Lost Planet: Extreme Condition -- Colonies Edition Review
By Michael Richter |
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition was released in 2007 for Xbox 360 and PC and then later ported to PS3. The release fest continues with Colonies Edition, a greatest hits package for PC and Xbox 360 that adds new content and comes with a wallet friendly suggested retail price tag of $29.99 in the US. The core game remains the same, so we'll focus this review on the new modes, maps and other assorted bonuses. If you missed the original, catch up by reading our past reviews for Xbox 360 here. If you're a fan of the Akrid-mashing fest that the frozen action game delivered, you might be wondering if this new release brings enough to the party to make it worth another look. The answer is yes…and no.
I'll start with the good news. Colonies Edition contains the full campaign mode and online features that the original did along with a whole lot more. The visuals look the same to my eyes, which is still quite impressive all these months later even if it still is plagued by screen tearing. If you haven't played Lost Planet and are considering it, this is the definitive release. It doesn't end with the campaign either thanks to new modes and more. You can even try the game from the first person, if you like (I don't).
In addition to the original campaign, Capcom has added three new single-player modes by repurposing the base content. There's a Score Attack game which allows you to play through single stages and string together high combos in hopes of reaching the tops of the leaderboards. This mode is a great addition and adds to the underlying thermal energy gameplay mechanic that keeps pushing you forward into more action. Along with shooting enemies, blasting the destructible environment chains your combo, encouraging you to lay into everything with your arsenal.
There's also a Trial Battle mode that pits you against one massive boss after another. It's pretty self explanatory and offers a decent distraction. The last new single player mode is called Off Limit. This mode is essentially Lost Planet on speed. It's faster, awards you unlimited ammo and offers more powerful weapons. It's a kick in the pants, but if you're like me and have played Lost Planet a lot in the past, by the time you get to it you'll have had enough of playing this game and won't really care to run through the stages again.
There's more to like in the online game as well. In addition to new character models, weapons, and maps, there are a number of new modes. The crown jewel of these is Akrid Hunter. Here a few players take up control of the massive bugs themselves to take on the remaining humans. The Akrid are a bit overpowered, but it's still a great deal of fun. The other modes are takes on classic multiplayer battles with Lost Planet twists; Akrid eggs instead of flags or VS mechs as the players that must be attacked and defended. With new weapons, even the old modes feel different. My personal favorite of the 10 new weapons (split between VS and human varieties) is the Rocket Pod that launches four rockets simultaneously to carpet an area.
The big problem with Colonies Edition is that it is completely distinct from the original release last year. That means that if you played Lost Planet: Extreme Condition already, none of your saves will work here. Your online rankings won't be carried over either. This is a pretty big bummer for those that invested a lot of time in the original, but it gets worse. The online game is separate too, so those that pick up Colonies Edition can't play online against those who own the original Lost Planet. Rather than releasing Colonies Edition to reinvigorate the online community, Capcom has split it.
The upside to this is that all of the achievements are new, so you can earn an extra 1000 with Colonies Edition, and PC and Xbox 360 players can now face off online in a cross-platform match-up. That's a small consolation to the hundreds of thousands of people that bought Lost Planet in 2007 who are now being told to buy the game again. So much of this could have been made available as downloadable add-ons that the move to make it retail only and totally distinct from the original release feels a bit money grubby for my taste. And there's the fact that this move will cause the game to not have as robust of an online community as it could have. While there are enough people online to find a game now, the number of people playing at any given time isn't very big. Who knows how long you'll be able to easily find a game to play?
These issues feel magnified in light of what is considered the norm on the PC. If you don't have a Gold Windows Live account, which requires a subscription fee, you can't play in the cross platform matches. That essentially means that you can't play online as we only found one poor soul looking to play online with PCs only. If you don't want to pay for a Live account, don't buy this game. Lost Planet: Colonies Edition is crippled without it. But hey, at least the game runs online which is more than you could say about Lost Planet when it was first released on PC.