Lost Planet was made a gazillion years ago, almost 3 years ago to be exact, and it was a shy little gem that came out at the start of the year. It didn’t get stellar reviews or great acclaim, and it wasn’t the best game of the year either. But it was still a good game. With Lost Planet 2 coming out soon, I thought it’d be nice to take a look back on the original version, and how it somehow brought back some retro gameplay back into gaming. It seems like an accidental spillage went on in the Capcom labs, because they managed to bring it back from the dead. By dead, I mean almost twenty years of dead.
Lost Planet tells the tale of a guy called Wayne and how he hates aliens because his father was killed by them… that’s kind of a lie. It’s set on a big cold planet called… ummm… The Sun? Anyway, humans colonized the Sun in a hope of contacting new life, except they found out that the Sun was actually full of a breed of aliens called the Akrid. The Akrid are these insect like creatures who have giant boils all over their skin which are used to store heat. Only this heat can actually be harvested as energy and used to power big giant robot suits and people. Did you get all that?
Gameplay is relatively simple. You go around, shoot the aliens and then clamber around with a neat little grappling hook. It’s all straight-forward until you realize that you can’t kill the aliens by shooting them. Oh no! What ever will a mindless shooter obsessed person do? Well, think back to when you were a little kid at ‘Mindless’ school, and how they taught you to aim for the head? Well, just aim for the big glowy boils all across the Akrid. These boils, as I explained earlier, keep all of the Akrid’s heart energy tucked up nice and cozy. But making it spill all over the snow is part of survival. You need the energy to survive.
Weaponry doesn’t range far with Lost Planet. You have a machine gun, shotgun, rocket launcher, energy thing and also a weird sniper rifle that is quite possibly the worst sniper rifle ever made in a game. All of this weaponry generally applies to the big mechs, which also range from underpowered to over the top killer bees, you can also wield the big mechs’ weapons but they’re hard to carry. There’s also some sort of flimsy melee attack with one of most awkward animations in the history of forever, it sort of looks like Wayne is moonwalking with his fists… except he’s on the Sun.
I explained the plot earlier, but never commented on it, all I can say is ‘LOL’. It’s one of the flimsiest storylines in the history of forever and after a few plot lines have tied up, and most of the plot points are done, It seems to be driven by the incentive to shoot things in the face. The last villain isn’t exactly the most chilling or characterized person in the history of forever, and he sort of comes out of nowhere like ‘hey, I’m the bad guy now’. Also, the ending feels like it’s trying to give some epic significance but ends up like a slap in the face, and weirdly explains things.
Another complaint I have is the god awful controls, it’s standard RT/R2/M1 to shoot your guns but it’s incredibly difficult to jump and do it. The animation is slow and the aiming feels like lifting up a heavy rock and having to drop it back down again. It’s all so awkward, and the controls don’t really help it. The Akrid never gang up on you as much, some of the monsters are almost harmless, so it’s hard to see the challenge. But there are also some buttons which aren’t used or just give awkward uses like jumping, who’d want to jump in a action game? (sarcasm)
So what did Lost Planet do to revolutionize gaming? What did it bring back from the retro-dead? The answer: bosses. Real bosses. Not pansy ones that flutter around in the sky just miming the same catchphrases over and over again. Not invincible things with giant guns which try to taunt you at every opportunity. What Lost Planet does is create giant bosses like the small Akrid, except three hundred times as large. It’s like Shadow of the Colossus, except with ”attack the weak point for massive damage”, it’s so retro and almost tedious but it just feels right. It feels like 1991 again. Even though I wasn’t born then.
Strong on visuals, horrible plot, horrible controls, alright gameplay, brilliant enemies and bosses… yeah it’s alright. I’m looking forward to more of it in the sequel, but hopefully a lot more expanded. Lost Planet 2 should not try to change or mix things up, bring anything new into the agenda or generally do anything different. It should improve the enemies, make them more diverse and awesome, give itself a better control system and smooth out the wobble wobble gameplay it gives. Oh and it should hire different voice actors, and by different I mean from the planet Jupiter. As different as possible, thanks.