Review: Lost Planet: Colonies
Capcom’s least important game of the last few years gets an upgrade.
Many people have been looking forward to Capcom’s numerous re-releases for the past couple of months. If it’s not a XBLA or PSN remake of Commando or 1942 then surely it’s the re-release of the awesome Okami for the Wii*. There is however another re-release that slipped under the radar for most people and that’s the Xbox Classics release of Lost Planet known as Lost Planet Colonies but don’t be fooled because like a Transformer Lost Planet Colonies is more than meets the eye.
There is so much stuff been added to this new version of the game that is possible to write one thousand words literally on the new content but I won’t do that. The major additions are that this game now has an expanded single player mode thanks to the Boss Rush and Score Attack modes although the game literally throws out all your old achievements (there is a new one thousand gamerscore to be had from this title!) and saved games. But the real change is in the multiplayer which has been expanded a lot since we last looked at it over a year ago now.
Not only does the multiplayer have all the DLC maps from the original game on the disc but Capcom have included four new Colonies exclusive maps as well as some extra weapons, characters and gameplay modes. You can now also play PC owners of the game as well with your Xbox which can be either a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it. All of this adds a new leash of life to the game because while the multiplayer was fun in the original Lost Planet the game was a little thin on gameplay modes and weapons department but all that’s been remedied now.
While Lost Planet never quite got the whole lobby system thing sorted out (like the ability to play with friends on the same side on team games etc.) Capcom have ensured that people will stick around this time thanks ultimately to two things. The first being the new characters which you can only unlock by playing ranked (possible to play with friends by joining your mates lobby) and secondly thanks to a new multiplayer mode called â€œAkrid Hunterâ€œ.
Every shoot-em-up needs a decent multiplayer mode that sets itself apart from all the other rank and file shoot-em-up’s. As Adam pointed out on our old forums GTA4 has Cops and Crooks, Lost Planet has Akrid Hunter mode.
The Akrid Hunter mode is simple enough to explain and play (the best kind of games if you ask me!). Say sixteen people are in the same game, twelve people are made â€œthe Huntersâ€ while the other four are the â€œAkridâ€ which are giant monsters loosely based off real Earth creatures like Scorpions and Mantises and so on.
‘Akrid Hunter’ works great because the beasts are powerful enough to kill a Human in a single strike while if the Humans are cleaver enough and know were the Akrid’s weak points are (if you played single player you would know where they are!) they can take on the Akrid without taking to many casualties. There really is nothing like Akrid Hunter in shoot-em-up’s, especially on the 360 these days. It’s kind of like Earth Defence Force but people are playing both as the Aliens and the Humans, it great.
I suppose I should summarise the single player part of the game now since most of you ready this probably never brought it in the first place. You play a character generically name â€œWayneâ€ who likeness is based on a Korean actor called Lee Byung-Hun and is thrust in to a life of constant mecha (or Vital Suites or V.S.’s as they are known as in this game) combat against snow pirates and an alien race called â€œThe Akirdâ€ after a routine scouting exercise screws up killing your father thanks to a giant monster called â€œGreen Eyeâ€ and you have taken it upon yourself to rid the world of these beasts. While the story is very anime inspired and quite stock in places there are some genuine twists in the story which I won’t spoil for you.
This version is definitely worth getting if you are new to the series or, like me you never delved into the vanilla edition. The fact that I could delete the DLC maps from my meager 20Gb hard drive was a bonus, as all twenty come as standard along with all new content such as the touted Akrid Hunter mode, where a random player spawns as one of three giant bugs (think Starship Troopers) with everyone else allied against them. Of course this isn’t a massively popular game, so don’t expect to be able to play on a specific map (unless you get in wit teh PEOWWths), which is a great shame as you can’t experience their loveliness at all, otherwise.
The singleplayer is fine for a lazy afternoon, but has a deficency of enemies, challenging AI and locations that make replaying only a prospect for gamerpoint prospectors. Though, with only twenty points for finishing the game on Extreme, you might just want to stick to the multiplayer, where you’ll get points and medals up the wazoo. Fortunately, the impressive boss battles can be tackled in succession in Trial Mode.
This type of dumb fun is typical of eveything about Lost Planet Colonies: the bumper car-esque mechs with ridiculously oversized weapons; endless bug-hunting; the dialogue (“She must be talking about Yuri. Remember? Yuri’s last name is Solotov.”); the love-interest’s bosom; the least charismatic j-pop hero ever mo-capped; bullet-sponge bosses; rough-and-tumble deathmatches; Benny Hill mode; ect.
It only sweetens the deal that the game is technically flawless (battles can get hectic) and still the best looking game on the platform (Controversial – Ed).
Secondary Score: 7/10
Anyway the game plays a lot like a standard third person shooter but with mechs and you have a grappling hook which helps out a lot more than you think. One of the main complaints that people have is about Thermal Energy or the ‘T-Eng’ bar. Yes apparently people don’t think it’s appropriate to freeze to death in a planet completely covered in snow and blizzards but what the hey.
Anyway the single player even though it’s quite short it’s very, very good. It mixed things up quite well thanks to Wayne having to deal with two completely different types of enemy. When you fight the Pirates if feels like an Armoured Core style game while when you fight the Akrid it feels like E.D.F. but with a bigger budget and yes some of the monsters on this game are truly huge but I won’t spoil it for you. Speaking of huge the bosses on this game are great. All of which are well judged and have patterns and are not cheap in the slightest when you compare then to games like Temco’s Ninja Gaiden 2 for example.
Before I wrap this review up I must also state that Lost Planet Colonies is simply one of the best looking games to be released on the Xbox 360 to date period. Big name games like Halo 3 look rather disappointing when compared to the beauty that is Lost Planets Scenery. Not in to the environment? Well the explosions and fire effects are the best I seen in any game ever. The sound is also fantastic with a special nod going towards the music which captures the mood of the game brilliantly.
So the score? Well I know this might be a little controversial since Capcom are making people pay twice essentially for the same game but man, what a game! I mean with all the additional content it would be impossible to fit it all in to DLC being that the existing DLC maps already take up around two gig of HD space. This is really the ultimate version of the game and if you buy from play.com you can get it for £18 which is what Capcom would of charged for it on DLC anyway.
Overall I glad Capcom decided to release this game as it is and this should be an example to any company thinking of re-releasing games on to the classics range in the future because I feel truly spoiled.