Binary Domain

Dec 8, 2014 // 5 minutes

This right here is the definition of an underrated game in my eyes. I’ve seen it on sale quite a bit and it’s been around for quite a few years but I never really see anyone talk about it or recommend it! It ticks the main boxes in what I look for which are an interesting concept backed up by an enjoyable story, interesting characters and gameplay that I don’t find boring, even 8 hours in to the title.

The story is originally what got me interested in this game. I actually pre- ordered it back when it released based on no more than a story trailer which generally is a dumb idea but I was gladly surprised at what I received! The premise is that it’s the future and the world is finally at a point where we have robots to assist humanity both in industrial settings and in the home. It’s soon exposed however, that there are also robots who have the appearance of humans but they themselves are not even aware that they are robots. Your objective in the game is to track down the mastermind who has started creating illegal types of robots and take them down but of course, there are twists along the way that make for an interesting science fiction story. I can ’t think of a lot of games that actually have science fiction stories that explore concepts such as the one Binary Domain looks at and I really do hope we get more! I actually genuinely wanted to find out what was going on instead of feeling like I was plowing through a bunch of boring nonsense just to get to the ending like a lot of games I ’ve come across lately.

The characters are also a part of the game I really enjoyed. Some people might argue that they’re pretty generic but I’d disagree. You’ve got the protagonist who is your average white male hero, your “best bro” african american pal, an asian love interest, a male and female British MI6 duo and a French combat robot who all form your team assisting you along the way. I realised while replaying that you’ve actually got quite a diverse set of nationalities in the game when you think about it. Along the way, you’ll run into events where your team splits up and you’re given the chance to pick who is on your team, generally 2 members excluding yourself.

The dev team put special care into the voice overs so no matter what two characters you pick, they will have completely different conversations than if you ’d matched up other characters lending itself very well to replayability as well as giving you the opportunity to learn more about characters you care about! There are also times during the action where a character might ask you a question or confirm a tactic with you and you’re given the chance to respond in a few different ways. It’s a neat way of making the character feel like they have a bit more involvement in the interactions between team mates. There is also a trust system which, I thought was just tied into the AI and how likely it is to aid you but it actually turns out that there are some elements of the story that alter a bit. If certain characters have low trust, eg; from disagreeing with them too much or shooting them accidentally, they may betray you at certain key points in the ending so in that sense, there’s a “best” ending you can get. I didn’t actually realise that even after having played through twice since I must have had trust just high enough both times. It’s a game that still keeps on surprising me!

The game itself is a third person shooter that I really think should feel boring but for some reason, it just doesn’t. I think it’s probably because the enemies, being robots, have this strange way of just slowly falling apart as you pump them full of bullets. Their legs might shatter and they ’ll slowly crawl along the ground towards you or perhaps instead you just shoot off their arms making them sorta just run at you. Likewise, it transfers over to really fun boss battles where it feels like you’re tearing the hull of whatever cybernetic giant you’re fighting to shreds! I don’t even really have a lot to say about it other than it’s strangely enjoyable despite being nothing hugely out of the ordinary.

If you’re interested in picking it up, I can recommend the PC version but you ’ll likely want to play it with a controller. There’s nothing wrong with the PC controls for the most part, you can aim fine and that but having played it on PS3 the first time though and the PC version the second time, I feel that playing with a gamepad just feels nicer. The Steam version has controller support so it’s probably the best version in terms of visuals and what not but every other version will work just as fine. I’m definitely a fan of this underrated game and I really would be interested in a sequel although the game didn ’t sell a huge number of copies. It leaves itself somewhat open ended however so who knows what’s in store.