Binary Domain takes place in 2080 AD. Most of the world has been flooded and humans now heavily depend on robots. You, Sgt. Dan Marshall, and your tactical force, Rust Crew, are tasked with eliminating the threat known as Hollow Children, synthetic robots that look and act like humans. The stage: Japan. It’s not totally original, but its execution on tired plot devices makes it stand out. The best part of BD is the connection you’ll forge with your teammates, as they’re all diverse and well acted. It’s like a fun summer blockbuster that may be a little cheesy at times.
BD is a squad-based shooter. You can choose 1-2 teammates, per mission, to then issue commands via the controller or headset. The friendly AI and voice recognition work surprisingly well, though it can be wonky at times. Directing your team to the best of your ability is crucial, because you won’t be able to survive the robot hordes alone. Depending on your actions, they’ll either like, or dislike you affecting their willingness to help you in battle. Overall, the combat and level designs are great, though some of the in-between chapter sections are a mixed bag. Also, the ability to equip abilities and upgrade your gear is great, but not perfect, as their affects aren’t always notable.
From underground derelict outskirts, to the upper society, BD’s take on Japan breaths life not far removed from reality. The graphics are sleek and shiny. The character models, especially enemy robots, have a great attention to detail. The fact that robots can have body parts blown off and still function, even the head, is striking. The soundtrack is great for the moments of intense combat, but nothing you’ll exactly remember. Even the voice acting got special treatment as the Japanese will speak their native tongue to each other, but switch when your English speaking crew is around.
Binary Domain feels like a love letter. The dynamic between your party members is brilliant, the world fantastic, and the overall polish is outstanding. There are some hiccups however such as the cheesy plot, and some of the side levels are a bit frustrating. Still, this game is a surprise gem that while not perfect, shouldn’t be overlooked especially if you liked the developer’s previous Yakuza games.
Score: 4/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on May 10, 2012 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.