Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor Review
No amount of heavy armor saves this one
by Kent Sobey
© 2012 Kent Sobey
Why, you ask?
Well because I haven’t actually finished the game yet. I can hear you all judging me and thinking how can a reviewer write about a game before they’ve actually finished it? [Ed: Yes, why Kent...]
Well, you don’t get to judge me, at least not until you’ve tried to play Steel Battalion Heavy Armor.
Keep reading and I’ll explain why this Kinect and controller combo simply doesn’t work.
A World Without Computers
The UN appears to be the bad guy, but not a lot is given at the start of the game in the way of explanation of that. Either way, it’s the USA vs. the UN, or ‘Uncles’ as they are referred to. [Ed: Huahhh! (again!)]
Vertical Tanks, or ‘VTs’ are now the tank of choice for the military. These bipedal beasts have an anti-tank gun which fires massive shells and then a standard canon in the front.
It’s also possible to equip weapons such as a mortar to the back of the tank. There are all sorts of other modifications you can do to the tank to spruce it up but ultimately, is it enough to make me want to play on?
A Game Without Level Design
I’ll start with the good bits of the game because I don’t think it will take me very long at all.
The cutscenes are visually pleasing…
Ok, that about sums it up for the good, now on to the bad.
All jokes aside, the graphics of the game are not that bad, they’re not great either.
Because of the way the tank is designed, there is a lot of clutter on the screen when you’re not looking through the visor – and when you are looking through the visor it is damn near impossible to see what you’re shooting at unless you use your periscope.
Of course to use the periscope you have to actually be able to get it down but the Kinect control doesn’t work so that’s not an option.
The level design is almost non-existent because of how short each level is.
Most of the levels are square with a few obstacles or buildings in the way and very rarely take more than a few minutes to complete.
This is not necessarily a bad thing because I do understand why they wanted to make the levels short – so they could impose a realistic damage system that would not be possible on longer levels without having someone repair the mech during the battle – but it just doesn’t work.
It feels like you’re just getting going when someone on the radio says ‘good job team now report back to base’.
A Tank Without Control
On one level I was asked to give my team a signal when I spotted the enemy. Of course I saw them coming long before they came anywhere near me, but I had absolutely no idea how to warn them. I even screamed at the TV hoping they would hear me.
Eventually they got near us and then my team started to yell profanity at me. Now it’s time to start the engine – nope, can’t do that, my hands are not working… ARGH!
Which leads me to the next thing I really had a problem with – the controls.
If I can’t get the mech to do what I want it to, then I don’t want to play- what’s the point?
There are so many levers and buttons in the VT that when you put your hand out to grab one, you almost always hit the wrong one. I can’t tell you how many times this got me killed.
I understand that they wanted to integrate the Kinect but why did they have to make everything in the VT reliant on the Kinect!
I also never knew if I was supposed to be holding the control or not. When I’m making a gesture with one hand, should I put it controller down? Who knows?
An Experience Without Joy
If you move an inch the game either got even harder to control (if that’s possible) or it asked you to recalibrate. I’m not talking big movements here; I mean just getting comfortable in your chair. You have to sit up straight or you’re not controlling anything.
I can’t stress just how frustrating it was to play this game.
Every single time I tried to do something I had to do it several times before I got it right – and I’ve been using my arms my whole life so I know how they work.
Under no circumstances should you spend your hard earned money on this game – and if you get it for free, then you know the person who gave it to you secretly hates you. [Ed: Hey...that hurt]
© 2012 Kent Sobey
Filed under: 3rd Party Games, Console gaming, Game Impressions, Kinect reviews, New Game Information, New Xbox 360 Games, Xbox 360, Xbox 360 Game Reviews, Xbox 360 News, Xbox 3rd party exclusives Tagged: | From Software, Kinect, Steel Battalion, Steel Battalion Heavy Armor, Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor Review