Steel Battalion – ALL THE BUTTONS

Today we tried the game Steel Battalion on the original Xbox. After yesterdays failiures of getting it to work we it to work great today. Anyways Steel Battalion is a action game where you control a gigantic mech. The thing that really stands out with that is the controller. It has around 40 buttons, two sticks 3 pedals and a gear lever that makes it the most massive controller ever.

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As we where trying to analyzing the game I looked into what kind of game analyzing methods that are out there. Of the text written about it MIT had the one i found the best. For an example I found comparative analysis that what I used when I played games with horses in it. However of the types of analysis methods mentioned there didn’t put focus on game feel so I made up my method for this putting focus on the three building blocks on game feel and how well the interact with each other.

The gameplay start without any instructions so the player need to read the instructions manual or use trial and error and the game heavily discourages the latter like if you lose the tutorial lever the game bluntly states “Read the manual”. The game also forces you to restart the whole game if you don’t shoot yourself from the cockpit before it explodes. This way to treat the player is very uncommon in the noughies and is hostile on the player but it makes sense in context of the world so the game becomes more immersive.

As mentioned earlier the game has tons of buttons but most of these is used for rather small functions like changing the interface or starting up. If you simplified some minor things it could be played on a gamepad. That however would destroy the whole point with the game as the controller really sells the experience of controlling a gigantic weapon of mass destruction.

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The Real-Time control is quite slow and might seem clumpy if you look at it alone but combined with the Polish effects it really sells the experience of being in a gigantic mech. All of the game tries to be big from the controller to the Polish effect like the  screen shake and grandiose soundtrack.
The Simulated Space isn’t too impressive but the collision is good enough. The levels could be kinda of an drag and the AI could use some more work.

Anyways if you ever get the chance to play it. DO IT! The game holds very well and the controller makes it game feel very unique. That being said we doubt that making our own controler will take too much time and requires skills we don’t have so we’ll still go with a controller that’s already done.

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Steel Battalion – ALL THE BUTTONS

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