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Binary Domain


The Sarge
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Oh and a big 'thank you' to Mr. Woo for convincing me to get this game! You were completely right, I enjoyed the hell out of it :D

No probs! I wasn't sure gameplay wise but I knew you'd dig the story as it's pure Yakuza team throughout.

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Aaaaaand just completed a second run-through on the harder difficulty, unlocking the 'no mercy' difficulty. Still a great game.

I still watched a fair few of the cut-scenes; most of the short, in engine scenes, or the ones with the light banter are fine. It's just the lengthy exposition that tends to get a tad boring after a while.

Still didn't see

Cain at all after he and Faye get carted off. Must read up on the various branches you can see.

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Aaaaaand just completed a second run-through on the harder difficulty, unlocking the 'no mercy' difficulty. Still a great game.

I still watched a fair few of the cut-scenes; most of the short, in engine scenes, or the ones with the light banter are fine. It's just the lengthy exposition that tends to get a tad boring after a while.

Still didn't see

Cain at all after he and Faye get carted off. Must read up on the various branches you can see.

If everyones loyalty is at the top rate Cain comes back at the end of the game and takes the blow that kills Bo as he's the only squadmate who can survive it. You also get all the squadmates fighting with you against the last boss

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There are branches? I did wonder about the character you mention in the spoiler.

Not branches, just a couple of differences as I understand it. Like dreamy said - oh man, not

losing Bo would be suh-weeeet. Although it's a touching scene; 'Holler if you're dead...'.

It's also a neat touch when you get different chat from different characters in a later play-through.

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Picked this up cheap after deciding I wanted a generic blaster to see me through the rainy weekend and bloody hell it is excellent so far. Its fair to say it's pretty unoriginal with it's scenarios, borrowing from everywhere, but it does it so well that these stolen moments feel comfy instead of derivative. The story is intriguing with some great horror moments, at times philosophical and political, but mostly fun. This is partly down to the dynamics of your multinational elite squad of scrap-head killers - Big Bo being my clear fav, but they are all incredibly likeable. It probably helps that they shout out words of encouragement when you're playing well during combat, flattery will get you everywhere. The 'Trust' element is a nice addition also. At the moment it feels like it's channeling Mass Effect, I've had an 'encounter' with one of my squad members and discovered a way to use enemies to my advantage - love hunting for that headshot audio que on the large chaingun robots then jumping into cover as it rains hot lead down on fools. It's a very good looking game, with the occasional stunner (a wide shot of the burning train springs to mind) and the characters feel like they are actually acting for once. The set pieces are varied, don't outstay their welcome and, crucially, are very enjoyable. I just hope the second half is as good as the first...

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Gets kind of cutscene heavy towards the end though. Also I read elsewhere that if you get to the end with your trust meters very low FINAL BOSS SPOILERS

one of your squadmates will be in the final mech rather than Phillips

which if that's true then I'm going to have to reinstall it because that is crazy.

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  • 1 month later...

I bought this on Friday, as it was only ten quid in HMW. Maybe it’s the glut of decent third person shooters we’ve had recently, but I’m not all that impressed by the game. The voice recognition is properly wonky – it’s presumably supposed to allow you to easily communicate with your team, but you have to e-nun-ci-ate and repeat yourself for it to understand you, so that instead of barking off orders on the fly to your squad, it’s like grappling with a recalcitrant telephone banking system. You have to hold LB down to see what you’re supposed to say anyway, so it’s easier just to press a button - which also has the advantage of not leaving you sat there like a dickhead shouting at your Xbox.

The actual meat and potatoes of the shooting seems fine, but it’s interspersed with piss-poor minigames, like the stealth swimming where you crawl through what looks like a binbag for ten minutes, or the jetski section that’s like an early iOS game, or the sliding down a waterslide bit that’s so dull and perfunctory that I can’t even be bothered thinking up a funny simile. It’s like the developers don’t have much confidence in their own game, so they pad it out with weak, gimmicky novelty minigames, when I’d much rather just be shooting robots.

So far at any rate, the game just seems like a pale shadow of other much better games; Vanquish for example, which this resembles in the same way that a mad old tramp with one leg tooting out ‘three blind mice’ on a whistle he’s made out of a crack pipe resembles Glastonbury. When I was sliding around temporarily on the jetski in Binary Domain, I was thinking to myself that you could literally move around like this all the time in Vanquish, and also slide into a robot at top speed, do a mad kick on them that flips you up into the air in slow motion, cut off a different robots legs with a circular saw blade, and then smoke a fag.

I’ll probably complete this, as the actual shooting of robots is quite fun inbetween the cringe-making “banter” and cutscenes, but it’s pretty much Vanquish for people who wear Thundercats t-shirts that they’ve bought from HMV.

