|Platforms||Xbox 360, Windows, PlayStation 3|
|Genre||Frigidly Good Third-person Shooter|
|MtAMinutes to Action||6|
|Score||9 Gameplay: 9
Fun Factor: 10
|Buy from Amazon|
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition is a 2007 third-person shooter for the Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3. You control an amnesiac soldier named Wayne on the frigid planet E.D.N. III. Earth has supposedly been devastated from its own problems so humans decided to head out into the galaxy and find a new planet to mess around with. E.D.N. III must have been the only semi-habitable planet they found because there's no way they would have picked this world if they had known better. It has an average temperature of -100 degrees and is filled with horrible, nasty, giant bug monsters.
The game's creator, Keiji Inafune, has an absolute crazy gaming history. The guy helped design Mega Man, worked on the original Street Fighter, and has produced every major Onimusha game. Don't forget that he also worked on Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, one of the best side-scrollers ever. But how did he end up writing a game like Lost Planet? Turns out he used The Thing, the classic John Carpenter movie as inspiration. Not a bad place to start. Neither is the first hour of a video game, so let's get into Lost Planet: Extreme Condition's.
(minutes are in bold)
00 - I select New Game and the first hour of Lost Planet: Extreme Conditions begins. I pick Normal difficulty. Now Loading... A winter storm with some mechs walking in the distance. And a disc read error, just a moment. All right, seems to be working now. Some soldiers wave the mechs into a snowy city, and a voiceover begins. Eighty years before the Trial City.
01 - Humans moved to a new planet, codenamed E.D.N. III. A bunch of soldiers walk down a hallway, their eyes glowing, looks like a Killzone ad. Sonic the Hedgehog sudden rolls out of a door and is seriously pissed off.
02 - Okay, it's not Sonic, but something much larger and scarier (and no, it's fortunately not Sonic Unleashed). It's a new alien life form, the Akrid. The humans had to leave the planet. They show a bunch of soldiers futily trying to kill one, actually it looked like it worked.
03 - Scientists find an energy within the Akrids though, and the soldiers keep fighting Akrids in the same hallway. Us humans love energy sources. These Akrids look like giant hairy ants with tentacles coming out of their mouth.
04 - The Vital Suit is introduced, a giant mech with a chainsaw on it able to tear through the Akrid forces. "Sorry I was late," one of the soldiers mutters as he cuts a baddie in half.
05 - Wayne is contacted by his dad, Wayne is a mech operator, "it's not time to be a hero!" Ah, humans never figured out a way to harvest the energy. I get control in the infamous hallway, a timer ticks down from 1000 in the upper left hand corner.
06 - Sweet, I get a grappling hook. The team I'm with blows up a few doors and we move in. One of the Akrids roll in and I kill it with my machine gun.
07 - A help screen appears, it's about Thermal Energy (T-ENG). Killing Akrids will refill my energy, that number in the corner. Thermal Energy supports the Harmonizer Life Support system... I just need to know that this stuff keeps me alive. You do have to be pretty much on top of the glowing part to absorb it though.
09 - There's some sort of pod on the walls spewing out ghost fish, I destroy them all. You also run really slow in this game...
10 - An absolutely giant Akrid nicknamed "Green Eye" appears and Wayne stands alone to fight him. This might be awesome.
11 - Wow, he kills me in one charge! During the cutscene he spit out a huge wave of ice and killed a ton of soldiers. I restart and this time I run down the hallway away from him.
13 - Ouch, died again, I got locked in a room and a face full or his ice blast. Oh, there's a hole in the ceiling to grapple through.
14 - This is insane, this is how a first hour should be! Great chase scene through the tunnels of this huge complex with Green Eye destroying huge walls in his path.
15 - I am now in a mech... superb. Doesn't mean it will be any easier though! I quickly flatline.
16 - Slicing at him with my sword isn't really working. Think I'll hang back a bit more this attempt.
18 - He reveals to me an obvious weak spot and I aim my dual gatling guns at and tear him apart. A cutscene finishes the job. Oh no! Wayne gets crushed! Some mysterious voices discuss us, the intruders.
19 - Outside again, is Wayne okay? Well, he's alive, though his mech is worse for wear. Lost Planet flashes across the screen, excellent opening I have to admit.
21 - Wayne wakes up in a medical bay of sorts. Actually I'm hooked up to a bottle of thermal energy. Yuri, my keeper says, "it'll be our little secret." A curvaceous chick walks in, Luka. Isn't it a bit cold to be wearing that parka with a view?
22 - Green Eye killed Wayne's father, but that's all he can remember. Two weeks later... looks like Wayne has been living at this outpost the whole time. Some guy in VR goggles is looking at something in his glasses, weirdo blondie with dreadlocks.
24 - Yuri and his gang want to eliminate the Akrid on the planet, and Wayne volunteers to help. Mission 01 is about to begin. Oh, that was quick, immediately out in the cold. Guess I head to my destination. I hop in a VS (mech) with only one gatling gun and head to... where? Nothings on my radar. Okay, I won't fall in the water, that's a start.
