What if you lived in a world where robots were as prevalent as humans? You'd see them every day--in the street, at your workplace, in the coffee shop--made to mimic the human figure but easily identifiable as machines. But what if the gap narrowed to the point where human and humanlike robot were indistinguishable to the naked eye? The soldiers in Binary Domain have dedicated themselves to preventing such a world. It's a familiar futuristic trope, and much about this third-person cover-based shooter is familiar. But if you probe past the humdrum fundamentals, Binary Domain reveals some intriguing elements that boost its appeal beyond the ordinary.
6364769NoneFrom chauvinistic remarks to tactical commands to cries for help, there's plenty to say in Binary Domain.
The first of these rewards lies in the shooting mechanics. The key is not so much what guns you are shooting (a basic military arsenal with scant futuristic touches) but, rather, whom you are shooting. Your enemies are robotic, most of them humanoid, and they break apart in such a marvelous variety of ways that you won't soon tire of fighting them. Armor plates burst off in showers of sparks, and explosions send enemies rag-dolling, but the real treat is what they do when injured. They limp. They hop. They crawl. They doggedly pursue you until you deliver the killing blow, and the realistic animations are a treat even after you've downed hundreds of foes.
Just as these enemies liven up the standard gunplay, the clever designs also liven up the many drab corridors and bland rooms you encounter in the campaign. You spend a lot of time popping in and out of cover, as well as moving through conventional futuristic-looking environments, but if you take a moment to look around, there are some cool things to see. A massive agricultural complex doesn't just look cool and evoke the human goo farms of The Matrix, but it also resonates strongly with the struggles this society faces and the solutions it has devised.
On the other end of the size spectrum, hand dryers that look like jet turbines offer a glimpse at what the Dysons of the future might engineer. The eye-catching elements aren't everywhere you look, not by a long shot, but these environmental highlights are what you'll remember when the campaign ends. (Oh, and the Tully's Coffee shop, which is the most incongruous and unexpected product placement to come along in a great while.)
Borrowing an enemy's gun can be a boon.