Tuesday, February 13, 2007

VG review: "Lost Planet"

Capcom, for Xbox 360
rated T for Teen (ani­mated blood, mild language, violence), $59.99.

“Lost Planet” is your average shoot-em-up with one really neat idea tacked on: If the monsters don’t kill you, the cold will.

In addition to doing battle with evil mercenaries and giant bugs in the barren, arctic world of “Lost Planet,” you also have to keep warm.

Your body temperature keeps dropping the longer you stay out in the cold. Once it hits zero, it’s game over.

The good news is that most of the big, bad bugs and some items carry “thermal energy,” which, once dropped, will replenish your warmth index.

As with most games of this ilk, there’s a variety of challenges, monsters and weapons to pit your skill against. In addition to covering ground on foot, for instance, there are a number of “vital suits” — giant, mechanized armor — that you can enter and attack with, as well as protect yourself from the cold.

Some of the ways the developers incorporate the weather into the game are great. Carrying heavier weapons, such as the Gatling gun, will weigh you down and make it difficult to move in the snow. Certain valuable items will be buried deep in drifts, and digging them out will use up precious time and energy.

Ultimately, though, enough isn’t done to really make you feel as though you’re in constant danger of freezing to death. True, I was playing on “easy mode” (mainly because I’m horrible with most shooters), but the thermal energy was plentiful enough that I never really felt like it was that much of a problem. Perhaps if I had played on “hard” instead.

For those who crave online play, “Lost Planet” has some nice features, including “team elimination” and “fugitive,” where a group of players must hunt down a rogue person.

I must confess that I didn’t get far in “Lost Planet.” After being swallowed by a giant worm for the 40th time, I moved on. Those who are fans of this type of game, however, will undoubtedly be able to stick it out longer.

“Lost Planet” attempts to bring a fresh coat of paint to some tired walls and, I must admit, it’s some pretty paint. Ultimately, the room hasn’t changed that much. At the end of the day, you’re still just going around blowing up giant bugs. And I’m really tired of going around blowing up giant bugs. 

Copyright The Patriot-News, 2007



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