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  1. #1
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    Binary Domain on the PC


    Haven't seen a proper impressions thread for Binary Domain so far, so here we go. I don't know how much interest there really is in the RPS community for Yakuza creator Toshihiro Nagoshi's new action game, but personally I'm having a blast with this whimsical and refreshingly Japanese take on the shooter genre (hell, I've barely even touched Risen 2 this weekend despite being a big fan of Piranha Bytes' previous RPGs). Apart from being predictably gamepad-focused, Binary Domain's PC port seems really solid and delivers a smooth 1080 experience with robust art assets which for the most part carry over nicely to non-console resolutions.

    In essence, Binary Domain is a linear third-person cover-based shooter but it's not your typical Gears of War clone. Nagoshi is known for story-driven, almost soap opera-inspired games (such as the long-running Yakuza series), and BD brings this kind of highly charged melodrama to the Westernized shooter genre. It's worth noting that Platinum Games tried something similar with its mechanically excellent Vanquish (which sadly never saw a PC release) but failed miserably due to a tone-deaf script and (even more) one-dimensional characters. There's much about Binary Domain's dialogue and character interaction that is downright silly, but there's definitely a sense that most of the cheesiness on display is deliberate. And even players who don't appreciate the broad stereotypes and stupid one-liners should be able to appreciate the fact that the game isn't afraid to grapple with some (familiar but well-executed) Blade Runner-esque philosphical ideas as well as a much wider range of emotional themes than similar Western titles like Gears of War.

    Although most of the plot is delivered through non-interactive cutscenes, there's a small dialogue system ("party banter system" is perhaps a more accurate description) which to some extent influences the player's relationship with his team members and often results in hilarious exchanges between the characters. Weirdly enough, it's also possible to select dialogue responses by saying the lines into a headset or microphone (I should perhaps note that unlike ME3 this is not a Kinect title on the Xbox) but I can't comment on that feature since I'm not using it myself. There's a "Trust Level" for each individual team mate which is affected by dialogue choices but partly by combat performance as well. A low trust means that the character in question is less likely to accept one of the few rudimentary tactical commands you can issue (Cover Me, Hold, Fire, Charge etc.), but although I can't say for sure I highly doubt it has any story-related implications. One unfortunate and grating aspect of the team system is that the non-playable characters frequently yell at you to do things ("go there, get weapon X, shoot enemy Y" etc.), which comes off as awkwardly implemented hand-holding from the developers rather than as legitimate character interactions.

    Although it's the story and character interactions which sets Binary Domain apart, it doesn't exactly hurt that the core gameplay is a lot of fun. The crucial component of BD's otherwise fairly traditional third-person combat is the ability to destroy individuals limbs on the robot enemies, which is not only very satisfying but becomes a tactical consideration as well since different dismemberments have different effects on the behavior and combat capabilities of your mechanistic foes. Also, as with most action games these days there are lots of weapon upgrades to purchase (both for yourself and for your team mates) and more skillful kills means more "XP" to use for those upgrades. The system as a whole doesn't quite have the sophisticated elegancy of Vanquish nor the dependable robustness of Gears of War, but it works well for what it is and the moment-to-moment action can get properly intense.

    I have only played the first few missions so far but fans of linear action games looking for something a bit different should definitely check out Binary Domain. I know Sega have been porting a lot of of their Sonic games recently but I really didn't except BD to get a non-console release as well and now that it's out I'm really happy to be able to play this game on my PC.
    Last edited by Demiath; 29-04-2012 at 08:22 AM.

  2. #2
    Network Hub Miker's Avatar
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    I don't mean any disrespect to SEGA or the Binary Domain devs, but good lord, I would so much rather SEGA have ported Vanquish instead of Binary Domain. That game would be godly in 1080p 60 fps with mouse and keyboard. Seriously one of the tightest games I've ever played. And I think I'll be taking a look at BD once it hits $10-15 range, as I do enjoy wacky Japanese melodrama.

  3. #3
    Lesser Hivemind Node Oshada's Avatar
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    It looks gorgeous but I've heard it's a horrible port interface-wise, with no mouse movements in menus and Xbox prompts regardless of whether you have a controller connected. Is that true? And I'd also like to know what the graphics options are like.

