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Binary Domain

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You ought to download Binary Domain on PS Plus this week

Yakuza Team's criminally overlooked third-person shooter
Nov 18
// Jordan Devore
Yes, we've covered this month's PlayStation Plus games for North America already. But I can't pass on having just one more opportunity to represent Binary Domain, which joins the PS Vita version of Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath ...

Binary Domain takes over your PC next week

Apr 18
// Kyle MacGregor
In what's been one of the biggest surprises of the year, Yakuza Studio have managed to succeed where so many Japanese developers have failed, creating a solid "Western"-style shooter in Binary Domain. So if you missed ou...

The DTOID Show: Pokemon, Binary Domain, & SSX gameplay!

Feb 27
// Tara Long
Happy Monday, Destructoiders! It's time for another episode of your favorite, semi-regularly-scheduled internet show about video games. On today's show, Max starts us off with some Pokémon Black and White news, while ...

Review: Binary Domain

Feb 27 // Jim Sterling
Binary Domain (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: Yakuza StudioPublisher: SEGAReleased: February 28, 2012MSRP: $59.99 Binary Domain is yet another Japanese game based around mainstream Western design, a cynical idea that usually leads to terrible abortions such as Quantum Theory. Yet this cover-based squad shooter bucks convention and delivers something not only competent, but fun and original.  In a distant future where rising sea levels have destroyed much of the old world and sent the wealthy into sprawling aerial cities, robotics have taken center stage as the most important scientific endeavor. Needed to replace the millions left behind in flooded slums, robots have been used to serve, build, and police the streets, leading to a series of strict worldwide rules about their creation. The most important rule is Clause 21 of the New Geneva Convention -- robots cannot be indistinguishable from humans. So guess what happens! Binary Domain's plot never gets in the way of the action, and while it certainly throws up some interesting ideas in the same vein as A.I. Artificial Intelligence, it doesn't ever gain a huge amount of steam, feeling rather bolted onto the side of the experience rather than fully integrated. It doesn't help that Binary's story does too good a job of making the humanoid robots sympathetic, so that by the time the bad guy revealed his end game, I was on his side. Still, it's a plot propelled by a genuinely likable squad of sarcastic soldiers, and full of bizarre twists that could give even Hideo Kojima a run for his money.  [embed]222782:42832[/embed] The bulk of Binary Domain is focused purely on cover-based combat, and it does a fine job of it. The enemy forces are made up of various robotic soldiers, which has allowed Yakuza Studio to get away with masses of brutal, sadistic, limb-shredding violence. Every opponent in the game suffers procedural damage when hit, as armor is ripped from appendages and body parts are blown away. Careful shooters can take down a robot's legs to make it crawl creepily on the floor, shred away arms to reduce combat effectiveness, or even pop off a head and cause the body to blindly fire at its teammates.  There's something undeniably cathartic about facing off against an army of robots and systematically reducing it to a pile of scrap metal, taking each individual apart from bottom to top. Were the enemies human, this game would be banned, but the bots make it all okay.  It's a good thing that the combat is consistently exhilarating, as it rarely changes things throughout the entire game. Those with a low threshold for repetition will get tired of the similar combat scenarios that occur from beginning to end, and while the boss encounters are huge and explosive, they are all fairly simplistic battles where one must find a blatantly glowing weak point and blast it. Still, those that just want to kill things and don't care much for variety will have a great time blowing the legs off of gigantic mechanical spiders.  The big gimmick with Binary Domain lies in the interactions one has with the squad. Players step into the shoes of Dan Marshall, and he'll be typically joined by up to three other team members. While the A.I. partners are quite adept at fighting autonomously, their effectiveness is enhanced when Dan gives them direct orders in keeping with their particular skills. For instance, Rachael is a demolitions expert an it's a good idea to send her into close-quarter combat where her shotgun is most effective. Meanwhile, Big Bo is skilled at distracting enemies, drawing their fire and allowing the rest of the team to flank. None of these tactics are especially intricate, but they can make the difference between a pitched battle and outright humiliation of the opposition.  These commands can be dished out using a limited menu of options, but Yakuza Studio doesn't want you to do that. To access a wider range of interactions, players can plug in a headset and directly speak to the squad. The A.I. can recognize voice commands and responds to your every command. At least, that's the idea.  