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Binary Domain is developed by Yakuza Studio and published by SEGA for the PS3, Xbox 360 & PC. It is a squad based third person shooter set in 2080, in a world ravaged by rising sea levels where two major robotics companies control the global marketplace.
Binary Domain at first glance is a 3rd person shooter with lots of robots to kill and a story about robots versus humans. In reality the story is much more and raises some ethical issues that could come about within our lifetimes.
After a particularly disturbing incident in an American robotics corporation, it comes to light that the New Geneva Convention has been broken. A robot that is almost completely physically indistinguishable from a human (Hollow Children) is found. Because of this event Geneva’s special task force; a RUST crew have been sent to infiltrate the now reclusive island of Japan. They find and capture the man responsible for this crime, a brilliant scientist by the name of Amada, who is the head of the world’s second largest robotics company; Amada Corporation.
You take the role of Dan Marshall; a US marine turned RUST crew operative. You start the game with an old marine buddy Bo as you tackle entry to Japan via the Sea Wall that surrounds lower Japan and the raised area above the slums. You must find your way across the sea wall and onto the mainland to meet up with other members of the RUST crew; each of which has members from other countries. You are set to first meet the British (English) contact before meeting up with the Chinese and French teams.
While your character Dan Marshall is the jokey ex-marine as well as the sergeant of the team, the actual squad lead Charlie, seems to ask for your advice a little too often and lets you take almost complete command. Some characters you will become more attached to than others and most people will end up being attached to Cain; a French military robot. He brings a certain refined insanity to the table that’s very cool to watch as he takes on situations in ways humans cannot. In the end depending on which squad members you take, you’ll end up liking certain ones more than others.
The consequence system is based on the trust levels of your team; the trust level should be going up most of the time as replying to the dialogue is 9/10 just agreeing with what they say. As the replies are so limited, it will make you stick with the safe options if you want your team to trust. The trust system is basically how ready a teammate is to follow your orders. Having it high will mean that they follow your orders almost blindly (how they would in all other squad shooters) but if the trust level isn’t high enough they will either decline on the grounds of it being too risky or just that they refuse to as they don’t like you. Aside from conversations they only thing that changes trust is doing well in combat (increase) or hitting them in combat (decrease); with the former being easy to do and the latter being frustrating as they will wonder into your fire at times.
As the enemies are solely robots you have the option of dismembering them through shooting different body parts. Arms, legs and heads can be destroyed for varying effects. Taking out a gun arm will send the enemy running at you full pelt to attack you in close combat. Destroying either leg will send the robot to the floor and depending on how close you are it will either; crawl and shoot at you or it will crawl after you and grab onto your leg before blowing up, unless you can kill it first. Popping heads off will confuse the enemy; which disappointingly means attacking other enemies rather than attacking everything indiscriminately. Taking heads off is easily the best way around most situations as enemies fire on the now headless enemies instead of you; giving you time to attack the others. This is just for humanoid enemies, aside from them there are two types of spider bots, small gorilla bots, a host of other larger bots with varying roles and bosses. Bosses start off interesting but quickly get repetitive in most cases and some bosses just take too long to kill to be fun. Dismembering enemies nets you more credits than killing them without and squad members destroying enemies will still earn you the base credit reward.
Cover plays an important role early on but seems to get less relevant later on due to the nano upgrades. The nano upgrades can be bought from the various shopping terminals that you come across. The nano upgrades come in different shapes and sizes and must be applied to a 2×3 grid in any variation you see fit. Each character can be given different upgrades and it boils down to having whichever ones are most interesting to you. You can also upgrade the main weapons of you and your team, with you having the most options due to the emp shockwave attack your machine gun comes with. Purchasing anything from the store enters you into the stores jackpot where you will either win nothing, energy for your shockwave, ammo or medkits.
Once you’ve gain a few upgrades to both your weapon and your nanos; cover does play a little less of a part aside from when you are against the toughest enemies. It makes the standard enemies a little weak and almost helpless. The fact that your machine gun is so powerful after a few upgrades also makes it easier as you can just walk out of cover firing on the enemies due to your added health/bullet resistance. That and the fact that you can revive yourself once you are downed, makes the game a little easier (aside from bosses) later on.