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    I have finished Binary Domain PC last night.

    The user reviews in metacritics have been overrun by ranters who don't even try to configure their game. Indeed Devil's Detail (The group which ported BD) did a very good job allowing players to configure their controls. When the control is still crappy comparing to Mass Effect 3, the game feels smooth with a bit of efforts tinkering with the control settings. The voice command feature is a bit gimmicky however.

    The reverse Snatcher (Konami, 1988) settings and Japan in 2080 was nicely illustrated. When cutscene takes much longer than the actual gameplay itself(7 hours of gameplay from my clear time).

    It has been years since I played a Japanese AAA-game. (Last time I played one it was Odin Sphere) It does feel out of places competing with western shooters when the control is much more sluggish. However there's a unique atmosphere which can only be found in Japanese games. That is in Binary Domain a lot with some of the soap drama moments like Kurosawa eating cup noodles, the part where the team reached upper city and the toilet scene.

    The multiplayer is dysfunctional sadly which appears to be a total console port and with a lot of nonsensical design in it. It does give Namco / Capcom the biggest slap in the face that a straight ported multiplayer game can be done without GFWL.

    p.s. the PC version does not have the Japanese language options.. It would be good hearing Kurosawa and Shindo speaking in Japanese.

    p.s.2. the graphics option only allows resolution, shadows (which can't be completely turned off), SSAO quality, motion blur, VSync and windowed mode. You can however change the input display during gameplay (xbox prompts / keyboard prompts) in the configuration which is launched separately. People who say you can only see xbox prompts are idiots.
    Last edited by chlorine; 29-04-2012 at 08:59 AM. Reason: Addition

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker View Post
    I don't mean any disrespect to SEGA or the Binary Domain devs, but good lord, I would so much rather SEGA have ported Vanquish instead of Binary Domain. That game would be godly in 1080p 60 fps with mouse and keyboard. Seriously one of the tightest games I've ever played. And I think I'll be taking a look at BD once it hits $10-15 range, as I do enjoy wacky Japanese melodrama.
    I wouldn't ever want to sacrifice one for the other but, yeah, the tight and unapologetically sophisticated action gameplay of Vanquish definitely deserves to be on the PC every bit as much as a game like Dark Souls does.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tritagonist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chlorine View Post
    p.s. the PC version does not have the Japanese language options.. It would be good hearing Kurosawa and Shindo speaking in Japanese.
    I'm not familiar with the character names, but in the video posted in the first post the languages seemed to be quite all right; the Japanese kids and the Japanese military HQ are speaking in their own language. Is everything English in the European/US release? That'd be disappointing.

    Still, it looks like quite a fun game. Not sure if the apparently rather short single-player experience is worth the full €40, though.
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  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus squirrel's Avatar
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    I believe that in these days whether a game works better on PC or console would be decided by whether it works better with mouse+keyboard or joypad / joysticks. Obviously Yakuza works better with joypad and this shooter of course works well with mouse+keyboard. Vanquish is a shooter, but with the Youtube videos I watched, I tend to believe that it wont work well with mouse+keyboard, or Sega would have to completely rework the whole gameplay mechanism.

    Actually how you guys feel about the AI of this game? From Youtube videos (console version mainly, I guess we have to wait for a while for enough videos of PC version), enemies' AIs aren't really that impressive.

    And... this game use Steam DRM, not so nice...
    Last edited by squirrel; 29-04-2012 at 09:58 AM.

  8. #8
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    @Tritagonist
    Kurosawa is the cup noodle eating cop when Shindo is the resistance guy you get after the first gorilla fight.

    @Squirrel
    Problem with ports are they are planned on day 1 without regarding pc controls. Most of the ports have this problems to reduce cost porting the game. The AI is so-so. In my opinion the game actually has a reverse difficulty curve where later stages are easier than earlier stages [I played on survivor (hard)] because the late game enemies lacked the strong suppressive fire or rapid fire weapons to bleed you out. Also in late game you have all those defense nanomachine perks to make you a super bullet sponge which can totally ignore cover system. As long as you don't get hit by melee or sniped you are fine. The cover system in BD isn't that impressive anyway.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus DaftPunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oshada View Post
    It looks gorgeous but I've heard it's a horrible port interface-wise, with no mouse movements in menus and Xbox prompts regardless of whether you have a controller connected. Is that true? And I'd also like to know what the graphics options are like.

