Binary Domain

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a game by Ryu ga Gotoku Studio
Platforms: XBox 360, PC, Playstation 3 (2012)
Editor Rating: 8.3/10, based on 2 reviews
User Rating: 9.3/10 - 6 votes
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See also: Third-Person Shooter Games, Cyberpunk Games, Nonlinear Narrative Games
Binary Domain
Binary Domain
Binary Domain
Binary Domain

Third-person shooters are a dime a dozen and have been ever since the turn of the millennium. While the formula has been almost perfected by this point, the trial-and-error phase of the late 2000s and early 2010s seen games like Binary Domain released. This title, developed by Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and published by Sony, was a very interesting concept that at the time draw a lot of interest.

Set in a world where mass flooding had left large portions of our planet unusable, robots are the dominant worker economy. The game was thought up by Yakuza creator Toshihiro Nagoshi, and the end result is an interesting – if flawed – title that introduced concepts such as actions having consequences, squad-based management, and a player trust system that was built upon your actions. Did it all work?

An exciting idea, well realised

What to say about Binary Domain? For one, it was a very interesting concept at the time. The squad-based nature of the game was quite interesting, probably reminding older gamers of something like Conflict: Desert Storm or even the SOCOM series. The plot itself is rather basic once you get beyond the general concept being quite unique, but for a title released when it was this was somewhat innovative.

The main problems with Binary Domain came from its dreadful implementation of some of its more unique systems. For example, a voice recognition system was inconsistent at best, and many found that the general level of AI standard – for both enemies and allies – was poor. However, the storylines interactive nature and the fact that the moment to moment gameplay was fun helped to disguise somewhat bland level design. Binary Domain used some interesting concepts such as noise being a key element in being discovered during combat. However, Binary Domain does a lot more right than it does wrong.

A solid example of third person squad combat done well (8/10)

Squad-based games are quite common, but good ones are surprisingly rare. This is especially the case with many of the titles released around the time of Binary Domain. While the game often falls flat with a somewhat obvious story and bland level design, the actual combat and gameplay is fun and engaging. This keeps you involved in a lot of different sections, and ensures that you spend plenty of time engaging in squad management and the actual fun part – the action!


Where Binary Domain tends to let itself down is simply by being a product of its time. Games of this era were nefarious for inconsistent and unimaginative level design, and that did not really change with this title too much. For those who can look beyond these of-its-time issues, though, a quality game awaits.


  • Interesting gameplay that keeps you engaged in your own actions throughout the story
  • Genuinely good use of a consequences system, even if the world itself can feel bland
  • Gameplay is fun and engaging, with squad based management a key part of the fun


  • Generic level design and story plotlines means many parts of the game feel/seem obvious
  • AI leaves a lot to be desired, while voice recognition implementation is iffy to say the least

Download Binary Domain

XBox 360

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Playstation 3

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

In a future where global warming has rendered most of the world uninhabitable, robots are the new pillars of society. However, these automatons display more humanity than one might think, and that’s the world where Binary Domain takes place.

A fascinating proposal made by the Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, Binary Domain goes one step beyond your usual seventh-gen third-person shooter. Thanks to the excellent Consequence System, the game manages to feel more like a visual novel than it does an action game in all the right places, despite a few minor quirks.

Dealing with Consequences

As previously mentioned, Binary Domain takes place in a futuristic world where robots are the main labor force. However, as time went on, more advanced androids blurred the lines between humanity and machines, and robotic terrorism became a major threat to an already damaged humanity.

Players control the leader of the Rust Crew: a multinational special forces team that deals with the rising terrorist threat. While Binary Domain could be confused with a robot-themed Gears of War at first, it distances itself from other third-person shooters of its generation with its unique “Consequence System.”

As you progress through the game’s levels, your interactions with your squadmates will determine how much they trust you. Things like friendly fire or issuing commands they disagree with can lower your squad’s opinion of you, negatively affecting the game’s ending.

Loud and Clear

Another area where Binary Domain oozes uniqueness is in the way players can interact with the other members of the Rust Crew. While most other squad-based games – like the Ghost Recon series – would have you issuing commands through a menu, in Binary Domain, you have the option to actually say what your orders are.

This is due to the game having an integrated speech recognition where you’ll be able to speak into your mic and tell your AI-controlled teammates what to do. On paper, that sounds like a dream come true for player immersion; but not everything works as well as it should.

While voice recognition works most of the time, it certainly isn’t flawless. During tense situations, when you most need the support of your squad, these voice commands can let you down, even if you perfectly speak any of the six different languages recognized by the system. Thankfully, you aren’t forced to use these voice commands, as you can as easily select them from a typical squad orders menu, making them feel more like a gimmick than a real feature.

AI And Plot

The AI in Binary Domain is nothing short of amazing. Enemies adapt to your strategies in real-time, always posing a challenge no matter how confident you feel in your skills. In fact, the advanced AI makes the robots in the game feel more real than most humans in other shooters.

Developed by the Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio – the developers of the acclaimed Yakuza series – one can expect the plot of Binary Domain to be as emotional as possible. While not as impactful as the adventures of Kazuma Kiryu in Kamurocho, there’s lots of drama and action to see in Binary Domain’s bombastic campaign.


Binary Domain is a unique shooter that dares to go beyond its genre’s established conventions. While some mechanics can feel a bit gimmicky, the overall presentation and gameplay are some of the best of its generation.


  • Gripping plot
  • Interesting characters
  • Great voice acting
  • Solid controls and gunplay


  • Voice commands often feel gimmicky
  • The lack of music for most of the game can be jarring

Snapshots and Media

XBox 360 Screenshots

PC Screenshots

Playstation 3 Screenshots

See Also

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