Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor Review
Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor Box Art
System: Xbox 360
Dev: From Software
Pub: Capcom
Release: June 19, 2012
Players: 1 + 2-player co-op
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p

Far too many of the veet's functions require bafflingly precise movements, and the game simply is not advanced enough to interpret these things in the heat of battle. Even when the veet was at rest, though, and no enemies were around to get my adrenaline pumping and make my movements more frenzied, it simply would not do what I wanted it to do.

Heavy Armor has co-op multiplayer on certain levels, which would be fun, although competitive deathmatches would have been better. It allows some modicum of vehicle customization, though not nearly as much as I'd have liked. And the story is brutal and at least fundamentally interesting - I wanted to know more about "Uncle" and how he/they came into power.

Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor Screenshot

Unfortunately (and I'm loathe to admit this), I did not get very far in Heavy Armor, despite hours of attempts. Normally I'd finish a game before subjecting the internet to my opinion, but I'm making an exception this time, because whatever else Heavy Armor has to offer could not possibly offset the deeply, horribly flawed concepts at the very core of its design. I don't want to belittle the enormous amount of work that clearly went into creating this game, but those involved had to know that what they ultimately produced is broken.

Gesture controls aren't automatically preferable to traditional input methods simply based on the fact that the real life motion a player is performing is more-or-less analogous to the action of their avatar in the game. In other words: just because you're pulling a lever in the game doesn't mean it's more fun to pretend you're pulling a lever in real life, especially when the simple press of a button could produce the same effect with far more consistency and less frustration. And Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor is particularly guilty of this regrettable conceit of motion game design.

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It literally doesn't work about 80 percent of the time. It either fails to recognize that you've made any motion at all or simply interprets your gestures incorrectly. How a game could have shipped in this state is a complete mystery to me, but unless they've got a game-changing patch waiting in the wings that will make this game playable, I can't recommend it to anyone at all. And that's a shame, because there's a great idea at its core. It's just everything surrounding that core that makes it unbearable.

By
Michael Rougeau
Contributing Writer
Date: June 25, 2012

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
2.5
Graphics
The game is gritty and realistic, and the inside of your cockpit is very detailed, but environments are often muddy and of low quality.
0.0
Control
The combination of Kinect and controller could have been a revelation, but instead it makes Heavy Armor an unplayable train wreck.
4.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
There's plenty of dialogue, though squad members often repeated themselves, and the sounds of battle ring in your ears as you attempt to play.
3.0
Play Value
If you can continue to progress through the campaign there's plenty of single-player content to traverse, though the lack of deathmatch multiplayer is surprising.
1.5
Overall Rating - Avoid
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • War, inside and out - Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor provides a combination of first-person shooter (FPS) controller gameplay with immersive gameplay elements that only Kinect can provide.
  • Take to the battlefield - Instill fear in the enemy as the pilot of a Vertical Tank (VT), but feel fear of death as you and your crew become the focus of the enemy's attacks.
  • Brothers in arms - Utilize Kinect to engage with fellow VT crew members as you share the emotional highs and lows of the battlefield.
  • Unique universe - Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor is set in a world where the balance of power has been dramatically changed following a technology meltdown and once-mighty nations are reliant on human skill and courage to regain justice and freedom.


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