Friday, February 6, 2015

Codename S.T.E.A.M. Demo and the New 3DS

I've been super excited for Codename S.T.E.A.M. ever since it was announced at E3 this year!

It's a turn-based strategy game from the same people who make Fire Emblem.  This game is set in a steampunk world with lots of interesting visuals.  Each turn players have a certain amount of "steam" which is used for movement and attack.  Since both move and attack share the same resource it becomes a game about balancing when to use each one.

The demo just released earlier this week so I've been playing it off and on.  My reaction has been mixed.

I can tell the core of the game is really good, and I'm still most likely going to buy it.  I love the turn based strategy and the steam mechanic of resource management.  But there are some issues that I wouldn't have noticed if I skipped the demo.

My two biggest issues are the alien movement and the controls.

Alien movement is the enemies' turn and it takes a really long time to sit through.  While waiting for them to take their turn the camera is locked on the last character you used.  Basically I'm just sitting there staring at my character's back wondering if the aliens are actually doing anything.

The controls bug me because aiming and looking around is done with the touch screen and stylus.  It's serviceable, but it doesn't feel ideal.  This game is crying out for a second analog stick to aim with.  It would completely fix all my frustrations with the controls.

Both of these lead me to believe the game would be better on the New 3DS that's launching mid-February.  The New 3DS has a faster processor which might help with the alien turn speed and it has a second analog nub that can be used for aiming.  I'm not going to run out and get a new system, I really don't want to drop $200 for a system that I already own a version of.  Not to mention how much of a pain it would be to transfer all my games and data over to a new system with Nintendo's current account system.  It's still horrible and locks games and data to the hardware device instead of pairing it with the account that purchased it.  It would just be a headache in the making.

As time goes on I'll probably get worn down and pick up a New 3DS eventually.  I have owned almost every Nintendo handheld version since the GameBoy.  When I do inevitably cave in and buy a New 3DS I know it will provide a better experience with Codename S.T.E.A.M.

Until then, I still plan on picking up the game for my current 3DS XL.  It's fun and I love turn based combat systems.  I'll just have to deal with the slow alien turns and frustrating stylus aiming.

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