Binary Domain Review
Binary Domain sets us in a future where robots are commonplace in our society and have even permeated themselves as household appliances. All is not as it seems as some have assimilated into the population disguised as humans. They are completely unaware of their robotic origins and think, feel and act as human born with implanted memories. They are called the “Hollow Children” and a violent act orchestrated by one brings their existence into the spotlight. The existence of Hollow Children is a violation of a world peace act and this is where you step in as Dan Marshall, “The Survivor”, accompanied by a group of international soldiers. It is your job the infiltrate Tokyo and take out the Amada Corp,creators of the Hollow Children. The story starts out pretty run of the mill but by the last chapter there are enough turns and revelations to keep things interesting.
Domain plays like a typical third person action shooter of this generation. There is cover, hold down button to run, two weapon slots, plus an infinite ammo pistol and one slot for a grenade typw. You can typically have two other AI allies to help you. Binary tries to change things slightly with a voice recognition system for the squadmates. This unfortunately falls flat on its face. I attempted to yell and command orders through the headset but found it responsive maybe sixty percent of the time. In a heavy action game where seconds count, this is unacceptable. Fortunately, the textual commands work fine and are preferable anyway.
Where Binary falters in speech recognition, it more than delivers in other aspects of the gameplay. The aiming is precise, the weapons feel great and have weighty impact against the opposition. The enemies in turn all crunch, crumple and explode into satisfying little robotic bits. Shoot off their heads and watch as they turn on their own, shoot off legs and watch as they crawl to you with terminator like determination. Pacing is also superb; just as you get tired of another wave of enemies you will find yourself jet skiing, running from a city block as it is getting destroyed, manning a turret down a highway, fighting building sized bosses, etc and etc.
The action is slowed down at times to let you walk around in a small area and talk to NPC’s and squadmates for a better feel of the world and to earn some camaraderie with your squad. I found Big Bo, the other American annoying, but everyone else had their charm, especially the robotic French ally, Cain. The character models are all effective. This game was helmed by the man responsible for the Yakuza series, so the models are very detailed and have excellent facial animations. The robots are designed effectively, they even managed to make a forklift type of machinery menacing. The environments are a mix of detailed and sterile but still impressive. Slums looks the part and production factory is very clean and large with having all types of machinery working in the background. The sound effects are servieable and have the proper clings and pangs against metal, but music seems lacking. Rarely did I notice it throughout the campaign and the game could of benefited from some punctuation of music throughout.
Multiplayer in this game does need a lot of work. Whereas Sega created a single player campaign that can stand on par with the blockblusters of the genre (Gears, Uncharted) they created a multiplayer that seems like something that would of been released in a launch title of this generation. The versus mode has poorly designed arenas from the campaign and the horde mode is so bare bones it feels like a throwaway mode added at the last second.
Overall though, Sega provides a genuine surprise for this year. A consistently solid, nicely paced action game experience. They are plenty of impressive boss fights, nice visuals and tight gameplay in this roughly eight to ten hour playthough.