Lost Planet: Extreme Condition Review

Former exclusive console games making the jump to PC is becoming a trend lately. While it’s arguable if either platforms’ version is superior to each other, there are certain game mechanics that are different between PC and consoles. Of course, if these gameplay mechanics are poorly translated during the transition, then the port tanks. On the flipside, if the transition is smooth, then the port will be great!

So in comes Capcom’s Lost Planet: Extreme Condition. Originally released in January for the Xbox 360, it made its way to the PC back in June. As addressed in our Xbox 360 review of the game, it garnered a respective 8.0. So what separates it from its 360 counterpart? Read on.

To set the playing field, I haven’t played the 360 version before this (let alone own a 360), so I’m going into the game rather fresh, and reviewing this as many PC gamers who haven’t played the original would. You play a soldier named Wayne and you basically shoot up bugs (called Akrid) and enemy soldiers through various winter-inspired environments, which are interrupted by occasional forays in some indoor environments. I found the plot to be rather generic, especially due to the rather poor voice-acting/writing. While the action gameplay is enjoyable, most of the dialog and back history was pretty inane to read and follow. The story also moves rather quickly (which makes for a short game) and there are pretty big and glaring plot holes.

One of the big features of the PC version is the visuals. For you lucky owners of Windows Vista, you can finally put DirectX 10 to use since the game supports it. Unfortunately, the system requirements are quite a hog and will definitely downplay the experience because there are just technical issues you can’t fix or surpass. Nonetheless, with some of the features turned down, the game still looks pretty good. I definitely got chills when poor Wayne has to trudge through the various Arctic-inspired environments. Seeing the freezing air constantly blowing around while seeing dead enemies freeze up definitely brought out a very nice in-game experience.

The controls are always a huge aspect when handling a port between platforms; keyboard and mouse wonderfully adhere to the game. For whatever reason, the game constantly refers to the Xbox 360 controller whenever a new vehicle (well, mechs) are introduced. The game does refer to the keyboard for simple mechanics, like picking up a weapon, but when it comes to a mech, I had to guess and do some trial and error when it came to piloting them. Also, when I started up the game, I had to alt-tab out and then go back into the game in order for the game to recognize that I have a keyboard; this happened a few times. Weird.

Not all the levels are just Wayne running around in the cold. One of the highlights of the gameplay is the various mechs. Taking a nod from Shogo: Mobile Armor Division (that’s old-school), you can pilot various mechs and vehicles. Most of them are buried in the snow but can easily be dug out and piloted around. They range from the standard walking mech with a mini-gun to hover-bikes to the more enormous mechs with numerous weapons. But like I said before, once you hop in, the game will reference the Xbox 360 controller.

The Akrid are your standard bugs and range from the small and annoying (those swarms of flying bugs are one prime example) to the large, rolling and pretty intimidating. When you go up close and personal, you can definitely feel the tension and its ugly smell. For one, you are a tiny human compared to these massive beasts. Getting knocked around is pretty fun (well, in a sadistic kind of way) and the animations are really top-notch. For example, if you’re knocked down, you’ll be covered in snow and have to drag yourself out. Still, there’s an off-timing whenever you get leveled, so while Wayne is getting up, you’ll be frantically pounding the keyboard to move — but Wayne won’t budge.

The game has a health and a "shield" bars. Basically, you have your standard health bar but also an energy bar which collects T-Gen. T-Gen is basically the juice that powers your suit which allows you to trudge around the freezing environments. It’s also pretty plentiful, and is left by dead Akrid, found in data pillars (which act as a map beacon and a save point) and just randomly hidden. Your T-Gen count constantly ticks down so this tends to add another element to the gameplay. You can spend time looking for secrets, but do you have enough T-Gen?!

Lost Planet doesn’t revolve only around bugs a la Starship Troopers, though. The human soldiers you encounter, the "Snow Pirates" especially, get the nod for having some pretty poor AI and path finding problems. Yes, they will shout out your presence and try to hide (I said try) but will end up standing around while they wait for you pop out. They also end up spouting the same lines over and over when they’re killed. I’ve seen (on multiple times) them get stuck when trying to get around boxes or other sources of cover. Also, why can’t I crush Snow Pirates with my mech?

Boss fights are pretty entertaining. They tend to be some really gigantic Akrid and you basically have to annihilate some sweet spot on their body in order to put them down. Still, their lairs are usually filled with entertaining bits to keep you engaged. The first boss, for example, is in a massive cave and along with swiping its claws it can roll around at you with its armored shell; it can roll up the walls and cause the ceiling rocks to come flying down as well.

Lastly, let’s look at multiplayer. This past week, Capcom added a few new maps and new characters specifically for the PC version. After snagging the update, I jumped online to take a look at the playing field, but unfortunately, many of the servers were barely being used. I entered one or two games to see what’s happening but ended up leaving because the gaming field was void.

Summed up, the PC version of Lost Planet is rather average. Despite having superior controls and (if you can get them) superior visuals, the game generally suffers from the same problems of its 360 counterpart, along with the usual problems of a port. Still, if you have a superior PC (or don’t have any consoles like me), picking up Lost Planet is a sure-fire action fun time.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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