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E3 2011: Binary Domain First Impressions

Feature; Jun. 8, 2011; Channels: Video Games; By Robert F. Ludwick
Subtypes: Opinion, Preview
Sega's new human-robot conflict shooter was in playable form at E3...
Los Angeles, CA, USA

The premise of Binary Domain is an interesting one: Humans have developed robots to serve them, and some crackpot sets forth an army of said machines. Your job: Take them down. OK, so maybe this kind of story has been done in a similar fashion many times (and they'll be back for more stories in the future). However, I'm sure many of those stories don't have the capability for the machines to become impregnated and to produce children.

Binary Domain

Yeah... I didn't really understand that either. Apparently the robots are so humanlike that they actually think they're humans. Let's just suspend our disbelief for now and continue on with the impressions, shall we?

Binary Domain is a shooter. You're a human leading a small team against robotic hordes of all shapes and sizes. Some of these robots are mechs, and some are human-shaped. None, however, truly look like humans, so I'm not sure where these humanlike creatures are supposed to appear. You can select squad members to create a unique tactical group for the mission at hand, such as selecting a special ops member and a demolitions member.

This is your standard cover shooter when it's all said and done. You take cover, pop out, and shoot. So far, I haven't seen anything that sets it apart from modern shooters, save for occasional weapon boosts and upgrades that allow you to take on enemies in different ways. You can give squad commands, such as cover me and charge, which are quite useful. Reportedly, your actions with your squad can affect their future performance in combat. If you're always sending them into danger, they may be less apt to follow orders to their fullest extent, while trying to save your squad from harm will result in positive goodwill. I didn't see this happening, but it's an interesting mechanic if they pull it off properly.

The cover system could use a little work. The same button is used to run and take cover, which is fine. You hold the button to run forward and to take cover, and you tap the button to roll. However, it's intuitive to tap the button when next to cover to take said cover. Tapping doesn't work in this contextual situation, and you end up rolling in place behind your cover. It's little things like this that could use polish.

Overall, Binary Domain is a good-looking game that needs a bit more work and polish. I'm still hoping for something to set it apart from the market; otherwise it may get lost in the shuffle.

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