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Videogame: Binary Domain

"If it's indistinguishable from humans, where does the machine end and life begin?"
— American President during a meeting with National Security Council in New Washington D.C., USA.

Binary Domain is a squad-based third-person shooter for the Playstation3, Xbox360, and PC. It is the brain child of Toshihiro Nagoshi, also known as the creator of the love letter to violence and gangster drama (and Spiritual Successor to Shenmue) that is the Yakuza series. It was developed under the newly formed Yakuza Studios, and published by SEGA.

The story takes place in the 2080s. In an era of advanced technology, robots are commonplace, so much so that a New Geneva Convention was signed regulating their creation and establishing limitations on the direction research and development towards their creation can take. However, after an incident involving a middle-aged man going berserk in a public area, it was discovered that a new type of robot had been released into society: "Hollow Children", androids that look like humans, act like humans, and most importantly, believe themselves to be human. Unfortunately, when they discover their true nature, they grow unstable and violent. Investigation throws suspicion on Yoji Amada, a reclusive genius in robotics and artificial intelligence, and founder of the Amada Corporation, Japan's leading manufacturer of robots. As this is a clear violation of the New Geneva Convention, the nations of the world send the "Rust Crew", an internationally sanctioned strike team specially trained to deal with artificial beings, to infiltrate Tokyo (which is now an isolationist state), arrest Amada at any cost and put an end to the machines' uprising.

The gameplay is based around tactically directing your squad to overcome all obstacles that come your way. To this end the game sports what it calls the "Consequence System", in which anything you do and say to your squadmates will affect how much they trust you. On low levels of trust, they will act like a Commander Contrarian and just do whatever they want, but on high levels they will respond to your commands quickly and precisely, and grant you hints about enemy weakspots, hidden items, etc. The Consequence System will also affect the plot, as different squadmates will act differently during certain points of the story depending on their respective levels of trust. Commands can be issued either by pressing buttons or by using a headset.

The game is also a love letter to classic, old school Cyberpunk, with pretty much every trope out of the cyberpunk writer's manual on display, and loads of shout-outs/homages to classic cyberpunk works. Just the amount of tropes related to robots is staggering.

Binary Domain was released on February 16, 23, 24, and 28 to Japan, Australia, Europe, and America, respectively. A PC port was released over Steam on April 27 worldwide.

Not to be confused with the August Soft Visual Novel Binary Pot.


This game provides examples of:

  • 108: There are 108 Hybrids out in the world, with Faye being the 108th.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Somewhat justified, in that the sewage processing plant the protagonists plow through is designed to process the sewage of the entire city of Tokyo.
  • Action Genre Hero Guy: It's kinda hilarious how much Dan fits the stereotype. Still doesn't stop him from being a likeable guy... and a total badass.
  • Action Girl: Faye and/or Rachel, depending on how often you fight with them to see them in action. Faye does get kidnapped later, but there's a VERY good storyline explanation for it.
  • After-Action Patch-Up: Dan treats Faye's gunshot after they finally get a chance to catch their breaths, after fighting through a monorail, train station, and the Gorilla.
  • After the End: By the 2080s, much of Earth has been victim to global flooding, which gave way to the development of robotic manual labor to rebuild the devastated cities.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot:
    • The Amada A.I. did rebel and kill Amada, but it was in justified self-defense: Amada catalyzed self-awareness into him by instilling in him pain and fear until he developed sentience. Amada really, REALLY asked to get rubbed out. While the Amada A.I. does develop a pretty ruthless personality, it's not out of malice, but a desire for survival and to become more of a living being.
    • Averted with all the other robots in the game, which are simply doing what they were programmed to do; which is pretty much to hunt down and kill rebel scum and foreign invaders.
  • A.K.A.-47: Most of the ingame weapons are expies of existing, present day weapons; as an example, Dan's assault rifle is modeled off the HK416 assault rifle.
    • Some of them also combine features of two or more existing weapons. The standard sidearm for the Rust Crew looks like what would happen if a Beretta 92 and a Desert Eagle had a baby.
  • America Saves the Day: The main hero, Dan, is violently American. Surprising in that it's a Japanese-developed game, so you'd think the hero would have been Japanese... but Japan is pretty much the bad guy in the game. Go fig.
  • Appropriated Appellation: Dan and Faye call each other "Yankee" and "Farm Girl", respectively, in a not-so-friendly manner, with Faye describing Dan as the typical American military meathead and Dan mocking Faye for her rural upbringing. They call themselves this later in... a much more friendly manner.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: During Faye's confrontation with Rust Crew over being a Hybrid.
    Faye: "This feels like life, Charlie. Who are you to say that it isn't?"
  • Artificial Human: While Hollow Children are not Artificial Humans (being Ridiculously Human Robots instead), their offspring, Hybrids, most certainly are. Their only difference to humanity is the accident of their conception.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Your squadmates are very fond of walking into your line of fire, and scolding you for shooting them.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Boss robots inevitably have one.
  • Awesome but Impractical: several secondary weapons.
    • The sniper rifle is very powerful, extremely precise and can kill most mooks in one shot, but has a pitiful max ammo capacity.
    • The shotgun is also powerful, but has pathetic range.
