STAFF REVIEW of Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (Xbox 360)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007.
by Adam Rivard

Lost Planet: Extreme Condition Box art Since the moment Capcom unveiled Lost Planet to the gaming world anticipation has been great, but does Lost Planet live up to the hype. Well I am glad to report that I think it has the strength to carry out our high expectations. It even goes beyond that, in some ways it defines how much action can actually be jam packed into a videogame. Remember how good Mechassault was when it first came out for Xbox, how the snowy environments actually gave you cold streaking chills, well Lost Planet has the same effect only it?s next gen which means bigger and better. Lost planet is a perfect example of what the Xbox 360 is capable of, visually and interactively. With a fair amount of levels to explore and some explosive multiplayer action, with stunning visuals and a good story line, Lost Planet is a well rounded 3rd person shooter game that is a must have for any xboxaddicts out there, but it is still a very fun game for casual gamers to pick up because the game play is very straight forward which compels you to keep kicking akrid ass. The story is very movie-like, which make the cut scenes very exciting to watch.

Now I know the multiplayer aspect of the game has created a lot of buzz since Capcom released its demo on Xbox Live Marketplace so I am going to talk about it first. The menu screen features ranked match, player match, voice masks, and select character. You can then set up a match that supports up to 16 players. The remaining categories let players pick the match type (elimination, team elimination, fugitive or post grab).

The multiplayer point system is incredibly innovative because the modes revolve around a battle gauge. Each team (or player in Elimination mode) has a battle gauge that has to be filled throughout the duration of the match. The wondrous aspect of the two modes is that there are multiple opportunities to obtain battle points other than firing like no tomorrow at any foe unlucky enough to stand in your path. Points are awarded to players for various achievements, such as: destroying Vital Suits and capturing data posts. However, points can also be deducted if you?re too reckless such as committing suicide or ending the life of a team member.

The mech-robot?s known as VS (Vital Suits) manoeuvring feels like you are walking with dumbbells tied to your feet, but at least it?s a commanding hunk of metal. Driving one will decrease your energy meter at a considerably steeper rate. So you?ll want to cut out any lollygagging. And that shouldn?t be too hard, as it?s awe-inspiring to watch the missiles put anything in their path up in smoke, flexing the game?s very impressive fire and smoke effects. It?s empowering to command a VS, but it?s just the beginning in terms of firepower.

All the maps are fun to play, each with enough ground levels and structures to let players sneak up on each other and find places to camp out. But the fact that your energy is forever stuck in a downward spiral eliminates long hide outs and encourages a steadfast level of action, since you gain big chunks of energy by amassing kills. And this shouldn?t be a problem considered there are guns and grenades everywhere you look. There are also these vibrant, robot-like apparatuses that grant energy by approaching one and rapidly tapping the B button. The whole process takes roughly 10 seconds, however, giving enemies ample time to off you in the process.

As good as the multiplayer portion of the game is, let?s move on to the single player missions. In a nutshell the story is very straight forward but is good enough to keep you interested. You will battle it out in a variety of environments (indoor / outdoor). In terms of weapons the grenades are incredibly fun to utilize in the heat of battle but the fire arms are what players are reliant on for the most part. The plasma rifle (my personal favourite) functions the same way the sniper rife does, except it has a faster rate of fire and pumps assailants full of plasma instead of lead from halfway across the map. You can zoom in and out with either the top or bottom button on the D-pad. There are quite a few weapons lying across every level some of which are used best when attached to a VS, such as a homing laser, rocket launcher, a plasma canon, etc. Of course, all can be wielded on foot with the trade off of slower movement in favour of immense power. Despite how large or small they are, every gun looks and feels flat out awesome to wield. I almost forgot to mention, the shotgun can also be part of your arsenal, OH YEAH.

Aside from a line-up of powerful weapons, one of the main reasons why experiencing Lost Planet is so fun, is using the grappling hook. There?s absolutely nothing wrong with getting to a desired location on foot, but zipping across from structure to structure, no matter what the height (given players are within range of an object that can be hooked onto) of it is.

Visually Capcom wasn?t kidding when they said Lost Planet would produce some of the best graphics on the Xbox 360. The explosions in this game are by far the best I?ve seen. The snow covered environment hasn?t really been done on this scale before in an action game. Lost Planet does a good job of making the planet, creatures and situation seem realistic. Even more jaw dropping is the amount of detail in the characters, creatures and weapons creation. From the concept of thermal energy to the detail and realistic design of the VS, Lost Planet does a great job creating an interesting virtual world.

The sound is also very well done. Sound effects for all of the weapons are good and pretty much what you would expect. Your VS makes a satisfying thud sound as you walk around, which is nice and lets you know this is a huge object weighing several tons and not some hot rod Lincoln you are driving around in. There is also a lot of voice acting for the single player campaign, and while it isn't all Oscar worthy, it gets the job done. The sound also connects very well with the atmosphere. It seems to me like the audio and design team worked closely together because the made up sounds of the Akrid creatures really have some validity and weight.

Now I don?t think this game will be considered the best to come out in 2007 but Capcom has certainly taken some commanding steps in that direction. The game is definably noteworthy but will it be able to hold it?s own during the course of the year, we?ll just have to wait and see what else the 360 has in store for us. But for now this game is worth every penny. So what are you waiting for?

Overall: 9.4 / 10
Gameplay: 9.2 / 10
Visuals: 9.6 / 10
Sound: 9.4 / 10


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