So How Does That Crazy Steel Battalion Kinect Game Work?

Capcom is bringing Steel Battalion to Kinect, minus the enormous controller. In its place, Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor uses a combination of Kinect controls and the Xbox controller.

During my Tokyo Game Show eyes-on, I was able to observe the game in action. When the demo started, Kinect scanned the player sitting in a chair in order to map the player in the Steel Battalion Vertical Tank.

Players can pull levers and the scope down with Kinect motion controllers. By moving the Xbox 360 controller forward, players can "zoom in" and get a view of the battlefield. All these controls seem to work well.

Besides the player, there are three other characters in the VT, each with specialized jobs such as loading the VT's cannon. However, Kinect doesn't register the player's head movements. So to look at the other crew members, players must reach their hands out and make a turning motion—as if they were Vanna White. It's clumsy and not very realistic, and it actually seems like it would take players out of the game.

When things get hairy, the crew members might try to escape. Players must reach up and pull them back in the VT. Sometimes, crew members will even exchange punches, meaning the player has to slug them back in to submission.

According to Capcom, the game aims to build a relationship with the crew members. At the end of the demo mission, there was a short interactive cutscene. One of the crew members reached out his hand, and there was the choice whether the player should shake it or not.

The gentleman demoing the game reached out and shook it. I asked if players could slug the crew member at that point, and the designers seemed to brush it off as though I was kidding. I wasn't. If I have the ability to punch my crew members during the heat of battle, shouldn't I have that same choice later, too? It's like having a B button and then suddenly removing it.

As ridiculous as that huge Steel Battalion controller was, at least it was realistic. And bananas.


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