Each of the eleven chapters tasks you only with running from one side to the other. There's nary an obstacle in the way, beyond the armies of hostile natives (which you're apparently justified in killing, because one of them killed your dad). And actually, this isn't too bad. You have guns the size of your entire body, mech suits that can glide, jump and stomp, the opportunity to hold a gatling gun in each metal arm and eviscerate beautiful beasts the size of a hill. And flipping heck, it looks incredible. So I've got this far and I've not mentioned DirectX 10. That's because I'm a gamer, not a technical writer, and bor-ing.
As it happens, the game looks pretty much the same in either DX9 or 10. And as such, it looks utterly astonishing. Frustratingly, even the most powerful of rigs are going to struggle running it at its max in DX10, which makes no sense at all since such a machine would dwarf a 360. My reasonable Core2Duo 2.4GHz, with 2GB of RAM and an 8800 GTS was collapsing under the weight of it, which doesn't seem fair. Turns out half the problems were thanks to a bug in the game with the 8800, requiring the use of the latest beta driver to fix, and then after that, with some settings moderated, it ran well enough for the majority of the time, until things got too frantic. Then the framerate completely goes to crap. Not too often, but annoying.
But here's the biggest problem with Lost Planet: it's so boring. The cut-scenes, while pretty enough, are hideously bad. Ghastly acting and lines like:
"I have business with Solotov."
"He must mean Yuri. His last name is Solotov."
"Why should I believe you?"
"Because it's true."
do nothing for a story more boring than listening to Tom and me talking about Slitherlink for four hours. The levels, while occasionally spectacular, are extremely repetitive (never more so than when the game breaks its own respawning ethos of letting you destroy the spawn points, and just has beasts ceaselessly burst from the ground), and god forbid you should die and have to repeat a vast section. First time through - tolerable, occasionally fun. Second time - swearing, stamping of feet. It's not until mission 7 that it really starts to feel fun, and indeed slightly open, and that's far too late. (Even though the game can be charged through in less than five hours thanks to the mouse - or in my case, closer to seven).
A once-reasonable game for the 360 is now a distinctly mediocre game for the PC. Stick a 360 controller in, and you'll still not match the experience, as the cursor remains fixed in the centre of the screen, but it's closer. Run it on your high-end system and it will look utterly incredible, with smoke effects and exploding walls, beautiful massive creatures to carve with lasers, and sound like nothing else I've ever heard (best use of the 5.1 in my experience). But it's so hollow. So empty. There's no puzzle, no challenge, no mystery. You run, you gun, you win. The bosses get, madly, easier as you go along, to the point where I defeated one end-of-level mega-beast (more than halfway through the game) in less than a minute, and thought it was just a regular enemy.
A bit more effort having it recognise that you were playing on a PC, not only with regards to the bloody 360 controller bias, but more with raising the difficulty in relation to the accuracy of the mouse, and the vacant game would have scraped its 7 again. As it is, too much is too wrong to be worth such a recommendation.
Get your first month for £1 (normally £3.99) when you buy a Standard Eurogamer subscription. Enjoy ad-free browsing, merch discounts, our monthly letter from the editor, and show your support with a supporter-exclusive comment flair!