Jeremy Jastrzab
11 May, 2006

E3 2006: Lost Planet hands-on

360 Feature | We get lost and snowed-under in the E3 demo.
In a bid to bolster its position in Japan, Microsoft has been going hard at getting big Japanese developers to make big name games for the Xbox 360. Keiji Inafune happens to be behind the latest Capcom 360 project, Lost Planet: Extreme Condition and Microsoft have released a demo across Xbox Live! This is the same demo that those lucky duffas at E3 will be playing, but thanks to broadband technology, some of the pain is eased for those left behind.

The download was only around 300 Megabytes and took the best part of half an hour. Lost Planet is best described as a third-person action game. The game is played on a planet with a desolate climate. A freezing cold world of giant glaciers. A group of humans calling themselves “Snow Pirates” are out there attempting to explore the horizons of the world but are not alone on the planet. A mysterious alien race known as the Eecrid have taken up residence on the planet as well. You play as an individual who has been saved from the Eecrid and left with one memory - your father was killed by them.

There are some really big and nasty bugs here

There are some really big and nasty bugs here
What better premise to go and blow up a whole lot of metallic buggy aliens? Well the demo provides us with two hefty levels. The first takes us up into “The Hive”, while the other actually placed us against the Snow Pirates. The basic gist is that the game is a third-person shooter where you play as a one-man army and you annihilate anything that’s in the way.

The gameplay is pretty much the same thing that’s been seen in third-person shooters for the last generation, only with what seems to be a lot more “BOOM”. The controls were just as you’d expect to find, movement with the left analog stick, aiming with the right, fire weapons with the right trigger and throw grenades with the left. While comfortable in general, the aiming was different in that the cursor didn’t move in exact conjunction with the view. The LB and RB buttons can be used to do a quick 90-degree turn. The only real “unique” addition seems to use of a grapple-type weapon on the Y-button. You could use it to grab onto ledges and get up higher or to grab and pull enemies towards you.

In the first level, we’re making out way through an area completely blanketed by snow and ice. We made our way up to a structure that resembled a desolate office block. After taking care of a few pesky metallic bugs that popped out of the wall, we we’re met with one very big and very nasty bug. Resembling a giant mantis, it promptly busted rear-ends and it wasn’t until our third attempt that we fended it off, only for it to retreat. We then made our way through the car park of the building and annihilated a lot of bugs along the way. It was quite an explosive affair, as shooting the tumbling barrels would set-off big, area clearing explosions.

The interface is quite intuitive

The interface is quite intuitive
Further on, we ended up in a warehouse with the mantis thingy and to our pleasant surprise, a mech-suit called a VS. It controlled just as you’d expect and it took care of our bug problem with the power that we wanted. Thus continued our trek up to the Eecrid Hive, eliminating bigger and nastier bugs as we went. One small issue that we came across was that our character was not exactly the most nimble that we’ve come across and it things became a bit difficult as the bugs got bigger and even faster.

The second level showed that there is something to the game’s story that we’re yet to find out. Why we’re storming a Snow Pirates base single-handedly? We don’t know but it was one of the most intense action sequences we’ve played in a long time. You’re surrounded from almost every direction and the “enemy” has you heavily out-gunned and outnumbered. Running and gunning failed miserably so we really had to cover our rear-ends and slowly make our way up until we were able to capture a mech and eliminate the enemy. For all it’s worth, this sequence was nothing new but it was very, very intense.

There are a few other quirks to the gameplay. Humans are wearing “Vitality Suits” that protect them from the cold. The suits will heal injuries but only last a limited time. The time can be extended if the player finds some of the remedial pick-ups. Weapons were a standard heavy affair with machine guns, rifles, mini-guns, lasers and rockets, though only two can be carried at one time. The B-button is dedicated to context sensitive action, like picking up weapons or rapidly tapping the button to dig out weapons from snow or activate things.

The bigger they are, the bigger the weapons you can use

The bigger they are, the bigger the weapons you can use
Graphically, the game is superb so far. Everything has been ramped up in terms of details, texture and models in the game. It’s great to see how the snow leaves footprints and the animation from the bugs perspective was brilliant. However, the human animations looked a bit stiff though more realistic than current gen games. Oddly the game was a bit tough when the cursor and sometimes text got lost in the snow, even when it flashed red over an enemy. The main character is based on a famous Korean actor who is quite popular in Japan at the moment but we didn’t see him under the suit. Sound-wise, there’s plenty of “oomph” to go with the endearing action.

The major concerns with Lost Planet, are that while it’s looks certain to be a blast to play, there is very little that makes the game new and we don’t know how long it will last. However, given the game’s pedigree, it’s likely that there are a lot of tricks yet to be revealed. Sure, there looks like there is going to be plenty of boom, but we hope there is more of that than bust.

Related Lost Planet: Extreme Condition Content

More Lost Planet maps on the way
16 Jun, 2007 We have a feeling this planet has been well and truly found.
Free Lost Planet map coming this week
04 Jun, 2007 Take to the Battleground.
New Lost Planet maps released
10 Mar, 2007 They're not free though.
7 years ago
I played this demo through last night, quite impressive. I liked the graphics and sound. Bit patchy around some parts though, felt a bit stiff at times.

Hopefully this will be develop into a killer app. Not due till 2007, so that got a bit of time.
7 years ago
Yea the game has come along very well. I was amazed when I fired that first stage up....the snow looked fricken real!! The targeting system was a little bit weird cuz you could move the reticule a little bit but if you moved it past a certain area then your guy would turn.....it's not like it actually hampered my gameplay when things got hectic I just thought it was a little weird that's all. Also the respawning bugs I didn't like but you could stop that just by destroying those pods....so that's not really a huge deal. I also found the grenades to be lacking any real power.....like the explosion looked cool but the damage and blast radius were hopeless.

But yea....as mentioned it is slated for a 2007 release so I see it becoming polished up quite a bit before release.

Oh yea that Assault stage is heaps hard aye?
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