NEWS - Friday, May 12, 2006

Xbox 360 impressions: Lost Planet:

Capcom’s third-person Xbox 360 shooter shares many qualities with the brilliant Resident Evil 4, most notably in its emphasis on survival. The planet you find yourself on is unbelievably harsh, with thick banks of snow, blizzards and freakish monsters attempting to foil your progress at every turn. That’s why you’re equipped with up to three big and satisfying guns (with more mysteriously littering the icy wastelands) and a suit that keeps you nice and warm. Unfortuately, the suit requires an orange substance called T-Eng to maintain your body temperature and it is continuously exhausted as you traipse about in the cold environment. It’s awfully convenient then, that the vicious creatures so fond of attacking you release this substance upon their death. Kill to stay alive. The combat itself is definitely enjoyable and quite visceral. Aiming is smooth and responsive, and the various machineguns and rocket launchers you’ll eventually acquire inevitably lead to wanton alien slaughter and extremely impressive explosions. In terms of the presentation alone, Lost Planet truly comes across as a big-budget sci-fi action film. Naturally, this impression is strengthened when you leap into a mech and thunderously stomp about, blowing the snarling creatures to gooey smithereens and generally being an overwhelming destructive force. One of the coolest things about the combat is that each enemy has a distinct weakpoint which they’ll often expose to you for a few brief seconds--if you get a good shot in, the enemy will be destroyed instantly. You can still take out enemies through brute force, but the game will reward skill with a faster and a saving on ammo. Another point of interest is the ability to yank off one of the mech’s gatling guns and drag it along with you. It certainly comes in handy when dealing with the enormous boss creature appearing at the end of the E3 demo, though it does hamper your running speed by quite a bit. Lost Planet may not be the most innovative title on the E3 show floor, but the combat feels just about perfect. Toss in some huge environments, beautifully animated monsters and a giant robot and you have what looks to be a real winner on your hands. Last time we checked, this exact demo was available for download on Xbox Live. Be sure to try out yourself and see whether or not you agree with us.


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