Monday, July 8, 2013

Obscure Video Game - Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor

Hey all, Counterfett here. Kind of a silent weekend for me, but it was pretty productive as I managed to watch a lot of mecha anime (mostly stuff recommended by Tomsche again, and you are sure to see this stuff on the anime/manga feature). But since I largely only interrupted said anime with taking care of the kids and Skyrim, I didn't do a lot of gaming or posting. So, let's jump right back in with some Obscure Video gaming, that feature where I take an old/unkown/foreign game and play it, so you don't have to.

Today's game is Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor. Right up front, let me put the disclaimer on this one and tell you... Do Not Buy This Game. It Is The The Worst Game Of Modern History. It Remains The Lowest Rated Game On Several Review Sites And Does Not Work As Advertised. Do Not Give Money, Trade In Value, Or Any Service Rendered For This Game. There, I feel much better.

Steel Battalion is a long running 'Hard' mecha franchise, which is one of the last games to my knowledge to use a special required controller. Someone had the great idea for the latest iteration to use the Kinect instead of a specialized controller. Would have been a great idea...except it doesn't work. At All. For anything. Don't buy this game.

I got it from a friend I was trading some games and models with. He threw it in after the trade was done. He warned me "It looks good, but it sucks. You're not going to like it. It doesn't work, you'll get super aggravated, and you'll never finish it." He was right on all but one count. I did beat it. What can I say, I'm a bit of a masochist when it comes to video games.

  • Story. It's a neat story line, with an interesting background. I went into this a bit with my mecha countdown, but basically, high tech doesn't work anymore, so everyone decided to go back to the good old days of WWII and start killing each other like Hans und Panzer. Ok, well, it doesn't make any sense when I describe it like that, but it's still one of the better parts of the game.
  • Characters. As crew members die and are replaced, there are some cool characters you get to interact with. Unfortunately, as the game doesn't work right, it's a bit hard to keep some of them alive. The cute blond co-pilot necessitated a great number of saves and reloads to retain.
  • It doesn't work. I know, I'm sorry, I'm kind of harping on this, but the Kinect is not capable of the types of precision movements required for piloting a vertical tank. It would be like trying to fly a plane while wearing the foam #1 hand from a baseball game. You just end up hitting a lot of buttons and switches you had no intention to.
  • Hard to figure out. There are some objectives and triggers for events in this game that are incredibly difficult to figure out. For instance, in one mission, you are out your hatch using binocs to look for enemy scouts. When you see them, instead of actually pursuing them or calling them in yourself, you have to tell your co-pilot to call it in on the radio. Otherwise, you fail. Do you want to know how many tries it took me to pass this mission? So would I.
All in all, it's an utter failure of a game. It does make me sad, though, because it has the framework of a truly excellent title. They could have done so much with this if it hadn't been saddled with the Kinect. If they'd made it controller compatible, or even a specialized controller/console like previous versions, this game might really have worked well. As it is, I think this franchise was killed by this release. Who will forget this steaming pile?

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