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I bought this on Friday, as it was only ten quid in HMW. Maybe it’s the glut of decent third person shooters we’ve had recently, but I’m not all that impressed by the game. The voice recognition is properly wonky – it’s presumably supposed to allow you to easily communicate with your team, but you have to e-nun-ci-ate and repeat yourself for it to understand you, so that instead of barking off orders on the fly to your squad, it’s like grappling with a recalcitrant telephone banking system. You have to hold LB down to see what you’re supposed to say anyway, so it’s easier just to press a button - which also has the advantage of not leaving you sat there like a dickhead shouting at your Xbox.

The actual meat and potatoes of the shooting seems fine, but it’s interspersed with piss-poor minigames, like the stealth swimming where you crawl through what looks like a binbag for ten minutes, or the jetski section that’s like an early iOS game, or the sliding down a waterslide bit that’s so dull and perfunctory that I can’t even be bothered thinking up a funny simile. It’s like the developers don’t have much confidence in their own game, so they pad it out with weak, gimmicky novelty minigames, when I’d much rather just be shooting robots.

So far at any rate, the game just seems like a pale shadow of other much better games; Vanquish for example, which this resembles in the same way that a mad old tramp with one leg tooting out ‘three blind mice’ on a whistle he’s made out of a crack pipe resembles Glastonbury. When I was sliding around temporarily on the jetski in Binary Domain, I was thinking to myself that you could literally move around like this all the time in Vanquish, and also slide into a robot at top speed, do a mad kick on them that flips you up into the air in slow motion, cut off a different robots legs with a circular saw blade, and then smoke a fag.

I’ll probably complete this, as the actual shooting of robots is quite fun inbetween the cringe-making “banter” and cutscenes, but it’s pretty much Vanquish for people who wear Thundercats t-shirts that they’ve bought from HMV.

Completely agree. It has its moments but I've got no idea why so many people on here go bat-shit crazy over it.

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Oh man. I came here to spread that it's been on sale for an Amazon.com download at around £6, but the deal's over now. I've been away and unable to post, so.. sorry. Here's hoping it pops up again on the Steam sale, as it's such a magnificent game.

Despite what the few dissenters above think, I'll just mention again that I easily think this is the third person shooter to go for out of any on the market right now. It's simply fantastic on all fronts. More measured than Vanquish with excellent heft to the guns, better written and more interesting than Gears of War, and... pretty much unmissable, really.

Hollar if you're dead, that was sweeeeet.

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Yeah, I caught that before it expired. Runs reasonably well, though I should really consider a new gaming PC at this point - and I'd need a working wired 360 pad to play it with as M+K is fairly awkward, and my old one's bust.

It came with a steam key, so maybe it's going to be in the steam sale?

This and Dragon's Dogma are still my games of the year so far. VF5 Final Showdown too, but that's more an updated (yet consistently excellent) game from five years ago than a brand new release.

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  • 2 weeks later...

How is the difficulty level? (I couldnt beat the first boss on Vanquish - should I give this a miss?)

It's definitely easier than Vanquish. As dreamylittledream says, Normal's a fun ride - no cakewalk but you shouldn't have many problems. Hard is pretty challenging.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Saw this in tesco for a tenner today, xbox version

http://www.edge-online.com/features/still-playing-binary-domain

Still Playing: Binary Domain

Sega’s unsung shooter is a fascinating culture clash that has too much personality to be dismissed as an also-ran, says Chris Schilling.

Binary-Domain.jpg

Binary Domain’s poor sales can be partly attributed to a shift in the games industry that mirrors the current Hollywood studio model. There, mid-budget releases are declining, as producers focus on tentpole blockbusters and teen comedies. Any that do slip the net are invariably afforded so little marketing support that they stand little chance of success. The same goes for games: all the money is in blockbuster console titles and social and mobile gaming, while the middle continues to feel the squeeze. Support for Binary Domain was almost non-existent, and so it limped into the charts before apologetically retreating from view.

Many dismissed the game as a me-too cover shooter from a Japanese studio desperate to appeal to a western audience. There is some truth in that, but timing was a factor too: this is a crowded genre at the best of times, and Binary Domain hit western shelves two weeks before the launch of Mass Effect 3. Nor should it be ignored how hard it is to make an accomplished thirdperson shooter. Many western studios have tried and failed: one need only look at Terminator: Salvation or Dead to Rights: Reckoning for evidence of that. Binary Domain’s systems were held up against the likes of Uncharted and Gears Of War, and found to come up wanting.

Protagonist Dan Marshall may not snap into or out of cover as efficiently as Nathan Drake or Marcus Fenix, but his enemy is much more interesting than Gears' meat-sponge Locust or the rent-a-goons Drake guns down with genocidal glee. Salvation may have struggled to make satisfying videogame Terminators, but Binary Domain's are fine substitutes, relentless, unyielding foes that will not stop, ever, until you are dead. They’re uncommonly reactive opponents, diving for cover when you pull out a sniper rifle and flanking when you’re dug in, and they come in several varieties that force you to adopt different approaches to survive.

