Gamers have sent a lot of robots to the scrapyard over the years. From Badinks to Gekkos and everything in between, pick up any science fiction game and there’s a good chance you’ll be smashing an automaton apart at least once or twice. But despite the absurdly high amount of robots I’ve torn apart in my time, nothing has been quite able to match the feel of taking down the relentless buckets of bolts found in Yakuza Team’s 2012 third person shooter Binary Domain.
In the mid twenty-first century, climate change had intensified to the point where three-quarters of the Earth’s cities were completely flooded. In response to the rapid loss of both land and life, the world governments used newly-built robotic workers to help build new cities atop the crumbling foundations of old. Now, years later, it is believed that the isolationist nation of Japan is developing Hollow Children — dangerous artificial intelligence that believes they are human. Thus, it’s up for an elite UN task force to bring in the CEO of Japan’s top robotic’s corporation in for questioning — and scrap a lot of robots along the way.
Upon getting into my first real firefight in Binary Domain, I had two thoughts. One, the combat is all too familiar to anyone who has played a third-person shooter in the past ten years — and two, it doesn’t matter because I was having the time of my life anyways. See, during your time in the dystopian nightmare of Japan, you’ll face dozens of variants of robots — from small spider-like bots that latch onto you to towering mechanized spider tanks — but the main bread and butter of the robotic forces are your average android grunts. And this is a good thing, as these android grunts just so happen to be some of the most fun enemies I’ve ever mowed down in any third-person shooter.
While they come in all shapes and sizes across the campaign, the grunts are all extremely reminiscent of The Terminator‘s titular machines, unflinching machines that will attempt to kill the player character and his squad at any cost. And I mean any costs. Shoot off their dominant arm, and they’ll just scoop their gun back up in their other hand. Blow off their legs, and they’ll crawl to you. Unlike other games which feature robots that may as well behave like humans, Binary Domain takes full advantage of the opportunities a mechanical enemy can provide — including being able to make them go haywire with a well-placed headshot.
While the actual mechanics of robot destruction are a joy, the presentation is arguably more impressive. Sheets of metal armor fly through the air, accompanied by puffs of smoke and sparks as the rain of lead rips the bots to pieces. It’s made even better with the stunning sound effects, with every hit being complimented by clangs or the satisfying crunch of aluminum. When you put it all together, it makes every shot feel powerful on even the spongiest of enemies, and the soaring particles mixed in with the weighty sound cues turn even the most bog-standard of firefights into an absolute delight.
As mentioned earlier, the funniest part is that the combat itself isn’t anything outstanding. You have a four weapon limit, a traditional cover system, and very rudimentary squad commands. However, despite how cookie cutter it might sound on paper, I couldn’t help but be enthralled every single time I found myself in a firefight. Binary Domain [affiliate] just goes to show – even the most simplistic of mechanics can turn into something special by just going that extra mile.