In practice, voice control is very much a hit and miss affair. Incredibly simple statements such as "Yes" and "Fire" are usually recognized without a hitch, but it becomes pretty messy when you're trying to get individual squad members to do specific things. For instance, it's very hard to get your team to regroup, since "Regroup," will often be translated as "Shoot" or "Retreat." Allies also seem to struggle with the word "No," which can be turned into any number of other statements. Still, the system is quite remarkable when it works, and it's also rather amusing to constantly tell Bo you love him, or call Faye an idiot.  The more your allies trust you, the more likely they are to obey orders. If you constantly insult someone or give them bad commands, they may stubbornly refuse to fulfill your requests in future battles. There are also regular occasions where a partner will open up dialog with Dan, and your responses will influence their feelings toward him. While that's an interesting concept in and of itself, it almost always boils down to you letting the character speak, then saying "Yes" to everything. Binary Domain is a game with a simple message -- blindly agreeing with people is the only way to get popular. That's a better message than the other one it sends -- that "No" doesn't mean "No." It's worth pointing out that I was using a standard 360 headset. There may be better results with higher quality microphones. Also, while it might be possible that a British accent on an NTSC version of the game could have confused the game, I find it highly doubtful due to the fact that the commands are mostly one or two syllables consisting of generic words. Also, I don't come from Scotland or anywhere else with a truly demented accent. While the voice commands are rudimentary and only work half the time, Binary Domain wisely refuses to rely on the gimmick completely. The game can be quite adequately played without a headset, using contextual commands from a menu, and whether you're giving orders or letting them fight freely, the A.I. partners are shockingly good at what they do, able to hold their own in combat and keep each other alive. It could have been so easy for Yakuza Studio to utilize the voice input like a crutch and let the rest of the game slide, but Binary Domain concentrated on being a good shooter first and a tech demo second. It's a rare attitude these days, but an incredibly welcome one.  Store kiosks littering each level can be used to buy ammo, reviving med kits, and nano upgrades that occupy upgrade grids on each character's personal menu. Weapons can also be upgraded with incrementally expensive boosts to power, fire rate, reload speed and ammo capacity. By far the best reason to use a store is to access the sweet selection of grenades on offer. From holographic distractions to chaff explosives that confuse opposing robots, there are many cool grenades to choose from.  Outside of these extras, and a single level revolving around poorly-controlled jet boats, that's all there is to Binary Domain's campaign. You move, you take cover, you issue commands and shoot. When you strip away the gimmickry, there's really nothing you haven't seen before, but Binary Domain does it all surprisingly well with a sense of style that only Japan can pull off. Enemy robot designs are absolutely fantastic, especially the abstract boss machines, and every level has a tremendous sense of fast, consistent pacing that ensures things are never boring.  You'll likely get a solid eight hours from the solo campaign, but if that's not enough, Binary Domain provides some multiplayer options. The competitive multiplayer features a range of bog-standard modes, including team deathmatch, capture-the-flag, and area control, across a limited selection of small maps. It performs its appointed task, not really doing anything spectacular but providing enough shooting action to chew up a few spare minutes. It clearly wasn't the focus of development though, given how limited it is, and how the small maps feature a handful of predictable spawn points that ensure one team can easily ambush the opposition every time a player resurrects.  There's an experience system and a small range of stereotypical classes such as scout and heavy gunner, and each kill on the battle awards points that can be spent on temporary new weapons and med kits. Still, these are just ancillary distractions on a mode that I doubt many will be playing even a month after launch.  Same goes for the wave-based survival mode that has also been bundled in. I like a good survival challenge, but this is about as basic as it gets. A tiny selection of restricted maps, and then an endless stream of robots that get surprisingly brutal almost instantly, bringing out shields and heavy firepower after just the first wave. Tough as it may be, however, it's not very compelling, and instantly forgettable. This is most certainly a game one buys for the campaign, and not the online features.  Binary Domain may not be a trailblazer, but it's a damn good follower. Perhaps the best attempt at "Western" shooter gameplay from a Japanese studio, this robot-carving romp keeps up an exhilarating level of fast-paced combat from beginning to end. While the voice commands are a crapshoot, they're fun to play with and the game doesn't rely on them to work, focusing first and foremost on pure mechanical conflict with some gorgeously designed electronic opponents. All of this bundled up in a unique story that is so confident in its ideas that you barely stop to question how silly it actually is. In short, it's a game that eludes the trap that so many similar games have fallen into, and it's well worth jumping into. 

