When you're in the field, you are frequently given the choice of which characters you want by your side, though this decision has more to do with personality than combat efficacy. You do the heavy lifting when it comes to robot killing, though your teammates aren't useless. They down some foes and can revive you when you're incapacitated, and they rarely devolve into being a liability. You can give them (and yourself) a boost by spending the credits you earn for robo slaughter at the plentiful vending machines. There are basic weapon upgrades, as well as a neat little nano-enhancement system that lets you try to maximize attribute boosts by arranging upgrade pieces of varying sizes on a small grid. It's not a huge asset, but it's a nice injection of variety and progression.
Though these upgrades don't have a big impact on your teammates, there is a way to motivate them. Contextual commands are easily accessed from a quick menu, but if you plug in a microphone, you can use upward of 70 voice phrases to communicate with your AI allies. Tactical orders (retreat, charge), positive reinforcement (awesome, nice work), chastising remarks (idiot, you fool), personal admissions (I like you, lookin' pretty sweet), and vulgar curses (choice four-letter words) are all included in Binary Domain's sizable lexicon. The voice recognition can be unreliable, and dealing with ambient noise and third-party hardware can present issues, but it's never crucial to survival, so these issues are merely frustrating rather than downright aggravating.
Not all robots aspire to look human.
When the campaign comes to a climax and concludes (somewhere in the nine-hour ballpark), you'll be happy you saw it through, but get ready to temper that enthusiasm if you hop online for multiplayer. The cooperative Invasion mode has plenty of robot killing for up to four players, but the repetitive environments and bland soldiers aren't much encouragement for soldiering on through 50 waves of enemies. The competitive multiplayer has a basic suite of modes for up to 10 players, with variants that disallow respawning. Though you can get into some good matches, the maps are uninspired and practically encourage spawn camping. Furthermore, both online modes are hampered by lag, which results in visual bugs and connection issues.
So Binary Domain is a bad bet for the multiplayer aficionado, but for those looking for a shooter campaign with a refreshing vibe, it's a very good choice. The variety and destructibility of the enemies, the intriguing and well-paced environments, and the lively and colorful cast all combine to make Binary Domain an enjoyable and energetic success.