no where near as good as the parts from the Explorations. In Exploration, it seems like the whole loot pool is available to drop. CC was getting multiple pieces of new gear even though he’d already completed the story. Missions, on the other had, award progressively better parts as the difficulty increases, as you would expect. This means running Exploration is the most efficient way to get the best parts for your Mech. The issue is there’s only two exploration missions and they both take place on the same map. At least there’s variety in the Mission locations.

The HUD took up way to much screen real estate. The cross hare overlay took up the majority of the center of the screen…There isn’t a way to scale it down but you can disable individual pieces of it. Having not done the any of the single player, I had no idea what half the stuff on screen was anyways and turned it all off. Not only did it make things easier to see but it also let me take way better screenshots!
Despite the technical hiccups, the weird controls, and the giant sized UI, I had fun. It does what it sets out to do, make big robots fight other big robots. There isn’t much else to it. There always seems to be a new part, weapon, or decal to collect and put on your mech for the next round. I don’t think I’ll be playing this one solo but I think everyone had a good enough time to warrant another session in the future.

Warframe: Just a Bit of Railjacks


We took a break from GTFO this week as it’s been getting stale for a few of us. I think we’re going to move to play every other week to break things up. Before we started GTFO, our Saturday night group game was Warframe so we headed back over there this weekend.

It’s surprising what was a month and a half off a game will do to your enthusiasm about it. I still enjoy Warframe but logging in last night I didn’t have the excitement I had for it not too long ago.  I was farming and progressing on my own, crafting warframes and weapons left and rights. Now I’m just not as into it.

Unbeknownst to us, one of our group members didn’t stop playing when we did. So when we came back to the game last night he had a nice surprise for us. A Railjack.


Now me, being great at avoiding spoilers, didn’t really know what a Railjack was. I assumed it was a ship and you did space ship things in it. I thought it was a one-man thing. But I was wrong. The Railjack was MUCH bigger than I thought it’d be and the gameplay much different.

It’s basically a 4 man crewed ship and each person has a role to fill. There’s the pilot who drives, a gunner who guns, an engineer that mans the forges and patches up wholes in the ship, and the ship boarder who flies around on an Archwing and takes over enemy ships. The whole thing reminds me of Guns of Icarus.


I was the designated engineer for the night. I couldn’t do much because my engineering was level 1 but I fixed a lot of holes in our hull when our shields went down!

The issue we ran into was only the guy with the RailJack could use intrinsic to level up certain roles. So while he kept unlocking all these useful perks the rest of us were stuck at the basic levels. We were hoping it was upgraded to the ship but sadly it was upgraded to the warframe.

It was a fun diversion from the usual gameplay but at the rate we play this game I don’t think the rest of us will be seeing our own Railjacks for a long time.

GTFO: On to Septic and Power Corrupts


I wasn’t able to play with the squad last week. They managed to complete Pathfinder and Sacrifice without me. Since we had gotten so very close the times I played and because they take a while to run I’m not too worried about getting them completed for me. Once we clear the next two on the tier someone can drag me into the third tier lobby.

This week we attempted Power Corrupts and Septic. We’ve been putting these off as they have the most annoying mechanic so far: the cysts. These are basically proximity mines on the walls and ceilings that will explode when you get too close. They take a good chunk of health and leave you with some infection level. If your infection goes over 20% you take damage over time until you’re at 20% health. These can be “disarmed” by shining a flashlight at them but they will regrow after a few seconds. It’s quite annoying getting hit by these when you forget where they are.


Power Corrupts has the players carry 4 batteries to put into generators across the map. It didn’t seem too bad at first. But then we noticed that most of the sleepers in the rooms were the large ones. These can’t be killed in one hit with a hammer and they take a ton of ammo to take down. We were running into rooms with 5 to 9 of these constantly. It also didn’t help that we were finding nothing but glow sticks in any of the lockers. With no resources and no way of effectively dealing with the big enemies we were not having a good time.

We reset a few times thinking we were just getting bad spawns. Unfortunately, it looks like rooms filled with big enemies is par for the course. The one saving grace was the lack of alarm doors. We ended up using our turrets a lot to set up traps and funnel the big guys into them.


Just when we thought it couldn’t get much worse, we ran into a room with 4 scouts at the end. Luckily, our objective wasn’t in that room but still, 4 scouts are terrifying! The farthest we got this weekend was setting up 3 generators. The last one was behind an alarm door that we didn’t have enough ammo to complete.

Septic features the cysts even more heavily than Power Corrupts. You’re tasked with finding a fog turbine and brining it to extraction. There were many big rooms with large groups of small enemies so this took us a bit of time. You can’t shine your flashlight at cysts in rooms full of sleepers because they’ll get alerted. Not only were we watching for stirring sleepers but we also had to keep an eye on the walls and ceilings too.


We managed to get the turbine and were rewarded with whole sections of the map with infection fog. Going in there without the turbine leads to 100% infection pretty quickly so everyone had to stay around the person with the fog turbine. To make matters worse, there are also enemies littering the dense fog. Good thing we brought a Bio Tracker or we’d be alerting things left and right.

