Binary Domain (PS3)
A couple of weekends ago I saw the “new” Total Recall movie. The movie itself wasn’t to interesting and I felt it needed more robots being destroyed. I found myself later purchasing a copy of Binary Domain to get my fix for robotic destruction. Binary Domain can easily be described as Sega’s attempt at combining Mass Effect with Gears of War, which are two game series I really enjoy. Much like Mass Effect, you get to decide who will join your squad from of a small selection of characters and customize a few of their stats while keeping the gameplay simple. As with Gears of War you use a cover system and can pick up enemy weapons.
What You Need To Know
Binary Domain is a third-person shooter that takes place in the year 2080 where global warming has caused world-wide flooding, leaving many of the cities uninhabitable. New cities have been built on top of the old and science has progressed in building robots to help with everyday life. In Binary Domain you play as Dan Marshall, an ex-spec ops solider, who has been assigned to an international team known as a Rust Crew, which specialize in destroying robots. Dan’s mission is to locate the person responsible for building robots indistinguishable from people — known as Hollow Children. This is in direct violation with the New Geneva Convention that banned research into robots that could pass for human.
At the start of Binary Domain you are told how to use the voice commands. The game gives you the options between using an audio input device or pressing the L2 button and using a sub-menu. The commands are simple things such as cover me and retreat. I tried using the audio input commands but the game only accepted what I said less than a fourth of the time, even after adjusting input settings. The L2 commands were easy to use and I didn’t see it affecting gameplay any differently than my headset when the audio would work. This game also has trust building with your squad members. The higher the trust level on each member, the more likely they will come up with ideas to help out in battle. The idea of voice commands and trust building in a game seems like a great idea but Sega just made the audio input to complicated, at least for me, and earning the trust of your squad is so easy you would have to work at losing trust.
The Vision Of The Future
Many games have portrayed various visions of the future. Space, flying cars, teleportation machines, and post-apocalypse are just a few things used in future settings. Binary Domain keeps the recipe for its future setting simple. Right at the start, the game will tell you the world has flooded and then you’re sent out to fight robots. The game never really rubs the flooding problem in your face as it keeps distracting you with more robots that need to be reduced to scrap.
The most impressive part of Binary Domain is the destruction of robots. As you start blasting away at them you will notice parts of their outer shell shattering, leaving them in weakened state. During the tutorial stage your first squad member will recommend aiming at their legs to slow their approach. Once you blast away the legs of the first robot, it will fall to the ground and start slowly crawling at you; making him an easier target to destroy. You can also destroy the head of many robots you’ll encounter, causing them to start shooting each other. This will be enough of a distraction to allow you to destroy more robots. At one point I decided to destroy one of the arms of a robot and it dropped its weapon. The robot ended up using its other arm to grab the weapon off the ground to continue the battle. As you progress, more robot types show up with increased speed, defense and better use of cover that will cause a need to rethink strategy. A lot of care was put into the robots, letting you have the ability to blow away the entire shell of most of them and seeing the skeletal frame work that lies underneath.
It’s Boring To Go Alone
Each time I played this game, I found it harder and harder to believe it had multiplayer but no co-op mode. This game could have done so much better with an optional co-op mode. Look at the Gears of War series, each game has made sure it was completely co-op friendly. There is only one point in Binary Domain where you will not have a squad member but this is while you are running to rescue another squad member. If the game was co-op, then this part could have been done with the other player fending off against enemies while waiting for rescue. It’s really insulting to gamers today when a game that practically caters to co-op shows no signs of letting friends take up arms together.
I really wanted Binary Domain to be a great third-person shooter but it just falls short of that greatness. The game offered such great promise with a future setting and tons of robots that are fully destructible but it completely ignored what the people have come to expect. I know it has a multiplayer mode but this game’s lack of co-op hurt its chances of being so much more. I felt the added ability of voice commands would have been great if it worked but in the end it was completely unneeded. I would really love to see a sequel for this game one day but only if Sega can fix these problems and expand the world more.