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LTTP: Binary Domain (PC)

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LTTP or ‘late to the party’ pieces are opportunities for me to catch up and write about games I missed out on the first time around. They may contain spoilers.

I, Robot was a neat movie. I enjoyed it for its sleek portrayal of the future and its lessons about humans and their relationship with robots. Sega’s Toshihiro Nagoshi must have been a fan of the movie as well because so much of that movie came through to me whilst I was playing through it.

It’s disappointing then to realize that noticing the I, Robot comparisons is the highlight of the game for me. Now that isn’t to say there weren’t other noteworthy moments and aspects littered throughout. The strengths of the Yakuza studio shines through as well and I was pleasantly surprised by how well the game controls. It’s just unfortunate that pacing issues bogs down the game so much.

Binary Domain was a solid third person shooter which was surprising considering the history this studio has with “shooting” in general. With that stigma out of the way I was able to focus on the action and what this game was bringing to the table in that regard.

Dismembering robots should be the most satisfying and terrifying moment in a game like this. The legless robots continued to pursue me like the dismembered ninjas in Ninja Gaiden 2 but they did so without the same bite. I would go as far as to say that dismemberment was useless once I got a hang on the recoil through practice and levelling up of weaponry — which didn’t take long at all.

I play through games on the highest available difficulty for situations like this because it should allow more strategies to surface. I should not be able to stand up and dish out headshots all day if I’m under fire from the enemy. In the beginning, when there were robots who are rushing towards me at lightning speeds and my allies are struggling to handle the fodder, I experienced moments of duress and was forced to take out those mechanized legs. As I continued to play through the game, looking forward to more scenarios and different enemy types but they never materialized. Apparently the robotics manufacturers of Binary Domain were content with creating fodder.

Even with numbers, these robots were easily dispatched because once they were headless they were on my side and continued distract and destroy their former comrades. I kept knocking that domino down over and over again because it was just too easy not to.

Headshots were the solution to the bosses as well. They were more elaborate in their attacks and I often had to peel off their armor with gunfire first but it boiled down to shooting their weakest point rather quickly. At this point, I was tangoing with a naked robot, shooting their glowing foreheads while rolling and dodging their attacks. They take away that satisfying moment of exposing a boss’ weak point far too quickly and drag the moment of shooting it in the face for far too long.

After a battle, Bo, Faye or whomever I have in my squad would ask for my opinion. I’m supposed to respond with a microphone using predetermined phrases but I didn’t feel compelled to go down that path. Instead I chose to use their voiceless option and choose my answers with button prompts. This was awkward because I would be asked something and the protagonist would not say a word despite having a voice of his own during cutscenes.

I was not a fan of these interludes because they didn’t offer much of anything. Answering with anything other than the most positive response would take away from my “trust” rating  with the character. Apparently this rating can unlock alternate scenes but I didn’t invest much time to ensure I was getting the most out of that system.

I liked all of the characters that I met along the way. They played to stereotypes but they were fun regardless of that fact. I have to credit them for developing such a likeable crew of heroes though. The journey would have been unbearably boring without them.

I didn’t expect Binary Domain to open my eyes to the wonders of robotics or third person shooting. I actually thought it was going to struggle with the fundamentals. Binary Domain was solid all around and was only hindered by the poor pacing and lack of diversity in its encounters. Both of those areas can be rectified in a second attempt which I sincerely hope this studio gets. It doesn’t have to be Binary Domain 2; just another chance up at bat.

Verdict:
Worth a Try

Ratings Guide

For more information on Binary Domain, visit the official website.

2010 PC Rev. 1.2 was used to play Binary Domain.

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