Ahh, it’s a great time to be a gamer. I remember years ago when all I could do was read about the exciting new games that would soon (sometimes not so soon) be gracing my video game systems. Essentially, we would have to take the writers words for just how great the game is. Those times have changed however, with the rise of online gaming and the internet, the very same demos that wow crowds in LA are also on your TV screen. As part of their E3 promotion, Microsoft will release a slew of E3 related content to its Xbox live Marketplace in the coming months.
One such Demo is for Capcom’s wildly anticipated Lost Planet. In the game, you control an amnesic solider, on a planet filled with hostile aliens known as Akrids (think the big bad bugs from Starship Troopers). The other remaining humans on the planet have formed groups of Snow Pirates, who are almost as much trouble as the Akrids.
In the demo, you are in a barren artic wasteland, and it doesn’t take long before you are ambushed by the Akrids You can use any of your machine guns or grenades to drop them, but after while you start to notice that they just keep coming. Look closer. The bridge ahead is infested with nests spitting out the creepy crawlers. Your best bet is to blow through them first, then focus on the Akrids.
The Akrids come at you fast and heavy, in a variety of different ways. Some crawl above you, and swoop down to take digs at you, others burrow under the snow and others just come at you full throttle. If you do allow one of them to get to close, they have a variety of moves that will take large amounts of your health out. The solution? You guessed it, lots and lots of bullets.
Moving past this initial batch of enemies, you are greeted with a phenomenal view of what looks to be a city in ruins through a brisk snowfall. In one of the demo’s coolest moments, the world around you starts to shake and you come face to face with a giant Akrid. These big guys take much more firepower, and much more grenades to bring down, but give up much health (little yellow orbs) in the process. Your character will slowly regain health when not taking fire, but you also have to watch your thermal meter, as with any movement, or every hit you take, it dwindles, and when it’s all gone, your health will no longer regenerate.
One of the most fun areas in the demo is the underground area, because it’s here that you can really let your destructive side show. Cars, barrels, doors, fences, anything can be blown up and shot at, and what’s more, these items can be used to your advantage as well. A storm of Akrid’s was coming near me, so I shoot a grenade in their direction, causing the car in front of them to partially blow up. The Akrids are reeling, and I unleash a rain of bullets from my machine gun, causing the car to go up in flames, taking the bugs with it. Later, it is imperative that you destroy fences and doors to move on, but these instances aren’t nearly as fun as luring a group of Akrids into your homemade car bomb trap.
You will get into multiple boss battles, sometimes with more than one gigantic enemy at once. In one particular battle, facing off with three armadillo like creatures that kept curling up into balls and rolling at me, I became very frustrated with the camera and controls. Turning to fire at one would cause me to lose sight of the other two, and I wouldn’t have enough time to turn back and get ready for the next attack. The best solution to this problem is the left and right buttons, which turn you 90 degrees in their respective direction. This is extremely convenient, especially taking into account the fact that both of your weapons are mapped to the left and right triggers. Mastering this skill makes the game a whole lot easier, and smattering bug guts even more fun.
Speaking of weapons, you have your choices. You start off with a machine gun and grenades, but quickly find a shotgun lying in the snow. Each weapon has a different range, strength and rate of fire, bringing unique and fun strategy elements to the firefight. For instance, the machine gun will fire short, fast bursts, that take out more enemies at once, but has a short range and isn’t extremely powerful against the alien beasts. The shotgun however, will fire single shots, but in most cases take out the Akrids in one or two shots. Before long, you start to find other weapons including sniper rifles and rocket launchers. Word of advice, for the demo, although it’s tempting to use the rocket launcher on the horde of Akrid’s coming at you right when you find it. Save it, you’ve got bigger problems just around the corner. Literally.
The second level of the Lost Planet demo, you are pitted against a faction of Snow Pirates. Upon starting, you immediately see a group standing at the entrance to what looks like a base or headquarters. Your itchy trigger finger tells you to start blasting away like you did to the Akrid’s in the previous mission, but its best not to listen. You’ll find that it’s best to stake out a spot with sufficient cover, and then begin your attack, as once one pirate knows you’re there, they all do. As you try to reach the center of the base, you will be faced with everything from turrets and rocket launchers to explosions and yes, even mechs. What, you thought you it would be easy?