Reviewed: July 1, 2008
Released: May 27, 2008
For as long as I can remember playing games, Capcom has been one of my favorite game companies. They have brought us games like the Street Fighter series, Resident Evil and my personal favorite Lost Planet.
Lost Planet was probably one of the most underappreciated titles to come from Capcom and release on the Xbox 360 and later the PS3. But here we are a couple of years and some thousand copies later. Lost Planet actually hit platinum status, much to my surprise, and was rereleased as Lost Planet: Extreme Conditions Colonies Edition for the Xbox 360.
So I’m sure you’re wondering why they bothered to rerelease a game that to most of the people I know disliked. Fear not though, this is not an exact copy of the original title, but an enhanced version of it. There are more modes, weapons and characters to be had in this Colonies Edition.
For those of you that actually played the original Lost Planet, which by the Platinum status, which is quite a few, you will reprise your role as Wayne Holden. For those of you that have never played it or are considering it, then this review will give a bit of insight.
You play as Wayne Holden, son of Gale Holden, a soldier that was essentially left for dead in the frozen planet of E.D.N. III. He is then found frozen inside his VS (or Vital Suit) by a group of snow pirates. You have no memories about yourself. You only remember your name and the Akrid “Green Eye.”
After hearing the stories of the snow pirates, Luka, Rick and Yuri Solotov, you decide to aid them in their quest to rid the world of Akrid. Wayne’s true objectives are to figure out who he was and to destroy the Green Eye once and for all.
The interface of Lost Planet: Colonies Edition is pretty easy to pick up on. The first thing you will notice is that this title is a third-person shooter, where you are constantly looking over the right shoulder of Wayne. Character movement is controlled with the Left Stick while aiming is done with the Right Stick. You are able to zoom in some on a majority of the weapons by using the up and down buttons on the D-Pad. However the only main use for zooming in is reserved for the sniper rifle.
Lost Planet: Colonies Edition also includes a rather interesting camera system for quick maneuverability. If you find that you are surrounded by numerous enemies or one enemy that is particularly harm to keep track of. By hitting the Left or Right Bumpers, you will more the camera and Wayne 45 degrees clockwise or counter-clockwise depending on which bumper you hit. If you are operating a VS, this feature comes in handy as the VS are much slower that Wayne.
The HUD is pretty straight forward in design. Your currently equipped weapon as well as any secondary weapon is shown in the lower right hand corner of your screen. Your current ammo supply is also shown beside the weapons you have. You can also only carry two weapons and one type of grenade at a time, so choose wisely. Your current grenade count is located in the bottom left hand corner. There are several different types of grenades available and some of them are actually pretty awesome.
My personal favorites when it comes to grenades are the gum grenades and the disc grenades. The gum grenades can stick to any surface and including humans. You can even us more than one at a time so cause maximum damage. These are perfect for taking down an enemy driven vital suit. Just plant and shoot.
The Disc grenades are well, disc shaped grenades that can be thrown over farther distances than your standard grenades. While they do not pack as much explosives they still have an impressive blast radius. These babies are perfect for clearing out several human soldiers that are between you and your current goal.
The weapons of Lost Planet are just as cool as the grenades are. You start off your adventure with just a Machine Gun and Hand Grenades, but you will soon gain access to a shotgun, rocket launcher, sniper rifle, and even an energy gun with unlimited ammo. Each weapon, especially the rocket launcher, has to be manually reloaded by pressing down once on the Right Stick. This adds a fair bit of realism to this title. It only takes a second for you to become Akrid food, so reloading can ultimately spell your doom, given the situation at the time.
While a good deal of the combat will be done on foot, especially when inside buildings, you will be given ample opportunity to vital suits. There are several different types of VS’s to man including a wickedly powerful VS that belonged to Wayne’s father. Some of the VS’s also double as vehicles such as a snowmobile or a drilling craft.
There are some enemies that are nearly impossible to defeat on foot, and if you do manage to kill them and stay alive, then you should count yourself lucky. This is where the Vital Suits really come to play. Each VS can generally be equipped with two heavy weapons. Most of these are supped up versions of the weapons that you use on foot, such as the shotgun and rocket launcher. The cool thing about most of these VS weapons is that you can take them off VS’s and use them on foot. The only major downsides are that they slow down your movement considerably and you can move while you reload, like you can with the on foot weapons.
There is one major catch to Lost Planet: Extreme Conditions Colonies Edition (jeez what a mouthful) that I have never seen in any title before or since. I am of course talking about the T-ENG counter. This counter alone is what I think turned many people away from this title.
The T-ENG (or Thermal Energy) counter keeps track of the heat in your body. This counter is what I like to call the death-o-meter. Over time this counter ticks down until it reaches Zero. That would be when you start to freeze to death and die, due to the “extreme condition” of the world you are on.
