Lost Planet (Retail) Review (possible spoilers)
First i'd like to say excuse the crappy paragraphing, i'm not used to writing reviews in english.
As Wayne, the ever so slightly j-drama-esque lead character, you find yourself initially, tailing your father’s footsteps on a mission within a long derelict habitation dome.
It isn’t long before trouble inevitably rears its ugly head in the shape of the Green-eye, one of the larger indigenous life forms of the planet, aptly named the Arkid.
These creatures range from the tiny to quite disgustingly gigantic with various key aspects being shaped by their surroundings.
Be it the volcanic flows of the western domes or the ice plateaus of the north they will find ever new and annoyingly clever ways to make you jump for cover but with the almost universal factor that shooting their glowing spots will kill them, this however does not help you in using, or defeating one of the many mechs within the game named “VS” each mech has it’s own unique characteristics from slow but decently armored, to light, agile machines which enjoy jumping 50 or so feet into the air whenever you fire your last rocket in their direction.
Weapons on the various VS range from the generic gattling gun through shotguns, rocket launchers, homing missiles, homing lasers and my personal favorite the plasma and EM rifles.
An interesting and often satisfying aspect of these VS (Vital Suits), is that every single one of them excluding the driller VS which have their weaponry physically attached to them, can have their weaponry removed and used on-foot by your character.
Never before have I felt as empowered as when Wayne hiked through a snow covered field dragging a 4 way homing laser over his arm, and of course the VS shotgun when used on-foot is comparable only to the super shotgun in Metal Slug.
Speaking of metal slug, the designs of some of the VS do bear striking resemblances to the ‘metal slugs’, especially the driller VS with their tank tracks which are individually modeled and act accordingly.
Climbing into some VS also drags up memories of the film Abyss, stepping through the smoke of a freshly detonated missile guided by the three outer lights of your VS as you climb into the seat is one hell of an experience, and the explosions themselves?, I’ve seen nothing like it, on any game ever, the explosions would satisfy even the most destructive pyromaniacs, a well placed rocket into the belly of an enemy surrounded by fuel drums creates massive infernos as if neo-bahamut himself came down and tried to help you light a cigarette.
The graphics can at times be lacking, especially when the same texture is used a little too often (usually on lava levels), but I found in general the graphical finish and texture detail often surpassed even those of the mighty gears of war, minus the overly sharp edges on player models as the ones in Lost Planet felt remarkably more fluid and believable.
In recently years developers and designers have started to use the system where there is no real health bar, where ducking for cover long enough will heal all previous wounds, this is most apparent on gears of war, call of duty 3 and in some ways Resistance, only improved by the addition of a 3 stage energy level limitation, replenishing only to certain bars depending upon damage taken.
In Lost Planet however you are driven entirely by T-Eng (Thermal Energy), You can take quite a lot of damage which reduces your life bar, however if you manage to avoid further assault your life bar is replenished using amounts of your T-Eng store, incidentally this T-Eng store is continually counting down and will, if it reaches zero, slowly suck away your life bar too.
This isn’t as harsh as it sounds though, as you can replenish your T-Eng store by collecting the thermal energy dropped from just about any destructible object, Enemies, Barrels, Tanks, etc.
Personally I found blowing up oil tanks was most often the best source of T-Eng when enemy counts were low.
Lost Planet is driven by a surprisingly weak story line considering the scope and hype of the game, but what little there is well compliments the action and flow of the game, again comparing Lost Planet to Gears of war, I would say Lost Planet has a more enjoyable and involving plot, but another annoying thing I found was that the game is rather short, and can be completed by the accomplished gamer just as quickly as Gears of War
The boss battles of the game I found were quite easy to accomplish once you find the right combination of movements, VS and weapons, some just require you to repeatedly dodge and shoot at the weak points until the boss is dead, others are more complex and require a little bit of thinking to actually land a blow.
One of my few gripes with the game is that the driller VS are invincible when in tank mode as apposed to their destroyable walker mode but when you are in the exact same VS you can receive damage in both modes, leading me to wonder why.
Another gripe is that the zoned areas aren’t well thought out as you can completely clear one area and move on a bit but if you backtrack all the monsters, enemies and VS will have returned, this is only a small gripe however as you barely ever actually need to backtrack.
The player-sized weapons are quite varied but you will more often then not find yourself with an assault rifle, however the sniper rifle is amazing and you will find yourself running around on foot with the plasma rifle finishing off boss’s by hand when your VS has taken to much damage, especially on harder difficulties.
The replay ability of the game is somewhat higher for lost planet than it is for gears of war, as there are various achievements to be unlocked for defeating large enemies which you do not need to kill to finish the game and in the same way gears of war has Cog tags to collect, Lost Planet has target markers, however I did feel that most of these markers were disruptively easy to find which made collecting them more of a chore than a quest.
All in all I feel Lost Planet does well to satisfy both the gears of war fans with it’s third person gaming style, as it will the mech fans with wide selections of weapons and bombs for both, and having a grapple ability adds a lot to both exploring and escaping from enemies.
And of course, theres always the ever fun power-stomp on defeated foes when they turn to stone/ice, by jumping as high as your VS will allow, and landing directly on their solid heads, smashing them to little peices.
The online functionality I was unable to test at the time of writing this as xbox live was down but I’ll probably update when I’ve had chance to give it a blast.
Now some screenshots for your enjoyment
Wayne in his thermal gear (nobody in the game ever seems to get changed)
Your (at-first) reluctant partners in crime, Rick and Luca
Early on the second level, my it's quite peaceful here.. but for how long?
See that tail?, don't worry, you will if you don't ****ing move.
I sure hope i don't have to walk over that red stuff.
Eat your heart out gundam, your puny weapons ain't got **** on me.
Well ****,if that's how it looks turn the lights back off.
Boom, headshot.... i think.. wasn't much left of him to check.
Yes those wasps are huge, yes they sting, and yes they're about to get stomped.
Theres also this which is sort of a spoiler, but funny none the less.
Also for the japanese version owners (and probably US owners when it's released), theres my work in progress guide which covers most of the offline aspects of the game.