Binary Domain 2011 E3 Preview

Set in 2080, Binary Domain takes place in Tokyo, Japan, the leading power behind robotics development. It is a world where machines and man coexist normally in everyday life. That is until someone illegally develops a robot that looks and acts like a human. Enter Dan Marshal, a member of an international organization sent in to investigate the situation. Japan doesn’t take kindly to foreign intervention, and in a shady deal formed with the robotic developers, tries to stop Dan Marshal and his squad.

The game plays like your typical third-person, over-the-shoulder shooter. You need to dodge gunfire, hide behind barricades, and blow up robots. Filled with high adrenaline action sequences and combat, Binary Domain looks like a cross between iRobot and Terminator, mixed with Gears of War gameplay.

Before the chapter begins, you will select which of your party members will go with you on the the mission. Each character has a unique gun-set and skillset. In every chapter you can expect to face a horde of robot armies followed by 2-3 large scale bosses. These bosses are all unique and require different methods to destroy them. You must constantly assess the situation and act accordingly. You are rewarded with credits paid to you per enemy killed. Using these credits you can buy new weapons, supplies, or skill set upgrades.

Using a new proprietary game engine, Binary Domain’s AI is extremely intelligent. It uses a procedural damage system. In other words, the machines respond to where you shoot them. Let’s say you blow their arm off– they will respond accordingly and attempt to pick up their gun with the other arm. If you destroy their legs, they will continue to crawl towards you and try to grab you. In what was my favorite moment of the game, we shot the head off of one robot. The headless robot continued to fire, blindly hitting an ally. The ally responded by destroying the headless robot. It is this intelligent AI that makes the combat sequences unique, fresh, and fun.

An interesting aspect of the game was the trust levels of your fellow squad members towards Dan. These trust levels will fluctuate depending on the execution and success of missions, how well you carry out the orders, and how you respond to various situations. If you say you are going to cover them then it better be done. If you don’t, their trust in you will drop. That results in them being more hesitant the next time you give them an order. These trust levels will affect AI actions, cut scene developments, and the plot of the entire game.

Binary Domain supports voice input. You can give your squad orders through a microphone rather than selecting it in the game. This creates a more simplified and interactive experience with the game. Remember though, your order will ultimately effect the trust of your squad, so make sure it’s a smart one.

Binary Domain looks like an entertaining 3rd person shooter with a lot of potential. The game was previewed in the pre-alpha stage, and it played great. As production continues, the play value and overall quality will only continue to improve. Binary Domain is definitely on my list of games to keep an eye on during development.