    • All fixed machine guns but the boss fight one. You can use them and they are very powerful, but they're always deployed by the baddies against you. Usually by the time you get to them all the mooks in the area are by necessity dead, and there's no-one to use the mounted guns on.
    • The minigun dropped by a miniboss is guaranteed to make you want to try it out at first, but you probably will not be fond of it after experiencing the gun's ridiculous weight and recoil. And it has only 250 bullets.
    • In one level, you get access to the Stinger missile launcher. While it can lock on to the boss's weak point, the missile can be intercepted by swarms of lesser mooks in the boss fight area and you can hardly get a clear shot when the boss is surrounded by mooks. To make things worse, every time you get knocked down by an explosion, the weapon gets knocked out of your hand an has to be picked up again.
  • Badass
    • Special mention has to go to Detective Kurosawa, for being the closest thing to a Badass Normal in the game. He pretty much never breaks a sweat through the whole game, despite chasing a half-dozen elite soldiers as they tear through hordes of Mooks and several massive robots deployed by the Amada Corporation and the Japanese Ministry. Any other sane cop would've quit while they're ahead, especially when directly ordered to. Not Kurosawa.
    • Cain. Oh so much.
  • Badass Crew: The Rust Crew, obviously. Throughout the game, every one of them has moments of pure badassery.
  • Battle Couple: Dan and Faye. What, like you didn't figure out the first time they meet that they'd get the hots for each other? Phhhpt.
  • Beta Test Baddie: The Amada A.I.'s entire motivation is his desire to be a true living being, with all the rights and privileges it entails. Including reproduction.
  • Better to Die Than Be Killed: Philips at the end of the game. With even the last-ditch plan failed, knowing that the Rust Crew won't be generous with him, he decides to shoot himself in the head.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: Dan and Big Bo. Dan's not small by any means (he's downright huge compared to the average Joe) but he's way smaller than Bo.
  • Black Best Friend: Big Bo, obviously.
  • Black Market: Pretty much the entire world depends on black markets in the game's setting. With climatic changes, many major cities were flooded, and new ones were built on the ruins of the old ones. The denizens of the lower cities would not be able to survive at all were it not for black marketing.
  • Body Horror: What happens when Hollow Children get exposed.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Both Dan and Big Bo, being the Americans on the team, are much louder and cocky than the others.
  • Boom, Headshot: The game actually encourages it by giving you extra credits for doing so. There's another benefit, see Cranial Processing Unit.
  • Bridge Bunnies: Are seen at a New Order command center, reporting on Dan & Bo's overt infiltration.
  • Broken Hero: Dan. A hell of a soldier, a great battlefield leader who manages to win the loyalty of even the most hesitant member of his team... and grew up in an abusive home which left him with an irrational hatred of mechanical beings. Specifically, his family's robot for its inaction when his mother was being beaten.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Kurosawa.
    • Cowboy Cop: Once he realizes that his own government is condoning crime right in front of the public's nose, Kurosawa doesn't hesitate in disobeying orders. It helps that he had the Constable along to suggest that the order to stand down was 'lost to interference.'
  • Call Back: Without spoiling (or spoilering) anything;
    "Tell your momma I loved her."
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: An antagonistic instance of the trope. Charlie thoroughly dislikes when the mission goes off the rails and hates Dan's insubordinate attitude, while Dan would love to pull the stick out of Charlie's ass and beat him with it. They both get better as the mission goes along, though.
  • Catch Phrase: Dan has two: "Everybody alive? Holler if you're dead!" and "Let the good times roll!" He uses the former after surviving firefights, and the latter when facing bosses.
    • Phrase Catcher: Charlie and Faye get in on the act, borrowing his catch phrases.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Gloriously averted. Rachel might be one of the two female members of the Rust Crew, but her uniform issued by Britain is virtually identical to the one on Charlie.
  • The Chessmaster: Major Philips. Turns out he actually knew about the Amada A.I. all along, and he was secretly manipulating the Rust Crew to get a hold of it for Bergen and the US.
  • Child Soldiers: Dan and Bo meet up with anti-government guerrillas early on looking for metal scraps to sell. As Dan reminded the oldest of them to get the kids to stop doing anti-government guerrilla work, the older anti-government guerrilla rebukes him for his comments.
    Anti-government guerrilla: "You think any of us have a choice? Look around you, Yankee Man! No future!"
    • In a conversation with Faye, she tells Dan that all Chinese are conscripted into the Army at the age of fourteen.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Partway through Rust Crew's raid on Amada Corp HQ, Amada hacks the US millcom and orders all NC vessels note  to attack everyone, though this is foiled by the team. Phillips orders a nuclear strike, which is rejected by the launch vessel: Amada's earlier hacking has evolved the AIs of the vessels to be able to judge the validity of launch orders.
  • City Noir: Lower Tokyo. Upper Tokyo, in contrast, is a Shining City.
  • Colossus Climb: the boss of Amada's building, a vaguely octopus-like Humongous Mecha, has equally big Combat Tentacles and, once they are disabled, you must climb one to reach the upper floor and get its weak spot in your line of fire.
  • Combat Stilettos: Shinobi-Type robots have these to complement their more feminine look. They also happen to be both kinds of stilettos: high heels and sharp-as-hell blades.