They’re adaptable, too. Shoot any other enemy’s arm off, and that’s usually enough; here, there’s an eerie, unnerving calm to the way your foe sinks to one knee to pick up the weapon that fell when their limb did. Blast off their legs, and they’ll continue to drag themselves forward. Few players will complete the campaign without suffering a jolt of surprise as a prone robot, carelessly ignored, lurches forward to wrap its metallic fingers around Marshall’s leg.

What makes them such satisfying opponents is the feedback. Quite apart from blasting off a limb or a head – the latter of which is particularly useful as they're rendered unable to tell friend from foe, opening fire on their mechanoid allies – simply spraying rounds of fire into an enemy's torso scatters pieces of its protective carapace across the environment. Better still, you’re actively rewarded for doing so: the incentive for a headshot is a healthy helping of experience points, though you’ll get even more for demolishing them piece by piece. The weapons, while ostensibly an uninspiring selection, are a joy. SMG rounds buzz angrily like a swarm of metallic wasps, while the pump-action shotgun proves a delightfully uncouth way to deal with the gymnastic ninja-bots in the closing act.

binary_domain_encounter.jpg

Yet the gunplay is but one side of this intriguing culture clash. Though the story takes its cues from western sci-fi like Blade Runner and I, Robot, it’s leavened with a dose of eastern flavour. The mission might have a single, propulsive objective, but Binary Domain’s narrative is more thoughtful than that of its peers. It’s not above taking time out for some character beats, whether it’s examining the grudging alliance of the two groups of soldiers, or the ideological issues of their quest. Its cutscenes unfold in the same unhurried manner you’d expect from the team behind the Yakuza games, although they’re a little leaner, ensuring the pace isn’t allowed to drop. Its characters might veer toward cliché, but they’re better conceived than most.

What, then, was the problem? Few could surely complain about the thrilling boss battles, which rival Vanquish's hulking foes in scale and execution. Its bloodless multiplayer – a contractual obligation if ever there was one – is an issue, though that doesn’t explain the criticisms of the campaign. True, its voice recognition is sketchy, but button-controlled squad commands afford you a degree of tactical responsibility.

Perhaps, then, it was a case of expectations being dashed, the game’s trust mechanic hinting at an eastern rival to Mass Effect rather than a broadly linear shooter with light role-playing elements. Yet though the trust system may not have wide-ranging narrative ramifications, consistently strong or weak decisions have a clear impact on team-mates. We’re familiar with the idea of choices shaping storylines, but it’s refreshing to witness a tangible change in AI dynamics – even if it’s a team-mate refusing to heal you because they think you’re a pervert.

That the command menu sometimes offers you a choice between a four-letter profanity or a declaration of love is Nagoshi at his most mischievous, and it’s this eye for the ridiculous that helps give Binary Domain a stronger sense of identity. If for the most part it seems like a calculated tilt at the western market, it’s determined to maintain the blend of the real and the outlandishly fantastical that is the Yakuza games’ stock in trade. Few western games would ever introduce a character like Cain, a camp French robot apparently programmed by the writers of ‘Allo ‘Allo, nor a set-piece where several soldiers hold off waves of attackers while one of their number attends to the call of nature.

For both good and bad reasons, it feels like a Dreamcast-era title: it’s a little rough-edged with a few underdeveloped ideas, but at the same time it has a personality that you sense is sometimes focus-tested out of its contemporaries. It’s an intriguing culture clash of east and west that demonstrates the best of each region while having picked up a few bad habits from both. Mid-tier? Sure, but it’s that unusual alchemy that makes games like Binary Domain worth cherishing while they’re still around for us to appreciate.

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It really is good, isn't it? Big Bo's appeal, for me is that he is such a ridiculously over the top 'this is what Japanese game developers think black people are like' character that he's lovably annoying.

It's funny, nothing about it is particularly original, but it's the way the various elements are put together that keeps it fresh. It's also getting unusual these days to play a Japanese game like this that actually feels specifically Japanese.

It's a real shame Sega didn't bother marketing it.

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Honestly, after playing this even Gears of War and Vanquish aren't enough. Personal opinion though it may be, no other third person shooter even comes close to providing the sense of overall enjoyment that Binary Domain does, from the feel to the characters... this game nails just about everything dead on.

Didn't this get something like 60% on Metacritic? I can't check due to connection errors, but it was something absurd given the word of mouth from people who have played it. I'm simply in love with the game. Shame you can't upgrade sub weapons, but I can live with that.

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EDIT: I don't understand the love for Bo, though. Every time he called me 'brother', I wanted to slap his overly stereotypical face into submission. The rest of the characters are ace, though.

I never used Bo when I had the choice, but his squealed 'that was SUH-WEEEEEEEEEEET!' is one of my favourite soundbites in any game ever.

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