They call me… Wayne.

I discovered today the single most frustrating thing about buying games from Steam.

When you complete one, you can’t put the box on to the shelf with a satisfying thunk sound, reflect for a moment on your accomplishment, and take the next challenge off the shelf.

It kind of spoils things.

It wouldn’t be so bad if you could make little categories in the Steam UI, so you could drag the title from one category to another and so on.

Oh, well.

Anyway, back to the Wayne thing.

A few weekends ago, Steam put “Lost Planet : Extreme Condition” up as their $5 special, and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to put one more game on to the backlog.  I hadn’t heard much about it, other than that the bosses were reputedly nasty hard and that you constantly had to collect thermal energy to avoid freezing to death.

This is why, in my opinion, they put “Easy” difficulty levels in games, and I’m not at all ashamed to have picked that path – particularly since, even on “Easy”, two of the bosses took 5+ attempts to beat.

The thermal energy thing turns out to be present, but it’s not really a concern during normal gameplay.  You get thermal energy from pretty much anything you blow up, and there’s plenty to blow up, so the only real purpose it serves most of the time is to make it so you don’t dawdle too much as you fight through the levels.  This is actually a little bit of a shame, because the game is bloody stunning running in DX10 mode and stopping to look around is actually worthwhile.

The game itself is pretty straightforward, consisting of a few hours of running from point A to point B, occasionally by way of piloting Giant Stompy Robots, and blowing the hell out of Big Damn Alien Bug Things.  There’s a story, also, and the sense is that the game designers spent a long time working on a complex backstory with multiple factions and deeply realized characters and then threw most of it out, because it’s a pretty disjointed affair.  The cutscenes are pretty, anyway.

One thing I like to do after playing through a game is go and read reviews, and this game picked up a few negative ones.  I saw a couple of points mentioned, often, as drawbacks to the game, and I will summarize them as follows:

The first point was that the game is a “lazy console port”, a claim most often backed up by the game’s frequent display of an Xbox 360 controller and on-screen tips that refer to Xbox 360 controller buttons.

The second point is that the game is “too easy” if you play it with a keyboard and mouse, because the mouse control for aiming eliminates the challenge of aiming for weak points.

I think that the reviewers have, perhaps, missed a vital point here.

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