At first glance, it looks like a regular sci-fi third person shooter. And deep down, once you get past the loading screen, it turns out… it is.
But what’s wrong with that?
We all love putting ridiculous guns in our hands, running around a large metropolis, and hunting things that are in no way a possibility. But with Binary Domain, they take all that normality, and expand upon it.
The storyline is the typical “Robots become our slaves, and an evil person/corporation decides to make some look and act human, which of course is against the law, and now a handful of people need to bring him/her/them down.” It all feels very Blade Runner, Terminator and Animatrix. But what I did like about the story is that for once the Japanese are the bad guys! No Germans, no Middle Easterners, and no Russians! How refreshing.
Story aside, some simple game mechanics help to define this game as something more than your typical war shooter. You campaign with up to 4 other characters that are NPC or Co-op players. Each character has his or her own assets that they bring to the table. You might have a character that utilizes the shot gun for up close and personal combat, or a large man who knows his way around a Mini-Gun. Each player comes preset, but you are given freedom to customize.
How about leveling up? Each kill gives you an experience point-esque form of currency which you can use to purchase the upgrades and weapons from any vending machine (a la Dead Space). Though this is a game mechanic that sort of draws me out of the experience, it at least is an option. You can also pick up artillery and firepower from fallen droids and drones.
A cool feature (cool if done well) is the Trust feature. The trust feature works both ways. You can earn it and lose it. I wasn’t given much information on exactly how the Trust will change the overall outcome, but I was told that depending on character choice in relation to their trust towards you, it could present B storylines and events. How can I earn/lose trust? A buddy gets hit in the head by a laser toting robot, he’s bleeding pretty badly, and his screams ring out for help from a medic. What do you do? Help him (gain Trust) or not (lose Trust)? It works as simply as that.
Another great feature is the voice command. This is an optional feature. You could also just press buttons that show up on your screen. For those of you who have headsets and love shouting out orders to your teammates in co-op will be able to not only yell out simple commands to your troops, but are also able to dish out banter. This will also coincide with the Trust system. You can develop relationships with your AI teammates. As for Co-op with online buddies, the game will support online but not split-screen multiplayer.
Then there’s the epic boss battles. A large spidery-bot comes trampling through Japan, in the middle of the city, and only you and your two other buddies are supposed to bring it down.
In fact, in each of the game’s six “lengthy” chapters, there are at least three colossal sized bosses. Each boss is a puzzle, whereas you need to “discover” its weak spot before you can even attempt to bring it to its knees. I was given a 10 minute show of the Spider Robot Boss, and even though the game designer was the one playing the level, he wasn’t able to find its weakness. So the bosses are large, mean, tricky, and they don’t go down easy. Not by a long shot! The boss battles alone are enough to get me eager for this one.