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Lost Planet: Extreme Condition - Colonies Edition (PC) artwork

Lost Planet: Extreme Condition - Colonies Edition (PC) review


"Proving once again that they are the king of franchise-milking, Capcom is back with Lost Planet: Extreme Condition: Colonies Edition -- the third release of Lost Planet since its inception a mere year and a half ago. Each iteration since the original has added a bevy of new content ranging from new weapons to playable characters like Mega Man. While there's certainly no shortage of content in this latest release, the major problems that have plagued the game since the start remain ..."



Proving once again that they are the king of franchise-milking, Capcom is back with Lost Planet: Extreme Condition: Colonies Edition -- the third release of Lost Planet since its inception a mere year and a half ago. Each iteration since the original has added a bevy of new content ranging from new weapons to playable characters like Mega Man. While there's certainly no shortage of content in this latest release, the major problems that have plagued the game since the start remain as glaring as ever.

Lost Planet takes place in a distant future where humans have inhabited a planet known as E.D.N. III. Unsurprisingly, some nasty aliens known as the Akrid also inhabit this planet, resulting in constant battle between man and monster. You'll explore these ice-covered wastes through the perspective of Wayne -- an amnesiac trying to recover his memories and discover who he is by shooting up a series of Akrid and space pirates. Let's just say that there's no mistaking this for Shakespeare. It doesn't help that the entire cast of characters is similarly unoriginal or that each of the game's cut-scenes are utterly yawn-inducing. Even if you generally care about narratives in games, you're better off just skipping through this tale and going straight to the gameplay...



Who are these people? Doesn't matter.


... Or perhaps that's not such a good idea. The game sounds innocent enough: you fight on foot with futuristic weapons, pilot mechs, and use a Bionic Commando-style grappling hook. Thanks to the shoddy execution, though, none of these things are particularly fun. The on-foot combat falls flat due to weapons that feel limp and braindead enemies that don't react when shot. However, Wayne certainly reacts to enemies' attacks -- he falls nearly every time he gets hit, and it takes a good five seconds for him to get back up. The problem is that this happens all the time, and as Wayne spends more and more time off his feet, you'll only become more and more frustrated. While the game also allows you to pilot mechs known as Vital Suits, these, too, feel underpowered. There are several of these vehicles available for your procurement, but when commandeering one is just as humdrum as being on-foot, what's the point? The game's other shot at creativity is the grappling hook, which allows you to latch onto a platform and pull yourself on top of it. It might seem like this mechanic would open up a world of exploration, but it's essentially just a high jump that has little practical use.

The game's environments are visually interesting and there's a decent variety of places to explore, but the level design prevents the proceedings from ever becoming exciting. Most missions are completely linear treks that merely take you from one battle to the next. Along the way, you'll have to activate data posts which point you in the direction you need to go and restore some of your thermal energy, which is the substance that keeps you from freezing out in the wilderness. The adventure is hampered by the meandering pace at which Wayne runs, though, so it takes seemingly forever to travel from post to post. This becomes a bigger issue when you consider that the maps have a lot of dead space, so you'll be spending far too long wandering aimlessly through E.D.N. III. Ultimately, the Spartan level design combined with the uninspired combat ensure that you'll tire of the single player campaign before long. There are a few other single player modes newly available in Colonies, but they feel tacked on and aren’t especially worthwhile.

Multiplayer fares better than the single player campaign, but it still isn't all that engaging. Colonies brings back all of the original game's multiplayer modes from the standard deathmatch to the Post Grab mode where you must scramble to capture as many data posts as possible within the time limit. These game types fall victim to the same sloppy mechanics as the single player, but playing with other people rather than an awful AI makes it possible to eke some fun out of the game. New to Colonies are the Akrid modes where you'll finally be able to wreak havoc as one of the game's giant alien menaces or play as a human team trying to take one down. These matches can be fun regardless of whether you play as a human or Akrid, but the novelty wears off before long. Colonies uses Games for Windows Live to run its multplayer matches and is incompatible with the original PC release, meaning that you'll only be able to play against people who have this edition of the game. As a result, the number of people playing on the PC is fairly limited. Cross-platform play with Xbox 360 users is supported, however (provided you've shelled out for a GFW Live Gold subscription), and the dedicated fanbase on that platform ensures that PC users will have somebody to play with.



The Akrid's real power is putting you to sleep.


When it first hit the PC, Lost Planet was one of the first games to support DirectX 10 effects, making it a new benchmark for pretty games. A year later, and the game is decidedly less impressive than it once was, but it's still no slouch. The environments are filled with impressive effects, the game has a great sense of style, and it all runs well on pretty much any current computer. The sound is a different story. This is a game filled with a cacophony of explosions, gunfire, and stomping robots. All of these noises are played on top of each other in such a way that amounts to pure aural torture. The music is anything but memorable, and the voice acting is just as laughable as the story it’s used to tell.

Lost Planet: Colonies has a good framework, but very few of the game's ideas work as well as they should. The single player campaign is a mess, and the multiplayer modes, while better, still aren't worth dropping $30 on. Leave this one out in the cold.

Rating: 5/10

Chacranajxy's avatar
Community review by Chacranajxy (June 22, 2008)

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