Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tech: Lost Planet - Extreme Condition

"Lost Planet" is a third-person shooter for the Xbox 360. In the game, humanity has settled the ice world of E.D.N. III. Unfortunately, insect-like aliens known as the Akrid are native to the planet, and they continually menace the population.

The basic shooter gameplay is pretty straightforward. On foot, you have access to a standard assortment of weapons - shotgun, sniper rifle, rocket launcher, etc. The game really shines, though, when you get access to Vital Suits (think BattleTech 'Mechs with just a hint of anime-style agility). The game features many duels with opposing pilots, and landing a solid rocket hit on an enemy Vital Suit is just as satisfying as in other mech combat games.

"Lost Planet" debuted about a year after the 360's launch, and for a first-generation title, most of the visuals still hold up today. The smoke and snow effects are particularly noteworthy - watching enemy Suits explode never gets old. The overall level and creature design won't turn any heads, but it's serviceable.

The core gripe I have with the game is that combat is broad, but shallow. There are quite a few options to deal with enemies, and a bunch of different Vital Suits to pilot, but they all feel pretty similar when executed. And while I understand story is usually an afterthought in an action game, the cutscenes that play before, during, and after missions feel like a complete waste of time. Overall, "Lost Planet" is a solid shooter, but not much else.

Rating: 75/100


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