I’d say we were halfway through the mission when discord disconnected our point man from voice chat. Perfect timing as he had the fog repelled and we were in a large room full of fog. With our communication, broken things declined very quickly. Before we knew it enemies were alerted but we had no idea where they were coming from.

Communication is key.


GTFO: Getting Closer on Pathfinder


We didn’t end up having as much time as we usually do on Saturday night for our group game. As a result, we only had time for two mission attempts.  We almost finished Pathfinder last week so it seemed like the obvious choice. The one downside is Pathfinder is a long mission. A run typically takes 30-45 minutes depending on the spawns.

It started out really well. We got lucky with low spawns of sleepers in the first few rooms and lots of supplies. When you’re going into the first alarm door with 4 med-packs and full turret ammo, you start feeling pretty confident.

We tried a new strategy we tested out last week. Once we trigger the alarm, we have one person run into the room we think the horde will spawn in. That person then runs around the room holding as much aggro as they can while the other three chase the security circles to unlock the door.

This seems to work as long as the room is big enough and you guess the correct door most of them will come out of. Even holding off a room of enemies for an extra 30 seconds buys the rest of the team a lot of time to unlock the door. The group of three can also defend much better from waves of enemies coming through one door than two.


Our luck ran out when there were two back to back security doors in one room. When this happens, the group has two choices. Close all the doors to defend against the first border. Or  Leave a door or two open to save for the next security door. The first options gives you a lot of time to prepare for that first door but leaves you vulnerable on the second door with nothing to stop the enemies.  The second option makes both doors equally as hard.

We ended up using option two. You can place C-foam on the ground instead of the door which will freeze enemies for a short time when they enter it. Usually, we set a turret up next to these spots which make short work of the first few enemies. This part was a little dicey, we had one or two team members go down on the second security door but we held on.

After this lovely room, we needed to find some more supplies. The Bio tracker didn’t show many enemies in the surrounding rooms so we took our chances with scavenging. We a room that had a med-pack but also had two large, tanky enemies. We encountered this room last week as well so we knew how to run it.


This particular room is pitch black so it’s best to throw glow sticks around it so the person stealing can see without a flashlight. I had the glow sticks, so I started throwing them around. Fun fact, when you run out of glow sticks you’re automatically switched back to your primary weapon. I didn’t know this and miss counted how many glow sticks I had. So while our stealthy friend was halfway into the room I shout an entire clip into the air on accident. As you can imagine, that woke the two big boys and we had to spend a good chunk of ammo taking those down.

After that, we moved to a part of the map none of us was familiar with. We cobbled together some more supplies, got lucky and found an ammo pack, and made our way to the objective.


The objective in Pathfinder is to find a terminal and establish an uplink. To do this one person has to man the terminal and type in the passcode. What the person on the terminal sees is a three-character code. The rest of the group seeing a lot of three-character codes with a corresponding 4 letter word. So the person on the computer reads out what they see and the other members have to quickly find the code they were just read and read out the 4 letter word. Once it’s typed in a new code appears. I found this to be a really cool group mechanic except for one thing…While all of this is going on, you also have to fight off very angry enemies.

We must have gotten the worst spawn for the terminal imaginable. It was a very tiny hallway room with two doors on either side. We set up turrets outside the doors, C-foamed each door and the area in front of the turrets, and sent our runner out to collect as much aggro as possible.  This worked until it didn’t

We were on the last code. We had done a great job reading off codes while fending off enemies. We were in the home stretch when the first door broke. There was an intense firefight and then we heard our man on the terminal say “Last Code!” He read out his number we read out our word and then we heard “Uplink failed. Re-enter the code” He had read us the wrong code and we had given him the wrong word.

This was when the second door broke. Everyone was downed.


So close.

Anjanath Down!

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We finally got everyone caught up in our group for Monster Hunter. I was able to take down the Anjanath late Friday night on my own, barely.  After my second faint my strategy was to use the last life to obseverve its attacks to be better prepared for the inevitable second attempt. But I had a really good few combos on him and once I saw him limping away  I had to try for the kill. By the end of the fight I was down to my last faint and mega potion. The following day the two others were able to get through the fight relatively quickly. Saturday night was spent with all three of us going through the story.

We ended up in the Coral Highlands and took down the Paolumu and were immediately taken to the Rotten Vale. I really like the Coral Highlands their very colorful and I like the layout of the map. On the flip side I’m not a fan of the Rotten Vale so far and neither was the rest of the group so we did some expeditions and optional quests in the Coral Highlands for the rest of the night. I think we killed the Tzitzi-Y-Ku 3 or 4 times because the fight was fun and easy. We decided to kill the Anjanath one more time to see if we could get some pieces of its armor. I had a really cool screen shot of the Great Jagras, Anjanath, and Tobi-Kadachi all in one area but the ps4 decided not to save it. Sadness.