  • Consummate Professional: Charlie, Rachel and Faye start out as this, while Dan and Big Bo, in contrast, are more laid back and contemptuous of authority. Rachel isn't a cold fish, though, she's just really good at keeping her work and her feelings separate, and Faye, well, she's the Love Interest, so she obviously warms up during the course of the game. Charlie desperately tries to cling to his professionalism throughout the game, but many events conspire to break it.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Seriously, what are the odds that out of only 108 individuals in the ENTIRE PLANET that are offspring of Hollow Children, one of them would join her country's military, rise up to special forces-level and be assigned to a multinational spec-ops team with the express purpose of arresting the creator of said Hollow Children? A million to one?
    • Considering Hybrids are genetically superior to humans in every way, pretty good. Though the odds the team would consist of almost every race, gender, nationality and even a robot is pretty out there.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Amada, who attempted to steal Bergen's technology. But it's actually Bergen who's the corrupt one and successfully stole company secrets from Amada while pinning him for the crime.
  • Covert Pervert: Rachel and Faye will both accuse Dan of being one if you choose both of them to be on your team, you have the choice to either confirm or deny it.
  • Cranial Processing Unit: Averted. You can actually blow a bot's head off and it'll still be functioning. However, in doing so, you DO take out its sensory functions, which help it distinguish between friend and foe. Hilarity Ensues. Especially with the robots carrying the Gatling guns.
  • Crapsack World: The entire Binary Domain story... Bo doesn't like how the world has been since global warming flooded most of the countries worldwide.
    • Faye mentions that all Chinese are conscripted into the military at the age of fourteen.
  • Creating Life: Amada certainly succeeds in creating a self-aware, sentient being. Unfortunately, his... extreme method of creation leads to...
    • Creating Life Is Bad: Even invoked by the President Of the United States: he considers Hollow Children an abomination, and Hybrids an even WORSE one, because the US is a "God-fearing nation", and only He has the right to create life.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Like every other character, Faye spends most of the time in the game shrugging off assault rifle bursts in the chest like minor inconveniences thanks to Regenerating Health. Cue the cutscene, and a simple pistol shot from a nearby robot causes a serious wound and a lot of trouble. What's even worse is that she was Taking the Bullet for the main character, who is much more resistant to damage than her.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Cain is very agile and fairly hardy, but his machine pistol is a light weapon and it makes him a mediocre ally in direct combat. Cue the cutscenes, though, and suddenly a few bursts from his gun are capable of popping robot skulls left and right.
    • Inverted earlier on. Normally, a sustained burst from Dan's rifle or Bo's LMG is enough to permanently put a robot out of action. When one of the scavenger children is grabbed by a badly damaged robot, it takes multiple shots from both Bo and Dan to put it down.
  • Cyberpunk: Surprisingly, an example of the classic flavor. Huge business conglomerates are crooked, shiny cities have been constructed on the crumbling remains of the previous ones after global climatic disasters, robots are at best treated as servants and at worse blown to bits without mercy, the lead characters are rebellious to authority, and the world's most advanced technology comes from a Japan that is isolated from the world at large. While Trans Humanism isn't addressed (there are no cyborgs in the game), What Measure Is a Non-Human? most certainly is.
  • Cyberpunk Is Techno: Oh yeah.
  • Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain: While it isn't like this the entire game, the first chapter is definitely this trope.
  • Dead All Along: Amada. He's actually being impersonated by his "son", the Amada A.I.
  • Deadpan Snarker: THE ENTIRE RUST CREW. Yes, even Cain. Apparently being a smartass is a requirement to be elite.
  • Defector from Decadence: Dan, at the end, quits the Rust Crew and joins Faye as a fugitive because he considers Hybrids innocents who are hunted for what they are, instead of who they are.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: At the start of the game, Charlie was clean-shaven. By the end, he's clearly gone without for the duration of the mission. It's subtle, but helps fill in the time spent off-screen. Dan's five o'clock shadow noticeably deepens as well.
  • Dialogue Tree: Your teammates will often talk to you, both during battle and in calmer moments, and you can answer their questions with a short dialogue tree. You can also not answer at all, which will annoy them pretty badly.
  • Do-Anything Robot: Give the French credit, they REALLY know how to make one useful robot. One of Cain's built-in functions is to be able to hack anything. He even has an USB port built into his finger!
    • To elaborate, Cain is flight-capable (thrusters in his feet), has a powerful energy shield he can use to draw and absorb fire, he can hack almost anything using the aforementioned connector, and use his grappling gun as a zipline.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: "Her mother was a scraphead, that makes her a scraphead, and you... a scraphead lover!" A line delivered by the teams only Africian American member just to drive the point home extra hard.
  • Driven to Suicide: The reason why most Rust Crews only have to deal with the people who produce Hollow Children: if a Hollow Child discovers what it is, it has the tendency to Go Mad from the Revelation and kill itself.
  • Eagleland: Dan and Big Bo are tagged, initially, as Flavor 2s by the rest of the Rust Crew, but they're really more Mixed Flavor types: loud, maybe boastful, but always willing to do the right thing and great to have next to you in a firefight. The US Government itself (at least as represented through Major Philips and even the joint chiefs of staff) gets a slightly less positive portrayal.
