There are some things that were never meant to be together, like Mousse T and the Dandy Warhols. Another unlikely pairing is the Japanese and the shooter genre. Even titles you might think would hold their own, like Metroid, sell like turdburgers in the East. It gets worse if it's a Western-made effort too. To Japan, Halo is less a game as much as it is a venereal disease - and let's not even discuss Battlefield 2. Nope, The Land of the Rising Sun is definitely no fan of explosive barrels and grenade-tossing.
But with Lost Planet, that's about to change. The mid-2000's finds Capcom in somewhat of a second golden age. Not only have they shaken up the 360 by offering us the spectacular Dead Rising, but they've got a recent history of developing innovative and brilliant titles full of bravado (Okami, Killer7, Resident Evil 4), all of which have been critically acclaimed for offering a new, unique experience to the player. Next month, when Xbox World 360 hits the Leipzig Games Convention to 'kick ass and play videogames', we'll be speaking to the producers of Lost Planet about their plans to kick-start the Xbox 360 and the thirdperson shooter genre in Japan simultaneously, with Keiji Inafune already confirming that the appearance of the mech-like Vital Suits will go some way to whetting the oriental palate for this type of thing.
And so it should. Mech games are preposterously popular in Japan, but have a tendency to be heartbreakingly slow. Contrarily, in Lost Planet they're an absolute joy to control. Flexible, varied, agile and fast, they add a completely new dimension to proceedings, and we're looking forward to seeing how they affect the online multiplayer modes.
And we won't be looking forward for long. Leipzig will see the debut of the 32-person multiplayer mode, and we'll be right in the mech's driving seat blowing away rival journalists so that we can bring you the ONLY opinion worth reading. We'll also provide you with exclusive shots, footage from new levels and blow the lid wide-open on LP's secretive co-op mode? Want more? We'll see about getting some blood as a covermount gift for you. Until then, just rejoice at these new shots.
A fluid, hugely pacey shooter that's low on brains but VERY BIG on high-octane excitement, Lost Planet could well be the one to jolt the 360 into life in Japan. And here in the west, we've finally got a mech game that doesn't make us want to slash our wrists. This is looking like another Capcom classic. More soon.