Lost Planet: Extreme Condition

Lost Planet: Extreme Condition
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition Cover
Platforms Xbox 360, Windows, PlayStation 3
Genre Explosive Third-person Shooter
Score 8  Clock score of 8Gameplay: 8
Fun Factor: 9
Gfx/Sound: 8
Story: 3
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Lost Planet: Extreme Condition is a third-person shooter set on the eternal winter world of E.D.N. III. It was released in 2007 for the Xbox 360 and PC and the PlayStation 3 got a port in 2008. I reviewed the first hour of the game a few months ago and loved it. The game featured a great blend of action, atmosphere, and adventure. I definitely enjoy third-person perspective games typically more than first-person, the controls are usually a bit more unforgiving but I seem to get a much better context of the world around me. Lost Planet is no exception.

I honestly had low hopes for this game, fighting bugs on an ice planet? Sounds lame; sounds like it's been done a hundred times before. Mechs? Been there, blown up that. In reality, the game isn't much more than this, but it's action packed and you will be having fun. So there's mechs and ice and bugs, but all together, it makes for something awesome.

All scores are out of 10.


Gameplay: 8
The game's highlight are its Vital Suits, aka VS, aka mechs! Slap some big weapons on them and blast away at the native akrid. It's incredibly satisfying but it is nicely balanced by the limited ammo, sometimes you gotta get ou and do it on foot. There's a few different variations of VS in the game, some have swords attached to them, some can hop and hover, and others can slide along the ground at high speeds. They're all fun to pilot though, and with the right guns, you can take anything down. VS's are scattered plentiful around the landscape though and while fighting a boss you'll usually have four or five at your disposal. But don't get me wrong, battling on foot is pretty good, if not a bit generic.

Lost Planet's one big downfall is that it can't find a pace and stick to it. Some of the bosses are very hard and you'll be restarting them ten times before you family pull off the kill, and then there are levels that look incredibly difficult, but you can just simply jog through them avoiding enemy fire. To fight every enemy would not only risk death, you'd probably just simply run out of time. Speaking of the in-game timer, which is actually your Thermal Energy supply, it's not that big of a deal. I never took a cheap death from it and typically you collect so much energy throughout the level that it never comes even close to reaching zero unless you're facing a particularly tough boss (energy not only constantly counts down, it also refills your lost energy due to injury).

Lost Planet Wayne Thermal Energy

Fun Factor: 9
Just a few issues in Lost Planet: first of all, the auto aim seems like it is turned on high. Maybe this was just an issue on the consoles, but this is the most egregious example of computer assistance I've seen since NFL Blitz. Also, as I mentioned above, some of the bosses are a bit too tough. One of them in particular took me about twenty tries, a one-on-one battle against a woman in a VS. She'll turn your VS's apart in a few missile hits before you can even get one shot off at her! It was difficult, but I will admit, still pretty fun to try different tactics.

Other than those, this is a great game to play. The environments are huge, and there is a ton of exploring to do while crossing the landscape. As I mentioned previously, the Thermal Energy timer isn't that big of a deal and hardly ever works against you, just keep heading in the general direction of your goal and you'll do fine. The game could use a bit more checkpoints, or maybe I just didn't know what was a checkpoint and what wasn't. This is an action packed game though, and there is so much to blow up. Hop in a Vital Suit and you're a killing machine destroying everything that does and doesn't move.

Lost Planet also features a big boss to cap off every level. It never fails to be beaten down from all sides during a stage only to encounter a monstrous beast rising out of the ground. The bosses rival some of those from Shadow of Colossus even. Fun stuff.

Lost Planet Cave

Graphics and Sound: 8
Big environments, big bosses, and lots of explosions. Not much else to say for Lost Planet's graphics... but I guess I should go on. You can see for miles while outside and this becomes a big advantage while launching rockets from afar (not to mention spotting the enemy's rockets at the same time to dodge them!). The cutscenes are very well animated and they really show off the character models, though they do a little worse at showing off the voice talent. It's subpar at best but thankfully the game doesn't mess with cutscenes much.

Story: 3
Lost Planet is 45 minutes of action with five minutes of the characters babbling on about the world around them. The main plot is interesting: humans need to find a new world so they head to E.D.N. III but then run into the nasty akrid. Humans leave, and then change their mind and decide to go kick some bug butt (think Starship Troopers). Everything suffers a bit when the between level cutscenes begin, our hero is rescued early on by a team of snow pirates, and then their leader leaves, and then you learn about the fate of your father, and the whole time I'm just wondering how the heck all this fits together. The game also makes an interesting timeline leap, and when our hero realizes what happened to him, he just kind of shrugs it off. Dude, you just found out something major happened in your life and you just sulk away to go kill some more akrid.

So the story kind of sucks in execution, but it doesn't really detract from the whole experience. The plot is simply a device to introduce the next area for our hero to wipe out all the akrid and snow pirates. If anything, the ending has an interesting take on things, and sets it up nicely for the sequel due out in the next year.

Overall: 8
The gaming world needs more snow pirates. It also needs more pure action games like Lost Planet. The game is slower paced than Gears of War, but the mechs and akrid battling strategy make this one special. If you have an Xbox 360 or PS3 and are looking for something to play over a long weekend, definitely check Lost Planet out.

Lost Planet Wayne Standing