Blog 458: Lost Planet

Or rather, Lost Planet: Extreme Condition: Colonies Edition. I love a good game of title-stack.

Jack told me this was pretty cool ages ago, so I picked it up when I was in the shops recently.

And he was right. It is pretty cool.

Breathtakingly Ridiculous

Lost Planet is a third-person shooter, jumping between going on foot and using vehicles. It is intensely action-packed — I don’t think I’ve ever played a game where any character has absorbed quite so many huge missiles to the face and stood right back up again. As long as you have enough T-Eng, and don’t take too much damage in a single hit, you’ll live.

Considering the size of most of the opponents, when you’re not fighting human baddies the game actually feels a lot like a Godzilla film gone mad. For a cold, harsh planet, it fair breeds them big.

Unfortunately, despite the wonderfully over-the-top explosions and enemies, movement speed (even in mechs) is pretty gimped. Even though you see them scooting around at a billion miles an hour in the cinematics, you are reduced to a dirty trudge. Which, I suppose at least for being on foot, is fair enough — you are knee-deep in snow for most of the game.

Apparently like all snow-based games, Lost Planet sometimes lets the bloom run away with itself.

But, again despite the wonderfully over-the-top explosions, the game runs absolutely sublimely on my computer. With the worse particle spam in the history of mankind, loads of huge robots and animals stomping around, swarms of small animals flying around them or hanging off the ceiling, and piles of destructible scenery throwing Havok-induced chunks everywhere, it never once juddered. Not once. Shit is optimised.

It didn’t even stutter in the in-game cinematics.┬áIn-game cinematics? In this day and age? I was shocked, too — I was suspicious when they didn’t letterbox, and then Fraps showed me getting a smooth 75 frames per second (sometimes even more) during them. Delicious.

Dual-wielding gatling guns has never been so satisfying.

Thermal Energy

I’m assuming this is a translation error of some kind, because as far as I’m aware “thermal energy” is just heat and it doesn’t dribble out of people and animals when they die.

I was initially a little concerned that vehicles and some weapons, drain your T-Eng — as it is effectively your health bar, and is always counting down on its own, it seems a bit counter-productive to waste it on shooting things. Then again, the most reliable way to get more T-Eng is to kill stuff, and there are plenty of infinite-spawn jobbies you can farm to get back up to safe levels. Then there are explosive barrels that drop it, giant canisters of the stuff… It was actually very rarely an issue, at least on normal difficulty.

I are Snowcat! I controls the T-Eng, I controls the universe!

You’re Not the Boss of Me

The game is reasonably action-packed as it is, but at the end of each mission it throws an absolutely brutal boss fight at you. Whether it’s a horrendously over-sized and over-powered alien creature or a huge evil corporation tank-bot, the odds are invariably stacked high against you.

The low movement speed hits home during a lot of the boss fights. The mighty Green Eye, for example, shoots a barrage of ice crystals, each one of which stuns you — naturally, once you get hit by one, you’re stun-locked into taking the entire barrage, and there go half your mech’s hit-points. Avoiding the first missile is tough because you just can’t run that fast, even in special rocket booster mode.

Really, most of the game’s play time is going to be spent getting brutally murdered by each boss until you figure out a half decent strategy. In that sense, it’s almost a classic arcade game.

I just dropped down a tunnel and it was THERE.

Overall

It’s a blast — short, disposable, a “Saturday night” game, but excellent fun.

I don’t want to complain about the plot, but the presentation of the plot did seem a little disjointed in places. Sometimes sub-plot hooks would appear out of nowhere and disappear as quickly, though the main plot was fine. Disappointing lack of anything more than the most implicit romance sub-plot, but I suppose there’s still a chance for it to re-emerge in a sequel, right?

I think Lost Planet would actually make a good Hollywood blockbuster. We could certainly do with a modern Godzilla-esque monster movie, and this has all the ingredients (and then some)…

Even on the coldest planet in the universe, the women don't cover up.

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