Kinect… I hate you.
In writing this review, I feel compelled to wag my finger at a responsible party, but I can't decide who is most deserving of my ire—of my utter hatred. Is it Capcom for promising and delivering this…game? Is it From Software for agreeing to develop and slap their name on it? Is it Microsoft for…birthing… Satan itself?
Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor promised a hardcore Kinect game, combining the Xbox 360 controller with the motion camera to create an experience we had hoped and dreamed for (and been promised repeatedly by corporate suits). It is a massive disappointment, an incredible frustration, and not worth the plastic box the game comes in. Still, let's try to have fun with this review, because I certainly didn't have any with the game.
The first sign that something was horribly, horribly wrong with this title was that there were what felt like dozens of buttons completely unused on the 360's controller. As a franchise, Steel Battalion made a name for itself with its massive controller, packed to the gills with buttons on top of buttons. Heavy Armor only utilizes the analog sticks and the triggers.
All other actions are dependent on your flapping arms, you're stupid, stupid arms. DAMN YOU ARMS. Why don't you work! I can't believe I've been carrying you around all my life, and you don't do shit for me!… Wait, that's not right. My arms are fine. I'm an expert with my arms because I've been using them since I was a child.
It must be the Kinect. It must be the game. I pointed every light source I could at me, hoping it was my own fault. I prayed that it was my living room, but it wasn't. Heavy Armor should be fun to play, but trying to complete the campaign is an exercise in masochism.
You're supposed to be able to close your view-shutter under heavy fire. Unfortunately, Steel Battalion just made me look at the map on the screen to the left instead. After that, I was shot in the head. In another mission, I tried to use my periscope to aim at an enemy from afar. It let me close my shutter then.
I took a full step to the right in my living room to try to correct this error. Every motion I made seemed to be interpreted as a desperate grasp at the self-destruct button. I decided that was a more favorable action than continuing down the horrid path the campaign set out in front of me.
It's almost as if From Software wants to reassure you. They want you to know that your frustration, vitriol, and venom is well placed. Every mission manages a lather-rinse-repeat pain only slapping your buttcheeks with a cactus could attain.
I tried desperately to bring myself back to the title, to play more than four hours. I couldn't do it. You literally couldn't pay me to finish Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor. Even if the Kinect controls functioned properly in conjunction with the standard controller, I can't see this being an enjoyable romp around the battlefield.
Everything on screen screams claustrophobia. Battlefields are dense and completely unintelligible. I tried to see where my enemies were firing on me from, but I was dead long before I could poke my head out and take a peak. When I finally discovered their locations, I stood still at spawn and carefully lined up my shots.
Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor blindfolds you, tells you to play whack-a-mole, and then arms you with a feather. Nothing about it works. I don't like reviewing a game I haven't finished, but I don't like this game more.
Do not buy Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor. If you do, don't play it.