Game Journal: Binary Domain

Binary Domain Box
One of the games I picked up last Christmas was Binary Domain, which I talked about earlier on the site. In Binary Domain’s universe, robots have become so advanced that a clause in the New Geneva Convention was made to prohibit the creation of robots that looked like humans. Apparently the porn industry isn’t as powerful in the future as it is today. If they can get us the internet and Blu-Rays then why can’t they get us robots that can pass as humans? Anyway, the Amada corporation in Japan has been accused of breaking the treaty. The twist, though, is that Amada’s robots (called Hollow Children) think that they’re human. Like a Republican, except more competent.
I pay taxes and change my batteries just like any other American.

I pay taxes and change my batteries just like any other American.

So you play as Lieutenant Sargent Dan Marshall , who is part of the Rust Crew, an international team of soldiers in charge of keeping the peace between humans and robots. Once I saw my team, I wasn’t sure if they were earnestly using sterootypes or making fun of them. We’ve got Dan, the trigger-happy, wise-cracking American. Next we have “Big Bo”, the gigantic black man who cusses more than an inner-city middle-schooler. We also have the British soldier, Charles. Make sure you call him Charles and not “Charlie”, because you know, HE’S BRITISH. We also have the French guy who dies two minutes after he’s introduced (his name is Jean, in case his inability to fight wasn’t French enough for the audience). And last on the lazy characterization train is Faye Lee, the Chinese woman who is good at everything.

There’s also a French robot named Cain. Cain is an odd fellow. I think he’s defective. You should be able to teach robots languages by isntaalling them right? Then why does he have a French accent? And why does he throw random French words into his sentences?  Oh yeah and there’s Rachel. No one cares about Rachel…WHY DOES THE ROBOT NEED THE SAME MEDKITS THAT COULD BE SAVING MY LIFE?

Up yours, Monsieur.

Up yours, Monsieur.

The game starts out with you and Big Bo trying to get into Japan. One waterslide chase later, you meet up with Faye and the Brits. Seeing the path of explosions and death we left behind us, Charlie asks us if Americans know the meaning of “covert”. I’m sure none of the characters in this game know what that word means. We’re all armed to the teeth with perfectly visible high-powered rifles and explosives. There are at least two instances where we’re in the middle of the crowded Tokyo public. They say Japan is weird, but you don’t know the half of it. If a team of heavily armed foreigners bust out of the sewer in America, they would be promptly shot from eight different angles before they could spit out their first annoying catchphrase.  But I guess they have bigger things to worry about in Japan. Godzilla, maybe? I don’t know.

I tell you, if this game was released fifteen years earlier it would have been the best light-shooter at the arcade. I really hope that at the very least they make this game PS Move compatible, if not make a complete classic arcade version. All you have to do is include a microphone, a small touchscreen (to control your movement) and tone down the boss battles. The bosses really aren’t as hard as they are long, frustrating and repetitive. Oh and if they’re improving the game, put some objective markers in it. For a linear game, I sure spent a lot of time running around trying to figure out where I was supposed to go.

Anybody got a map?

Anybody got a map?

The last thing I want to talk about is the end of the game’s story (SPOILERS). So you finally make it into Amada’s building and you find out that Hollow Children have the ability to reproduce with regular humans. Their offspring have no mechanical traces and are physically and mentally superior to regular humans. It turns out that Faye is one of these hybrids. This is where things get tricky. Rust Crews have been ordered to kill all hybrids to avoid their assimilation into the human race. But let’s back up for a second. The reason the Rust Crew is in Japan is completely political. The Hollow Children and their offspring never hurt anyone. The only reason they were created was because the original AI that Amada built felt the need to have children just like a human. Not for world domination. The hybrids are resistant to disease and are stronger mentally and physically. Their breeding with the human race would in the long term make human beings a healthier and more resilient species. This was a huge shock. The story for most of the game is pretty much just run-of-the-mill Sci-Fi, but what you get at the end is like something that Isaac Asimov would have been proud of.

Woah.

Woah.

There are at least two endings. In the one I got, the black guy dies (heeheehee) and so does Rachel, the British girl. Cain was never killed, but everyone just sort of forgot about him. Faye has to run away because other Rust Crews have been ordered to kill her. At the end you see her being stalked by half a dozen robots, a guy in a mech and two soldiers when Dan busts out of nowhere and takes them all out with a minigun. I’m really disappointed that the game didn’t play America Fuck Yeah while he did it.


5 Comments

  1. G January 29, 2013 8:37 am  Reply

    ‘And last on the lazy characterization train is Faye Lee, the Chinese woman who is good at everything.’

    Theres a reason for that if you followed the story genius.

    • Norbert Daniels Jr. January 29, 2013 8:46 am  Reply

      I know, I mentioned the hybrids’ advantages twice. And don’t you think it’s pretty predictable that it would be the Chinese girl to be like this?

  2. Vulgar January 29, 2013 12:11 pm  Reply

    I have to disagree with pretty much all of this review. Binary Domain was a pretty damn good game honestly. One of those that fell unjustly under the radar this year. The characters being stereotypes is pretty atypical of Japanese developed games and it honestly made it much easier to use the interaction system for praise/denegration, etc… The relationship mechanic wasn’t utilized as well as it could of been, but, I did see moments of brilliance in it. I think like pretty much anything else, you’ll get out of it what you put in. I found myself invested in the characters, the lore, and the story by the end and felt rewarded with a pretty damn decent game. Sure it didn’t have the amazing storyline of Spec Ops or the tight game mechanics of Black Ops II, but it did have a quirky little heart. Played through Binary Domain twice at this point and am loaning it out to anyone even remotely interested in games.

    • Norbert Daniels Jr. January 29, 2013 1:28 pm  Reply

      Oh, don’t get me wrong, I really like this game. I wouldn’t be talking about it otherwise. And this isn’t a review, really. I’m just talking about the things that really stood out to me or I thought were funny. The story and characters for most of the game is average really, but not bad. It was really a shock that the story got so deep and thought-provoking at the end.

      • Vulgar January 29, 2013 1:35 pm  Reply

        The mechanics and setting kept me going but the late game shift in tone and quality of writing was definitely the center piece of the whole game. There were truly humorous moments along the way, I think some were definitely intentional and others may have been lost in translation. Either way, this game scratched the dystopian, cyber-punk itch like few others have in quite awhile.

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