    You heard wrong,port is not horrible but it could be better. And you can set in launcher that keyboard buttons appear on screen,not xbox ones.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by DaftPunk View Post
    You heard wrong
    I'm not so sure. Unless the full game has some option to disable mouse smoothing, that is. Because I played the demo and the controls were the single most awful thing I've seen in the last couple centuries; and I'm not even exaggerating: Not only does the mouse lag as horribly as you can imagine, but it has this unexplainable thing where the crosshair moves faster the slower you move the mouse. It's a totally unintuitive sort of counter-acceleration and -to me at least- it's so annoying it makes the game unplayable. I've seen some horribly sluggish mouse controls here and there, but I never saw anything as bad as this.
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  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus squirrel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eclipse mattaru View Post
    I'm not so sure. Unless the full game has some option to disable mouse smoothing, that is. Because I played the demo and the controls were the single most awful thing I've seen in the last couple centuries; and I'm not even exaggerating: Not only does the mouse lag as horribly as you can imagine, but it has this unexplainable thing where the crosshair moves faster the slower you move the mouse. It's a totally unintuitive sort of counter-acceleration and -to me at least- it's so annoying it makes the game unplayable. I've seen some horribly sluggish mouse controls here and there, but I never saw anything as bad as this.
    If mouse lag is an issue, then Sega really has some QC issue over its PC division.

    Bad thing is, very likely Sega wont bother to patch the issue out, unless the game surprisingly sells well......

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus jnx's Avatar
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    Just watched the video from the original post. That was some serious horseshit dialog, probably done with an internet generator or something :D

    Could buy with 10 or less euros if I'm bored.
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  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by squirrel View Post
    If mouse lag is an issue, then Sega really has some QC issue over its PC division.

    Bad thing is, very likely Sega wont bother to patch the issue out, unless the game surprisingly sells well......
    I opened a ticket about it at their help desk thing for kicks and laughs (because I'm that funny), and some corporate borg replied that they're aware of the issue and working on it. Then again, something tells me they would've answered the same if my complaint was about Alpha Protocol.
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  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus squirrel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eclipse mattaru View Post
    I opened a ticket about it at their help desk thing for kicks and laughs (because I'm that funny), and some corporate borg replied that they're aware of the issue and working on it. Then again, something tells me they would've answered the same if my complaint was about Alpha Protocol.
    Can't blame them though. Sega is not known for being good at PC game development (if you dont count the arcade games running on Linux x86 Lingbergh that is).

  15. #15
    I downloaded the demo from Steam and I couldn't even play it, as it only recognised my integrated graphics card (an Intel) instead of my Nvidia one. >.<

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Unaco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oshada View Post
    It looks gorgeous but I've heard it's a horrible port interface-wise, with no mouse movements in menus and Xbox prompts regardless of whether you have a controller connected. Is that true? And I'd also like to know what the graphics options are like.
    This is also what I have heard... No mouse on menus, have to use WASD to navigate through them, and pretty unintuitive controls for menus. No ingame options. Poor selection of options out of game. Generally a poorly done port. For shame. I don't know too much about SEGA's organisation, but I would have thought they'd maybe 'get' the PC, what with Total War being under their wing.
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  17. #17
    Lesser Hivemind Node Oshada's Avatar
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    And now that the Wot I Think is in I think that the rumours I heard were well founded :(

  18. #18
    Network Hub Miker's Avatar
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    Ouch, what a harsh WIT. I swear I've played more games with crappy mouse input than not. Seems like a lot of trouble could have been avoided if John had just stuck with the 360 controller. I'm not saying that it's excusable, but honestly, it's not the worst thing in the world. And navigating menus with keyboards is hardly new -- remember Bulletstorm? Or Burnout Paradise's bizarre use of the F1-F2 keys? At least Binary Domain didn't ship with GFWL, so people can actually play the game.

  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus DaftPunk's Avatar
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    I liked how he whined about xbox buttons showing on screen when you have freaking launcher with all options to set up,including keyboard ones.

  20. #20
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    The WIT was super harsh, my more succinct review would be something like: the second-best action game of 2012 so far.

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