Capcom has opted to bring Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, its exciting Xbox 360 shooter, to the PC, complete with DX10 support. But all is not well with this port. Right off the bat, you'll detect signs of platform translation. The pop-up tutorials all refer to the Xbox 360 controller, leaving equivalent keyboard commands completely out of the equation--and if you're a keyboard jockey, the correspondingly awkward menu navigation will be the first thing you notice. You may also observe another major annoyance: Lost Planet requires you to be connected to the Internet via Valve Software's Steam client just to play the single-player game. Losing your connection during gameplay will cause the game client to quit, and since there are no midmission saves, you'll have to replay the entire mission from the beginning. Without the connection, the game can't start, and at press time, will not start even if Steam is in offline mode.
Should've brought a can of Raid.
These are simple but exasperating blunders, but if you can overlook them, you'll find that Lost Planet's single-player campaign features a lot of cool action with larger-than-life shooting sequences. Furthermore, it's all capped with stunning visuals that surpass those of its console counterpart. Make no mistake: This is a beautiful game. You trudge through drift after drift of gleaming white snow, fending off towering insects in memorable scenes that will make your heart pound. The high dynamic range lighting is particularly stunning, and the game makes good use of it both in indoor caverns and wintry fields. It's also been touted as one of the first DirectX 10 titles, though running it in DX10 mode didn't yield any noticeable quality or performance differences. Either way, be prepared to turn down visual settings, as you need a beefy rig to run the game, let alone see it in all its frigid glory.
In Lost Planet you play as former snow pirate Wayne on planet E.D.N. III, a frozen wasteland teeming with buglike creatures called the Akrid. Wayne and his colleagues, including his own father, are attacked by a monstrous Akrid called Green Eye. After the assault, Wayne believes his father was killed in the incident, and the story plays out initially as a revenge tale. As the narrative progresses, however, it gets more and more convoluted as characters are introduced and the plot swerves out of control.
As you can imagine, you'll spend a lot of time in the frozen tundra, though you'll explore plenty of indoor arenas as well. As on the Xbox 360, you control Wayne from a third-person perspective, though you can zoom in to a closer view, or even use a limited first-person perspective if you like. Unlike the 360 version, however, the aiming reticle stays fixed in the center of the screen. It makes the PC controls feel less cumbersome, if a bit less original. They work just fine with a mouse and keyboard, though you can plug in a gamepad and play that way if you prefer. But even with its more traditional targeting scheme, Lost Planet moves at a measured pace. Wayne doesn't run all that quickly, and lumbering through heaps of snow slows him down even further.
You'll be spending a lot of time shooting bugs. Some of them flutter around and are nothing more than an annoyance. Others rise toward the heavens, swiping at you with pincers the size of snowplows. These are the moments where the game excels. The Akrid look and sound horrific and intimidating, and getting sideswiped will send you flying backward and underneath the drifts, causing plenty of confusion as you try to stand up and get your bearings. Granted, some of these assaults can be exasperating when you fall victim to a succession of attacks that make it almost impossible to escape unscathed, but it simply lends gravity to your struggles with these disgusting monstrosities.