There are so many games that come out of the gate with fantastic ideas, original concepts, and tons of potential, but fail to make the grade due to a lack of budget, time or talent. We've seen far to many Mindjacks, Damnation...

Binary Domain: Life, robots and everything between

Feb 22 // Conrad Zimmerman
Although robots were the direction we took with this game, I’m actually not a major robot fan. In fact, because I wasn’t a robot freak, I feel we were able to create a deep drama instead of focusing too much on the robots themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I was still very particular about creating the robot designs and actions, especially as Japanese robot designs are often criticized for looking very typical. I wanted to challenge those critics with high-quality designs and a great story. When you play the game, I’d like you to pay attention to the robot designs. With these kind of games, people are often tempted to point out how a particular part of a particular robot resembles that of a particular movie, game, etc., However, I’m a huge movie fan (and I’ve seen tons of them), so when you play Binary Domain, you may notice how we were inspired by many past masterpieces, not one or two particular ones. I’d also like you to check out the Consequence System, the voice input system that’s one of the unique points of Binary Domain. The game is a third person shooter similar to what most of you are familiar with, but the Consequence System will give you something you can’t experience with any other game. With it, you can talk with your ally NPCs while fighting with them in real-time gun battles, which makes your trust and bond stronger as you go through the missions with them. This is a game with real characters that have emotional depth, and change over the course of the narrative. This makes the gameplay emotional and exciting all at the same time. That’s quite a lot of features for one game, so trying to put them all into one game was a courageous judgement for me. While I wanted to take the third person shooter another step above, I did not want to make the button controls get any more complicated. I wanted to make it simpler and more emotional, and that’s how we came up with the game systems of Binary Domain. The new game systems created a brand new gameplay style, which also lead to advanced enemy and ally AI programs. In the end, Binary Domain had the most realistic and dramatic systems to illustrate our fundamental theme of “Life”. I am confident that we’ve managed to create a story, design, and AI that are original. They all sum up to make Binary Domain a dramatic and exquisite masterpiece. Our wish is for all of you to experience something different from all the other games in the market.

[This is the final entry in a series of exclusive guest blogs from the development team at Yakuza Studio on Binary Domain. General Director Toshihiro Nagoshi returns one last time to discuss Binary Domain, its robot desi...


Meet the enemy robots of Binary Domain

Feb 15
// Conrad Zimmerman
[This is the sixth in a series of exclusive guest blogs from the development team at Yakuza Studio on Binary Domain. Lead Programmer Takashi Atsu discusses the enemy’s artificial intelligence throughout the game&rs...

Take a look at Binary Domain's multiplayer trailer

Feb 13
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
We've been talking a lot about Binary Domain on Destructoid as we approach the February 28 release date. I actually have some hope for this game that it won't just be yet another forgettable third-person shooter experience. ...

Bond with your friends in Binary Domain's multiplayer

Feb 08
// Conrad Zimmerman
[This is the fifth in a series of exclusive guest blogs from the development team at Yakuza Studio on Binary Domain. Lead Game Designer Hiroyuki Sakamoto discusses the game’s multiplayer content. Binary Domain...

Developing Binary Domain for the western market

Feb 01
// Conrad Zimmerman
[This is the fourth entry in a series of exclusive guest blogs from the development team at Yakuza Studio on Binary Domain. Lead Game Designer Hiroyuki Sakamoto describes the combat in the game. Binary Domain will b...

