Lost Planet: Extreme Condition – Review

One of Capcom's first releases on the current generation of consoles.

Following Wayne Holden as he attempts to remember his past and avenge his father’s death, Lost Planet: Extreme Condition features a deep science fiction background, impressive enemies, outlandish character designs, and some okay action. Developed by Capcom, spearheaded by Keiji Inafune (Mega Man, Dead Rising), and produced by Jun Takeuchi (Resident Evil, Onimusha), Lost Planet is a third-person shooter originally released for the Xbox 360 on January 12, 2007. It was later ported to the PlayStation 3 and PC.

Lost Planet: Extreme Condition takes place on the frigid world of E.D.N. III. The planet is inhospitable, not only because of the unforgiving weather, but also due to a prevalent species of insects. The akrid are aggressive insects that come in many forms, most towering over the invading humans. The human race stumbled upon the frozen, insect-infected wasteland of E.D.N. III in their search for a planet to relocate to before completely destroying Earth. However, a climate change and the removal of the akrid must precede a mass exodus of Earth.

Attempts at solving these problems have been occurring over the past fifty years and solutions are in sight. The corporation NEVEC has been at the front of pioneering solutions to these problems although the rebellious snow pirates have acted as roadblocks.

If Wayne ran out of Thermal Energy (T-ENG) he would die, but he could absorb it from fallen akrid.

As Wayne and his father hunt down a massive akrid, they get ambushed by NEVEC who kills Wayne’s father and leaves him for dead. Later rescued by a small gang of snow pirates, Wayne learns of NEVEC’s honorable plans of saving the human race through dastardly means and decides to put a stop to them. Along the way drama ensues amongst the ridiculously outfitted cast of characters.

At every turn, questions are rising over everyone’s true intentions and their mysterious pasts. As such, each and every cutscenes relays not only developments about NEVEC and their plans concerning the climate and the akrid, but also each character’s misgivings about someone else, to the point where the internal strife among the snow pirates resembled a soap opera. The drama also gets amplified by mysterious characters outside of the group who aid and hinder the snow pirates.

Besides the ongoing drama, I had another beef with the characters: their ridiculous outfits. For example one of Wayne’s accomplices, Rick, wore a set of glasses that were opaque and protruded from his face about six inches. Presumably they were some sort of technology but they looked dumb, like he was a Cyclops (X-Men) reject. His goofy haircut was in no way appealing either. The other half dozen or so characters weren’t as bad, but they still wore cluttered outfits. I will say the enemy designs of the akrid were cool, but then again, video games have featured gross looking insects from day one.

I wonder where I should shoot?

Killing the akrid, NEVEC troops, and snow pirates was done with some impressive weaponry. I usually think singling out the weapon selection of a first-person/third-person shooter as a positive aspect is unnecessary in most cases, but I really like Lost Planet’s weapons. There was a plentiful variety and my friend and I always enjoyed trying out a new weapon, but what I liked most about the weapons was their feel. I liked the feedback I got from shooting things, the overpowered shotgun especially.

A second positive aspect regarding the weaponry was the dozen or so mechs. Being that E.D.N. III is a risky place to live, mechs have become all but necessary on the planet. Most of them are in a bipedal form although multiple can transform into speedier forms. Weapons are similarly plentiful for the mechs and they’re able to be installed on nearly every one.

The mechs, as well as the controls in general, were clunky. Wayne moved around awfully slowly and panning the camera around was a chore; so much so that the bumpers on the controller were used to swing the camera around ninety degrees. This was beneficial, but speeding up the camera would’ve meant they wouldn’t have had to even offer a remedy. The stages were too long in most cases too. Averaging about a half hour, they consisted of a slow, boring slog through a usually expansive stage, battling many, many enemies until a confrontation with a usually enormous boss. The game only took my friend and me three or four hours to complete, but I don’t think that’s factoring in the oodles of cutscenes.

Akrid could be enormous.

Lost Planet: Extreme Condition is a mediocre third-person shooter. The story unfolded through many good looking cutscenes, but was eventually bogged down by the drama. The gameplay was solid, although a little too clunky for me to fully enjoy, and the weaponry was fantastic, but completing stages was a real slog. Lost Planet: Extreme Condition was an enjoyable game but not entirely recommendable.

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