E3 2011: Binary Domain

E3 2011: Binary Domain

When I first saw the trailer for Binary Domain a month or two ago, I thought to myself, “Hm. Did they just try to take Vanquish and make it a slower squad based shooter?” Now, Vanquish was one of my favorite games out of 2010, so this wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing; just an unoriginal thing. Luckily, from what I saw at E3, this is going to be something very different.

Let me set the scene for you. The year is 2080. The place is Tokyo. Man and machine co-exist peacefully. Japan and America are the top economic and technological powers, but Japan has returned to its isolationist roots. Somewhere, a company is manufacturing humanlike robots, which is all kinds of wrong. Suspected to be a Japanese company, the US sends a team in to Tokyo to root out the culprit and put a stop to it. Upset at the Western presence, the Japanese military sends out its robot forces to say hi.

Binary Domain is a squad shooter, with a party system to select your squad. Each selectable squad mate has a different class type, specialty, combat style, favored weapon, and more, but each can also be customized and tweaked through skill modules and skill sets. Credits are awarded by killing enemies, and can be used in store/upgrade terminals scattered throughout the world. At the terminals, you can buy health kits, ammo, weapons, gear upgrades, skills, skill upgrades, and more.

There are three things that Binary Domain does very well that really make me excited for the game:

  • Voice Commands – Binary Domain supports voice recognition through your console headset. This allows you to individually name your squadmates and give out individual orders, or give orders out to your squad as a whole. This provides the player with more control over combat situations, and seemed very well implemented.
  • Trust – Each character has a trust level in relation to your main character. Your actions and dialogue affect how much trust your squadmates have in you. Each character’s trust level affects how they interact with you and the rest of the world. If a character doesn’t trust you, they may not follow your orders, and they may not help you when you’re down.
  • Procedural Damage – Your enemies are robots. While blowing off the arm of a human opponent may give him a new set of priorities, you can’t expect the same with robots. Binary Domain implements procedural damage, meaning that if you blow off the arm of a robot enemy…well, they’ll just start shooting you with their other arm. Blow off their legs, and they’ll start shooting you and crawling towards you. Their goal is to kill you, and that won’t stop until they’ve been damaged beyond function.

The campaign is expected to run approximately ten hours, but multiple playthroughs are recommended because of the Trust feature. Going through with different trust levels from different characters results in a different experience. The campaign is single player only, with no co-op. Online co-op is included, but only in multiplayer missions, separate from the campaign. The lack of campaign co-op is, in my opinion, the major failing of the game. Otherwise, it actually looks good. It’s expected to release in February of 2012 for 360 and PS3.

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