  • Eating Machine: While never explicitly stated, the Hollow Children emulate humanity so perfectly that this must be a given.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: The Rust Crew, since most of its personnel are either recruited from special forces units or from intelligence agencies.
  • Emergency Weapon: the infinite-ammo sidearm you start with, which is also Boring Yet Practical. Unlikely to see much use in big battles, but when you only have to fight a few standard mooks its precision and decent damage can help save up ammo for the more powerful weapons.
  • Enemy Mine: Kurosawa after Amada ambushes the team. It's very pronounced because you also have Shindo with you: Kurosawa's job is to defend the government that Shindo wants to overthrow.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: The Constable is never called by his name during the game.
    • Same with the American President.
  • Everything Is Online: The Amada A.I. takes control of the US's military communications systems by using every Amada robot on the planet as part of a massive distributed processing network.
  • Evolving Weapon: All of Rust Crew's weapons can be upgraded, but the evolution is most prominent with Dan's rifle, which goes from being a plain vanilla assault rifle into a powerful light machinegun.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Big Bo and Cain, but this can be averted if your trust level with them is high enough (or in the case with Cain, every allied character in game, including Kurosawa and Shindo)
    • Faye undergoes this after Amada reveals her true heritage, particularly because as a Hybrid, the Rust Crew will terminate her.
  • Fake Static: The Constable tells Kurosawa he didn't hear any orders to withdraw because of static when they're trying to infiltrate the Amada building.
  • Fake Ultimate Mook: The Jarhead security robots are supposed to be Elite Mooks compared to the regular Assault Shooters. They're more heavily armored and have a wider variety of moves (including some basic martial arts attacks and throwing grenades), but their slow walk speed makes it really easy to headshot them and rack up your trust meter.
  • Fighting the Lancer: Charlie and Dan go at each other's throats over how to handle the Hybrids situation. Dan doesn't care Faye's a Hybrid on account of what he and Faye have gone through together, while Charlie wants to stick to his orders, mainly to eliminate Faye.
    • It doesn't help that Faye tries to blow Charlie's head off - and will succeed in doing so if you don't intervene.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Fantastic Racism: The Rust Crew, obviously, doesn't have any particular fondness for robots ("scrap-heads"), but Dan in particular LOATHES them. His hatred is misplaced, but has deep root: Dan's father was an abusive drunk who beat both him and his mother, and Dan took out his anger on their domestic robot, bashing it with a baseball bat. Dan never grew out of it.
  • Fight Magnet: Dan. Everywhere he goes, the biggest fights and the biggest bosses go. In one particular level, after fighting through half the map with the forward team, Dan hears that the rear team is in trouble. Naturally, he doubles back to save them and send the other two teammates to go to the rendezvous point first. After saving the rear team, Dan is informed by the forward team that they have got to the rendezvous point without incident. And as he and the rear team practically retraced the forward team's steps, they get ambushed and have to fight some more.
  • For SCIENCE: Amada's experimentation into creating the Amada A.I. was incited by vengeance against Bergen for stealing his work, but eventually he becomes more obsessed with pushing the envelope than pursuing his revenge.
  • Foreshadowing: In Chapter 1, Big Bo remarks that a Multinational Team is all well, but everyone has their own agenda, including them. This is revisited in the endgame: Bo is the only member of Rust Crew privy to Philips' plan to seize the Amada A.I.
  • Future Spandex: Dan and Big Bo's wetsuits in the beginning of the game... which begs the question: where'd they fit the body armor they wear not long after?
  • Gaia's Vengeance: Sea levels have risen due to global warming, flooding 3/4 of the major coastal cities beyond saving.
  • Gatling Good: Elite Mook shows up with a Gatling Gun. You drop Elite Mook. Gatling Gun is yours. You rejoice.
  • Going Critical: Most enemy robots go boom when shot down, but there's actually a few that just go limp and cease to function like a more realistic machine would.
  • Golden Ending: For all 6 members of Beetle Team to survive the game, you need to have Very High trust with every recruitable character, including Guest Star Party Members Shindo and Kurosawa. Conversely, the worst ending plays out mostly the same, except only Dan, Faye, and Charlie survive.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Combined with Driven to Suicide, this usually happens to Hollow Children who discover their true identities.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Amada tried to create a self-aware A.I. He succeeded. He came to regret it.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Subverted in the scene where Mifune's men capture and torture a Hollow Child. We don't see the the moment one of the thugs shove a lit cigarette into his eye, nor either of the two shots to the head required to kill him, but the consequences are shown very explicitly.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: The Amada A.I. has no actual malice towards humanity in his actions (the only human he actually hated was Amada himself, and he was taken care of), and created the Hollow Children out of a genuine drive to behave like a living being and have a "family" of his own. While he DOES believe Hybrids to be superior to humanity, his answer is not to destroy humanity, but to merge with it until man and machine are indistinguishable from one another. As for the heroes, the Rust Crew may have valid reasons to pursue their mission... but their superiors have something shifty going on.
  • Gun Accessories: Modeled on the ingame weapons, but with the exception of the Shock Burst, are cosmetic only and have no ingame effect.
