[Platforms] PC / PlayStation 3 / Steam / XBOX 360

[Graphics Engine] modified in-house Unreal Engine

[Developer & Publisher] SEGA


Vision & Creation

When Mass Effect 2 & 3 were still in the highlights of the gaming community, Binary Domain was quietly announced on December of 2010. The Director – Toshihiro Nagoshi’s vision was of a title that explored the understanding of life and humanity, specifically with the use of androids. His wish was that the game’s story would take on the controversial topic as a drama, despite not being a fan of the robot genre.

Nagoshi’s intentions of displaying the human drama were to make them progress during action moments and stressful situations, rather than random cut-scenes. The development team’s efforts were directed towards a global audience, with the characters’ personalities in mind and various inclusions of culture & references; they worked closely with SEGA Europe and Jun Yoshino, it’s producer.

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Binary Domain’s characters were developed with realistic behaviors and personalities as a foundation. For instance, to make Cain seem dissimilar from the enemy robots, he was given unique elements to his appearance and functions in hopes of making him seem more human. To give uniqueness to the enemy robots, odd animation sequences for various situations were created, with a less repetitive feeling in mind. An algorithm called the Hierarchical Finite State Machine was utilized to determine many details, such as enemy robots’ conditions and ally movements in order to judge the next position or action an individual would make.

The Consequence System was introduced as a supporting method to give in-depth interaction with fellow characters; it allowed players to gain trust with the NPCs. The Consequence System even went as far as determining certain situations during the game’s progression & story. Hundreds of hours were spent recording dialogue lines in order to market the title in more than six spoken languages with it’s interactive command system. After all the hard work of the development team, the title was released on February of 2012.


Backstory – a different Earth

In an alternate version of Earth, global warming resulted in a worldwide flood, which left a majority of the world uninhabitable. The countries’ governments were forced relocate new cities above the new waterline & to use an alternate workforce, because billions of the human population had died. By some miracle, humanoid robots were mass-produced by the American corporation, Bergen, which had nearly a monopoly on the industry. A Japanese corporation by the name of Amada attempted to sue Bergen for stealing their technology, as Amada was the first robotics company to develop humanoid robots. The lawsuit was a failure and Bergen continued to dominate the robotics market with an astounding 95% across the world.

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World economic problems promoted the development and acceptance of the New Geneva Convention, a refreshed set of international laws. Clause 21 directed a ban of researching robot technology that could pass for humans; they were called Hollow Children. The International Robotics Technology Association (IRTA) organized Rust Crews, global task-forces whose responsibilities were to deal with breaches of the convention.

A few years after the signing of the treaty, an android attacked Bergen’s headquarters and the android was fatally injured in the process; as he was dying, he himself had not known of his robotic nature, until he had seen his own internal features shown bare. With the belief that the founder of the Amada corporation, Yoji Amada, created the robot, the IRTA sent a Rust Crew to Japan to find him and bring him in under orders of the UN Security Council.


Beetle – the Rust Crew

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[Dan Marshall] This is the main character; a loud-mouth, who always figures a way out of sticky situations, much like many protagonists who are bad-ass and can do pretty much anything. A really likable character, although he does come off as a carefree guy and probably seems unreliable in a firefight. It’s quite the contrary however, as he will never leave a man behind and will always find a way to finish the mission. He was born in Nebraska, in a low-class working family and enlisted into the United States Army to escape poverty. He and Big Bo served in the Special Forces prior to becoming a part of the Rust Crew, where he received the nickname, Survivor.

[Roy Boateng] Dan wouldn’t be himself without Big Bo tagging along; he’s the brother that Dan never had and they have some of the closest camaraderie that I’ve seen in any story. Roy was born in Massachusetts – also a low-class working family; enlisted into the United States Army and eventually the Special Forces to escape poverty. He played football in college, where he received his nickname.

[Faye Lee] The heroine of the game and it’s not a spoiler because it’s damn obvious from when she makes her first appearance. Daughter of an officer within the People’s Liberation Army at the Central Military Commission; studied at the Robotic Military Command Institute. She was taught combat at the General Staff Department’s Robotic Operations Squad before being transferred to the Rust Crew.

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[Cain] What’s better than a fucking French robot? A French robot who’s a drives like a maniac probably drives that scale up a bit further. He’s a combative android created by Bergen for IRTA’s French division, named after his serial number, CN-7. He has a multitude of capabilities, such as hacking; his AI system was developed from stolen data of Amada’s patents. His deployment to Japan is the IRTA’s test run to see if androids can be utilized in future Rust Crew operations.

