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PLATFORM: Xbox 360, PC
ESRB RATING: T
Yes, this is an older game. Why review it now? Missing Lost Planet when it was first released, I never got around to playing it till now, even though friends regaled me with stories of giant mech battles and grappling across a winter nightmareland. It turns out to have been a good thing to wait, as now the Platinum Hits version of the game has released for Xbox 360 and PC, adding so much content to the game that people have been calling it Lost Planet 1.5.
Is it worth the cash?
You’re a soldier fighting giant bugs (called Akrid) on a frozen wasteland of a planet. Along the way you’ll pilot Mechs and fight enourmous boss creatures, all while trying to keep warm by collecting thermal energy from fallen enemies.
Alright, so there is an actual story, but if you’re like me you’ll immediately realize you’re in trouble when you find out that the game is basically an anime and promptly ignore it. It’s from the same guys who did Dead Rising, and do you remember how bad those cutscenes were? (Two words- Stupid Fucking Clown.) There’s a story here about revenge and evil corporations but you won’t miss anything if you skip them. You’ll only save valuable minutes of your life.
The game controls extremely well for a third person shooter, adding some nice little touches like a grappling hook. The game has the feel of an old school shooter, as each and every one of the insect enemies has a glowing weak spot that you have to hit to take down. It makes for some nice tactical play, even if it is a little silly.
The best thing about the game is of course the mechs. Called Vital Suits (VS for short) these big bastards are so much fun to pilot. They can carry various weapons that can be attached to both arms, adding all kinds of choices for your attack. The armament is pretty diverse, giving you everything from gattling
guns (two of those can usually cut down any enemy pretty quickly) to
rocket launchers and energy weapons to play with. There’s a lot of different VS models as well, everything from ones that can double jump, drill through rocks, and even fly. After walking around with your character for a while, you’ll appreciate the insane firepower gained by piloting one of these beasts.
The biggest problem here? The game gets pretty boring when you’re not in a VS. The game has a very slow, lethargic feel to it when you’re on foot, which makes sense, since you’re bogged down with winter coats and life support packs and walking through snowbanks. But it doesn’t make for an action-packed time. Your life bar refills incredibly quickly, meaning that unless you run out of thermal juice (your life bar starts depleting if you do) you’ll be fine unless something big knocks you down. But seeing as most of the enemies are giant creatures that sweep you off your feet, you’ll spend a lot of time waiting for you
guy to (very slowly) get up and be able to return fire. And most times when you die it will be because you had all your energy knocked off by one attack and were trying to stand back up! It just feels cheap.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have a slower, more thoughtful game, but by the end you’ll get tired of the style. Thankfully the amount of VS models ramp up considerably near the end, so you’ll never be far from jumping in one and having some real fun with the game.
You’re not going to forget that this is an older game, but as you can see the graphics still impress. The smoke and explosion effects are pretty remarkable, and it makes me chuckle when I think about how impressed I was with Mech Assault‘s mechs blowing up.
The music is good if not memorable, but the weapon sounds really packs a punch. The surround sound mix is really nice as well, and essential for multiplayer, especially since the damn screen bounces around anytime an explosion hits seemingly anywhere on the level.
Achievement whores who played through the original game will find a whole new slew of points to nab, but you’re really going to have to work for it. You’ll see what I mean when you get 5 points for completing the game. Of course, this is to make it more of an incentive for Lost Planet vets, and for people to play the extra modes included in this game.
Besides the campaign mode (which will take you probably around 10 hours to complete) there is a Trial Battle mode, which allows you to fight all the bosses in the game one after the other in a survival mode; and also a Score Attack mode in which you play through a campaign level trying to combo together kills for a huge score. There’s also an Unlimited Mode that allows you to explore the levels with increased weapon power and movement speed… good for if you’re trying to find the medals hidden all over the place.
But the one thing that’s surprising about this title is how much fun the multiplayer is, and how many people are still hooked on it.
There’s a huge variety of 16-player battles you can partake in, everything from standard deathmatches to variations on king of the hill and capture the flag. Like Shadowrun before it (bad example) the Xbox 360 and PC versions will allow for cross platform play. The eternal battle of keyboard vs. joypad rages on!
There’s a slew of new stuff here as well. We’ve got 4 brand new maps (plus all the downloadable map packs for the game, which brings the total to 20), 5 new characters (with some familiar faces, as shown above), 10 new weapons… and one of the coolest modes, the ability to fight Humans Vs. Akrid in “Akrid Hunt”. Playing as a giant insect is incredibly fun and each one controls differently… and it turns out that playing as a soldier trying to take them down is almost equally entertaining. Those matches are a big hit right now, and rightfully so- it’s a new game type that rewards team play. And you get to play as giant fucking bugs!
This is the kind of special edition every game should get…. every good game, at least. It adds hours to the main game, gives people more multiplayer options and at 30 bucks is probably even worth a buy for hardcore fans of the original game. You can’t repackage a game much better than this. (If only they had taken this kind of time to do the same with Dead Rising, a fun but deeply flawed game that could have easily been improved with a save anywhere function and that rumored co-op mode.)
So while Lost Planet is no modern classic, it’s a damn fun game and well worth adding to your library for this discount price.