Thursday, September 6, 2012

Review: Binary Domain --Hey look I'm Michael Westen in a Will Smith Movie!!!

Ok, no not really but, that's how I felt playing this.

So, a while back this game was on sale on Amazon for $10. I tried to ask people if it was any good but no one had played the damn thing. After thinking about it I figured "eh, what's $10? I spent $60 on the crap that is Amalur" and bought it. I didn't touch it for a while and then last week I decided to give it a try. while I was running the first time install and configuration someone messaged me and I spent 5 hours talking and playing the tutorial in 45 second increments. The dialogue was mildly amusing but, I wasn't really giving a whole hell of a damn about the game. Eventually, I just gave up on it.

Yesterday I had a semi-meltdown and felt like shooting things and as I browsed my Steam list this just jumped at me and I figured "sure, whatever". Next thing I know I can't put the damn thing down. Its a great game, not very long, maybe what? 8-10 hours or so. Not a single moment of those 8-10 hours was boring though and I managed to only get pissed off at the game a couple of times and to be fair, it was probably my spazzy gameplay and not the game that led to my frustration.

First off, this game has voice commands, cool huh? I wouldn't know, no matter what I tried it wouldn't work with either of my headsets, not that I particularly wanted to spend my evening shouting orders at my PC like a crazy person but, hey, it would have been fun to try a few times at least, but, alas, twas not to be.

Next, the characters are all stereotypical and mostly douchey. Varying degrees of doucheyness but more than once I admit at not giving a damn how my teammates felt about me and shooting them a few times in the head. That is one thing I didn't like about the game. In the middle of friggin combat these asshats are yelling shit out at me and making  comments and I need to figure out what the right answer is so that they will like me more. Look people...ROBOTS ARE SHOOTING ME IN THE HEAD! IT IS NOT TIME TO DISCUSS YOUR INFERIORITY COMPLEX! just sayin'...

So maybe I should explain the subtitle of this post and then venture on to the rest....I will try to keep this as spoiler free as possible, but you know me, I tend to slip at times. Probably not gonna say  "..and then at the end..." but, you know, shit happens.

Ok, so, you play as Sergeant Dan Marshall, ex-special forces and maybe its just me but I spent the whole game waiting for him to give me spy tips on how to open a safe with a speaker or something. He looks like Michael Westen, he even kinda sounds like him, that actually made me like him a little more than I probably would have. So where does Will Smith fall into this? Well like Will Smith's character Del in I, Robot, Dan lives in a futuristic world where robots are in every household, on every street, being helpful and friendly to all, and like Will, Dan has an intense hatred of robots due to a prior incident with a robot (incidentally, neither robot actually "did" anything to either Dan or Will Smith's character's). But the I, Robot similarities don't stop there. ..they're pretty much the entire plot of the game.

So both Del and Dan (hey hadn't even noticed their names are similar) live in this robot future, and hate robots and spend most of the time calling them names and shooting them on sight but they both end up with a "good" robot on their side at some point in the story. If you've seen I,Robot you probably know about 95% of the plot of this game already, I won't spoil the other 5%. If you haven't seen I,Robot, go watch it, its friggin good.

Moving on...Dan's buddy is Big Bo who is pretty much Cole Train without all the "WOO-ing". Did I mention this is a cover-based third person shooter? I didn't? Well it is, and before the I, Robot story gets going it feels like someone took Gears and swapped Robots for Locust. Big Bo, is the smartass... well they are all smartasses but, the cheerful, least douchey smart ass.
Not long into the game you rendevous with Charlie and Rachel, ex MI6 agents and as expected stereotypical stick up their ass British pricks looking down on the stupid and loud American...seriously, they bitch about how "Loud" "Yanks" are throughout the game. They are quickly followed by a tight-lipped anal-retentive Chinese sniper who Dan promptly hits on and gets dissed by.
After the newcomers are done insulting your character for awhile you move out to meet some guy, to go somewhere, yada yada 'cause your team isn't complete. You need....wait for it....
The French! Oui, the French. Shit happens and you end up hanging out with an annoying yet you must suffer through it because he's actually quite helpful Robot with a French Accent for the rest of the game. Sure, you could switch your team out but, it doesn't make much of a difference and compared to some of the others, the annoying French Robot is sometimes amusing and insightful.
Eventually you pick up a Japanese terrorist and a Japanese cop but...don't ask, this story takes more twists than tornado season in Kansas...most of them fairly predictable though I did have a few "Holy Shit! WTF just happened???" moments.

I can't say much else about story without totally just telling you the entire plot so, if any of that sounded remotely amusing for a few hours, there ya go.

Gameplay...well, as I said, third-person cover-based shooter a la Gears, with one section where Gears and Mass Effect hooked up cause I swear there were husks trying to give me a "shoulder massage of death" around every corner for awhile there.
The robot enemies are fairly varied and always fun to shoot. When you shoot them parts of their armour goes flying  all over the place, but that's not all. There's a little strategy involved too. Shoot their legs out from under them and they will hop on one leg or crawl to get at you, or grab their weapon and keep on shooting at you.  Shoot them in the head and they go berserk shooting other robots until they collapse and explode.
Bosses are HUGE and a bitch to kill but the the game usually provides you with a conveniently placed rocket launcher and other bots continuously drop you ammo...not sure why they keep giving me ammo to blow up their buddies with, but whatever. There were a few frustrating boss battles that tended to drag on. The damn bosses have this horrible habit of getting up again after the fight to kick your ass some more.

Overall it was a hell of a fun time and the story had just enough going for it that I was engaged and invested til the end. I don't know if I would have felt the same way paying full price for it, but, its certainly worth a bit more than the $10 I paid. The voice acting is good, the dialogue amusing and/or interesting, the game mechanics simple to pick up and fun to use and killing robots is incredibly satisfying. Much like Hunted, this is a game that just got kinda lost in the shuffle and is under-appreciated. Sadly there are no money boobs.

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