Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Review: Lost Planet Extreme Condition

Running through snow is never easy but my friends are counting on me so I have to hurry. Its bitter cold and the longer I’m outside, the closer I get to freezing to death. Just as I’m about to enter a building to seek warmth, the ground begins to tremble and a giant creature that looks like the sick love child of a spider and a lobster emerges out from the ground and is coming straight for me. I think I’m in trouble. Good thing I bring a rocket launcher whenever I go snowshoeing.
Giant monsters, snow storms that will make every gamer from Colorado feel right at home and game play that feels like “Starship Troopers” on planet Hoth? This is “Lost Planet: Extreme Condition,” the first must own game of 2007.
In “Lost Planet” gamers play as Wayne (party on Garth!) on an ice plant called E.D.N. III, 150 years in the future. The colonized planet seemed like a winter wonderland until the human inhabitants discover an aggressive, giant, insect-like race called the Akrid. Most of the colonists have left, leaving you and your three pals, who found you as frozen as popsicle after escaping an Akrid attack that killed your father, to fight off strange beasts and snow pirates (and no, they don’t ice skate as far as I know). While the premise sounds as far fetched as a typical episode of “Lost,” its kitschy in an endearing way.
Game play is a blast, literally. “Lost Planet” is all about shooting, from Akrids of all different sizes to pesky snow pirates (giggling like little girl), there is always something new to target just around the corner. Typically a game with a premise this simple can become repetitive and dull but not “Lost Planet.” The combat is enjoyable because it offers such a wide variety of ways to take on an opponent. Tons of cool weapons, unique environments and fun to control vehicles make the game a playground of destruction.
The game presentation in “Lost Planet” is first rate. The weapons sound distinct and powerful, mechs scream from being awoken from their frozen slumber and the voice acting is cheesy to the point of humorous. But the graphics is where the game really shines. The snow looks beautiful as you trudge through it, with powder flying through the air. Snow pirates (snorting milk out of nose) fall dramatically when shot and the explosions look so real, I can almost feel it singeing my face. While the single-player is way too short, “Lost Planet” makes up for this with a great online feature with as much flavor as the International House of Pancakes. In my first online game, I played with gamers from England and France. Sweet!
The only complaint I have with the game is that the levels are a little too long, sometimes lasting 30 - 45 minutes and for Achievement hogs like myself, the points are spread out among 35 different Achievements! 35! Of course if you have more patience than I do (which most 5-year olds do) this doesn't matter. “Lost Planet: Extreme Condition” is so much fun, it might just give “Gears of War” and “Halo 2” a run for their money.
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition
Price: $59.99 - $69.99
Players: One (16 online)
Formats: Xbox 360
Category: Sci-Fi Shooter
Rating: T (Teen)
Grade: A-
Top 5 Things I Wouldn’t Mind Losing
1. My short term memory problem
2. My student loan balance
3. Twenty pounds
4. My irrational fear of butterflies
5. My short term memory problem

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