Lost Planet was released on Xbox 360 over a year ago, but it looks worse on PS3. The conversion process has blurred the game's textures - especially the once-subtle snow effects - and its frame rate stutters when larger enemies fill the screen. Capcom promise that both aliasing and slowdown are being addressed, but even if the conversion were perfect, we still wouldn't be huge fans of Lost Planet. It's a simple shoot-'em-up, remarkable only for a handful of epic boss battles and the flashy mech suits.
Set in the snowy wastelands of E.D.N. III, a human-occupied planet overrun by a vicious alien species known as the Akrid, you play as Wayne (yes, Wayne) an amnesiac soldier who joins a gang of 'snow pirates' to try and recover his past. The story might have been interesting had the cut-scenes not been so poorly-written and badly-acted, and the characters are mostly plastic-faced mannequins with little discernable personality.
Daft story aside, you just want to shoot things and clump around in giant robots - and there's plenty of that in Lost Planet. The game's main currency is T-ENG, or thermal energy, a substance required for humans to survive on E.D.N. III. You're constantly running out of the stuff and have to keep it topped up by defeating Akrid, who are very protective of it. This gives each level a sense of urgency, because if you run out of T-ENG your health starts to deplete rapidly - but it also can prove incredibly annoying. Some people like the idea and consider it one of the game's most novel features, but we're not keen. It's too much like hard work.
But when you're not scrabbling around for T-ENG, you're killing pirates and aliens, and this is where Lost Planet impresses the least. The aiming feels chuggy and the inclusion of two 90 spin quick-aim shortcuts on the shoulder buttons doesn't help, unless there's an enemy directly to your left or right.
The Vital Suits are fun, mind. These are Japanese anime-style mechs that you can stomp around in and attach different weapons to. The standard armament is a mini-gun, but later you get access to rocket and grenade launchers. They're ultra-powerful, but it doesn't take much to destroy them, so you find yourself constantly switching between on-foot action and piloting VSs around the levels.
Suits you, sir
Some Vital Suits have retractable legs that transform into snow-mobiles. These are good for slipping through enemy lines at high speeds, although the boost jump is clumsy and you'll spend most of your time falling into pits and being forced to continue on-foot. Sometimes you're forced to battle enemy VSs without a mech - the only solution to which is to aim at the cockpit with your guns.
Standard weapons are good, ranging from generic shotguns and machine guns to gatling guns double your size. But our favourite weapons are the grenades - mainly the gum grenades which stick to enemy VSs and explode after a short period of time. Disc grenades are cool too. You throw them like a frisbee and they stick to enemies. You're never short of ammo, which makes for some delightfully explosive firefights, if making it a tad easy.
Most of Lost Planet involves trekking through the wasteland, destroying Akrid-spawning nests and light platforming bits, but some epic set-pieces break up the routine. In one scene you're in the middle of a vast, open snow-field being pursued by an enormous Dune-like worm. There are numerous screen-filling bosses, including a mega-sized moth in Mission Four and a tortoise the size of a bungalow.