Binary Domain – The Review

Binary Domain – The Review
4.0/5 Review Score:

Although Binary Domain was only officially released yesterday (24th Feb) in the UK, and isn’t released until the 28th of Feb over in the States, I was able to get my hands on a copy early and as such have been blasting my way through the SEGA release, Binary Domain (available on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3).

I like many people was initially skeptical about the game when I first heard about it. I wasn’t sure if Sega could compete in a market heavily dominated by Gears of War and Call of Duty. Needless to say the trailer managed to wet my appetite a little bit, but playing the Binary Domain demo had me wanting more and more.

For those that don’t know;

Binary Domain is an original squad-based shooter by Toshihiro Nagoshi, the creator behind some of Sega’s most well-known video game franchises, including the critically acclaimed Yakuza series. Binary Domain puts players in the middle of a fast paced and intense battle for humanity in a robot-invaded 2080 Tokyo. Fighting through the derelict lower levels of the city, players control an international peace-keeping squad that soon starts to question their surroundings and the choices they make. Are the robots becoming more human, or are humans becoming more like machines?

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The graphics would be great if it wasn’t for the glow on the “human” characters faces which seems to give it more of a cartoony feel (not really noticeable outside of cut scenes). If it was just based on the background graphics, or those of the robots, then it would definitely be nothing short of superb. The detail of the robots is amazing with each layer of armor you shoot off shows more detail, whether this be wires or metal rods the designers have really gone to town on the depth of detail on them.

One thing I tried but couldn’t get on with was the voice recognition feature (I used a headset rather than kinect). Throughout the game your “squad” will interact with you, asking a range of questions, or giving you information. You can then reply to them through your mic, using set key words. The same also applies when asking for help, covering fire, regroup etc. Unfortunately though I spent a long time (even after doing the recognition tests) listening to the computer saying they couldn’t understand me, or to repeat what I’d just said… Even if I hadn’t actually said anything. So I opted for the other option, and that was to take my mic out, and use the controls to answer questions and issue orders.

I found the controls to be easy grasp however, with the same button being used to run, roll and hide behind objects, it did on occasion end up with me being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It didn’t happen too often but when it did it was costly so I occasionally found myself restarting from a checkpoint which was a fair distance from where I died. The other controls, like aiming and shooting etc all responded well so once you get over rolling instead of taking cover, you should be fine.

One thing I did like about the Binary Domain was the way you have to strip down the enemies armor before they’ll die. Even the little guys took a fair few bullets before armor and/or limbs went flying everywhere, and sometimes this only meant they’d end up crawling to attack you (something Call of Duty: Zombie fans will be all too familiar with). Many may see it as being the same in all shooters (where you shoot them a lot and eventually they die) but to me. There was just something satisfying about seeing part of their armor fling off.

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For me the Binary Domain campaign was enjoyable, and something I will be playing through again (not very often people hear me say that about a game). The multiplayer however seems to be the usual generic online multiplayer we’ve all played before. A variety of game modes, all of which have been done to death, and as always people playing objective based games, but only for kills rather than the objective. I know this isn’t the games fault but it does seem to detract from it’s enjoyability somewhat.

In my experience the multiplayers main issue, was the shotgun, extremely powerful and seemed to have the ability to shoot you from a mile away. If you shot someone with the other weapons, it seemed a painstaking task with many of the bullets being absorbed with next to no damage being done at all, which inevitably meant everyone ends up using shotguns again. The maps suit the game modes, providing plenty of cover for both teams to assume vantage points, and I didn’t appear to have any connection issues either (something I can’t say about some of the bigger, better known titles). With a team of people who play for objectives then it could well be an enjoyable experience rather than one which angers me somewhat.

If I was given the choice of buying Binary Domain again, then the answer would be yes. I enjoyed the campaign, but I feel that maybe that’s where Sega should have stopped. Taking into account the issues with voice recognition, running instead of taking cover and the issues with multiplayer, I give this Sega release a well deserved 4 out of 5 and send the guys that worked on it a huge pat on the back. I’m hoping this is the start of things to come from Sega and look forward to their next shooter.

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