Binary Domain Review
In a predictable future that we all have come to know of, SEGA’s Binary Domain also finds itself picking a story from the Black Book of future apocalypses preceded by bitter Robots. Although the story brings a human robot conflict in the picture yet again, Binary Domain stands as one of those ‘single-player’ focused experiences that brings a lot of delight and hours of great fun.
In a futuristic Tokyo, corporations have built robots to aid mankind but, over a course of time, Humans find themselves taking on certain ‘bad Robots’ amidst a world torn by the very conflict. Soldiers are deployed by security groups to ensure these ‘bad Robots’ are taken care of. You play as Sergeant Dan Marshall who is sent in by the International Technology Robot Agency (IRTA) to infiltrate and investigate the Amada Corporation – an accused entity suspected to be building ‘hollow children’ or robots that ape humans.
Big Bo, a big-gun weilder and a mammoth of a man, is your first companion following which, the game opens you to other members who join your squad of robot busters. Of course, your squad members are not elite gunners but, they ensure they keep you from being overwhelmed and they also revive you when you are incapacitated. The game fuses regional stereotypes into certain characters that keep things fresh like a Brit commander, a Chinese Sniper and a French Robot are some among the many allies that you will meet in your campaign journey.
Binary Domain’s first interaction with an enemy robot keeps you glued to the game – no, it’s not the story but, the delight of watching that humanoid destroyed. Scattering metal components when you shoot, watching limbs fly to heavy metal shots from your gun and watching these robots shoot their own kin when you headshot them, are just a taste of the combat that ensues henceforth.
The game even rewards you with credits depending on how much you’ve damaged your enemy before dealing the killing blow. There is a pleasant variety of enemy robots to ensure that you’re never facing the same enemy type all the time. From hard hitting assulters to agile, quick to cover scouts, the game offers an AI enemy variety that’ll keep you wanting more. While it’s really fun blowing these robots to bits and pieces, the game also makes you realize that these are machines with no emotion – they’re built for only a single purpose. They are relentless and ruthless- No matter how much you destroy the robot, it will try to hop, crawl or do anything to get to you ensuring that you take no attention away from a fallen Humanoid. Binary Domain wastes no time in bringing you into the action. Take cover, aim and fire – that is all you’ll be doing on the Battlefield.
Just when you thought you’ve had the most fun slaughtering robots fresh from the assembly line, Binary Domain introduces you to it’s Bosses. These are robotic beasts from the order of awesomeness and an experience that no 3rd person shooter has brought to the console before. For some reason though, all bosses were designed with ruthless beasts in mind – Agile Jaguars, Raging Gorillas and Crazy Octopus thingies. As the game throws you into a boss fight every 15-20 minutes, you will realize that there is more variety in the Boss department.
Weapons in Binary Domain offer pretty decent sound quality while the shooting mechanics play a major part in the game’s combat experience. You carry a standard assault rifle that unfortunately, suffers from extra recoil. While the gun is a hard hitter, it is also a very reliable staple weapon if you use it in short bursts. While Binary Domain doesn’t really feature a variety stash of weapons, there is always a time when you might use a shotgun among others. Support gunners will find the Sniper and the SMG very likeable, while an infinite ammo handgun also comes in pretty handy at close quarters. Players can also visit shops that allow upgrades to weapons, although, for some reason, the game only allows upgrading main weapons that each member of the squad carries. It still took the same amount of shots to kill a specific robot type following an upgrade and seems to make no noticeable changes to the gun’s performance.
Before setting off on a mission, the game offers you the opportunity to choose which characters you want in your squad. Binary Domain’s character interaction ensures that you make this decision depending on the personality of the character and the relationship you’ve built with them. The game offers a dialogue menu allowing you to choose your dialogue from the available options. If you’ve got a headset with a mic plugged in, you can also take advantage of the game’s voice recognition system allowing you to use about 70 phrases to communicate with your allies. These include ‘cover, duck, fire, charge, retreat, i love you, nice work’ in addition to also allowing you to deliver some 4 letter insults. The way you talk to your buddies builds the relationship you share with each of them.
The voice recognition system however, seems to be plagued with issues. The game’s recognition system doesn’t understand phrases sometimes and it becomes majorly difficult to communicate properly. This is however, never critical to survival during gameplay although, it may sometimes feel frustrating that a great option in the game is turning out to be practically useless due to bad voice-recognition tech.
While you’re doing all this, it’s really hard to miss the great detail and art that has gone behind creating the environment. It is very artistic and offers a glimpse of a world that is dealing with chaos – Matrix styled elements that can deliver an idea of struggle that man has to go through to get out of the mess he created for himself. The game also lets you stroll around certain areas and interact with NPCs in addition to be able to see the world from their perspective. Binary Domain’s strongest characteristic lies in creating an atmosphere of struggle through details in the environment and characters. The game doesn’t really revolutionize anything but, it is clearly one of those experiences that cannot be missed. It’s an I, Robot variant with few elements borrowed from Gears of War.
The game’s multiplayer brings modes that allow co-op killing of robots with upto 4 players. There are also standard competitive multiplayer modes for upto 10 players. However, uninspired maps and characters take away all the fun from the multiplayer element. Gamers can be harrased by extreme lag and spawn campers that take away all the fun from the Multiplayer mode making it just another non-quality add-on. Mutliplayer complains are simply too many but, you must remind yourself that the game markets itself a ‘pure single-player’ experience.
Binary Domain could easily be SEGA’s return to the gamer household. We’ve spent many childhood years growing up to playing SEGA games. While current industry perception about the company seems to hold that they cannot make the great games they used to before, the newly formed Yakuza Studio headed by SEGA luminary Toshihiro Nagoshi has delivered a fine game that certainly brings a lot of excitement, delight and hours of great fun for the Single Player.
Positives: Great Campaign, Brilliant Environments, Delightful enemy destruction
Negatives: Bad voice recognition, Poor and Laggy multiplayer
Developer: Yakuza Studios
Release Date: February 16, 2012 (JP) | February 23, 2012 (AU) | February 24, 2012 (EU) | February 28, 2012 (NA)