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Tuesday, 16 January 2007 16:51

Lost Planet: Extreme Condition - Frozen world. Hot action.

By
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition
lp1 Developer: CAPCOM
Publisher: Activision
Rating: M
   
Xbox 360
This title has been held up against the Xbox 360 monster franchises of Halo and Gears of War.  Does this new shooter from people that brought you Dead Rising stand up?

It is lone warrior time again, as you take on the role of Wayne, a slightly amnesic young soldier you take on the snow pirates, indigenous Akrid as well as the elements of colony world EDN III.

Let us skip the rather predictable story of memory restoration and revenge and go straight to the game play elements that allow Lost Planet to stand out from others of its ilk.

First there is the obvious slow movement in third person of the character, and obvious derivation of the Dead Rising animations. Of course we are mostly ploughing through the deep snow of this ice world.  Movement is greatly enhanced by a short fire grappling hook enabling Wayne to get to out of the way portions of the mission map.
This is important as some mission maps have a definite linear feel without the ability to explore.

Snow pirates’ opponents are able to don semi mech type armour called Vital Suits are reasonably dim witted enemy to deal with, but do provide some opportunity to adopt different strategies to those offered by the alien inhabitants. Of course, jumping into your own Vital Suit when given the chance is a must.

Speaking of the Akrid, these starship trooper inspired bugs provide wonderful visual fodder for the many weapons you find scattered around EDN III.  From a style perspective, the Akrid range from little critters to screen filling boss monsters.  Yet unlike many similar sci-fi shooters, the Akrid feel like a race, with similar insectoid designs across the range.

One major game play twist and comment on presentation follow on page 2



The last major game point of note is the health or Thermal Energy system.  In essence the longer you stand around, the more heat is extracted from your body, likewise taking damage from the enemy will further reduce your heat reserves, reaching zero means activating the save point.

Thermal Energy can be gained by destroying Akrid, and picking up the vital deposits left behind by their bodies.  There are other ways to replenish heat, but generally this system keeps the player on the move, looking for more action.

Graphically – on a HD TV the action is rendered spectacularly, especially in outdoor environments. Although your vision can be interrupted by the swirling snow, the spectacular explosions (some of the best I have seen rendered in a gaming world) and shuddering crunch of the larger Akrids is worth witnessing in glorious detail.

All up, Lost Planet:Extreme Condition gets the job done.  Despite the above review, it does not feel as innovative or hard-core as Gears of War, and the single player experience is somewhat short and uninspired.  But generally this is a high explosive title that throws action at you at a constant rate.  Multiplayer is fantastic and worth the coin shelled out on the title alone.


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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.

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