Capcom is going to make things a little colder for the Xbox 360. Though Resident Evil 5 is a ways off, Capcom isn't dawdling through production limbo. They've been hard at work on their new action title Lost Planet, slated to hit the 360 December in Japan and sometime in early 2007 in the states. As we near E3, when we'll hopefully be able to sit down with the game for prolonged intervals, here's what we're looking forward to in Lost Planet.
Lost Planet centers around a young pilot named Wayne trying to survive on the planet's harsh sub-freezing environment. Wayne can absorb thermal energy (left as spherical orange globs from downed enemies) to keep himself alive. Thermal energy depletes constantly, making killing enemies that more important. If you don't collect enough thermal energy, you will eventually freeze to death. So the game is constantly a tug-of-war struggle with the elements and the Akrid (or the Snow Pirates).
But there's another way to deal with the lack of thermal energy: get in a Vital Suit.Vital Suits:
Wayne can pilot huge mech-like machines called 'Vital Suits' if he doesn't feel like running around on foot. And he'll have to utilize both while fighting the planet's native inhabitants (pronounced "A-krid" and not "acrid"). But that's not all; he'll have to deal with Snow Pirates as well, who want nothing more than to see you as a crimson grease-spot on the snow.
Climb into his - or a downed pilot's - Vital Suit, and Wayne can stand toe-to-toe with the bigger Akrid. These 'mechs' are highly mobile, devastation machines that can simultaneously protect you from the planet's harsh environments and the biological forces that constantly work to kill you. They hold lots of firepower, more of which can be found throughout the game's many levels.
While on foot, Wayne's mobility is increased, but his toughness is dramatically reduced and he's vulnerable to the cold. He can use his standard Assault Rifle or any other gun found through the game's many levels; and in classic Halo style, he can hold a total of two weapons at any given time. On foot, Lost Planet controls much like Capcom's Resident Evil 4 from an over-the-shoulder fixed camera. You can quick-turn to fight things on all sides of you at lightning speed. Or even, in some circumstances, shoot backwards while you're running in a different direction. Wayne also has the ability to use a grappling hook to keep from falling far distances, or just to get to those hard-to-reach places.
Among Lost Planet's most amazing features are the stunning amounts of creatures that can be on-screen at any given time. Swarms of Akrid are visible nearly overrunning Wayne in the video previews of Lost Planet. Cool stuff. Also, when things explode, they really explode. Capcom has taken a great deal of time to make the explosions, fragmenting machines, and particle effects stunning. Firing off a shot into large Akrid (or swarms of Akrid) sounds awesome too. The sound effects of the Vital Suits and footsteps in the snow make the player feel very (for lack of a better word)...lost in Lost Planet's seamless environments.
Get ready for the cherry on top: Lost Planet will also feature multiplayer via Xbox Live. So you can go on foot or VS and show your friends what-up. Why we're ready to get "Lost":
Action. Action. Action. Lost Planet seems to have all the Vital Suit or 3rd person on-foot action that you could ever want. We can imagine running down a cavern while innumerable Akrid fly around dive bombing us. At least three of us here actually had dreams of a similar nature.
We at GamesFirst love giant robots, we love shooting aliens, and, therefore, we'll love shooting aliens in giant robots. Hopefully, the entire experience will add up to a game worth owning and playing for hours and hours. True seamless environments? Sure. Giant bosses? Yes, please.Possible Pratfalls:
Then again, things might turn out sour. If the difficulty isn't tweaked correctly the game could easily fall from "must buy" to "rent only." This is easily the problem with many a action game, making a game too easy that you can go through in a few hours without providing a reason to go back. Multiplayer will help, but the single player is easily the drawing-point for Lost Planet.
What about the story? At present the general gist of the story is that you have amnesia, but can remember how to pilot the Vital Suits. Hrm... Is it necessary to have a main character have amnesia? Isn't that in the top 10 for most cliché plot archs in the history of gaming?True Next-Generation?
Capcom is boasting that Lost Planet will be "True Next-Generation." While the graphics, control, sound, and presentation seem to be holding up at present (the game is still in production), we'll have to see how the overall tilt of the game goes. Will the gameplay be truly next-gen? We'll have to wait until 2007 to know for sure - or at least until E3.A Lost Planet demo will be available May 9th on Xbox Live.
We'll have more impressions of Capcom's Lost Planet then.