This isn’t our first look at Lost Planet: Extreme Condition on the PC, as we tore apart the demo a while back so that we could get a preliminary idea of how DirectX 10 was changing the face of the game.
That said, we were still bowled over with the way the game looked and, though the demo gave only a small taste of what the final gameplay may be like, we were left very hungry for more of the snow-blinding graphically gorgeous gaming and were determined to get in the full version for some proper game testing come rain, shine and postal strikes.
So, now we finally have a copy of the game in our hands, it’s time to take Lost Planet and see if we can’t find some of the gloriously beautiful run ‘n’ gun gameplay that we suspect is hidden somewhere in the snowy depths.
Lost Planet has a somewhat odd backstory, most of which is told in a long (way too long) opening cutscene which feels distinctly Japanese and rushed – the former of which isn’t surprising given that the game was designed by Keiji Inafune.
Lost Planet is set on the planet E.D.N III, a planet covered in perpetual snowstorms but to which the inhabitants of Earth have inexplicably decided to move to as part of some kind of ‘colonisation experiment’. Now, I don’t know about good ol’ Keiji but if I were looking for a new planet to randomly move all of Homo Sapiens to then I’d probably look for somewhere a bit warmer. It doesn’t necessarily have to be Arakis, but a planet with at least one beach would be nice.
What’s worse is that the stupidly named E.D.N III (what was wrong with E.D.N II?) is inhabited by an alien species called the Akrid who come in all shapes and sizes.
Now, normally we could just nuke the bugs and pretend we were all characters from a Robert Heinlein book but the problem here is that conditions on E.D.N III are so inhospitable that humans can only survive there by harnessing the power of thermal energy, or T-Eng, to power their Vital Suit technologies. T-Eng is unfortunately only ever found in the corpses of the Akrid, so constant combat with the Akrid is essential to human survival on the planet.
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Yeah, it is all a bit stupid isn’t it? Why didn’t the humans find a better place to live, or just stay on Earth for that matter?
Humans on E.D.N III are divided into two factions; the Snow Pirates who roam the snow swept plains endlessly and everyone else. Obviously, the Snow Pirate and the Akrid make up the primary antagonists in the game, opposing the player at almost every step.
Speaking of which, I should introduce the player character. Gamers take over the role of Wayne, an amnesiac young man who we’re told can only remember his name and the fact that his father, Gale, was killed by a monster known as Green Eye before being rescued by a tiny band of sympathetic Snow Pirates. Imaginative, cool-sounding names all round then!
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Spurred on by curiosity and a generic sense of revenge, Wayne proceeds on a quest to find out about Green Eye and discover what happened to his father. The usual game-fare then so far in terms of foolish names, amnesiac characters, poorly told stories and plot-holes large enough to fit a copy of Half-Life 2 through.
Still, there may be light at the end of the tunnel and the gameplay may just save Lost Planet from death by exposure.