The only way to keep from becoming another frozen human popsicle is to defeat Akrid and humans alike to collect the thermal energy in their bodies. Every enemy you kill will give a certain amount of thermal energy. The bigger the baddie, the more thermal energy you will usually receive. However the glowing orange energy only last so long before it disappears, so you must collect it as fast as you can while still managing to stay alive.
Besides the living inhabitants of the E.D.N. III, there are other objects that will give you thermal energy. Cars, silos and even Vital Suits destroyed in battle will give you thermal energy to collect. Also during your missions you will come across several Data Points that also have thermal energy stored in them. Upon activating one your thermal energy will skyrocket. The Data Points will also point you into the right direction once activated.
There is one other catch in this title that could spell disaster if you do not keep a careful eye on your T-ENG counter. It takes thermal energy to operate Vital Suits, so no thermal energy, no Vital Suit usage. This can essentially turn a decent boss fight into an abysmal slaughtering if you are kicked out of the VS mid fight. It’s not much of an issue outside of boss fights, but it can turn an advantage into a nightmare if you’re surrounded by Akrid.
The one major difference between the Colonies Edition and the original version of Lost Planet is that you have more single player modes available to you this time around. One of which I love to no end. The three added modes are Trial Battle, Score Attack, and Unlimited. Of all of these modes Unlimited is my favorite, but I’ll explain why in a bit.
Trial Battle mode is where you must battle each of the game’s main bosses in succession. All of your weapons, ammo, T-ENG and even your Life Gauge carry over to each battle. This mode is basically survival mode with a catch. Depending on how well you do in each battle you will be given a different opponent in the next. For instance, if you beat Godon if under 2:59 you will fight Firecracker next, if not you will face Faze-CC. The object is to sort of not only to the task at hand well but to plan ahead for the battle to come. If you die then its game over and you must start again from the beginning.
Score Attack mode is where you play any of the campaign levels through like normal, only this time you receive points for destroying everything in sight. Pretty much everything that can be killed or destroyed will have a specific point value to it. Also the target markers that are hidden throughout each mission are worth points as well, so don’t skip them if you can help it. The one cool thing about this mode is that you pull off combos as long as you keep destroying stuff. It really adds up in the end and very well could put you at the top of the Xbox LIVE Leaderboards.
And last but not least there is the Unlimited mode. This mode is by far the coolest of all in this version of Lost Planet. Upon beating a mission in the campaign, you can go back and play through it again in Unlimited mode. What this mode does is give you unlimited ammo for any weapon you acquire throughout the mission and nixes the reload time on the all the weapons including the rather slow firing laser weapons. The other thing that you will notice is that Wayne moves like he’s got a giant worm chasing him…wait that actually…um never mind. I’m always trying to beat my current time on each of the missions.
Graphically, Lost Planet: Extreme Condition Colonies Edition looks just as good as the original version. This title like most of the 360 titles is shown in glorious 1080p and is quite beautiful in some location. Not that you’ll actually have time to stop and enjoy it. If you do for a split second I will assure you that there is no greater feeling than having scaled a large mountain on foot and looking down at the view below you. Just don’t too close to the edge it’s a long way to the bottom.
You will spend some of the adventure inside buildings and underground bases. Each one is nicely detailed and each one varies on its level of shine. Some buildings such as warehouse hangers show the wear of the elements and often times the abandoned feel that is seen throughout the planet of E.D.N. III. All the bases that you will navigate will look polished and up kept, with the exception of the abandoned ones that it.
While the interior environments are nice the real glory is that of the external views. Outside you will see snow, more snow, the occasional ruined highway and more snow. When you are out trudging through the snow you will get a feeling of abandonment as you fight your way across open plains with snow out the wazoo coming down around you. Sometimes the snow fall is so heavy that your visibility is severely hindered and you will not see your enemies until they are right on top of you. Later on in the game you will encounter harrowing cliff sides, ruined highways and volcanoes. Yes you heard me right, volcanoes. Between all the different locals I doubt that you will get tired of the snow that quickly.
One of the things that I will definitely compliment the folks at Capcom about is the detail to the character designs, both human and Akrid alike. Wayne’s jacket complete with fur collar looks amazing at 1080p. I will mention that a few of the main human characters models resemble have that classic Capcom look about them. I’m of course referring to the Resident Evil series. Capcom has always done an awesome job at creating cool characters, some you just want to bury in a deep hole and pave over it, but cool none the less, although Bandero is a bit creepy looking in my opinion.
Along with the character design I have to also compliment Capcom for creating pretty realistic character movements. Well except for Wayne being able to turn his torso a full 180 degrees that is. If the ground shakes violently or a rocket hits the ground around Wayne he will tumble and try right himself. If you is hit by an Akrid, or any hazard such as rocks Wayne will get knocked on his ass. One of the coolest things I’ve seen him do is actually shield his face and recoil a bit after I fired into a barrel at fairly close range and it exploded into a flame cloud.
