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Lost Planet DirectX 10 impressions

When we got our hands on the PC demo of the 360 hit Lost Planet: Extreme Condition we didn't really know what to expect. Nobody in the office had really played the 360 version, either through lack of funds or sheer devotion to PC gaming, and Capcom doesn't really have a great history either in the FPS genre, or in the realm of PC ports.

To say that we were pleasantly surprised with the initial Lost Planet demo would be an understatement though. We were massively surprised. Not only does Lost Planet look absolutely gorgeous on PC, but it also played brilliantly. The graphics were so good in fact that within moments of starting up the DX10 version, a small crowd had gathered around the PC and was oohing and aahing to such an extent that one may have thought I was watching something filthy.

Lost and found

Created by Keiji Inafune, famous for the Onimusha and Mega Man games, Lost Planet is a third/first person shooter (you can zoom down to first person from the usual and suggested third person) that focuses on the adventures of amnesiac Wayne Holden as he hunts down a vicious alien monster called "Green Eye".

The game is set on the planet E.D.N III, a planet blanketed in almost perpetual snow storms and where life is only made possible by harnessing the power of T-Eng, or thermal energy, which bleeds out of the aliens, known as Akrids. Collecting and harvesting the T-Eng is one of the core elements of the gameplay as, when exposed to extreme conditions such as a snowstorm, the player's health continually depletes and collecting T-Eng is the only way restore it. Having a store of it allows the T-Eng supplies to trickle away first and only when you run out of it does the life begin to seep away once more.

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Lost Planet DX9 Demo, click to enlarge.
Battling against the varied aliens and hordes of space-pirates is handled by a rather clever combat system. Players can carry only two weapons at a time, as well as grenades, and must overcome the usual massive bosses and overwhelming numbers.

Each bad guy we fought in the game provided a unique challenge in that while they can be usually gunned down quickly enough, there are definite weak spots that can be exploited to level the playing field a bit. It comes in especially hand when fighting the massive and beautifully rendered bosses. Pirates can be taken down with headshots for example, while the aliens require a bit more work to figure out.

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Lost Planet DX9 Demo, click to enlarge.
There are also plenty of vehicles to play in the game and whilst playing the demo we got our hands on one or two of them. Huge Mechs can be used to move quickly over large areas or to engage in some crowd control, while stationary rocket platforms can churn out massive amounts of fire power beautifully, smoke effects billowing realistically.

Which brings us to...