Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor
The original title in this mech series featured one of the most elaborate controllers in the history of home consoles. With Heavy Armor's hybrid Kinect/controller gameplay, it seems like it's gone in the complete opposite direction. We had a chance to try out Capcom's upcoming title at Microsoft's Spring Showcase, and it featured no shortage of Kinect utilization.
Moving your mech and aiming your weapon is controlled with the analog sticks, but much of the game is controlled exclusively via gestures. If you need to get a better look at the war-torn future of Brooklyn, Morocco, or any of the game's other environments, you can stand up and raise your left hand to your face as if it were holding a pair of binoculars. If you want to aim at far-away enemies from the interior of the mech, you can pull down a periscope with your right hand.
Situation-specific gestures are required fairly frequently, and these usually involve your crew. You'll want to keep them happy, and this can be acquired via silly fist bumps and high fives or more serious actions like sharing your canteen in the middle of the desert. Treat them poorly, and you'll be on the receiving end of some snide remarks from time to time. If one of them happens to die, you'll be at a disadvantage for the rest of the mission. If your right gunner is dead, you'll be forced to manually reload the cannons each time, costing valuable seconds. Your comms officer can also bite the dust, and this will ensure no secondary objective opportunities arise for the duration of your current mission.
I was amused by the novelty of the gameplay mechanics, but found the execution to be lacking in my time with the demo. Many of my gestures were misinterpreted, and onscreen hands flailed wildly on several occasions even when I wasn't doing anything other than holding my controller. Some of the novelty Kinect integration was funny, such as drinking out of a canteen or catching an apple that was tossed at me. However, I can see things getting frustrating on the battlefield if Kinect isn't recognizing what I want to do quick enough. Some fun ideas are in place for Steel Battalion, but its quality depends solely on how well motion controls work in the final version.