Kinect Finally Has Its Hardcore Game

Capcom's Steel Battalion might have just become the flagship game for Microsoft's motion-sensing camera.

There's a moment in Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor where you and a crew manning a large bipedal tank are making landfall on a beach assault not unlike the storming of Normandy's beaches during World War II. A member of your crew, unable to handle the pressure of the situation, loses his mental faculties and makes his way for the hatch--not completely aware of the mortars and bullets waiting for him on the other side. You reach with your left arm to pull the deserting member of the crew back into the cockpit. A few attempts bring him back down, but he's not sold on staying--you then proceed to repeatedly punch him in the face until common sense finally gets knocked back into his skull.

He reluctantly goes back to his position. You resume your command. It's one of the game's many tense moments, and all of it happened using the Kinect. You have to reach at the crew member and beat him, but in the real world where he doesn't exist.

The original Steel Battalion was intended to be a simulation of something that didn't actually exist, and bets were placed firmly on Capcom attempting to re-create that sensation and its most notable quality--the massive dual-stick controller that came with the game. But what Capcom has actually done is integrate a very human element into a very technical experience. Along with the aforementioned freak-out, there's a scene in which a very thirsty crew is on the hunt for a remote oasis in the desert. A crew member hands you what's left of his water--what you do with it or who you give it to is entirely up to you. Just know that your actions can have unforeseen consequences.

As mentioned, while all of this is going on, you still have to worry about what amounts to being commander of a bipedal tank. The number of handles, levers, bars, and other sorts of functional interactive objects within reach is almost daunting, including the popular self-destruct button re-created in virtual form--activated only by lifting the glass and punching the button inside. A periscope is available for sighting long-range targets. There's a separate map console to pull in front of your face and a separate lever to engage a higher gear speed. You can swing around inside the cockpit to talk and (sometimes inappropriately) interact with other crew members. You can even stand up out of your chair and raise a hand to your forehead--this lets you peek from the top hatch to survey the surrounding areas with binoculars that don't actually exist. It's one of the more surreal options in Steel Battalion, if only because it's one of those things you try as a joke to see if it works, only to find that it actually does.

Admittedly, getting adjusted to the Kinect-enabled parts of the game take some time, but it's not because they aren't responsive. It's because you have to train your brain to move your hands and body around as if they were in an actual cockpit. For example, when you reach for the bars in front of you to pull your face to the blast window, your motions have to mimic that. To return to the default camera view in the cockpit, you have to physically push yourself away from the window with the opposite motion. It's not quite as easy as it sounds at first, but we started getting the hang of it after a dozen or so minutes.

The reason this particular move is a sticking point is that it's how you switch from the cockpit view with Kinect controls to the blast-window, first-person view, which uses the regular Xbox 360 controller. Indeed, despite the heavy Kinect integration, movement, targeting, and shooting are still executed through the traditional first-person shooter setup, and surprisingly it's not all that jarring. In fact, the transition between the cockpit and first-person view is long enough that it gives you more than ample time to get readjusted, or to pick up your controller if you happened to put it down--though, it's worth pointing out that Steel Battalion's Kinect functionality has been designed to anticipate the occasional nose itch or various other sorts of unintentional movements that would otherwise cause problems.

From just about every perspective, Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor is the game that you will probably use to show off how a typically hardcore game can be used to properly harness the Kinect when it's designed specifically for it--as opposed to just adding Kinect functionality onto a game as an afterthought. We'll be seeing more of the game before its release on June 19.

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Discussion

43 comments
blakeney
blakeney

And when they guy that goes nuts isn't goin nuts, you can still pull him down and beat him, or any other crew member, right?

 

Ofc not... things like that will be "set peices"... may aswell have "Tap X to beat guy" on screen, imo tapping X looks a little less fag then messing around doing a mime act....

Vambran
Vambran

Im not going out and buying a Kinect when the 720 will most likely have Kinect 2.0 built in.

00J
00J

so you must become a mime... they ought to put a picture of a mime face icon on the back of the case.

mdboomer
mdboomer

Kinect is great with the right games.  Games like Dance Central, Zumba, Kincet Sports are alot of fun.  The Kinect's appeal is its family friendly.  I'm not sure if I'd use it as much on my own if it wasn't for my six year old pushing me to play it for hours at a time.

y3ivan
y3ivan

@WolfGrey i believe there are female crew members. Your able to pick your crew member during pre-mission.

WolfGrey
WolfGrey

Hmm so i can interact inappropriately with my crew members? ...interesting....so.....are any of my crew members....female?

X-RS
X-RS

I'm still excited for this game, but I do get tired of reading that same "Pull the guy down and punch him" thing. It's time for a new demo.

ADDADAC
ADDADAC

@netter99 the develpers made dark souls and that won major critical acclaim

danielmbg
danielmbg

I have to disagree when people say Kinect is not good, really, there are plenty amazing titles that companies can make, but they are not willing to spend money on it. About this game, the story looks kinda nice, but really, the graphics are horrible, why they don't make good graphics for Kinect games, like Dance Central? And like they said, the only game that looked really promising, Ryse, was delayed to the next generation, and probably since the new Xbox is coming out, companies won't make anything new, exciting for the old Kinect. I just hope that they fix the major problems Kinect have on the next generation. Because for me its a wonderful technology, but almost no one found a great use of it.

cacameada
cacameada

Hmmm...Maybe I'll wait to try this game before I sell my Kinect...I hope it's worth it. I'd hate to sell it at half the price I originally bought it.

