Binary Domain (2012)
You’ve seen Binary Domain in one form or another before: there’s a robot menace, a future dystopian setting and nefarious government bodies at work. With lashings of Blade Runner and I, Robot, and the borrowed cover mechanics of the Gears of War series, Binary Domain is nothing new, and yet it comes with tricks up its sleeve that have gone unnoticed.
Ostensibly a cover shooter, the game is spliced with surprising amounts of variety, though you’ll spend the bulk of your time picking off robot baddies. Each shot strips away their armor and bit by bit you reveal their fragile exoskeleton, while a well-placed shot to the leg will cause them to crawl towards you in snail-like pursuit. But you’ll also take part in QTE sequences, boss fights and pick up new teammates along the way.
Yes, teammates. As new recruits join your ranks, Binary Domain grants you the ability to get to know your squad. One of the lesser known features at work here is that you can affect your team’s morale and arrive at a slightly different ending depending on the way you act during the game. In theory, it works well. In execution, it’s a little underdone, but a nice addition all the same.
A sagging middle stretch kills the pace, but when Binary Domain is good it’s moreish in the extreme. Thanks to rock solid shooting mechanics and an enemy presence that’s properly written into the fabric of the world, this is one that deserved more attention than it received.