Saturday, April 21, 2012

PAX East 2012: Crimson Dragon and Steel Battalion

At PAX East, Microsoft's booth was surrounded by large Kinect setups, demonstrating a number of games that had just come out such as Kinect Star Wars and games that are on the horizon.  We were unable to get any interview or direct playtime with these games, but we do have two gameplay videos for you to enjoy.

Crimson Dragon (originally Project Draco) is the spiritual successor of the Panzer Dragoon series.  Co-developed by Grounding Inc and LAND HO!, the game puts you in a futuristic world where humans can ride tamed dragons to fend off other aerial monstrosities.  There are a total of six breeds of dragon, and you can further modify the abilities and strengths of your dragon by feeding it special foods and taking care of it differently.  Control-wise, the game has players aim with their hands and close them to fire shots (similar to Child of Eden). By swaying their bodies from side to side, players can dodge enemy fire, and in true Panzer Dragoon fashion, enemies attack from everywhere!

Capcom's Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor takes a unique step away from its series' predecessors.  Whereas the original Steel Battalion games required a massive controller with dozens of buttons, levers, and pedals, Heavy Armor touts a similar experience but with Kinect and a normal Xbox 360 controller.  The main character lives in a world where all electronics have been destroyed, and now war machines are controlled by a team of people with a variety of levers and switches. Steering and basic weaponry for the tanks are handled with the controller, but on occasion, players will need to use their bodies to help communicate with the others inside as well as prepare the mech for impending conflicts.  It occasionally missed the mark for recognition, but most of the time, it looked to move smoothly with body movements.  Whether From Software's new game will work well in more active scenarios will have to be answered on another date.

Crimson Dragon will be releasing on XBLA later this year, and Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor is set to debut for retail this June.  Time for some more Kinect games with real substance!

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