Meet the heroes of Binary Domain, The Rust Crew

Jan 19 // Conrad Zimmerman
The Rust Crew belongs to an international organization called the IRTA (International Robotics Technology Association), so the squad members consist of multiple nationalities, allowing them to make fair judgments during operations. The agents chosen for this occasion are the elite members of Rust Crew, but having never worked together, they meet each other for the first time after they enter Japan. Each of them has pride for their country and reputations of their own, so they are more rivals than happy teammates initially. When it comes to Dan, he’s widely known for his “Survivor” nickname, so there are members that try him to see how good he is. Now you’ll be playing as Dan, so if your skills are not good enough, they could get disappointed and start disrespecting you. You’ve got to be especially careful with Faye. She’s a very talented agent so if you act like a wimp she will look down on you with her cold eyes. (…then again, I won’t stop you if you enjoy that.) Mid-way through the game, you’ll also have Cain join the Rust Crew. He is a special ops robot from France, a sleek character with a French accent. He’s also capable of showing some “artificial humor”, but his jokes aren’t always great and don’t always come at the right time. But when it comes to battle, Cain will show great talent. His combat skills and technical skills (he can hack into enemy AI!) are so awesome, even the robot-hater Dan gets impressed. I’m sure you’ll love Cain for his humorous actions! Nobuaki Mitake – Art Director The Rust Crew members in Binary Domain are of different nationalities and races. We considered both Asian and Western characters and varied their visuals. Binary Domain focuses on communication between the player and ally NPCs so we set realistic personalities and behaviors for each character. Big Bo jokes around with Dan, but is more careful and acts rationally. Charlie is solid, proud, and afraid of making mistakes because he is the leader of the squad. The player will spend a lot of time with these characters and their complicated personalities, so we created character designs with clearly different visuals. Cain, a member of the Rust Crew, is a robot. All the enemies are robots and we couldn’t make him alone look like a robot from another world, so we were very careful to make him look right as an “ally” robot. We needed to create him in the same taste as the enemies but with some arrangements to show he is on our side – without breaking the rules of the game world. We had a lot of difficulties making him into a unique character between the line of friend and foe. We added a bit of alien elements while giving personalities to his design and motions to make him a bit closer to human. Along with the characters, the game features a wide variety of enemy robots. Not only humanoids, but also numerous variations of robots will appear in the game, such as a huge spider, gorilla, dog, etc. Creating varied robots required us to create unique motions corresponding to each robot, but focusing on robot variations was very meaningful because “procedural damage” is one of the great features of Binary Domain. The key feature would not be enough without achieving both the iron defense of enemy robots and the exhilaration of destroying them. We needed to create animations for each situation, such as robots with their legs busted crawling on their hands or those with their head busted becoming unable to recognize friend from foe. We repeated quite a lot of trial and error to get these movements in ideal shape. In the end, our efforts were well rewarded and the animation controls of destroyed robots became one of the main features of the game. You’ll surely be pleased with the satisfaction you get by destroying them. Try to destroy them from different parts of the body and enjoy the reaction of the enemy.

[This is the second in a series of exclusive guest blogs from the development team at Yakuza Studio on Binary Domain. Script writer Tsuhoshi Furuta and Art Director Nobuaki Mitake detail the characters of Binary Dom...

Binary Domain's story is about robot vs. human conflict

Jan 11 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
Well that wasn’t the case for the humans in the world of Binary Domain. They decided to regulate the creation of such robots. In 2040, the people agreed to an international treaty called the “Geneva Code”, which forbid the creation of human-like robots. In other words, the law forbid the robots from getting any closer to humans. The treaty was signed at Geneva, the city where Mary Shelley is said to have come up with the idea of Frankenstein. We have seen many movies that warn us about the world where excessively advanced technology has gone beyond human controls. James Cameron’s The Terminator is probably the most well-known example. The world of Binary Domain did not ignore such warnings, and countries work together to regulate robot technology. However, starting the regulation from 2040 was already too late…and that’s where it leads to the story of Binary Domain in the year 2080. The world suspects that the “Hollow Children” -- the human-like robots the Geneva Code forbid – are being created by a Japanese robot manufacturer, and Sergeant Dan Marshall is assigned to a covert mission in Japan. Along with his squad mates, Dan battles against Japan’s Defense Forces in order to find out who created the Hollow Children and for what purpose. My development team has previously created the Yakuza series for Japan, which has been acclaimed by many players for its deep story. Through the experiences of developing the Yakuza series, we learned how a game with good story would remain strong in the players’ memories, and we also learned what we need in order to make a game accepted in the Western market. Yet, with so many great games already dominating the Western market, we came to conclusion that we should create a game that can only be created by Japanese developers. That was one of the reasons we chose Tokyo for the world of Binary Domain, and we also wanted the Western players to know more about Japan through this game. Also, in order to join the third person shooter genre that’s already close to reaching the limits of current videogames, we decided to offer a brand new gameplay feature. This is the “Consequence System” that allows you to cooperate with the NPCs through voice input. Your gameplay strategy can be chosen from an unlimited number of options, not only through a vast variety of weapons but also by giving out orders to your comrades during all the gun battles. This is one of the great features of Binary Domain that I would really like everyone to try out. This game is aimed not only for Japan but for the worldwide market, so we went through quite a lot of difficulties with the new PR campaigns and marketing strategies. However, through these blogs we got the chance to speak our minds straight to all you readers, so I hope you get to know more about our visions behind Binary Domain. Look forward to more updates on Binary Domain!

