Players: 1+ Player Game | Genre: Action
Hands on at E3: So the E3 expo is now officially underway and we didn’t waste any time getting right to the hottest games at the show. One such game is Capcom’s upcoming Lost Planet for the Xbox 360. Lost Planet looks incredible and plays even better. After spending some quality time with the title, we’re ready to spill the beans on this Starship Troopers inspired bugfest.
The demo of the game features two levels; we’ll cover the first one here as it will tell you everything you want to know about how the game plays and feels. The first stage in the demo takes place in the snowy environment you’ve seen in the trailers and screenshots. The stage begins with not much going on. Initially I was just running through a lot of snow, but before too long I came upon my first Akrid nest. The Akrids are the spider-like enemies that are shown in the screenshots.
The game’s slick control scheme made taking out this first batch of enemies a joy. With the default settings, the A button will make you jump, the X button will swap weapons, the Y button allows you to use your grappling hook and the B button is the all purpose action button. The action button is used to operate switches, pick up weapons, etc. The right trigger on the controller will fire your equipped weapon while the left will toss grenades. To reload you press in the right analog stick and pressing in the left stick will make your character crouch. Sound familiar? It should; most of the game’s controls are setup identically to those in Halo. This is a great thing because it makes the game easily accessible to players familiar with Bungie’s magnum opus. Another pretty handy technique thrown in is the quick, ninety degree turning ability which allows you to quickly turn and face an enemy no matter where they’re attacking from. This action is performed by pressing either the left or right shoulder button.
The other big portion of the gameplay is the mech suits. In the demo, I was assaulted by an enormous bug that borrowed up from the ground and threatened to send me packing with every swipe of its huge arm. Luckily there was a mech suit sitting in the hangar and I ran over to it, pressed B to hop in and began unloading on the beast using the gatling gun equipped on the mech’s right arm. The cool thing about these suits is that even if you don’t want to ride in them, you can also approach the suit from the side and have your character remove the gatling gun and lug it around for some serious firepower. Be advised though, that this does have a bit of a price. While carrying around a hulking multibarrelled machine of death, you will lose some of your agility making you move slower than you normally would.
It seemed to me that staying in the mech suit made the most sense, so that’s exactly what I did. It’s worth noting that the suits are also equipped with rocket boosters allowing for a bit of agility. The A button will fire the boosters down at the ground sending the mech upwards. You can also do a short dash maneuver by pressing the X button. Knowing how evade enemy attacks will go a long way in keeping your mech suit in tact.
After taking down the big bug, I headed outside and used the mech’s boosters to scale some small cliffs. I continued to climb the mountain and had to take some serious evasive action as a rock slide threatened to send me tumbling back to the bottom. Luckily, I was successful. At the top of the mountain, I went into a cave and came into the bug’s lair. Here I took out more nests and even some eggs. After clearing the area of enemies, I progressed into a large circular area where I was confronted by another massive bug. This was different from the one in the hangar and had quite a tricks up its sleeves. I noticed a week spot on the tail and did my best to avoid being bowled over by the giant while taking shots at the sweet spot whenever I could. In the end, the big bug got the best of me.
I came away from the demo feeling very impressed. The gameplay is solid and varied keeping things fresh and exciting. One feature I didn’t hit on much earlier was the grappling hook. While I used the mech suit’s boosters to scale the cliff, I could have also opted to ditch the suit and use my character’s grappling hook instead. This hook makes it possible to reach areas that would otherwise be inaccessible to your character. Lost Planet definitely stands as a title to watch for. The only bad thing about the game is that you’ll have to wait until early 2007 to get your hands on the final version!