Lost Planet: Extreme Condition ReviewCain Dornan
After ramping up the hype machine following the release of the single player and multiplayer demos on Xbox Live Market (which both proved to be surprisingly popular through the massive number of downloads it managed to garner in such a short time), Capcom has released its latest Xbox 360 offering into the arms of demanding gamers. Lost Planet: Extreme Condition offers somewhat of an interesting premise, albeit a far from original one which also stems to its familiar run-and-gun action style. While the game tries to sell itself as one that is truly innovative and unique, the familiar third-person gameplay style and the classic story of human survival against incredible odds (this time against towering, alien bugs) fails to keep anything entirely original. Although the game manages to inject enough creative elements to keep it interesting from start to finish, although, at the same time, it isnt a game that will appeal to everyones tastes.
Lost Planet tells the story of the human races quest to find a new habitual planet after we managed to pollute Earth into oblivion. We eventually locate a cold, icy and seemingly uninhabited planet, known as EDN 03, where we begin to build and colonize our new home. It isnt too soon before the alien habitants, known as the Akrid, decide to rear their ugly heads, clearly unhappy with our arrival as they begin to kill the new human arrivals. The majority of the human population decides to jump ship, retreating from the planet leaving only a handful of survivors to fend for themselves, all of whom form their own following known as the Snow Pirates. A few years later, however, were back, boasting bigger guns and newer technology to take on the destructive Akrid, determine to make this icy planet our new home.
The game follows the experiences of Wayne, a youngin warrior training alongside his father. When the squadron is attacked by an extremely large and powerful Akrid, the Green Eye, who manages to kill his father and leave him unconscious, only to be awaken by a mysterious trio bent on riding the Akrid from the planet and also discover what the seemingly corrupt planet authority, NEVEC, are secretly up to. The games story leads you across the planet, battling both outdoors in blinding snow storms and through metallic futuristic corridors as you take the battle indoors. The action remains largely the same throughout, with little change and variation taking place between missions. Essentially, youll move from Point A to Point B, mowing down enemies in large mechs (known as the VS, or Virtual Suit)or on foot, all the while activating information posts along the way to help replenish your T-ENERGY stores and to also update your map and the direction in which you need to travel in, which is rarely used given the linear nature of the maps. Youll also regularly come across boss battles, which usually make an appearance to wrap-up each level, typically taking on the form of a larger Akrid or enemy that youve met earlier.
Given the freezingl cold nature of the planet, the humans rely on the harvesting of liquid thermal energy (referred to as T-ENERGY) to give us heat, power our own life support systems (which includes replenishing your health) whilst in the blizzards, to power the VS mechs and to provide the crucial electricity that we need. As luck would have it, this thermal energy can only be harvested from the Akrid, who leave deposits of the liquid energy after being dispatched. Slaying the Akrid can be done using a variety of means, ranging from handheld weapons such as machine guns, shot guns and rocket launchers through to making use of the VS mech machines that boast strong firepower to down even the biggest of beasts. Theres a range of weapons on hand, backed with a nifty grapple hook that allows you to reach new places and attach yourself to large enemies.
Of course, cutscenes do appear between each mission, as well as occasionally between different sections of a mission. These drive the storyline throughout the game, with the gameplay itself occasionally unrelated to a recent cutscene through its random placing of missions starts and often uneventful gameplay that doesnt really tie together the cutscenes as nicely as they could be.
The single player campaign isnt overly long, requiring a mere 8 or so hours of gameplay time to complete. Of course, as with most Xbox 360 releases, the game offers full online multiplayer support, where you can participate in the standard ranked and unranked game matches. Theres your standard deathmatch mode, accompanied with a team variation, as well as capture-the-flag type mode, Post Grab, and the seemingly unpopular multiplayer mode during our testing period, Fugitive. Lost Planet offers simultaneous play for up to 16 players in its multiplayer mode, which proves to be a mixed bag. While some gamers will find plenty of fun to be had with the simplistic, yet frantic, multiplayer offering, others will quickly tire of its somewhat shallow offering that just isnt very engaging.
The game is visually solid, offering some great weather effects that make snow storms look fairly believable that leave Wayne covered in the white stuff whenever he is doing battle amidst a storm. The game rarely experiences slow downs, apart from intense action sequences when multiple explosions are erupting in your immediate vicinity. The cutscenes offer some great character detail and animation, with each of the characters featured sporting solid facial detail and animation coupled with accurate clothing detail.
Theres the typical lineup of action music featured throughout, none of which is particularly impressive but isnt annoying or of poor quality either. The voice acting is generally top-notch, with the main characters in particular offering some quality voice acting that portrays the characters beautifully.
While not a particular innovative game, Lost Planet: Extreme Condition is a satisfying straight action experience. The missions, while they do lack a sense of variation in gameplay, are interesting enough to keep you playing from start to finish, if only to see how the games story pans out. The online multiplayer is a mixed bag, appealing to some while not to others. If youre looking for a game that demands some strategy in the gameplay, youre better off looking elsewhere. If youre simply looking for some solid run-and-gun action, Lost Planet is worth a look even if it isnt a must have.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.