SEGA's latest squad based shooter is
reminiscent of films such as I, Robot and to some extent, The Terminator
series with a touch of Blade Runner thrown into the mix. Set in Tokyo
Japan in 2080, a cancerous organisation known as The Amada Corporation
who are responsible for the world's robot production are about to take
over the world... which is a no-no.
However with their advances in technology,
they have been producing more sophisticated units which are being
integrated into mainstream society which will have devastating results
on humanity. With this knowledge, Sergeant Dan Marshall and his elite
team of soldiers must somehow put an end to his.
Given that the story uses a variety of
science fiction clichés and stereotypes, the execution is a little slow.
Admittedly it took me a little while to warm up to the story and the
main character but around half-way through the game, things definitely
go into high gear with a few interesting surprises. Just be warned that
some of the voice acting is a little tenuous at best.
As the title is a squad based shooter,
there are parallels to titles such as Gears of War and Bad Company but
the futuristic Earth-based setting of Binary Domain is actually quite
refreshing, especially with its Blade Runner-esq environments. For those
have never played squad based shooter before, the first level of the
game serves as a straightforward tutorial which unfortunately cannot be
skipped. Thankfully it's not too long and your AI counterpart will
inform of how to navigate the environment, give squad commands like
"cover me", "fire" and more importantly, how to use your weapons and
where to shoot.
In relation to shooting, the mechanics are actually quite realistic as
you can carefully select areas on your enemies to shoot. For example,
you can shoot your enemies legs off and they will continue to crawl
towards you or if you channel your inner sniper, a head shot is always
the quickest way to drop a robot. Add in a workable yet sometimes fiddly
cover system and melee attacks for backups and you have everything you
need to challenge these robotic menaces and when they come in droves, it
can be quite difficult.
Issuing commands to squad is either done
through the DualShock controller (d-pad) or a headset which allows you
to speak basic commands. Both systems work well but your family or
friends may look at you a little strange when you start barking orders
to no one.
Just be wary that if you accidentally shoot
your squad members or get them into trouble, you will be penalised and
they soon being "ignoring" your orders. This consequence system is a
little forced but for what it's worth, it does the job. This system is
also based on how well you keep the moral in your team as well, so make
sure you compliment! Speaking of squad allies, the AI in the game is
actually not bad but once again, it's up to the player to save the day.
Enemies in the game commence like the
robots from I, Robot, however as you progress, these mechanical beasts
begin to change and their power factor increases. It's the human looking
robots (ala Replicants from Blade Runner) that are the scariest moments
in the game. Some of the boss battles in Binary Domain are a real treat
to engage and when you first lay eyes on this giant Transformer type
robot in the streets early in the game, you know that things are going
to get tough. Without spoiling the game too much, there is this great
scene where you commandeer control of a robot as you attempt to end the
threat of The Amada Corporation.
Binary Domain does feature online multiplayer with modified modes of
death matches and horde modes for example. I did like Invasion which in
essence is like Gears of Wars Horde mode that continues throwing more
and more enemies at you as you attempt to upgrade your weapons to keep
alive. Given that the campaign mode in Binary Domain is around 10 - 12
hours, the online mode will definitely keep you busy for a few more
hours but overall, this is definitely a single-player game.
Graphically, Binary Domain is a decent looking game and I love how the
transition from in-game to cinematics works in the title... it's quite
flawless. Character animation is smooth and facial animations of the
humans look quite realistic. Lighting is good also but the highlight of
the game is the robotic gibs. When you shoot your weapons into their
metallic bodies, shrapnel begins to fly off which looks thoroughly
impressive. The downside to the graphics is some of the water effects,
especially the first level when you are swimming which looks horrendous.
Another issue is that the characters seem a little stiff when they
interact with the environment but thankfully it’s not too distracting.
Voice acting is good and the sound effects are used well, especially
through surround sound when the battles commence.
Binary Domain is an enjoyable yet ultimately forgettable game as it does
nothing to further the squad based shooter genre. It contains an
interesting story, decent in-game mechanics but at times it feels a
little too polished and stiff which makes it a tad unrealistic. The
combat is fun and delivers an engaging system for players to finish this
title, especially with the robotic gibs. Needless to say, it's quite
refreshing to play something that is not based on another faux war or
distant alien planet.
TAKE ON FUTURISTIC TOKYO: Experience
dual layered Tokyo with a run down
and derelict lower city and a clean
and affluent upper city.
CONSEQUENCE SYSTEM : Under the
pressures of battle every action,
every choice and every word affects
PROCEDURAL DAMAGE : Fully
destructible and highly resilient
robots adapt to the damage they
sustain encouraging you to analyse
each enemy, find their weaknesses
and dispose of them in the most
MODIFICATION AND SKILL SELECTION :
Alongside a full armoury of unique
weapons, put emphasis on the skills
that will benefit you.