Multiplayer feels very different to the singleplayer in the fact that you will get downed by enemies very quickly due to having severely less health. Many of the game modes are renamed variants of classic gametypes and the maps are strictly levels taken from the campaign. I found that enemies will quickly set up camp within your spawn if given the opportunity and will take advantage of that fact with shotguns which are sometime instant kills. It is by no means a bad multiplayer but it’s not amazing either. It’s not helped much by the small size of the community either.
Invasion mode is the horde mode equivalent but makes the difficulty come from how it works more than the enemies themselves. Enemies are killed much more easily, as with yourself as well but you cannot use the dismemberment tactics from the campaign as bots are killed outright now instead. Every five rounds you are given the chance to change your class and buy more equipment but because any equipment you own is lost in death being insta-killed means medkits go completely wasted. It really puts the flow to combat in a bad place as not being able to replace equipment within the five rounds becomes frustrating. This is also a problem with the fact that once a game has started no one can join. So if people leave the game is nigh on impossible to complete.
Most of the characters are visually great and the hollow children are incredibly well done as they have a huge amount of detail in their faces, letting you see all the robotic parts that mimic human facial features. The environments are beautiful in some cases (sea wall) and interesting to look at in others (the upper city highway) but a lot of the environments seem quite sterile; like the slums which don’t seem that bad considering the destruction that mean to have come about. A few awkward things like going down stairs, characters’ animations while talking and standing still are a little weird and the destruction of body parts is maybe a little lacking in the animation.
The voice acting is pretty good on the whole but the forced conversations sometimes don’t flow as well as intended and the lack of Japanese accents is rather jarring. Japan has been reclusive for some time and it’s incredibly strange that there are so many thick American accents within the Japanese society. The best dialogue is at times the subtitled Japanese which gives extra flavour to some of the characters.
One of the best stories in a shooter in quite a while, some of the characters are a little boring or stereotyped but others will just steal the show completely. The game tells a lot of the story through the cutscenes but also tries to give some story via dialogue during gameplay which falls flat due to vague and short replies that don’t really go anywhere.
Presentation and Audio
Voice acting is excellent in some cases (Cain) and other times aren’t so good due to the accents used being American for Japanese locals. The environments and characters look great but the close up cutscenes detailing Hollow Children are incredible at times.
There is something therapeutic about dismantling a robot piece by piece; it feels non-violent but altogether rewarding as it falls to the floor after you destroy one of its legs or pop its head off. The controls are fairly good but the lack of weapon choice is a little annoying as the rifle can get boring. Multiplayer is reasonable but not great and Invasion mode is hard due to many factors and will be hit or miss for most people.
A great game but is let down by being a little restrictive or being unable to pull through as well as expected considering the promises made. The fact the consequence system was built with voice commands lets it down as it generally ends up being agree with everything that your squad mate says (with few exceptions).
While the combat doesn’t quite compare to Gears of War it is still a reasonable experience; personally I found the single player campaign much more enjoyable than the multiplayer. The story touches much more on ethics than it does on “Which is better: Man or Machine?” and the cutscenes take you through that very well. It is one of the best storylines I’ve seen I quite a while but the dialogue brought in during gameplay feels a little off by comparison. Not having any real detail to your replies or the lack of hearing them read out takes you out of the game a little but all in all the rest of the dialogue is great. It did get a little too easy late game and the lack of customisable weapons for yourself was annoying as the machine gun isn’t that interesting in itself.
Processor:Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.66 GHz or AMD equivalent
Nvidia Geforce GT220(512MB)/ATI Radeon HD2600XT (512MB)
2GB RAM (XP)/3GB RAM (Windows 7/ Vista)
8 GB free hard drive space
Intel Core i5 @ 2.66GHz or AMD equivalent
Nvidia Geforce GTX460 (1GB)/ATI Radeon HD 5750 (1GB)
8GB free hard drive space
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.