[This is the first in a series of exclusive guest blogs from the development team at Yakuza Studio on Binary Domain. General Director Toshihiro Nagoshi details the story of Binary Domain and the conflict between robots and h...

Hands-on with Binary Domain

Dec 13 // Wesley Ruscher
Binary Domain (PlayStation 3 [previewed], Xbox 360)Developer: Sega JapanPublisher: SegaRelease: February 14, 2012Back in August, our own Maurice Tan went into great detail describing the many systems that furnish Binary Domain's single-player squad-based shooter mechanics. From the games use of cover, to its voice command system, all the way to having to build trust amongst the game's seven squad mates; Binary Domain takes some of gaming's best features and wraps them up into a fresh and unique experience.To recap the story, it's the year 2080 and most of Japan has been flooded due to rising water levels. Society has rebuilt on the remains of the ruined cities and has thus been segregated into to an upper and lower strata. Technology though, has continued to advance in this dystopian future and eventually leads to a robot infestation. That's were Dan Marshall and a crew of ragtag soldiers come in. It's up to them to get to the bottom of this international incident, especially when the "hollow children" -- robots that actually believe they are human -- turn up. While the premise sounds eerily familiar, it's conveyed in a way that is not normally seen in video games, let alone the shooter genre. My hands-on of Binary Domain began with Marshall, and his brother-in-arms, Big Bo, thrust into the derelict highways of Japan. As we pressed forward through waves a robots, dismembering each limb by limb in enjoyable cover-based combat, it was actually the banter between the two comrades that made me realize Binary Domain wasn't a typical shooter. While the dialog was by no means exceptionally compelling between the two -- as Bo's character, at times, felt very stereotypical -- the simple fact that I was given the option to directly answer the brute man (and later other teammates) via voice created a slightly more invested experience for me. The responses were simple and generally dealt with story progression, but the freedom to answer in a wide array of attitudes was far more natural to shaping the narrative than Mass Effect's dialog wheel. It's in creating these types of engrossing experiences that the team behind Binary Domain hopes to bridge the gap between eastern and western gaming. The core of game is built behind a very competent shooter, which should greatly appeal to the western market, but it also has a rich story -- a strength of Japanese design. My only concern from what I have seen of the plot, is the length of each story sequence. While they don't approach the ludicrous durations of say a Metal Gear Solid 4 cutscence, they definitely remove the player from any sort of control for lengths that may turn some casual gamers off. Personally I didn't have an issue with this, as each scene was well acted; and in the case of the "hollow child" moment that took place in the slums of Shibuya, the overall quality and believability was just as impressive as any Hollywood blockbuster. It was shocking, gripping, intense, and hopefully something representative of the story's final product. Before my time was up with Binary Domain though, I was given a brief opportunity to go hands-on with the game's three rather straightforward, five-versus-five, multiplayer modes: Team Deathmatch, Data Capture, and Domain Control. Team Deathmatch is exactly what one would expect in a competitive shooter. Data Capture is Binary Domain's take on capture the flag, and Domain Control see teams vying for territories in rather confined maps.Before the start of each mode, players are able to chose from the typical types of classes that call home to shooters (i.e. sniper, soldier, scout) and then allocate points towards custom loadouts and items to gain a tactical advantage. During each skirmish further points are earned through kills and can later be allocated towards more supplies after death. Multiplayer is definitely the weakest link when it comes to Binary Domain. While the mode doesn't feel tacked on per se, it just doesn't have the overall polish and creativity that the single-player campaign contains. Hopefully there is more planned for the games online affairs, as I would love to see a robot massacring take on Gears of War's Horde Mode somewhere down the road.With only a few short months away it's hard not to get a little bit excited for this intriguing third-person shooter. Its gripping story of robots versus humans, good versus evil, and the lower-class versus the elite of humanity has made Binary Domain on my most anticipated titles for next year. The game just exudes human emotion -- fitting considering Binary Domain releases on Valentine's Day.

