by Liam Edwards
previewed on X360
Binary Domain is the new title from Sega Japan and the creators of the Yakuza series. Binary Domain is a quite a divergence, with the game taking place in Tokyo circa 2080. It is a third-person squad-based shooter, with the player taking control of Dan, the leader of the RUST unit. In Dan's 2080 world, robots have become a part of everyday life, with robots being used for jobs, everyday tasks and even the police force. The story takes ideas from past robot films and stories by creating a world where there is no trouble between humanity and robots. That is, until recent events created the Hollow Children, robots who believe they are human.
Creating such a robot is illegal, and this is where Dan comes in. He and his team are sent to Tokyo to find out why this is happening and where the Hollow Children are coming from.
Actions have consequences
The first thing Sega and both producer Jun Yoshino and director Daisuke Sato were keen to point out to us at the GamesCom Sega booth, was that this was not “Japanese terminator.” They stressed that although a key element of the game was fighting against robots and other A.I machines, the robots mean humans no harm. But because Dan and his team are performing a covert operation, they are treated as hostiles within Tokyo and have to deal with not just the enemies of the game but the police force too.
Players can choose to have a variety of different team mates in the RUST unit. In the demo we experienced at GamesCom, Dan was accompanied by Chinese sniper Faye and the French robot Cain. Each has their own set of unique abilities and acts of their own accord depending on their skill type. One of the major points of Binary Domain is the relationship between Dan and his team mates. Throughout missions and various conversations with the characters, players can choose to respond through a variety of different sayings or points of action, much like those seen in games such as Mass Effect or Alpha Protocol. The members of the squad will then act accordingly to what is decided by the player. The teammates can either have a positive or negative response depending on what the player makes Dan say or how he acts in actions of the game. This is Binary Domain's “Consequence system.”
We witnessed the two different outcomes of a scenario where it became apparent that choices make a huge difference to the way the game is played out. In the scenario when Faye and Cain don't trust Dan, they wouldn't follow commands and decided when to take matters into their own hands. When Dan is injured he can call for assistance from his team mates, but if the relationship isn't strong then the team won't risk their lives to help. Although this makes taking out enemies harder and puts the player at a slight disadvantage, Sega reassured us that there are two sides to every coin. Binary Domain also has very score-heavy gameplay, with each level being ranked on the amount of points a player can score within a level, an addition that is taken straight from Japanese arcade games. This means that in scenarios where team mates aren't cooperating and Dan has to do everything himself, the player will gain more points.
In the same section of the level, when Dan and his team mates have a good relationship the game takes a different course. When commands are shouted this time the team follows them no questions asked. The noticeable difference in difficulty seemed apparent too, with your A.I team taking more risks and advancing forwards more to attack enemies head on. If Dan is hurt and needs assistance, happy team mates will dive in the line of fire to save him. Keeping your team happy or completely being a dick to them is player choice, and although there seemed to be a lack of depth with how you effect your team's attitude towards you, the outcomes are rather large.