PAX West 2023: CRYMACHINA Brings Cybernetic Excitement From the Makers of Crystar
Humanity doesn't have a definition. There's being human and acting human. To every person, it means something different. What happens when humans are gone, and the last human consciousness is now in a synthetic body? Is it worth bringing back humans when you could live forever as a superhuman cyborg?
At PAX West 2023, CRYMACHINA was on display at the NIS America booth. Arriving this October, I got to play the final version of the game. This high-speed action RPG features dazzling visuals and intense action combat to create an exciting story-driven action adventure that will define Fall 2023.
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
My demons brief but gave me the rundown as to what to expect. CRYMACHINA takes place on a vast space station. Humans have been gone for over 1,000 years. The station is inhabited by A.I. in humanoid synthetic bodies called Machina. The Machina are determined to resurrect the human race. Suddenly, a Machina awakens and happens to have the last human consciousness. Her name is Leben. Leben now inhabits a beautiful and highly advanced cybernetic body with defensive capabilities. Having been upgraded in every way, she finds herself questioning humanity but determined to bring her sister back.
My demo had a quick demonstration of the story. The scenes are told in a visual novel style in-game, with Leben talking to her A.I. subordinates. They discuss their roles and how to go about fighting against the forces impeding their mission. Leben understands she is in a new combat body and has to adapt. She presses on.
Work it Harder, Make it Better
The combat is slick, fast, colorful, and remarkably rewarding. The enemies felt like bosses in their size and scope. They are programmed to prevent any threats and see Leben as a huge threat to their existence. Fortunately for Leben, she is well prepared.
Her entire body is engineered with the highest abilities. She runs at great speeds and dishes out massive amounts of damage. During my battles, the level filled with color as she landed blow after blow. Leben punches and kicks at superhuman levels. She even uses swords that follow her to inflict more damage. Leben carries a spear that can pierce enemies.
Do it Faster, Makes us Stronger
At moments in combat, Leben can do great damage when prompted with the spear. She is also able to parry and perform a devastating counterattack. Leben is clearly powerful, but her enemies see her as a big to be eradicated from the system. The battles were not easy, but Leben perseveres.
The gameplay is strong, but the story is what carries the game. A representative at the NIS Booth describes the game as similar to Nier Automata, a game that also dealt with themes of humanity and transhumanism. However, the two visions couldn't be any more different.
The game comes from the same team behind Crystar. Crystar is a JRPG with a similar visual direction and a somewhat similar story. In Crystar, a group of women find themselves in purgatory and use tears to fight their way out. CRYMACHINA is seen as a spiritual successor. While tears aren't necessarily a key gameplay component in CRYMACHINA, the character designs have neon lines streaming down their face below their eyes. This is one of many connections to the game's spiritual predecessor.
Work is Never Over
The story already holds promise. CRYMACHINA takes the familiar themes of futuristic transhumanism and makes it all its own. There are ideas of human transcendence, as seen in Cyberpunk 2077 and Ghost in the Shell. Turning the human body into an ageless synthetic body and merging human consciousness with computers are fascinating ideas that have been explored for years. CRYMACHINA looks to do things differently.
The game won me over with its visual settings but has me sold with its gameplay. The characters and emotional feeling look to carry a strong acting experience over a lengthy action adventure. Where this story leads will be found out soon as CRYMACHINA launches in October for PlayStation, Steam, and Nintendo Switch.