Review: Binary Domain (PlayStation 3)

By Wayne Webb

Only a few days ago I was reviewing Yakuza Dead Souls. While wandering the streets of Tokyo with Binary Domain I was struck by the similarity of this game when I discovered that the same people made both games. But the similarity ends there as this game actually grew on me and became loads of fun.

Binary Domain is set in a dystopian future Tokyo where robots have driven humans underground at the behest of the Japanese government (I think) and for some reason a multinational force is infiltrating to decipher the mystery of robots that are almost indistinguishable from humans (or hollow children they are called). You start off with two loud mouth American soldiers, one black and one white – almost like a sci-fi buddy cop movie. Add loads of hefty guns, millions of rounds of ammunition and robot opponents and you have a classic third-person shooter.

At first the controls irritated and caused more trouble than they were worth. But as time wore on and more characters were introduced the game grew on me and I got used to the cover mechanics and multi-functional buttons (cover, jump over and run are both the same in different contexts).  The story unfolds quiet well; in fact a long first chapter of over an hour of gameplay leads you to the opening credits. Then you add squad members from the UK, France, China etc.…. and soon you have a team where you can build up various members and choose your partners on the next leg of a fairly linear journey. These characters feel real and gritty, with language and abuse that seems natural and engaging – enough to draw me in on the strength of their acting alone.

The Boss levels are grinding affairs featuring thousands of rounds of bullets and occasional quick-time event solutions. The cannon fodder robots on the other hand were glorious fun to shoot, dismember and then execute as legless torsos claw their way towards you T-1000 style. Then explode gratifyingly when done as well. The big bosses need to pulled apart and attacked in order, but with loads of clues coming in from your team you should have no worries with them. There’s a multiplayer but within a few minutes I found it dull and a little less than what I would expect from games these days. Big maps, small numbers and technical glitches abound. There’s also a voice command system but it didn’t interest me that much so it was at best a quirky extra for me.

The end of the story carries the usual twists, turns and inevitable but sudden betrayals that a classic sci-fi romp should have and set up nicely for a sequel, which if it’s anything like this one I’ll enjoy playing, too.

Pros: Great story; extensive design elements; robot enemies; great acting and characters; good weapons.
Cons: Controls annoying till you get used to them; occasional grinding boss battles; multiplayer below average.

4 Shacks Out of 5

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