25 - There are cars and water towers scattered about in the landscape. A bunch of spiders try to ambush me in a small tunnel but I take them out. They didn't even appear red on my radar, odd.
27 - Another larger bad guy, he takes quite a few rounds to go down, over 100.
29 - I get out of my mech to head inside a building. Luca tells me to use my light in the dark... what the heck button is that supposed to be?
31 - Sweet, I take out four Akrid pods in the garage park and... whoops, there's one more on the ceiling. Flashlight is right on the D-Pad by the way.
33 - Nice, I dig a rocket launcher out of the snow. I can only carry two weapons at a time though, so I drop the shotgun I picked up earlier.
35 - Another one of the larger enemies, this time on foot! I whip out my rocket launcher and give him a big fat one in his Akrid face... still up. An exploding barrel by the belly should do the trick!
39 - Just spent the last couple of minutes trying to climb to the rafters of the warehouse I'm in. The grappling hook would have come in handy... if there was anything up there. Turns out I just had to blow away the back doors.
41 - Just had a fun battle with a few of those Sonic the hedgehog rollers, just smaller versions of them. Their tale is their weak point, it glows!
42 - Holy crap! I'm running up a snowy hill and a hedgehog comes rolling at me! He flies right by me and destroys the ground behind me, tossing it into the sea! Global warming at its worse.
44 - Some big boulders come rolling at me now, but they end up just killing a hedgehog up ahead. Some flying dead fish come streaming out of a cave like bats and I shoot them like dead fish in a barrel. Inside a cave now... Thermal meter still going down.
46 - Woah, a gatling gun for me!
48 - And a heckuva lot of bad guys for my gatling gun!
50 - A boss! You know it's a boss when the ground shakes and the life meter appears. He's big and ugly and has a glowing tail, ripe for my big old gun. Dang, it's out of ammo.
51 - Never mind, there's another one!
54 - Crap, died. This guy is tougher than he seems. He does a ton of damage with his roll that must be regenerated with your thermal energy.
57 - Dead for a third time.
59 - Grenades are a guy's best friend against this boss, it flips him over giving me the advantage!
60 - And he's down! 6144 thermal energy in that level! And that's the end of the first hour of Lost Planet!
Time for some scores out of 10.
Minutes to Action: 6
Most modern third-person shooters are starting to establish the genre really well, Gears of War and Mass Effect are the highlights for me. They give you a zoom button and encourage cover, allowing you to focus on battle tactics. Lost Planet is kind of the opposite... it seems much more run-and-gun and pressing the L button kept throwing grenades! This isn't necessarily bad, and you can't fault them much, since Gears of War was just a few months old at release, I just wished they were there when they weren't. Also there are weird inconsistencies with the radar, why did almost no enemies show up on it? And timers? Nobody does timed games anymore! This isn't Super Mario Bros!
Okay, thankfully the timer does not get in the way during the first hour! Awesome plus there. You kind of watch it go down quickly and then all of a sudden you have a bunch and you forget about it. Using the bumpers as 90 degree quick turns is also a great idea, and grappling hooks? Heck yes, just give me a fun and decent way to use them. When I was in the cave, there was just so much crap flying around I was blown away. It was also satisfying to fight an actual difficult boss, keep them coming.
Fun Factor: 10
Mechs, gatling guns, rocket launchers, exploding barrels, big enemies, huge bosses, and a fun opening sequence round out Lost Planet's first hour. Why did I wait so long to play this game? It's one of the few lately that actually know how to start a game off: putting the player in some amazing situation that gives them a taste of the fun they will be having. Of course, at some point you have to snatch that all away and start the game proper, but it gives the game so much promise!
Graphics and Sound: 8
Nothing graphically mindblowing here, it's going to be hard to fault Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games much in the future in this category unless they really mess up the framerate, but we'll see, maybe something will change my mind in the future. The few characters they showed look pretty good but there was very little animation exhibited. The Akrids on the other hand were original and I liked the variety. Well, the level designers seem to like the hedgehog ones, but those are actually pretty fun to fight. Lost Planet's music and sound effects does the job, again, nothing outstanding.
I like the concept of humans trying to fight on an alien world, it's very Starship Troopers-like, heh, actually, the bugs are kind of like that too. They even had mechs in the book... Well, at least Lost Planet has the desolate, snow planet going for itself. And of course the thermal energy is a great plus. And what did Yuri do to Wayne, and what's with Wayne's dad? And when do I get to fight Green Eye for real? The game introduces a lot of neat questions that I want answered!
"Loved it. Surprised the heck out of me. Let's play on!" Those were my thoughts after completing Lost Planet's first hour. I honestly thought I was going to be able to absolutely RIP into this game and give it some lousy score while writing about the death of Capcom. Okay, a bit dramatic, but I had no idea I was actually going to enjoy this game's first hour. Showed me.
This is a score with a ton of weight being pulled up by the Fun Factor score. I definitely do not weigh all scores equally, and it even varies from game to game. I'm not going to give a game an "11" in some category but imagine it had that kind of weight here.