Binary Domain – Review (PS3)

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Set in Tokyo far into the future (2080), Binary Domain tells the story of Sergeant Dan Marshall and his team. They are a ‘Rust Crew’ sent in to investigate and, if needed, eliminate ‘Hollow Children’ – robots that can pass as humans that have been banned by the New Geneva Convention.

Helped by a motley band of fellow specialists, including the wonderfully comic Big Bo, Marshall must track down the head of a Japanese corporation suspected of producing Hollow Children.

Gameplay-wise the game treads familiar ground – it’s a third person action title but with some nice combat ideas. You can dismember the robots to slow them down or disarm them (literally!) and if you can knock their head off they will just attack whatever is closest to them – very handy when faced with large groups of enemies.

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Graphically the game is pretty decent and the look of the characters is good, especially Cain – one of the few friendly robots in the game. The controls felt a little sluggish at times for a game that has some fairly frantic action moments. I also encountered a few instances where I just didn’t know what to do to proceed, a few prompts from team-mates may have helped.

Binary Domain is a fairly linear experience in terms of level design and levels are livened up with some on-rails shooting or big boss battles. However the interaction with your squad is clever and their responses to your conversations are interesting to say the least.

While it’s linear in terms of getting from Point A to Point B for each mission, the chats you have with your squad affects the trust they have in you. This trust level can have an effect on the story, leading to a few different variations on the game’s ending. It says a lot about how well implemented this is that I had no idea it was even possible until a few days after I’d finished it, when I was checking some stuff out online.

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Binary Domain seems to be one of the last of a dying breed – the middle ground game between small PSN titles and huge games with massive budgets. We’ve seen a few over the last couple of years – things like Bulletstorm, Singularity or Shadows Of The Damned – and unfortunately it appears these titles just aren’t selling enough to justify people making them.

Which is a real shame – Binary Domain and the titles I mentioned above are games that are definitely worth playing. Certainly Binary Domain may lack the polish of an Uncharted or Dead Space but they showcase some interesting ideas and stories that I’d recommend exploring.

Rating: 8/10

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