[Rachel Townsend] Sort of the most unimportant side-character in the game, but she makes shit blow up! Born in the United Kingdom; regarded to have high athletic proficiency and reflexes. She served alongside Charles Gregory when they were in MI6 prior to becoming a part of the Rust Crew.

[Charles Gregory] An asshole who thinks he’s calling the shots, but he eventually cools it down a few notches. Also born in the United Kingdom; studied at the Royal Military Institute and then joined the British Military. He served in the MI6 alongside Rachel, but was forced to leave after he was injured while on duty; while in the MI6, he participated in British-sanctioned black operations in the Asian continent. Charles is the commanding officer of the Rust Crew.


Plot

As it was said before, the player controls one of the Rust Crew members, Dan Marshall, a carefree guy who can get himself out of any sticky situation and never leaves a man behind. It begins with a mission to Japan, which is a closed-off country to all the foreigners that may want to travel there. The job is to find Yoji Amada, and to bring him back to the UN Security Council, as it’s suspected he broke Clause 21 of the New Geneva Convention.

Upon exploring Japan, the player will find themselves familiarizing with the community on what the actual state of the country is, and how far from expectations the Rust Crew had of the place. Humanoid robots are a controversial subject in this world; Hollow Children, some that don’t even know they’re not human and live normal, daily lives as if they were all the same.

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The mission starts to get more difficult as the group gets closer to Amada’s headquarters; the resistance the party runs up against constantly creates roadblocks along the way. Those roadblocks are intended, of course, as the player is intended to continue to learn about Japan and the various communities it has. How everything has become so automated in the high-class city areas, and how the slums are about as low as can be imagined, even with all the technology around.

To keep from spoiling the rest, it is safe to say there will be many surprises and many alternate situations based on how the Consequence System is used while in-combat and in conversations with fellow teammates.


Gameplay

I mentioned Mass Effect from the beginning because this game plays very similarly to ME as far as the over-the-shoulder / third-person shooter style. For a game such as this, it works so well; with the Consequence System in mind, it makes the experience fulfilling. As an ally goes down, the player gets brownie points for saving their ass while killing baddies. With all the systems and complexity in mind, this game was ahead of it’s time; maybe not so much in graphics, but the amount of effort and ideas that were put in were impressive for a third-person shooter.

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Upon entering the inside of Japan, the game runs the player through some tutorials on how to use the voice commands and just the basics of using firearms. After that’s done, Dan and Big Bo are instantly bombarded with Japan’s automated security systems which consist of mostly swarms of robots, and I mean swarms; sometimes it seems like it will never end. And the bosses – the bosses are pretty epic, as they can take a while to break down and eventually destroy. They come in various shapes and sizes; made for one purpose, which is to keep the party from getting to Amada, who’s the one behind all the chaos that they’ve have to deal with.

The voice command feature was a bit an issue for me, as I’m not a very outspoken person, but if my pronunciation was spot on and I calibrated accordingly, it was decent. How it functions, is first you record yourself in the Main Menu – Settings, and then repeat the command in-game as close to the original recording as possible; having a decent microphone helps. It was, however annoying at times, so I personally turned it off a third of the way into the game, which I feel like most do. The other option is to use the D-pad and make the choices based on which direction is pressed.

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Author’s Notes

This game was a hidden gem, so much that I wasn’t disappointed and confused as to how it didn’t get more attention than it had. The story was awesome, along with a futuristic feel; also has a bit of a disputable topic as far as artificial intelligence versus a “real” human being, and if they’re distinguishable.

I streamed the game, then uploaded to YouTube, only to find out it was blocked by SEGA in part 12-17 of my videos; so I couldn’t appropriately post the last bit. It is for certain a great game, so I will recommend this title to anyone that likes a decent story and enjoys third-person shooters or games similar to Mass Effect’s combat mechanics.

There is no score – at least not on this full review. It’s not as if I’m against scoring a game based on it’s graphic smoothness, character depth, & sound quality; however, I find that just giving it a score doesn’t accurately portray titles, as the score can sometimes be irrelevant and people still will enjoy the hell out of it. So read up my friends, as taking the time to understand a game is just the beginning to fully enjoying the experience.

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