Lost Planet: Extreme Condition proved to be a smash hit on the Xbox 360. From its good-looking graphics to its creative combination of on-foot and in-Mech combat, the game flew under many people’s radar yet still managed to win their next-gen gaming hearts. But that was a year ago. In early 2007, Capcom’s game was an Xbox 360 and PC exclusive, and Microsoft couldn’t have been any happier. A full year later, Lost Planet has now burst onto the PlayStation 3 scene, a fact that hasn’t exactly got Microsoft shaking in its boots or Sony rattling its swords.
And there are several reasons why.
Let’s start with the simple matter of Lost Planet: Extreme Condition for PS3 simply being a year-old game. Sure, it includes the complete Xbox 360 version plus all the downloadable characters and maps, but the fact of the matter is, the game’s still a year old. Our hero Wayne still trudges through the snow at a sleeping snail’s pace. He still grabs orbs from fallen enemies to replenish his life force on the frozen planet. He still has the option to enter ‘Mech-like Vital Suits (VSes), and he still uses his grappling hook to reach otherwise-inaccessible areas. Really, not much has changed other than the platform.
To be fair, PS3 owners probably haven’t played Lost Planet, so even though the story is 12 months old, this is still their first chance to get into Capcom’s third-person shooter. However, because the PS3 version has released a full year after its Xbox 360 counterpart, the action and shooter landscapes have changed dramatically, including with one of Capcom’s own titles, Devil May Cry 4. As a result, Lost Planet for PS3 has to work a bit harder than its year-old brother did to deliver the same level of magic And if one thing is certain, it’s that the only thing working hard in Lost Planet for PS3 is gamers’ patience.
Whether you’re evaluating the seemingly low-resolution indoor textures, Wayne’s lack of being able to look straight up or the slow-as-molasses pace, it’s clear that Capcom’s porting crew had a few miscues during development and didn’t even consider ironing out some of the earlier version’s kinks. The most heinous port casualty, though, is by far the stop-motion-like framerate when you get more than a few enemies on the screen at once. Toss a boss battle into the mix, and you may as well be filming a California Raisins commercial. Pattern-bound bosses with specified weak points? Doesn’t matter; the PS3 version of Lost Planet apparently can’t handle even semi-scripted events and motions.
The framerate issues carry over to the online play as well, even though the PS3’s online infrastructure would presumably improve things, not hamper them. This is a true shame, because Lost Planet’s support for 16-player matches on 16 different maps could have been a fantastic addition to the arguably underutilized PlayStation Network. Guess we’ll all have to wait for Resistance 2 or Killzone 2 to get our real PS3 multiplayer fix.
For as much as Lost Planet took the Xbox 360 world by surprise, the biggest surprise with the PS3 version is how poorly it performs online and off. With a full year to optimize code, refine graphics, fix the framerate and address a few other issues, Capcom should have delivered the ultimate Lost Planet experience. Instead, PS3 owners are left with a version that, while still average by most accounts, is in worse shape than its kin and will make PS3 owners wonder what all the fuss was about in 2007. After all, there are far more refined games at this point in the console’s life cycle, and even better shooters on the PS3 horizon.
- Score: 7
- With an extra year to refine Lost Planet from top to bottom, Capcom should have delivered a PS3 masterpiece. Instead, the game’s taken some painful steps backwards, which is probably the same thing PS3 owners should do when they see this game in stores.
— Jonas Allen