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Yes, it has a hefty price tag. The first Steel Battalion game came out in limited quantities last year and hit gamers with three hard blows of both the good and bad variety, the first was to the wallet due to the games $200 price tag, and the second was once the gamer got home and got to feel the gigantic 2 stick, 40 button, and 3 pedal controller. The third hit came once the gamer actually sat down and played the game, experiencing the deep, involving simulation aspect while they piloted a 10 story, 40 ton Vertical Tank (aka VT, aka Mech) with all four of their limbs simultaneously.
Should a controller ever be bigger than the console that powers it? A more important question for the fiscally conscious might be: should a controller ever cost more than the console that powers it? Capcom feels that the answers to both questions should be a resounding yes. The Steel Battalion controller is over twenty pounds of plastic artfully molded into the cockpit controls of a VT or vertical tank (basically a mech).
Game Informer Magazine
The original Steel Battalion was immersive like no other mech title, and playing against other humans takes things to the next level. Sure it's awesome, but I can't help feeling a little bit of sticker shock.
When Steel Battalion hit the Xbox in 2002, it was easily the most excessive game to ever appear on a console. We had seen expensive one-off accessories before, but nothing quite compared to the awesome $200 controller you needed to play Steel Battalion, especially since it only worked with one title. The good news is Line of Contact is not only an incredible new entry from Capcom, but it doubles the number of compatible games for the controller to a whopping two.
Who can forget Steel Battalion? The game made big waves in the gaming world not because of its core concept (a mech simulator), but because of its gargantuan controller, and equally gargantuan price tag. It literally cost as much as an Xbox itself! But did that stop the game from selling well? Not a bit. Every copy of the limited run sold out instantly, with aftermarket prices reaching nearly double the original price.
If you're an Xbox owner, you really must purchase the original Steel Battalion. It's a conversation piece, a badass controller, and a hardcore gamer's dream all at once. Capcom recently cranked out a second run of SB, which I'm told has blue buttons on the controller instead of green ones -- anyone wanna trade? -- and which you can, as of this writing, order directly from Capcom's own website. Operators are standing by.
Game Informer Magazine
If you loved the original Steel Battalion, I can't recommend this purchase enough (even through it is more an expansion pack than a full game). But be forewarned that there aren't exactly a ton of people online and the quality of the experience suffers for it.
If you've already made the investment in the original game and its controller, then you might as well get some more use out of it by picking up the online game.
A couple of months ago, I wrote up a huge preview of Steel Battalion: Line of Contact, as a follow-up to a couple of weeks of experience with the game's open beta. While this incredibly ambitious Xbox title was addictive and enticing, the beta suffered a number of technical flaws that drove the experience down a little, as well as a huge player shortage. Now that the final build of the game has been out for a good month, I have had the solid opportunity to give it a thorough workout, so here's the real low-down on SB: LoC and how it has turned out following a bit over a year of intensive development and a brief beta test period.