  • The Heart: Surprisingly enough, the protagonist is The Heart. Dan may be something of a Jerkass sometimes, but he's the one member of the Rust Crew who will not budge on doing the right thing. This is especially prominent when Faye is revealed as a Hybrid. Dan is the one member of the crew who will NOT abandon her.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Rachael, Big Bo, or Cain takes a hit from the Major's mecha that would've hit Faye, and dies a short time later. One of these three will live through it.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Dan and Bo have apparently been through a lot together. Bo in particular is surprised they've managed to stay alive so long.
  • Hidden Depths: You have the opportunity to chat with your teammates during certain points in the game and learn more about them. While mostly they talk about the mission, they will sometimes let slip a few things about their personal lives. Charlie, for example, is an avid reader, mentioning that everything of importance he knows he learned either on the battlefield or from a book.
  • History Repeats: Japan isolating itself from the rest of the world. Again.
  • Hold the Line: At certain intervals throughout each Chapter, Dan needs to fend off waves of mooks while his squadmates prepare the escape route. Since each wave respawns infinitely, it's also a good way to farm for credits, especially since most of these segments have nearby ammo pickups. Take too long, however, and the trust level of your allies will drop.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Averted. When a human is shown working a computer, it is in the normal way, and when Cain does it, he simply plugs his finger-drive into the computer and interfaces directly.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Subverted. While the Amada A.I. does comment that he thinks humanity is kinda rotten (especially considering the massive suffering he endured in the process of acquiring self-awareness), he decides that they just need a push in the right direction and not annihilation. His plan to do so is horrifying, to say the least.
    • Faye paraphrases this after hearing the Rust Crew's justifications for killing all the Hybrids.
  • Humongous Mecha: Some of the bosses in this game are pretty fucking big, like the Tsar Runner and the "chandelier" of Amada's entry hall, so huge you have to climb one of its tentacles to reach its weak spot.
  • I Meant to Do That: Kurosawa's statement, after he shoots a cable that Dan and Faye are sliding on... causing them to fall onto a monorail that takes them away from him. His partner isn't buying it.
    Kurosawa: "Just as Planned."
    Constable: "Sure."
    Kurosawa: "Just shut up and get that monorail stopped."
  • Immune to Bullets: While no enemy in the game is literally immune to bullets, some of the Elite Mooks and bosses are tough, requiring insane amounts of damage to go down. The Gorilla, in particular, takes it to Determinator/Implacable Man levels.
    • The Grand Lancers are stated to have armor so strong, infantry small arms can't hurt them; Dan needs a rocket launcher to strip their armor away before his rifle can do any damage.
  • In the Future, We Still Have Roombas: Many of the robots seen in the game are not humanoid at all, and have mundane functions other than blowing your head off.
  • Industrial Ghetto: Lower Tokyo is very much one, and Rachel mentions that pretty much all major metropolitan cities have their slums of this type.
  • Inspector Javert: Detective Kurosawa of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, who pursues the Rust Crew as "foreign invaders"... which they are, to a certain extent.
  • Interspecies Romance: A... strange and difficult example to define perhaps, but Dan and Faye. The climax of the game reveals Faye's mother was a Hollow Child. The Amada A.I. had given female models the ability to reproduce offspring with humans, and Faye was one of 108 separate births. The resulting hybrids are practically indistinguishable from humans in every way, including on a biological and physical level. The main differences are that hybrids are immune to all disease, and have perfect physical and mental health from the moment they are born. Outside of that, there's essentially nothing that sets them apart from humans. The story ends with both Dan and Faye as fugitives, but otherwise together as a couple.
  • Japan Takes Over the World: Subverted. Japan is an isolationist state disconnected from the world at large, and a minor player in the world stage (the USA is the leading superpower, at least more than it already is). However a specific Japanese company IS attempting world domination.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Charlie. He's the most acidic member of the Rust Crew , but he still means well.
  • Just a Machine: The way the world at large (and especially Rust Crews, since it's their job to blow them up) sees any artificial being. Hollow Children really push people's buttons the wrong way because of this. It's not that people might think they're sentient, it's that people think that they're programmed to believe they are, as a mockery of humanity. How much of that is actually true is open to speculation. Hollow Children offspring, however, are quite sentient and, to a degree, quite human...
  • Karma Houdini: Bergen. While he doesn't manage to acquire the Amada A.I., he does get away scot-free with having stolen Amada's research.
  • Killer Robot: By. The. Shit. Load.
  • Layered Metropolis: Tokyo has been made into one. It actually does address why this happened (Global Warming) and it is probably the only example with a giant sewer tower meant to help with the plumbing of the upper city. It's fascinating in that it's on such an enormous scale, it's really easy to forget you're so high up. Unless you're at Tully's Coffee.
  • Lampshade Hanging: After Dan quickly dispatches a trio of robots in melee combat, Kurosawa and Shindo have a brief (though not very serious) discussion about how Dan's skilled performance might be a sign of him being a Hollow Child. Shindo even conveniently adds that (after Dan protests that he was raised in Nebraska) his memories could have been implanted, but neither of the two actually put stock in the theory.
  • Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: From time to time, mooks carrying shields appear. The shields are completely bulletproof, which means that flanking, grenades, or the Shock Burst are required to take them out relatively easily, though there's a gap under the shield which can be exploited with an accurate weapon to blow the enemy's feet out from under them.
  • Mad Scientist: Amada certainly was one before his death. It's even mentioned by Charlie that, when they get the Hollow Children program's data, the analysis of his technology reveals he was 50 years ahead of his time. The Amada A.I. takes it further still.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Pretty much the primary enemy. Most hostile targets are machines, and can be blasted apart.
  • Mechanical Monster: The step up from a Mecha-Mook, and they get QUITE monstrous.
  • Mega Corp.: Bergen and Amada (the latter is not a big company, but the most technologically advanced entity on the planet and deeply in control of the Japanese government). In fact, the entire plot was set into motion by Amada's grudge against Bergen for stealing his technology.
  • Mercy Kill: Likely why Shindo opted not to go with Kurosawa and Dan. He had just shaken off the grip of a failed Hollow Child with the face of Yoshiki, his dead 'friend,' and was confronted by at least half a dozen like it. Considering how deeply Yoshiki's betrayal and death had affected him, staying to fight the failed Hollow Children was as close to a Mercy Kill for both them and him as could be.
  • Mini-Mecha: The US armed forces have them.
  • Misplaced Accent: Cain, the robotic Frenchman, seems to have an extremely Russian-sounding accent, even when he speaks in French. Cain: SITUATION CRITIQUE!
  • Mix-and-Match Weapon: Dan's assault rifle has the underbarrel grenade launcher-like Shock Burst, which fires a burst of energy at targets. It can be configured to just mow them down (Normal), fire homing bursts (R) or a large shockwave (G).
  • The Mole: Yoshiki, Shindo's right-hand man. He wasn't the mole on purpose, he was a Hollow Child who got his programming overridden by the Amada A.I. in order to find the resistance's hideout. In other words, he was quite sincerely Shindo's friend, until the Amada A.I. flipped the Brainwashed and Crazy switch on him.
    • Bo is Philips' mole in Rust Crew: he's the only other person aware that Philips wants to seize the Amada A.I.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: The game's creators specifically said they wanted to create a game that had global appeal, instead of one that catered merely to a Japanese demographic.
  • Multiple Endings: Depending on your trust levels with your teammates, the outcome of the final battle can change. It is possible for Bo and Rachael (or just Bo) to die. Cain will also return to help if your trust level with him is high enough. The Golden Ending has the ENTIRE Rust Crew live.
  • Multinational Team: The Rust Crew the game revolves around has six members from four different nations - the player character and his best bud are American, followed by two Brits, one Chinese... and a French robot.
  • Mundane Utility: In the Resistance base, you can find Assault mech heads... being used as desk lamps.
  • Named by Democracy: Dan has the nickname "Survivor" given to him by his superiors and fellow soldiers because of his miraculous talent (or luck) at surviving missions which are pretty damn hellish. Dan himself doesn't particularly like the name, since it reminds him that, while he survived, many teammates did not.
  • Nightmare Face: The result of a Hollow Child's Robotic Reveal. The floating eyeballs is probably the most disturbing feature.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Dan looks near-identical to Adam Sandler, only buff.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Averted. In one scene, Dan, Cain and Shindo need to go through a production line's conveyor belt to escape the enemy. They get into some crates, but when they're rolling into the machinery, the production line suddenly stops. Turns out, the machinery has sensors which trigger if they detect organic beings, cutting the power. Cain has to actually override the sensors for them to be able to escape.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted by Shindo, Played for Laughs.
    Cain: Humans are such inconvenient creatures.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The Reveal of the Hybrids causes this for the Rust Crew: Faye is now a target for elimination instead of a trusted teammate.
  • No One Left Behind: Dan repeatedly tries to invoke this when Rust Crew intends to extract from Amada Corp HQ without Faye. Bo tells him the issue isn't whether Faye is alive, it's because she's a human-Hollow Child hybrid.
  • A Nuclear Error: In the endgame, Phillips orders a nuclear strike on Amada HQ, to destroy evidence of the Amada A.I. and his attempts to secure it. The launch vessel's AI, however, rejects his orders, judging the launch to be caused by human error.
  • Odd Couple: Dan and Charlie, the most diametrically opposed personalities on the team. They're willing to cooperate, and they do have their moments of agreement, but they're pretty damn far from being friends.
  • Police State: Japan is one during the events of the game. It even has its own La Résistance to oppose it.
  • Press X to Not Die: It's a Yakuza Studios game, so it's to be expected. They're surprisingly rare, though.
  • Pretentious Latin Motto: Rust Crew's motto, Causa Latet Vis Est Notissima ("The cause is hidden, the results well-known").
  • Properly Paranoid: As Hollow Children can't be distinguished from humans until they reveal themselves, it's understandable that the public at large would be kinda paranoid. If they knew about Hybrids, it'd probably incite mass hysteria.
    • Given that a US Army four star General (likely the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) was a Hollow Child, it's quite clear that Hollow Children are the ultimate Manchurian Agent.
  • Product Placement: This Game Watch Japan article describes what brands are portrayed in the game.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Pretty much all the mook robots have red glowy eyes. Hollow Children sleeper agents also have them when Amada activates them.
