Eye Candy – If I had to sum the game up in one word, that would be it. That isn’t such a great thing though, for the visuals are the best part of Lost Planet: Extreme Conditions, with almost all of the other areas falling short in one way or another. Think of it like a really smokin’ hot chick with no (or a really small) brain. Before I make this review sound like a complete bitch-fest, let me clear things up a little. If you check out Nash’s review of the Xbox 360 version of the game, he’ll tell you that the game’s pretty good. I’m with him on that – the game was a great experience on the Xbox 360 (at least where the action is concerned) and in the short time I’ve spent with the Xbox 360 version, I had a blast. The PC port on the other hand, although technically pretty well built, leaves a lot to be desired...
First things first – I’m not gonna waste your time by telling you the game’s plot all over again; if however, some of you wish to read about it you can check out the first page of Nash’s review. With that out of the way, let me tell you what bothers me about the game – have you ever thought of a game like Huxley, where PC gamers could pit themselves against console (Xbox 360 to be specific) gamers? I’m sure you’d agree with me that PC gamers would at least dominate, if not slaughter their competition. The fact is that a Mouse + keyboard setup gives you a lot more control over a game than a Game Controller for pretty obvious reasons. That is exactly what plagues Lost Planet: Extreme Conditions on the PC - you’ll be amazed by how easy the game is. This of course wasn’t the case in the Xbox 360 version – maneuvering your dual analog sticks to aim accurately and hit the Akrid (big bad bugs) at key points while was quite a challenge. When it moves over to the mouse and keyboard setup for the PC port, all you have to do is point with the mouse and click, click, click and click some more – monster dead – level over – rinse – repeat. The controller scheme wasn’t meant for PC at all, and anyone looking for a challenge will be pretty disappointed here.
I’m not saying that killing a mother-load of bugs with ease isn’t fun; it just gets really boring after the first few hours. To make matters worse, the boss fights on the PC are pretty easy too, since all they require you to do is dodge an attack, and shoot the boss in the right spot when he’s off his balance, which poses no challenge in this PC port. Every now and then however, you’ll come across a painfully anal boss fight that’ll just piss the daylights out of you. To ruin it even further, there are just too many boss fights and after a while you’re sure to grow weary of them. The bottom line is that the repetitive gameplay, coupled with the mundane boss fights makes for a rather bland and unrewarding experience.
The game doesn’t even have any platforming or puzzle-solving action to keep you challenged either. The whole game, as I’ve mentioned before, is a standard gun-n-run; that’s not necessarily a bad thing for all, since a lot of people enjoy those kind of games, but it’s just not my cup of tea. I like a little depth in my game, whether it’s in storyline or in the gameplay mechanics. I was disappointed in both respects here – apart from the repetitive mechanical gameplay, the storyline seemed boring and completely uninspired.
Before I sound really pissed with Capcom for making this game, let me tell you what I did like about it. Firstly, if you play Lost Planet: Extreme Conditions on a powerful rig you’d enjoy one of the best looking games on the PC. Everything from smoke effects to character animation gleams of perfection. There’s no better feeling than drilling a hundred holes in a giant bug and watching him crumble into small pieces. The game’s designers have paid a lot of attention to the level of detail in everything from the Akrid, to the environment, to make the world seem as alive as possible – in fact there were times when I’d stop playing and just sit back and gasp at how awesome the game looks. My only complaint about the visuals is that explosions look kinda rough – from a distant they look unpolished but bearable, but once you get up close you’re gonna feel like they’ve borrowed the explosion sprites from Doom.
Before I forget, you can play the game using either DirectX 9 or 10. The DirectX 10 version seems like a complete gimmick to me, since it only offers minor visual improvements at the expense of your frame rates, which slow down to a crawl. This was the case on my rig that’s got a GeForce 8800 GTS video card, Intel Core2Duo 2.4ghz and 3 GB RAM; so I can only imagine what it’d be like on slower rigs.
The DirectX 9 version works really well though, so that's all you’d wanna use. The framerate stays stable throughout, even through the more graphically intense battles. Apart from the fact that the PC’s controls make the game easier than desired, the game’s been ported really well technically. If you’re the kind of person that enjoys boss fights and doesn’t mind repetitive gameplay, this game’s a decent buy for you. As for me however, I wouldn’t spend my dough on this game.
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