Genre: Third person shooter, action, adventure
Release Date: 2012
Developer / Publisher: Sega
In the year 2080, global warming has caused sea level rise and flooded most of the world. Humanity survives in cities newly built above the ruins of our civilisation. Robots help us everywhere: from menial tasks to sophisticated defence and security duties. The New Geneva Convention forbids research into robots that can pass for human beings, the so called “hollow children”. International teams of Special Forces operatives, called “Rust Crews” are tasked with enforcing the Convention. You’re Dan Marshall, the “Survivor”, the best of the best, and you’re sent to Japan to investigate the mysterious Amada Corporation and its enigmatic founder.
Playability: User friendliness from rookie to survivor
Binary Domain is an eminently playable third person shooter with a high level of user friendliness. Stuck in a boss fight? Well, your squad mates will not blow him up for you but will eventually voice some helpful hint e.g. “shoot the drive”… Low on ammo? There are some equipment vending machines all over the city… I didn’t use the voice recognition software to issue orders and instead relied on my trusted keyboard to boss my squad mates around, mock them, or flirt with them (whatever was most appropriate at the time). Whether you’re a battle hardened veteran, a newbie or an old video gamer, enemies and friends adapt to your style of play (or lack of style). Shoot a “scrap head” in the head and it is dead. Shoot an arm holding a gun, the robot will pick it up and resume shooting at you. Shoot off legs and the robot will grimly crawl towards you… is this scary or funny?
Annoyance: Eager squad mates wandering into your line of fire
My squad mates are the usual bunch of snipers with emotional angst, demolition expert in touch with feminine self, and street wise guerillero. For some reason, in their eagerness, they had a reckless tendency to wander into my line of fire. Though I have to admit, a few stray bullets in the butt usually made them appropriately cower. Overall, this was a minimal annoyance as their eagerness and willingness to obey orders or take initiative made my odyssey more thrilling. Despite minor flaws, Binary Domain is a smartly designed third person shooter.
Beauty: Superb Japanese animation and awe inspiring set dressing
Binary Domain starts by pretending it just is your average good looking shooter featuring average American heroes who like to slap themselves in the back and laugh at unrefined jokes. But soon enough, the plot throws at you beautiful (and relatively long) cut scenes backed up by enthusiastic acting and a motley international cast of characters (Americans, British, Chinese, French, Japanese and Robots). Binary Domain is a carefully crafted Japanese anime with superlative film production professionalism. The decoration and lighting of sets from the sewers to the business districts of Tokyo provide ample opportunities for cutthroat battlegrounds as well as simply ogling the beautiful cityscape.
The Old Video Gamer’s Prattle: No Artificial Intelligence was harmed during screenplay 9/10
When I picked up binary domain at a local sale, I didn’t expect much after a cursory look at the box art. It looked like a cheap knock off of a second rate badly digested war film. What type of title is that? Ah, it’s the original Japanese title… doesn’t make much sense (even after playing through the game). The screenshots were more promising and the plot intriguing if not typical of Japanese manga. It turns out that Binary Domain is one of the most entertaining action adventure shooter I have had the pleasure of discovering. The game and its heroes don’t take themselves too seriously. But under a veneer of slovenliness, Binary Domain is a meticulously professional and well thought out gaming package. The guilt-free shooting is a real pleasure (no Artificial Intelligence was harmed during screenplay), and the robotic plot is a page turner worthy of the best science fiction novels.