by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
Blade Runner in Tokyo
What will the future hold for mankind? Will we be living alongside robotic beings that are so lifelike that they themselves do not even know that they are androids? In a similar vein to the Sci-fi cult movie, Blade Runner, that is exactly the premise of Binary Domain. Set in the year 2080, a team of soldiers known as a Rust Crew has been sent in to a futuristic Tokyo. They need to find and arrest Yoji Amada the creator of the outlawed Hollow Children, androids that are so human looking that even they don’t know that they’re robots.
Cast as American Dan Marshall, it is your job to find Amada. It won’t be easy though, as Amada is a man that doesn’t want to be found and puts waves upon waves of robotic impediments in your way. But thankfully, you don’t have to go it alone. To begin with, your friend Roy ‘Big Bo’ Boateng is at your side, but as you progress you meet up with other members of the supposedly covert operation. Throughout the game, you get to choose who you would like to take into combat with you, as many of the missions require the team to be split, with you leading one of the groups.
The third person shooter style works rather well. Although you only get to play as Dan, you can direct the other members of your current squad using a number of generic commands at your disposal. Asking your teammates to charge or regroup can really be a help, although, they won’t take too lightly to constant charging headlong into the enemy whilst you sit back in relative safety. And you can sit safely in most situations thanks to the cover system and the ample walls, crates and vehicles scattered through the landscapes.
The cover system is one of the better ones out there. Your character moves behind any object that he can hide behind when asked. Once in a covered position, Dan can move from side to side allowing him to shoot around either side of the object he is covering behind. But if you move out of cover too long, your robotic enemies are able to target you, so it pays to get back under cover after taking your shots. The enemy AI uses the cover nicely as well, hiding behind boxes and low walls just as you would. From their position, they will move to the side or stand up to get a shot at you, and this leaves them vulnerable.
Hitting the scrap-heads, as Dan calls them, in various locations upon their bodies, can affect the outcome of a fire fight. A well placed headshot will confuse the robot, and it will then proceed to shoot at its allies. Shooting them in the legs will disable them somewhat, but just like the Terminator they’ll still crawl towards you and shoot at you (albeit it quite slowly) until you put an end to them permanently. Destroying the robots gains you a couple of rewards. Firstly, as with most shooters, they often leave excess ammo and weapons for you to pick up. But you also score credits which you can then spend at numerous vending-machine like panels. In a similar way to the Bioshock vending machines, you can spend your credits to top up ammo, purchase health packs or increase your weapon proficiency in a number of areas. Not only that, but you can increase the efficiency of your teammates.
Watching a headless robot shoot his teammates whilst watching other legless robots continue to crawl at you is a great feature.
Controls have been poorly ported from the console versions