Shoot first, ask questions later.
That's the gist of Lost Planet: Extreme Condition. As it turns out, there are lots of shots fired and questions raised.
The title of the game refers to EDN II, a frozen planet that humans are trying to colonize after the Earth is too polluted to inhabit.
The Akrid, the planet's natural inhabitants, don't take kindly to the new neighbors and put up a fight.
The key to survival is thermal energy, which is mainly found within the Akrid.
You play as Wayne, who was knocked out in an Akrid battle and revived by snow pirates.
Wayne has lots of questions. He also has lots of firepower.
You play on the snow-covered planes, in the mountains and in cities, mostly shooting enemy soldiers and various forms of flying, slithering, burrowing and rolling Akrid.
Wayne has a harmonizer (a thermal energy tank) surgically implanted in his arm that keeps his life meter up. As long as you collect enough energy, you can keep playing and take an impressive amount of damage from rocket launchers, laser guns and Akrid.
It turns out that Wayne's harmonizer is the key to his past and the planet's future.
At times, you enter and pilot a Virtua Suit, which is a cross between a tank and a robot. Most of them walk upright, jump long distances and come with even more firepower.
Lost Planet has great graphics that take advantage of the Xbox 360's power. Sometimes the graphics are too good, especially right after a nearby explosion. As you're waiting for the dust to settle, an enemy loads up and fires off another shot.
Sound effects, music and voice acting are up to par, making for an overall enjoyable experience.
The game is challenging enough and the story compelling enough to keep you interested and firing away.
Boss fights are quite impressive. At first, some of them seem way too long, but once you figure out what to do, it's as easy as pulling a trigger.
My major complaint is that you can save only at the end of a mission, some of which can last up to 45 minutes. If you have to keep replaying part of a mission, it can take longer.
My wife, who enjoys video games and usually agrees with games I like, found watching Lost Planet to be boring. She said it's a lot of white-and-gray scenery, and all the enemies are the same.
From a player's perspective, however, blowing stuff up sure is fun.
I certainly felt a sense of accomplishment when it was over. She was just glad to see it go.
Reach Dustin Turner at (706) 828-2903 or email@example.com.
Genre: Sci-fi shoot 'em-up
Platform: Xbox 360
Rated: T (for Teen) because of violence and occasional mild language
The Verdict: **** out of *****