Recently, Capcom has sent us a nearly complete build of Lost Planet for the PlayStation 3. Now, admittedly, I never played the Xbox 360 version, and the reactions I've heard were rather mixed. So my expectations were uncertain. I've been spending some time with it for the past few days, and I'm still not very sure on what to think.
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition is an action-shooter with a very basic premise, eliminate hives from which the game's creatures, the Akrid, spawn from, as well as get rid of the Snow Pirates that stand in your way. Of course, there are also towering bosses, some so towering and violent that the balance of the game can feel somewhat skewed. Your combat will be done either on foot, as one of the game's many characters, or in mech form when you enter Vital Suits.
Vital Suits are mechs that you'll frequently find scattered around the game. You'll need them for a number of situations, including boss fights. Unfortunately, when you're in mech form, the pace of the action doesn't really change much, so don't expect Zone of the Enders-like speed here. And, at the moment, that seems to be my biggest gripe with the game: the speed. Characters run without much speed involved, so trekking around the game on-foot can feel almost like a chore. Worst of all, there is no sprint button to alleviate the issue.
The action is rather simplistic, you have a host of weapons to use, but you can only carry two. You'll find shotguns, automatic rifles, sniper rifles, mini-guns, grenades, rocket launchers, and more. Unlike other action games, such as The Club, the force from each weapon doesn't translate very well to you, the gamer.
Lost Planet's story primarily revolves around a young man named Wayne Holden, who, after a series of events I won't spoil, suffers from a slight case of amnesia. He is found and rescued by a group of characters: Yuri, Rick, and Luka. Wayne's arm is fitted with a device called the Harmonizer, which is a core aspect of the game. The Harmonizer is an energy device that helps heal Wayne's health, at the expense of T-ENG points. T-ENG is the source of the harmonizer, and can be considered your second health-bar. Once your T-ENG depletes, Wayne's health will begin falling, due to the horrific weather conditions of planet E.D.N. III. T-ENG points deplete, but are restored every time you kill an enemy. You can store a total of 9999, and the depletion speed isn't very fast, so the chances of you running out of T-ENG are fairly slim.
If you enjoyed the Xbox 360 game, you'll likely enjoy the PS3 version more, as it features a host of extras – such as all of the downloadable and extra content from the Xbox 360 and PC versions. That includes the Resident Evil 4 camera view, extra maps, and extra characters (Mega Man, Frank West, Joe). Furthermore, Luka is a playable character for the PlayStation 3 version, as well.
Visually, Lost Planet features some iffy textures, as well as a framerate that becomes rather cumbersome in the snowier portions of the game. The image quality is fairly clean and doesn't sport any annoying aliasing issues, or screen tearing. But I don't always feel like I'm looking at a next-generation title when playing Lost Planet. Perhaps the game simply isn't aging very well, after all, the graphics engine is about two-years old.
Still, we have to give Capcom credit for reasonably pricing the game at a much nicer $40 price-point. That said, look for our full review of Lost Planet: Extreme Condition to coincide with the game's release on February 26th.