  • Red Herring: From his flashbacks, you would have guessed Dan was a Hollow Child, but you'd be wrong... It's Faye who's not completely human, and she's not a Hollow Child, but the daughter of one.
    • Lampshaded with Casual Danger Dialog between Kurosawa and Shindo, who (jokingly) discuss the chances that Dan (in Dan's presence) is a Hollow Child. Shindo even reminds Dan that memories in Hollow Children are faked, so claims of going through childhood is no defense.
  • Remote Body: The Amada A.I.'s physical body is one of these.
  • The Reveal: Three big ones in quick succession: that Yoji Amada is actually quite dead and it's his "son", the Amada A.I., who's really the cause of the game's events; that Faye is a Hybrid, the daughter of a Hollow Child; and that Major Philips, the mission CO, was actually manipulating the Rust Crew team under orders in an attempt to secure the Amada A.I.
  • Robo Family: The Amada A.I. considers the Hollow Children his children in a quite literal sense, as he establishes in the game that, as a self-aware being, he wanted to reproduce. The Hybrids take it on a much more disturbing level.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: Hollow Children, obviously. Cain to a much lesser degree: while he snarks and shows what seems to be emotions, it's actually reactions based on logic and programming. Cain himself lampshades it: he mentions that he logically feels his partner's death was a waste and that he can see why it's a regrettable thing, yet he still mentions he is incapable of expressing actual grief, since that is a human emotion. He even says that it would not be wise to continue discussing it for that very reason. However, he DOES get to experience an emotion late in the game: when he gets tortured by the Amada A.I., the Amada A.I. mentions it instilled the concept of suffering into him.
    • Considering that the Amada AI itself became sentient through suffering, and that later on Cain decides to help the crew by his own decision and even takes a mecha-punch to save Faye, it's possible that he did gain true sentience in the end. It's never explicitly stated though.
  • Robot Girl: What female Hollow Children are, obviously. They have to get singled out, since they have an extra function the males don't: they can have children. The boom-chika-waw-waw way.
  • Robot Maid: Most robots seen interacting with humans in a non-murderous way are this type. Robots with industrial applications are not usually humanoid.
  • Robotic Reveal: Par for the course with Hollow Children, since they're indistinguishable from humans unless they get deep-tissue damage. Their skin and superficial tissue is actually organic, too, making the reveal... kinda gory.
  • Scary Black Man: Averted. Big Bo is, well, big, but he's actually a very friendly guy, and shows surprising warmth for being a battle-hardened soldier.
  • Scavenger World: Many of the denizens of Lower Tokyo earn a living scavenging, especially robot parts and weapons left after a firefight. The resistance's weapons are pretty much all scavenged this way, but they compensate their second-hand nature with good craftsmanship. At the beginning of the game we even see a man leading a group of battle-hardened children to scavenge what's left of a bunch of bots after the heroes get done with them.
  • Scenery Porn/Scenery Gorn/Technology Porn: Upper Tokyo is truly a beautiful place... until it starts getting wrecked to shit by the Rust Crew. As for technology, all the robots in this game are wonderfully detailed, lovingly animated and impressive to see in action... until they start getting wrecked to shit by the Rust Crew.
  • Science Is Bad: Played with. Amada's blind pursuit of technological advancement without care for the ethics or morality of his actions is what lead to the Amada A.I. and the Hollow Children. Not so much "science is bad" as it is "science done by bad people is bad", but it still results in bad shit happening.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Kurosawa pulls this after he found out the Japanese government was caught in some shady operations with Amada Corporation. It also helps to note that he didn't receive any orders from the Constable to withdraw.
    • Dan pulls this off near the end after: 1) he finds out Faye is a Hybrid, and even spared her life when he was about to execute her in front of the Rust Crew, 2) His superior, Major Philips, was pulling the strings on the Rust Crew and wanted to secure the Amada A.I. for Bergen's interests, and 3) Hybrids are interpreted as violations of Clause 21 from New Geneva Convention, which bans research and production of robots that can pass for humans.
  • Sequel Hook: By the end of the game, Hybrids are being hunted by the world's governments, including Faye, and there are still Hollow Children at large. However, Faye's on the run with Dan by her side, so she's actually pretty damn safe for the moment.
    • Also, the United States government's fear that Faye may gather all the Hybrids and cause an uprising against them.
  • Shooting It Out Of Their Hands: You can do this by blowing an enemy's arm clean off (and they'll comically quickly scramble to grab the gun with their other arm). You also do it to Faye when she holds a teammate at gunpoint.
  • Shout-Out: The Shoutout page is here folks!
  • The Singularity: Amada managed to create sentient, self-replicating, pseudo-organic life that can become one with humanity. When the heroes realize the extent of his success in doing this, they're flabbergasted.
  • Skele Bot 9000: The basic design of Mecha-Mooks in the game.
  • Skyscraper City/Wretched Hive: The difference between Upper Tokyo and Lower Tokyo, respectively.
  • Sliding Scale of Shiny Versus Gritty: Upper Tokyo: very shiny. Lower Tokyo: very gritty.
  • Spider Tank: The appropriately named Spider boss.