Masenkoe
Masenkoe

From Software or not... Kinect is trash

xboxfanonly
xboxfanonly

This looks (I express the word 'looks') like a deccent kinect title. But we will have to wait and see.

Aentikraist
Aentikraist

yeah it came like 1000 years later just when the new xbox is coming i mean really??? Nintendo won that deal with that and i dont even like NIntendo but its the truth

netter99
netter99

kinect would be good if the graphics were not from a Playstation 2 console and if talented people were making the game instead of a bunch of people who think they are making the next big game on kinect and then they dont because they ended up making a horrible game and nobody except for 30 year old women and 8 year old kids want to play kinect.

ziproy
ziproy

Yea they said Kinect finally had a hit when that M-rated game came out and it was terrible. kinect is a flop, move on already

Chaosctf2k
Chaosctf2k

It might be a shot in the dark; but how much of a success was the first Steel Battalion and its $100 controller to warrant a "hardcore" subtitle to it? Did all hardcore gamers suffer the same pain? What a stab in the back.

slonekb05
slonekb05

this is what i heard about rysen and it got knocked back to next console.

Barighm
Barighm

Ah yes, the nose itch. That has gotten me killed quite a few times. As cool as it sounds, it's Kinect and I, nor anyone else I know, have it, want it, and have no intention of getting it.

pcty
pcty

worst graphics of this generation?

IceJester45
IceJester45

@ccgod, The two versions play very differently. And, you don't buy both; you prefer one and get that one. And, you're the one missing the point. In my original comment, I didn't say Child of Eden is a reason to get a Kinect. I said it is a "core" game for Kinect. But, I suppose expecting people to actually read on this website is just too much to ask.

ccgod
ccgod

@IceJester45 so not the point a multi plat game can't be used as a you must buy this type deal rather pointing your finger and shooting or pointing a microphone its the same game i wouldn't re buy mass effect just so i could talk to the tv

supertom221
supertom221

@jedicommand7 Mass Effect 3 is a Kinect-SUPPORTED game. It is by no means mandatory and comes out to other systems. So no, it does not count. Steel Battalion IS a Kinect game, you can't paly it without Kinect.

Psycold
Psycold

Those were REALLY ugly cinematics, the models and animations looked like something I did my first year learning 3dsMax

supertom221
supertom221

Kinect? Hardcore? Riiiiiiight. Like i'm ever gonna fall for tha--- *Sees it's made by From Software* HOLYCRAPMUSTHAVETHISGAMENAOKTHNXBIE!!!

IceJester45
IceJester45

@ccgod, Yeah, because Kinect and Move controls are so damned similar :/

ccgod
ccgod

@icejester45 yes a cross platform game is why u should by kinect :/

IceJester45
IceJester45

Wasn't The Gunstringer a so-called "core" game? What about Child of Eden? At any rate, Steel Battalion looks a little better every time I see it. I am certainly excited for it now.

oldschoolvandal
oldschoolvandal

I swear I'm trying...but I still feel better and get most fun out of games that rely on good'n'old controllers.... Guess I'm getting old....

genjuroT
genjuroT

why did this feel like a "what if japan invaded america"? the woman telling the guys to fire at those people with that hand jesture is a japanese jesture that japanese do. does anyone else take a little offense from this game? Also, does anyone know who the enemy country in this game really is?

DreadfulGlory
DreadfulGlory

It looks good. But I haven't gotten the kinect simply because there aren't any games out there that interest me to get it. This game certainly looks awesome and I want to play it, but I'll wait and see if it is worth getting the kinect.

TeTBCN
TeTBCN

I have Steel Battalion and Line of Contact and can say, this game do not represent Steel Battalion Saga. I see a ingame video from spanish forum and see stupid... motive: · No recognition of voice detected. Well... i not wait more of a stupid game with only one Frog VT compared with the original Steel Battalion. I buy this game with 15€ of price, same of Kinect Sports and PowerUp Heroes this december. Conclusion, deception and frustation.

Giancarlo
Giancarlo moderator

@jedicommand7 No, it's just voice commands.

OverlordEX
OverlordEX

Oh man, now I REALLY wish I had a 360

jedicommand7
jedicommand7

ME3 will use Kinect, too. Doesn't that count?

Raxyman
Raxyman

From Software? In for a kinect game? Count. Me. IN!

El3ctrosisV2
El3ctrosisV2

How long has Kinect been out? Only now it gets a decent game for actual gamers...

RealFabioSooner
RealFabioSooner

It seems good, and I trust From Software to deliver good games. Couldn't care less about it being labeled 'hardcore' or not though. This kind of thinking only matters to smelly basement kids anyway. And wasn't Gunstringer said 'hardcore game for Kinect'? The one with a friggin' marionette and lumberjacks stickin' it to alligators?

silversix_
silversix_

1 hardcore game per 2 and a half year sounds about right ROFL

blakeney
blakeney

 @Vambran

 It will still need a Camera attached to the top of your tv.... if you think Ms will change thier ways by 720, stop dreamin! You will still have to buy Kinect 2.0, and it will no doubt cost exactly the same.

00J
00J

if anything kinect really puts an age limit on games.

blakeney
blakeney

 @genjuroT

 Offended by a "What if" situation, but a "re-live our blood thirsty war on oil" is A-ok?

 

"Shakes head"