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28/04 - Lost Planet: Extreme Condition - Colonies Edition
This was an interesting blast from the past, which stood up better than I expected in some regards. The way it plays is actually still fun, especially when it comes to the mechs, which feel weighty and powerful, but thankfully not overly cumbersome. They have an appropriate heft that makes it feel like you're moving around a big heavy machine, but not so much that it's frustrating to move around. Later in the game when you get hold of the most advanced example is especially fun, as it can slide around and has a lot of mobility, compared to the other mechs at least. The alien enemy types are still pretty interesting and provide some decent variety, and going up against other mechs is pretty fun as well. Bosses at the ends of levels are a nice set piece too. They have a slight Monster Hunter feel to them when you're up against a big alien, but mech bosses are also enjoyable. On-foot combat is pretty slow and feels rudimentary, but it's not as bad as I feared it would be, and being able to use the weapons from the mechs is a nice way to spice things up a bit and make you feel powerful. The final boss was a bit of a disappointment though. They put you in a really cool mech that only shows up for that one moment, and set up this visually striking climactic set piece. But then it turns out the mech you pilot controls poorly, and the fight itself is kind of a let-down. At first it's confusing as it's not clear what you need to do, but then when you work out the extremely simple method you're meant to go for, the fight is over really quickly without much happening at all. It's a shame, since the mechs are really the highlight of the experience in terms of the tools you get to mess with, and the ideas they set up for that fight had a lot of potential. But then a mostly solid game ends on a bit of a whimper.
The story though is pretty abysmal throughout. It was never something that really stood out as memorable playing it originally back in the day, but with how far storytelling in games has come since, it's impossible to ignore how amateurish it feels. When the game first came out, I suppose you could say that it was pretty run-of-the-mill and average for the time, but if this was released today it would get slaughtered for it I imagine. Writing and voice acting is really stilted, and the whole thing feels like a string of random events with hardly any rhyme or reason behind them. Character motivations are confusing or non-existent, and the central threat of the plot doesn't even make sense. It's almost as if you're actually playing as the bad guys in this world, who are bent on wanton destruction for no reason.
While I didn't get to play in the Unlimited Mode during this playthrough, I did give it a quick look after finishing it. From the few minutes I saw, it seems like it is a pretty fun way to play the game. Speeding up how fast the game plays like that definitely makes running around on foot much swifter and less tedious, and it speeds up the pace of the game in general in a way that felt pretty good. Having unlimited ammo was fun too. Being able to just go wild with the mechs was cool. While I doubt I'll go back to this game again any time soon, playing it through on that mode does seem like a good time.