GAME NAME: Binary Domain
PLATFORM(S): PS3, Xbox 360
GENRE(S): 3rd Person Shooter
RELEASE DATE(S): 24 February 2012
The year is 2080 AD and AI-controlled robots roam the streets. Technology far outweighs anything we can throw at it and humans are starting to lose control. You think you have heard this all before, futuristic robots, humans ‘losing’ the war but you haven’t. You haven’t seen or heard what Binary Domain offers, you have no idea what will unfold and for that reason alone very little else about the story will be detailed in this review. Because you need to find out for yourself.
What is important to know is that Binary Domain is a third-person shooter which makes use of a typical cover system. It also makes use of voice commands – either by pushing specific buttons or talking through a headset. While the weaponry is relatively standard, filled out with anything assault rifles to sniper rifles, what does change the game is the ability to upgrade the weaponry. Throughout levels are ammunition shops where players can purchase weapons as well as nanomachines which boost skills and players can also upgrade weapons resulting in improved performance. Mostly standard fare so far but that will change.
Binary Domain follows Dan ‘The Survivor’ as he is thrust into the action in Japan to combat robots and unveil the mystery behind what are referred to as The Hollow Children. Dan joins a crew of other combatants, including his long time friend Bo, made up of multinational operatives. Each party member is useful in their own way. Throughout the game Dan must choose a team to go with him on various missions and picking who goes with him is important as trust levels are affected based on these decisions.
This is where the voice commands come into play. The game throws situations at you which require responses. Make the correct, positive response and you will earn some trust from a crew member, make a negative comment and trust levels go down. If you shoot your crew you also lose some trust, so preventing friendly fire is important. Opting to only make positive comments isn’t as easy as all that because what sounds positive to one crew member is often negative to another. Finding the balance is important for reasons that can’t be divulged without spoiling the game.
Quantifying a game like Binary Domain is a difficult task. In terms of gameplay it doesn’t break the mould of other similar titles. While it has some excellent boss battles, and very creative robotic enemies, the graphics aren’t overly special and nor is the music. Binary Domain does an incredible job of roping you into the action and forces an emotional attachment between players and NPCs without gamers even realising it. It drives the story home while playing on said emotions. Before you know it you have been fooled into caring about the world around you.
If the narrative of the single player campaign isn’t enough for you Binary Domain also comes packed with 8 multiplayer modes . All the common online multiplayer modes are included such as Team Deathmatch, Last Man Standing and more. If competitive online gaming isn’t your thing then there is also the Invasion 4 player co-op mode where you and three friends can battle waves of robot enemies much like the Horde mode found in Gears of War.
Binary Domain does something that very few third-person shooters attempt with its NPC interaction and this makes for one special outing. The action around you is intense and the twists are at times gut-wrenching, but the action plays second fiddle to the game’s ability to draw you in and make you feel like a part of the crew. It is almost sad that many people will overlook Binary Domain in favour of more high-profile releases but you can change that and play it.