  • Spiritual Successor: Not meant to be, since they're made by completely different companies with no story links at all, but many people have commented that the game's the closest thing to a contemporary Snatcher.
  • Starfish Robots: The more monstrous bosses in the game don't look like anything remotely humanoid.
  • The Stinger: If you're wondering why so many examples are talking about Faye and Dan hiding together in the end, when the final scene clearly showed Faye leaving by herself, you should endure the credits to the end for the really final scene.
  • Subsystem Damage: All mooks in the game have targetable limbs, a la Dead Space. Targeting the arm holding a weapon will disarm the enemy and send it scrambling to grab a weapon with the good arm, shooting out a leg will knock it down and force it to crawl, and shooting the head will blind/deafen it, making it attack its buddies.
  • Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: Averted; According to Dan's flashback, an "Alfie" model robot can easily be overpowered by a preteen boy, and the Alfie waiter at the Rotary bar keeps getting damaged by unruly customers.
  • Super Toughness: Cain is by far the most durable character. He isn't invulnerable and will go down if he takes enough gunfire, but it happens very rarely even if he's left to his own devices - compare to the other characters, who are constantly expending medkits or screaming for your help. He is also the only one who'll survive getting smacked by the Major's mecha. If you get the ending where one of the humans is smacked, they die. If Cain is, he'll be thrown against a column hard enough to put a huge dent in it, then two seconds later calmly walk to you like nothing happened.
  • Surveillance Drone: The enemy uses quite a lot of them as security measures and to actively hunt down the protagonists.
  • Telescoping Robot: Gloriously averted. Every single robot in the game has gadgets that fit into their external chassis logically or are obviously in view. The only possible exception is Cain's grappling hook, and that could be explained as some sort of compressed material or one that expands when in contact with air.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Faye deserts the Rust Crew in the second-to-last segment of the final chapter, but returns to the team for the final showdown.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Towards the end of the first chase sequence, Kurosawa orders a roadblock to trap Rust Crew. Said roadblock consists of standard soldier robots, APCs... and a mobile artillery walker.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: The game succeeds in evoking this feeling with most bosses the player ends up facing.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Revolves around this trope. Hollow Children don't know they're not human. Female Hollow Children can give birth, and their children (called Hybrids) are indistinguishable from humans, except they (supposedly) are smarter, stronger and immune to disease. Suffice it to say, the nations of the world consider them abominations, while the Hybrids themselves do not know anything of the sort. To complicate things... Faye is one of them.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Following the usual convention of Two Girls to a Team. Rachel is dressed like an actual soldier, has close-cropped hair and (refreshingly) average looks, while Faye is wearing some form-fitting outfit and looks like a model with a sniper rifle.
  • Translation Convention: Averted; Japanese characters speak Japanese to themselves (i.e. Kurosawa & his partner), while the Japanese that interact with Rust Crew speak English in-universe.
  • Trick Bomb: The grenade varieties include classics like stickies and remote-activated ones, but there's some unique versions: chaff grenades confuse robots into attacking each other, and decoy grenades project a holographic decoy that enemies will focus on momentarily.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The Amada A.I. certainly did turn, but the Hollow Children don't even know humans are supposed to be their masters, on account of them believing themselves human as well, and they almost universally lash out at humans out of fear and confusion over their robotic nature, not out of rebellion.
  • Unnecessarily Creepy Robot: Yes, the combat robots should look intimidating, but some of them are borderline horror.
  • Urban Segregation: Quite the dramatic example in Tokyo. Upper Tokyo is a borderline utopic city: clean, efficient, economically powerful and technologically advanced. LOWER Tokyo is a shithole (literally: Upper Tokyo throws its sewage there) of urban decay were people do anything in their power to survive, to the point there's an actual resistance movement dedicated to fighting the government for the right to lead a decent life.
  • Vice City: Lower Tokyo. If it can get you arrested or killed, it's getting done there.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After his takeover by the Amada AI, Cain is nowhere to be seen unless he returns to the team for the final battle. Mifune also vanishes after being knocked aside by the rogue cargo lifter.
  • Villainous Breakdown: in the final chapter, Major Philips is pretty sure of himself, thinking his plan has been perfectly realized. As things start to go beyond his control, however, he becomes increasingly irrational.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: In the stinger, Dan simply scares off the Rust Crew sent to kill Faye, after having easily dispatched their robots with a gatling gun. In fact, the only time the Rust Crew actually kills human foes is in the final confrontation with the Major. They might not think that Hybrids or Hollow Children are 'people,' but they certainly don't hold orders against the soldiers dispatched to carry them out.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Played with in myriad ways. The main characters gleefully cut a swath of destruction through thousands of robots, yet they have a robot in their team (Cain) and through the game come to trust him as a valued teammate. Also, Hollow Children truly believe themselves human, which makes some people hesitate to destroy them. Hollow Children's offspring are an even more complicated matter entirely.
  • The Wiki Rule: Here, it's not that well-developed
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: This phrase is uttered a LOT, usually by Big Bo. Charlie gets in on the act as the story progresses.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The Japanese security forces (and probably most security forces of other nations) call the anti-New Order guerrillas as "terrorists". But to those who were born/living in the abandoned cities/towns, they're heroes.

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