War Inside and Outside and Kinect

User Rating: 5 | Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor X360
SB:HA had a rough start with controls issues as everyone has been told. Well after fonding with my setup up and figuring out by myself. I managed to get it worked, no thanks to the 16pgs of operation manual which tells you the things that has already mention in the tutorial. And to my surprised is rather consistant and accurate. Although it still had a some recognization issue, especially if your flailing your arms quickly or even leaning back and forward will give a slight impression that your doing something (sometimes kinect pick up too accurately). Although the game states that it requires 6 ft from the kinect sensor, i found that it does not require as long as kinect could detect your head and torso. From my experience, its a lot more accurate if i m closer to the sensor, i m playing at 4 ft distance and i m about 6ft tall.

Anyway back to the game.

This game as explained is a simulator, which frankly speaking not a true simulator. However SB:HA is a good simplified and streamline simulator but its not simplified enough for casual gamers - making the learning curve uneven.The first thing that took my attention is its immersion and cockpit controls which could be controlled by kinect (it sounds really good and innovative) provide if your the type who wants to figuring the controls by yourself.

The game aestatics and WW2 theme which in my opinion really shines as compared to most futuristic mech games. With this condition, most mechs are walking tanks called VTs operated manually by hydraulics and a crew of 4.

Controls are either standard controller and kinect for the cockpit instrument from radar to smoke ventilation. Swiping your hands left and right to view your teammates for some chat or to sexually assault them. Controls are all over your screen and picking up and using those instrument is rather tricky at first (kinect register a certain pattern- any other pattern is rejected). I highly suggest switching on all HUD for the first playthrough ( default is off) which helps players the kinect controls. You could be saving your copilots or to prevent enemy soldiers from boarding your mech, and no its a game mechanic that is not triggered by scripts (some do). This require certain timing and piloting skills to prevent them from happening. If you do badly, your teammates might attempt to flee, or if you did not clear the area completely, an enemy soldier might sneak up your mech to deliever a supprise package.

There are a total of 7 chapters - each are considered as a mini theater of war with each chapters of 5 missions each. Missions are ranging from patrol to scouting to all out assault and it rather short of some mission lasting about 5 mins in which you will be spending 4 mins scouting for enemy and the last min to shot it down. And some mission expecially chapter 4, 5 to be extremely difficult. This made me wonder, combat operations are usually long but most of the time will be spent doing stuff other than shooting, so capcom decide to trim all the unnessary boredom. Realism maybe?

Some ideas/criticism for improvement:
1. controls for kinect are too cramp and as a result kinect had a hard time figuring out which buttons to you press. Most of the controller buttom maps are not utilised and certain item clearly doesnot need kinect (HMG)
2. No voice command for a game which clearly needs to have voice commands to your crew members from loading shells or main top HMG or even to switch position with another dead/wounded teammembers.
3. very limited customization option for mechs (total 3 mechs) - it seem like capcom wanted to add more accesories in the future.
4. mission layout is rather short with some mission lasting 5 mins to 15 mins.
5. The game is clearly a singleplayer game with very limited coop option and NO pvp
6. Crew members actually contributing and provide more task for them. Added an RPG like system, trust and morale system and to ablitiy to pick and choose whom to be included for the mission.
7. several more campaigns from the Russian or UN themselves to flash out the story which is clearly incomplete and rather vague.
8. very poor replay value other than the 6 coop mission which is very oddly paced in the campaign. From the first impression, SB:HA is designed as a singleplayer game with no multiplayer

SB: HA is truely a very unique and innovate game and not many games had this kind of immersion. It definately kept me interested in it with its controls, game mechanics, story and immersive enviroment as i m in the war. This game has huge potential but it is clearly seen that capcom didnt really put much effort in making this game. Its diffinately a must have for kinect owners but for core gamers this game is a mere tech demo, of possibly a stepping stone for something great to come in the future
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