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Lost Planet: Extreme Condition


Xbox 360 owners have been playing Lost Planet: Extreme Condition for quite some time now. When the game was originally released players clamored into the frigid environment in search of heat and set out to kick alien butt. As we all know "exclusivity" is a rather elusive term these days and it was only a matter of time until the game made its way over to the PlayStation 3. Nobody thought that it would have taken as long as it did.

Over a year later Capcom has finally got around to giving Sony supporters a view at the bleak future. Folks who played the original release on the 360 began wondering if there was anything enticing about the PS3 edition. Was there new content? How about improved graphics? Is the multiplayer component any better? Apart from the already available download content for the 360, there isn't anything that the PS3 version has over the other. This release is only enticing if you never played the original on the 360.

The story in Lost Planet is quite simple and not very engaging. Basically humans have branched out into the universe looking for a new place to live. Rather than picking a tropical paradise, they landed on a frozen chunk of rock that became known as E.D.N. III. As an amnesiac named Wayne, itís your job to find out what's going on while killing heat producing aliens known as Akrid with a variety of weaponry and mecha suits. To be quite honest, this stuff has B grade anime material written all over it but the story only serves as a backdrop for the action.

Gameplay


When Lost Planet starts up you find yourself in the midst of a giant battle against a huge Akrid monster. This sucker is massive and, despite its sudden appearance, Wayne's father seems to have some knowledge of the critter. As you emerge from the compound and are discovered by a band of mercenaries bent on fighting the Akrid, the game will slowly begin to open up.

Almost immediately you'll realize that there are two meters that track your stats in the upper left corner. One bar is your health which depletes as you get hurt, though it slowly regenrates after a while. The other is a heat gauge which tells you just how warm our buddy Wayne is. You see, E.D.N. III is a damned cold place and as such Wayne's heat index will constantly deplete. The Akrid possess a natural amount of heat which can be harvested. This becomes necessary as ever second that ticks by brings you closer to a frozen death.

While constantly trudging through snowfields and drifts, you'll find yourself feeling rather sluggish. Wayne moves extremely slowly by action game standards. When it comes time to turn quickly and fire, you'll be on the short end of the stick. Many cheap hits await you and it's not uncommon to be knocked down repeatedly by monsters rolling at you from off camera. This speed factor hampers the action quite a bit but it forces you to approach situations in a variety of methods. Wayne comes equipped with a fantastic grappling hook that works wonders to get you out of danger. Use it to remove yourself from the thick of things and pick enemies off from a distance.

This slow-as-molasses camera and action system really impacts boss fights where monstrosities encompass the whole screen. It's not uncommon to find yourself facing one direction while getting hit by the other and turning around only to suffer the same fate. Luckily each of these massive bosses has a weak spot that's easy enough to exploit and it's safe to say that aside from the feel of the action these fights are the highlight of Lost Planet. Each encounter is memorable and will keep you on the edge of your seat right up until the end.

On the whole the entire single player experience in Lost Planet isn't very lasting. Once you play through the game you can go back on other difficulties but to be quite honest the reward for doing so isn't really there. That means the meat of the replay ability rests squarely on the shoulders of the multiplayer component. Unfortunately the multiplayer suffers some serious slowdown and a distinct lack of options. There's simply not much to do, hardly any games to play, and in the end the experience doesn't last long at all.

Lost Planet for the PlayStation 3 is comparable to the 360 version in many ways but it does come up a little short. The sense of accomplishment that comes from the achievements isn't there and the multiplayer functionality isn't as good as it should be. In the end this edition of the game is simply behind the times. Sure it may be worthwhile for a weekend but anything beyond that simply doesn't hold up.

Graphics


The problem with porting a game from one console to another is the fact that invariably there are going to be comparisons drawn between the two. In the case of Lost Planet it fuels the 360 versus PS3 debate and at the end of the day the PS3 version is on the losing side of that battle. Environments appear bland and worse, the textures come across as highly pixilated and clunky. Compared to the 360's graphics this version simply doesn't hold up despite many similarities.

Another area where this edition disappoints is in the framerate. The 360 version was smooth and virtually seamless but the PS3 version falters at many points throughout the game. The action will chug along and some serious slowdown occurs much more than it should. In the end this isn't a "bad" looking game but it certainly doesn't work the PS3's technology and it's definitely not as nice as what we played a year ago.

Sound


Ironically, even though the graphics are sub-par the sound is actually quite good and mirrors the experience presented with the 360 version. Sound effects boom, the music is very decent, and throughout it all the sense of immersion is quite effective. In particular the roars of the Akrid, explosions, and mecha bits carried the most impact. As you'd expect from the plot much of the dialogue here is cheesy and the voice acting could have definitely been better.

Conclusion


If you played Lost Planet for the 360 then there frankly isn't any reason to spend time with the PlayStation 3 version. The original release stands out as the better version. With that being said if you're new to the game then by all means give this one a rental as it's definitely a fun shooter. There are many flaws here and the multiplayer component isn't as strong as one might hope but there are definitely enough aliens to kill to satisfy a weekend.