Now that we’re all caught up I’ll probably only be playing the game when the group is on which I prefer. As much as I like Monster Hunter, it’s much more fun with of group of friends. So for now progress will be slow going as far as the stories concerned. I’ll probably boot it up a few days a week to farm parts from things we’ve already killed on my own. I really want the Paolumu set the skills and stats aren’t great but it’s pink and fluffy!



Hitting the Wall

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The wall is something g every Hunter runs I to eventually. It’s that one monster who grinds you into the ground over and over, the monster where you see the dreaded “quest failed” screen more times than you can count, that one monster you just can’t quite finish off. In Monster Hunter Tri and MH3U it was the Lagiacrus. In Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate it was the Gore Magala. This time around it’s shaping up to be the Anjanath.

My usual co-op buddy, Jay, had hand surgery right after Monster Hunter World released. Now that he’s healed up I’ve been helping him catch up to me in the main story. We were having a grand ole’ time hacking our way through the beginning monsters with ease. We both fainted once to the Tobi-Kadachi but managed to hang on for the kill.

Then we got to the Anjanath. The monster that the handler has warned me of every time it shows up in another quest. Feeling confident in my monster hunting skills I brushed off the warnings and was expecting a slightly challenging fight. And then we failed 3 times.

I think the problem is our positioning. Normally we try to get behind a monster as much as possible and cut the tails for the extra carve. Being away from the head is also a good way not to get one shotted when you miss a dodge. But the Anjanath is really tall making it hard to hit the tail all of the time and his feet cause our weapons to bounce so the next largest accessable target is the head. And he gets real angry when you poke him in the head. He spits fire, he tries to eat me, and if all else fails he straight up headbutts you.

But you know what? It’s still fun when you lose. It’s a learning experience and by the second or third fight you start learning the tells of the monster and how to avoid attacks. By our third hunt we had him limping back to his neat to sleep and then he barbequed us. But we had him on the run!

This is the first monster I haven’t hunted solo before grouping up. I don’t know if I could down him on my own but I’m going to try before we play again on Saturday.

Sampling the Borderlands


For the better part of 2 weeks the only games on my gaming menu have been Borderlands, Borderlands 2, and Borderlands: The Pre Sequel. For better or for worse I’ve been bouncing between all three games depending on which one of my friends are on to play. I played Borderlands when no one was around, I played Borderlands 2 when Jay was around, and I’ve just started a play through of the Pre Sequel with Jay and CC.

I wasn’t interested in Borderlands when it first came out in 2009 on the account that I was really into the Nintendo Wii at the time and didn’t like the FPS genre all that much. I remember my friends in high school were eagerly awaiting it’s release. I didn’t even really know what it was until a few years later when I started playing it with Jay. By the time I played it with him he had played it 7 times over and new where do go and what to do andd ended up dragging me through the game. We kept restarting to play new characters and I don’t think we ever got farther than the second boss.


Fast forward to a few days ago when I decided to fire up the PC version of Borderlands I got from one steam sale or another. The game is brutal I spent more time at the revive station than actually shooting some times. By myself there’s no other focus for the enemies so I’m the one absorbing every bit of damage. It was still fun though if not challenging. It was the first time I actually paid any attention to the story and it turns out I wasn’t missing out on that much. As fun as it was I’ve made it to level 15 where we had stopped in the past and I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to finish it.

I bought the Handsome Jack Collection to play with Jay about a year and a half ago and we still haven’t beaten it. Borderlands 2 is much like Diablo 3 where I get in a mood to play it and then it becomes my main game for a few weeks until I get bored. So every few months or so we’d pick it back up and get a lot of story done and some DLC and then we’d stop.

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It’s always been a struggle to get myself psyched to play it that first time after a long break because the co op game play is a lot of fun but the story is kinda boring even with a great cast of characters. And after a few hours the dialogue gets overdone. I love spoofs, puns, and pop culture references in games but when its all of that 24/7 it gets a little tiring.

With that being said me and Jay are currently working through BL2’s DLC Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragons Keep and it’s fantastic. I especially enjoyed a quest line spoofing Dark Souls and the whole setting of being in a tabletop game. In fact both the DLC’s that we’ve played through have been much more interesting than the rest of the game.

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Now we’ve just started the story in the Pre-sequel and it’s nothing new in terms of story telling or game play. But the Pre-Sequel, despite the story outshines the other 2 in terms of co op for one reason. I can be ClapTrap who is simultaneously the trolliest and most supportive character all in one. I can dish out tons of helpful buffs and abilities to my allies one moment and then turn us all into bouncing rubber ducks the next moment. Much to the chagrin of my friends. Since the game is set on the moon there’s very little air and apparently there’s a mechanic my friends keep talking about where they have to fill up their air canisters every now and then or they die….but I don’t really know because as a robot I don’t need air.

So after this intensive few weeks of the crash course to the Borderlands series I can say that its much more fun to play with friends than alone, the story is nothing to write home about, but the game play and co op is top notch. Your always one drop away from a gun that will change your entire play style or make you super overpowered for your level.