E3: Capcom's Steel Battalion for Xbox

May 22, 2002 10:29 PM PST

Capcom's "Vertical Tank" simulator was quite intimidating when it was first shown off in Japan as Tekki, with its 40+ button controller taking center stage. Now, after playing the game a few times in its E3 incarnation, I want nothing more than to have my own Steel Battalion controller to hold. The control is accessible and intuitive, despite sheer numbers of buttons, and the game felt like a melding together of arcadey mech games and serious tank sims.

After firing up the necessary systems and starting up the mech, I found myself in the middle of a war zone, with an enemy mech bearing down on my hangar. The control was very sensitive on the unit I played, the aiming recticle flying off past the edge of the screen with a small touch on the weapons stick. Thankfully, one could lock on to an enemy unit with both rockets and guns. Besides the sticks, buttons, switches, and throttle, there is also a gas and brake pedal below to control the speed of the mech. Falling down in front of an enemy mech after making too sharp a turn is quite a harrowing experience.

The graphics easily lived up to the expectation created by preview shots and footage. The war zone before you is depicted beautifully, with the dirtiness of the objects before the player contributing to the overall level of realism. The terrain is wonderfully malformed, the nooks and crannies of the earth causing the mech to bob to and fro as it moves along in its journey.

While the representatives were unable to comment as to what exactly Capcom's release plans are for this game, one stated that it's nearly a given that the one package that would be offered to market would bundle both the game and the controller. No clues have been given as to a price point, but this gamer is sure that it will most certainly be worth it.

Media for download

Steel Battalion: Nearly a minute of footage from the E3 show floor.


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