These days, original game series are becoming a rare commodity. Creativity is lost amongst the endless Splinter Cell and Sonic sequels of the gaming industry. Then there is Lost Planet, a newly created franchise by Capcom for the Xbox 360. New game mechanics such as the use of thermal energy and Vital Suits (VS) are always welcome -- but Lost Planet is not without its flaws.
The story line in Lost Planet is passable but certainly not inspiring. The game is set in the future where humans have moved off Earth to colonise a planet E.D.N. III - and it is covered in ice. The various settlements on E.D.N. III seem to be a success at first however the peace doesn't last. The Akrid alien horde who colonise the planet attack the humans and force them into a bloody retreat.
You play as Wayne -- a highly unusual name fore a video game character. Wayne's father has been killed by a giant Akrid called the Green Eye. So, just like any story of revenge, Wayne sets out to kill the Green Eye that murdered his father. Along the way Wayne discovers all is not as it seems on E.D.N III.
Lost Planet's use of thermal energy adds an interesting twist to the game. Wayne's thermal energy slowly depletes over time and if it runs out he'll die. The only way to replenish Wayne's health is by walking over the thermal energy of your fallen enemies. This creates a sense of urgency to the game as Wayne needs to fight to continue to live, yet if his health is low he may not have enough power to win. Each breed of Akrid has different ways of being killed, adding variety to the game-play.
The game takes place in a third person perspective. The controls are fairly standard, with the analog sticks control aiming and movement. Aiming, however, feels a little bit sluggish. It takes far too long for Wayne's aiming reticle to move from the left hand side of the screen to the right. You will be fighting both on foot and in mechs called Vital Suits (VS). Fighting in the various models of VS makes sending the Akrid to kingdom come very easy -- almost too easy at times. Each model of VS suit has its advantages and disadvantages. Some are slow but pack awesome fire power, whilst others are fast moving but pack little fire power. Just like Wayne's health the VS suits require thermal energy to operate.
Graphically Lost Planet is superb. As the game is set on an ice planet you would expect the snow to look great, and it does. The light shimmering off the snow looks amazing. Explosions look natural, however, it would have been nice if the heat melted away some of the ice. The character models are highly detailed with bits and pieces dangling off their utility belts -- though human enemy models are a bit disappointing, as there are only a few variety of skins. The character design of the various Akrid is unique and creative. They range from flying suckers to heavily armoured ramming Akrid. Even with dozens of Akrid on screen at once the game manages to maintain a smooth frame rate.
The audio in Lost Planet is decent enough. Explosions and gunshots all sound convincing. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the dialogue and voice acting.
Some of the dialogue in Lost Planet feels like it was ripped straight out of a B grade action movie. The voice acting is monotonous and un-inspiring. Luckily, the action is so enjoyable you don't need to worry about what the other characters are saying.
Multiplayer in Lost Planet is fast and furious. There are eight different maps for you and 15 other combatants to duke it out with. With only eight maps to choose from you quickly become familiar with their layout. Fortunately the levels are divided into several different sections with multiple floors.
Often when playing over Xbox Live you will find yourself playing with people from across the globe. The great thing about having the servers internationally is that you will never have trouble finding people to play with. The downside is that games can occasionally suffer from lag. The game play in multiplayer is just as fun as it is in single player.
Lost Planet has a variety of modes that include deathmatch and team deathmatch, all-against-one and an assault type of mode called grab. In grab, you and your team must secure the various data posts around the map from the opposing team. The team that holds the posts for the longest by the end of the match wins. This makes for some hectic battles as the counter goes down to zero. VS suits are also scattered around the map making killing the other players easier. Don't think that because you have a VS suit that you become a one man killing machine. Other players also have VS suits so you will need to be strategic about selecting your targets.
Overall Lost Planet is an enjoyable shooter with easy to learn game-play. Complementing the fun single player mode is its equally enjoyable multiplayer. If you can look past the corny dialogue you will find a great action game that shouldn't be missed.