There seems to be a certain stigma in gaming, as of late, that Japanese developers have lost their touch when it comes to creating experiences that appeal as much to western gamer as they do to the Japanese. Once dominant ...


Binary Domain pre-order bonuses are all about multiplayer

Oct 21
// Maurice Tan
It looks like Binary Domain will try to keep players engaged in its multiplayer modes, as pre-ordering at GameStop will net you the Multiplayer Pack. This pack gives you an exclusive multiplayer map "Outside High-rise, Upper ...

The consequences of Binary Domain

Oct 10
// Fraser Brown
In SEGA's new squad based shooter, Binary Domain, your team mates are not mere slaves to your whims. Players will have to gain the trust of their squad and act in ways that appeal to their varied personalities to get the mos...

Sega's Binary Domain is all about trust

Aug 21
// Daniel Carneiro
Even though Japanese developers try to Westernize their games, they always keep that certain Japanese edge. Games like Vanquish showed us that a typical third-person shooter can still feel fresh even though we have so m...

Preview: Binary Domain

Aug 19 // Maurice Tan
Binary Domain (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)Developer: SEGA JapanPublisher: SEGARelease date: February 14, 2012 Tokyo, the year 2080. After decades of climate change, with rising sea levels as a result, and other shifts in Tokyo's society, the city is now divided into a lower city and an upper city. Guess where the rich people live.  When so-called "halo children" appear -- androids that think they are actually human (i.e., Artificial Intelligence) -- and become something worth investigating for an elite international squad, it's up to protagonist Dan Marshall to get on the job. Binary Domain is a squad-based shooter that has cover, but I wouldn't necessarily call it a cover-based shooter in the sense of Gears of War. You control Dan and assign commands to up to three squad members out of a total seven you'll eventually be able to choose from, but these squad members won't always follow your commands or even help you out. You need to gain their trust first. Shooting your way through robotic enemies that feature a procedural damage system -- allowing you to shoot the heads off and make them shoot each other or to shoot parts off the armor until the bare skeletal bones remain -- you can command squad mates to do things like attack, defend, or cover you. Every squad member has his or her own personality and preferences for behavior. A cautious squad member won't like it if you storm into battle, just like a careless and brazen squad member won't respect you if you stay in cover and don't participate at all. It all depends on whether your tactical combat decision is successful or not. Storm into battle and get shot down, and you won't really raise the respect either way. Storm into battle and manage to destroy all the enemies, though, and even the cautious squad member will respect you somewhat. The careless squad member will just like it more. Building trust will change the behavior of your AI allies. With low trust, squad members will flat out refuse to follow your orders from time to time, and they will just do what they want. If you get taken down and require a squad mate to use a medkit to get you back up, they might just ignore you until all enemies are taken care of; why would they bother risking their life to help you if they don't trust you? If you maximize your trust, snipers will tell you they will get rid of that sniper they spotted in the distance even before you saw there was one. Soldiers will cover you more effectively, and as a team you'll fight your way through enemies that would take more time if you your squad members lost all trust in you. You'll be able to assign commands using the controller buttons, but you can also give commands using a voice recognition system. The fun part about this is that you can elicit easter-egg responses by messing around with voice commands. You can tell someone you love them, or that you hate them, and they'll have a range of responses to react with. The response you get also depends on whether you are in a combat situation or not. Compliment someone during combat who has just shot down a few enemies in a row, and they'll appreciate it. If you tell someone you want to get in their pants while in combat, however, they will likely think that now is not the best time. It's an interesting idea that could be fun to play around with, but the question is whether you'd really keep using it throughout the game. The shooting mechanics looked pretty solid, but they were not very remarkable either. It doesn't appear to play like Gears, perhaps being more akin to Vanquish without the sliding around and style that Platinum's shooter had.  And that's the thing. Binary Domain needs either a really good story or some great level design to make it interesting to play with the shooting mechanics as they look right now. Just having ok shooting doesn't cut it anymore and after Shadows of the Damned's appalling initial sales, a game like this will need something more than interesting squad development to stand a chance.

