What do you get if you cross John Carpenter’s The Thing with Starship Troopers and, in typical Japanese fashion, throw in a couple of hundred giant battle mechs? Originally released on the Xbox 360, Lost Planet finally winds up in the hands of PC gamers, becoming the first DX10-compliant game to be released.
With an absolutely laughable plot that serves no purpose other than getting you from beginning to end, Lost Planet manages to pack in gameplay that more than makes up for the planet-sized hole in the story. There’s arguably nothing more fun than shattering the frozen corpses of huge alien bugs into teeny ice crystals. What works against the game is, ironically, the presence of the pilotable giant mechs, dubbed Vital Suits.
Lumbering hulks armed with massive weapons, the VSes pretty much turn combat into a one-sided killfest. All that atmosphere envelops you as you trudge through waist-deep snow, or get chased through an expansive ice plateau by a giant worm. And what was actually enjoyable on the Xbox 360 becomes too easy and overly repetitive on the PC, simply because you can aim better with the mouse (unless you use an Xbox 360 controller), leading to a situation where you’re just mindlessly blasting enemies to get to the juicy boss battle.
Even though Lost Planet is the first DX10 title currently out, it is still a port of a DX9 console game, and it shows. The game does look much better than the Xbox 360 version at high settings in DX10—with improved lighting, shadowing and particle systems—but unless you look really hard, you won’t spot major differences between the DX9 and DX10 versions. Those who do play it on an Intel Core 2 Duo and an 8800 GTS or higher, however, will be treated to a lot more eye-candy, including better kick-up from grenades, the extremely dense smoke / fire effects and some of the richest motion blur and HDR effects seen in a PC shooter.
However, it’s not all fun and games, thanks to the fact that Lost Planet enforces a strict Shader Model 3.0 requirement on the GPU without actually needing it. And then, the PC multiplayer is borked for the most part, and provided you actually connect to a proper server on the PC or via Xbox LIVE, you’d soon get bored thanks to the dull variations on archetypal gametypes or the VS-hogging killjoys you’ll find online. And if you hate the Steam platform, stay away from this game, since it relies on Steam just as much as Valve’s games do—so you can’t really buy the game and play it offline immediately.
|RATING: 8/10, Developer: Capcom, Publisher: Capcom / Valve|
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, Distributor: (Xbox 360)—Redington India
Price: (Steam)—$39.95, (Xbox 360)—Rs. 2,510/-
In the end, if you already own an Xbox 360 or plan to get one, it’s best to stick to this game on the console. On the PC, it just becomes a really fun yet average shooter that has little to no replay value. While no-one who gets the chance to play Lost Planet will regret it, those who are planning to sell body parts over the next three months considering the thousand and one new titles being released, might want to take a rain check on this one.