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Lost Planet

1 rating: 4.0
Action and Shooter / FPS video game by Capcom for the Xbox 360

A riveting sci-fi action shooter for the Xbox 360. Set within the merciless frozen tundra of a hostile planet, humans struggle for survival as conflicts arise between man, the surrounding indigenous creatures and the monstrous beings that have invaded. … see full wiki

1 review about Lost Planet

Lost Planet - A good game with some minor annoyances

  • Jan 17, 2008
Pros: Excellent physics, lots of mechs, mostly fun gameplay

Cons: wonky controls, too many bosses

The Bottom Line: Lost Planet has a very strong single player aspect with a few minor issues that shouldnÂ’t hamper fans of the genre from picking it up.

There is no shortage of shooters on the Xbox 360, but that didn’t stop Capcom from making yet another one. This one, however is a little different. It has a much more Japanese feel to it than your traditional shooters. Does it live up to the best of them? Does it bring anything new to the genre?

Read on, dear reader....

•• Story ••
Um, I’ll do my best here, but the story, in typical Japanese video game fashion, is a bit convoluted. Humans are colonizing a giant frozen rock of a planet. This is where the game takes place. Unfortunately, some pesky aliens called the Akrid have kept them from colonizing the planet. As the main character, Wayne, you have woken up with no memory (how many times has that been done?) other than your father and his death to an Akrid called Green Eye. As the game progresses, the story twists and turns around characters that come and go and have unclear allegiances. After a while I just gave up on the story because it really didn’t make much sense.

•• Gameplay ••
First of all, Lost Planet is a 3rd person shooter. But it changes the dynamic in some subtle and fairly important ways. The first is the controls. Not present in the Xbox Live demo, the left thumbstick controls not only the direction of the player, but also the aim of the weapon. So if you’re turning to move Wayne, the first motion might just be the aiming reticle with the character movement following. This results in a control scheme that seems unresponsive and is best described as “mushy”. Thankfully, a friend clued me in to the fact that you can change this in the options and go to a control scheme that feels more familiar.

The other different gameplay dynamic is the Thermal Energy that all living creatures have and you need to survive. Every time a bad guy or monster is killed, they leave behind a big glowy orange spot of thermal energy which you can pick up by stepping on. Apparently your toes have the power to suck up thermal energy. Who knew? In terms of gameplay, this acts as a clock of sorts since your level of T energy is continually counting down and while it doesn’t hamper exploration, it will keep players from wandering or trying to jump on some remote ledge just to see if it’s possible. If you run out of thermal energy, you die. Thankfully, there are also way points that, when activated, significantly boost your Thermal energy.

The best part of the game is the wide array of VSs. Basically, you get your choice of ‘Mechs to drive throughout the game. If you’re a fan of the MechAssault series, you’ll enjoy this aspect of the game. You get to drive them a lot and oftentimes you’ll go into a room and have a whole slew of them sitting there waiting for you to drive them. And of course, with giant metal robots, comes giant weapons. While these are derivatives of the same weapons you have as a person, they are bigger and better. And if you come across a fallen VS while in human form, you can detach the gun and fire it. Of course, your mobility is hampered and you drop all other weapons, but it’s quite fun to be a little person firing a giant Gatling gun.

The combat of the game is key and there’s lots of it. The Akrid come fast and furious as do the humans you fight. And of course, you also fight enemy ‘Mechs. The AI of your everyday enemies isn’t particularly smart. They tend to stand in the open and fire even though they are clearly overpowered. They might hide behind a barricade, but they won’t flank or show any kind of advanced AI. Instead of making the enemies smarter, the designers just decided to pile on even more dumb ones. This makes the game fairly challenging, but never outright tough.

What can be tough are the bosses. And if you don’t like boss fights, then don’t play this game, because every level has at least one boss. Some are harder than others, but all of them have basically the same mechanic: dodge them when they attack and then shoot the glow-y orange spot on their abdomen/leg/arms/head etc.

Special mention needs to be made of the physics engine. They use the Havoc engine for their physics and instead of just having the occasional box fly through the air with the correct physics attached, the enemies also have ultra-realistic physics. Instead of scripted animations indicating they got shot, they react just as you’d expect in a dynamic fluid way. Great stuff, there.

Things that annoyed me are small. The over-use of bosses got annoying. And the fact that every single level starts off with only 999 units of thermal energy and a single machine gun. What happened to all the other stuff I had when I just finished the previous level?? Most of the levels are well designed, but it’s pretty obvious that level 3 was done by the janitor or something. You simply run across a GIANT snow-covered plane with nothing to shoot simply trying to dodge a monster worm that erupts from the ground. Run run run until you get to, you guessed it, a boss fight. If I wanted this much running, I’d play WoW.

•• Graphics ••
Stunning to say the least. Perhaps not as good as Gear of War, but simply wonderful on nearly all accounts. The animations are fantastic, the level are finely crafted and detailed. The monsters are some of the most creative I’ve seen in a long time. And as much as I disliked fighting a dozen bosses throughout the game, they were all different looking and varied in terms of animations and they way they reacted.

Special mention of the explosion effects are in order. It’s extremely satisfying to shoot a bunch of barrels and see a group of Akrid go up in flames. Yeah, that pretty much rocks.

•• Sound ••
Pretty basic stuff here. This game is no Bioshock in terms of sound design, but it does the job. The explosions are fully and boomy and the ‘Mechs all have distinct sounds. The Akrid aren’t particularly noisy, except the bosses, so their growls and noises weren’t anything worth remembering.

•• Multiplayer ••
Multiplayer is pretty much as afterthought. The game allows 16 players on a handful of maps, but there’s nothing new here, folks. It’s basic 3rd person fragfest with a 4 different gametypes. As well, the game has been hampered with connectivity problems. Play this game for the single player.

•• Parents Should Know ••
This game is rated T for Teen and is fairly harmless as shooter go. Yes, you kill other humans, but there’s no blood. And most of the time you’re shooting giant ‘Mechs are big ugly monsters. Certainly if you let your child play Halo or (god forbid) Gears of War, this shouldn’t be any more harmful.

•• Conclusion ••
Lost Planet is a very strong single player game with a few minor issues that shouldn’t hamper fans of the genre from picking it up.


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