When Jim Sterling saw Binary Domain in action for the first time at E3, he covered most of what the game is about but felt like the game needed some special sauce to make it stand out in the crowd. During an extensive lo...


New Binary Domain screenshots be bringin' the brown

Aug 17
// Jim Sterling
Sega has put up some new screenshots for Binary Domain, and it's looking as washed-out as ever. I really hope they put some bolder colors in before this game releases, because it's looking so very unremarkable. I don't like t...

Binary Domain screens bring the grey, grey, grey

Aug 03
// Jim Sterling
Binary Domain may be the most grey game I have ever seen. There's some interesting design at play, especially with the game's various robots, but the actual scenery is as drab as they come. It's not even a pleasant grey (such...

Binary Domain story trailer has robots doing robot things

Jun 21
// Jim Sterling
Here's a trailer for Binary Domain, a game I saw at E3 and really wanted to like. As I said before, I really dig the style of the story, even if it's not doing anything particularly new on the narrative front. Done well, I a...

E3: I really *want* to like Binary Domain

Jun 08 // Jim Sterling
I want to like Binary Domain because it speaks to me on a narrative and stylistic level. The story revolves around robots that have been produced to replicate humans in terms of emotions and intelligence. Unfortunately, the robots inherit ambition and ego as well, and thus seek to usher in the next stage of human evolution.  Stories about robots gaining sentience and overthrowing their human masters always appeal to me, and the intro cinematic to Binary Domain is pulled off with a great sense of flare, even if it's not wholly original. One particular section shows an angry, emotional man waving a gun. He looks and acts human, but in a later shot, half his face his missing and revealing a metallic skull underneath. This sense of lines blurring between humans and robots is carried through into the logo, which has a skull split in half -- one side human and the other cybernetic. Of course, great concepts don't always equal great games, and Binary Domain's position as a lesser publicized SEGA title makes it ripe for the same issues that plague many potentially awesome mid-tier titles.  From what I've seen, Binary Domain is a decent third person shooter in which cover is used and enemy robots take procedural damage. If you shoot a robot's leg, it can come off and the opponent could crawl toward you and grab at your ankles. I love how creepy the enemy robots can be. The regular drone moves in a way that clearly tries to mimic human movement, but doesn't quite work thanks to its thin, lanky stature and clinical motions. The game is pre-alpha so the visuals are rough, but if they can improve the graphics and animations, these robots could be potentially unnerving foes. They are foes that you can also shoot the heads off of, and they will wander aimlessly around the environment. They then run the risk of shooting their allies, who will identify them as a threat and attempt to kill. I hope they add more neat tricks like that. Players take on the role of Dan, a guy sent into Tokyo to apprehend a man suspected of building illegal robots that resemble humans. You can choose a variety of squadmates -- a heavy weapons guy, a sniper, a tactician and a demolitions officer -- who each have their own skills. Before each level you can choose from various skills to compliment your playstyle, The biggest feature is voice recognition. Squad mates will respond to your commands via a simple headset. You can call an ally by name and then shout out a simple order such as "Charge" to let them do their thing. If you're downed, you can shout "Help" for a recovery, and you can even say "Okay" to a team mate's suggestion. It is not complex stuff at all, but it is clean and it works.  Binary Domain is a game that excites me in concept, but I want to remain apprehensive about its chances as a final product. I definitely want to love it, and I will be keeping an eye on it, because I think this game is definitely onto something. It all hinges on whether or not the game develops a compelling story and does unique things with its promisingly creepy robot enemies. If it just aims for a simple shooter, it won't do well. If it aims higher, it could achieve something special.  I wish it the very best of luck.

Not a lot has been seen of the SEGA-published Binary Domain since the first trailer released last year. Behind closed doors, however, we got a chance to see the game in action and get to grips with this third-person-shooter involving sentient robots.  I will say this -- I really want to like the game. 

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