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Friday, May 18, 2007

Game Play: Lost Planet PC Demo

At first, this demo was a lesson in frustration. I was actually convinced that it wasn't meant to run on XP until I did some forum hunting and realized that there were sporadic problems with the DirectX 10 version as well. It seems some DirectX files were left out from the install and so on some computers the demo won't run until you hunt these down and put them into your system directory.

After that hurdle was leaped, I tried to jump into the game with different settings. One thing Capcom has done here which should be a staple of PC game developers is include a performance test. So instead of guessing your framerate or whatnot, you just adjust some settings and run the test. A nice little summary of what's been going on and how well things are performing runs in the corner.

This is hands down brilliant and the only excuse not to release something like this for every PC game on the planet is that you're afraid you'll lose sales because you're game won't run on my computer. Course if your game won't run on my computer, it's probably going back in the box anyway. This is the kind of consumer friendly behavior which I honestly think would be a huge benefit to the PC market.

Course, Lost Planet is a 360 port and I'm running on a Celeron D with a mediocre graphics card. So while most of the game would run at 20+ FPS in most settings, the "cave" portion of the demo dropped down to a crawling 7 FPS. So at this point, I'd probably guess I couldn't run the game.

While that might seem bad for Capcom, I'm now equipped with information to give them feedback on that fact. This is just a beta and my purchase isn't 100% based on this codebase. If they were to release another test down the road that showed better rates, I'd reconsider.

The game itself seems like a pretty straightforward, somewhat unique, shooter. I wasn't overwhelmed by it, but the setting and setup made me curious for more.

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