There are roughly 16 different Akrid creatures not including the boss Akrids in Lost Planet. Some of which are bigger, badder version of the smaller ones but each have their own distinct look to them. There are a few that want to make you turn around and run for your life, but I won’t tell which ones those are. My personal favorites amongst the Akrid are the Green Eye and the Sepia. The Green Eye is just…wow this one will chew you a new one if you’re not careful. I also like the Sepia because they remind me of the critters in Starship Troopers.
I would also like to say that each of Lost Planet’s cutscenes (seen at the beginning or end of each level) are awesome. Don’t expect Crysis or anything good looking like that but they are cool, especially any scene involving Vital Suits.
The sound department of Lost Planet: Colonies Edition is just as good as the graphics in my book. Everything in this title living or mechanic has its own sound. For instance you can usually tell if it a Chryatis or a Dongo that has surfaced behind you while you are fighting something else or just quickly navigating over an area. Ground will shake and you will hear an earthly explosion if it’s a Chryatis where as the Dongo will sort of crawl out of the snow. You usually don’t hear the Dongos until it’s too late as they are rolling over you.
One the same note, all of the weapons in Lost Planet has their own distinct sounds. The VS Gatling Gun sounds amazing as you pull the trigger and listen to it wind up and fire hot lead upon your opponents. The machine gun which is the default weapon for every level sounds pretty cool and you can pretty much hear every shot that is fired.
The voice acting much to my pleasure is pretty good. This is really not a surprise as we are talking about the company that created Resident Evil. While you are playing Lost Planet you will notice that Wayne will let out little grunts and moans when he falls, stumbles or climbs. These are all essential in this title being successful. I mean if he’s in the back wash of a rocket he will get knocked back and have to make some noise. It just adds to the realism of Lost Planet.
The score to Lost Planet is also a high point for me. This title has a very upbeat and intense score to it. This adds to send the message that you are in constant danger pretty much all the time. There are moments when the score makes you feel very much alone and against heavy odds. There are even themes for the two main factions in Lost Planet, be it NEVEC’s or Wayne’s that are very well done.
The multiplayer portion of Lost Planet: Extreme Condition Colonies Edition is fairly robust and quite enjoyable. While there may not be as big as an online community for this title, like there is for titles like COD 4, this title does have a fair bit of online play to keep one busy. There are new characters to unlock, new weapons such as Handguns, Flame Launchers, Laser Lances and VS Rifles to wield and for the first time ever play as the Akrid.
There are 3 main Battle Modes to choose from and different game types available in each. There are you classic Team Battles, Individual Battles and Hunter Battles. All 4 games types return from the original version as well as 7 brand new ones.
The majority of the newly added game types can be found in under Team Battle mode, which makes sense since you more than likely won’t want to play by yourself. But for those of you that like to fight it out where it’s every man for themselves the Individual Battle mode is the place to be. There are only two game types available here so your options are limited. You can either do deathmatches in Elimination or play keep away in Egg Bandit.
The most challenging of all the game modes has to be the Hunter Battle mode. Here you must play one vs. many matches and try to stay alive until the end of the round. This is probably one of my favorite modes in the entire multiplayer portion of Lost Planet. In Fugitive mode, if you are a fugitive you are equipped with only a handgun and plasma grenades. You must either keep your Battle Gauge from being depleted before the end of the match or fill it to MAX to win. I like it because it feels more like that actually campaign mode to an extent.
The last few things that I will add it that this is version of Lost Planet is also cross platform compatible with the PC version of this title as well. So PC gamers can duel it with 360 owners anytime they want.
There are also a whole new set of achievements to be gained from this version. A few of them actually are in the other version as well but the majority of them are new. The only downside is that majority of them are also online only achievements. So if you want to gain another 1000 achievement points by playing this version, all I can say is that you have a lot of work ahead of you.
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition Colonies Edition is by far the best version of the Lost Planet. The original Lost Planet was released in January of 2007 and obviously did pretty well for itself, considering that most people I talk to have never heard of it.
The newly added modes as well as new weapons, characters and maps open up Lost Planet to a whole new group of people, well at least those that missed it the first time around. For those of us that have the origin you will feel a little cheated as this new version is not compatible in any way with the original. On the plus side you can gain an extra 1000 achievement points and are now able to play with cooler toys and play against PC users as well. Lost Planet: Extreme Condition Colonies Edition retails for a reasonable $30 dollars at most retail stores.
I definitely recommend this title to anyone who hasn’t played the original and anyone looking for something different to play. Let you mind get lost in the explosive gameplay that is Lost Planet.