Honestly, the game doesn't have a whole lot of story. The basic premise is that colonists on this planet EDN-something-something came under attack by insect like creatures (called Akrid), and upon killing them discovered that they produced thermal energy inside their bodies which was important due to the planets frigid climate. Unfortunately, humanity has been unable to set up any real permanent colonies on the planet due to attacks by these creatures, and are also making very little progress towards terraforming the world to be more suitable for habitation.
The game starts off with the main character, Wayne, getting caught in a bungled raid of some sort which ends up with his father being killed and Wayve being the lone survivor of the group. He's found by a group of three people working to eliminate the Akrid and decides to stay with them for whatever reason and help. Eventually the group gets tangled up fighting with snow pirates and a corporation called NEVEC along with the Akrid, and there's the usual save the world arc towards the end.
The story is campy and hard to take seriously, and throughout the game I was reminded of Zone of the Enders repeatedly with the way they went about progressing the plot, but maybe that was just me. Anyway, the game's story is lukewarm at best, and the main character is downright boring.
Lost Planet is a third person shooter, which I like. Unfortunately, it almost feels as if the game isn't sure what kind of shooter it wants to be because it drops you in these expansive areas but your mission goals are always extremely specific. There's no multiple routes to accomplish something, just literally go from point A to point B and kill everything in between. I get that they wanted to make it almost Monster Hunter-y for the multiplayer (which is even more pronounced in the sequel), but I feel as if the campaign is just needlessly large in scope when really they could have lowered the scale and polished the experience a lot more.
The shooting itself is pretty standard, handling more like Earth Defense Force than Gears of War in that there's very little aim assist involved. The weapon variety is pretty lackluster, and I found that the regular rifle was the best weapon in most situations. I had most of my fun when the mechs were involved, and to be fair they did quite a good job of making the various suits feel and look different. I think I'd have enjoyed the game more if it had just been the mech combat, honestly.
Visually the game is pretty damned gorgeous, especially when you consider it came out in what, 2008? The snow physics and the fur on the characters' coats was rendered beautifully, so the devs should be applauded for that much. The audio is another story. The soundtrack was essentially non-existant, I can't remember a single track from the game and it's only been a couple days since I finished it. You've gotta have a memorable soundtrack if you want people to think back fondly on your games, developers!
I'm not sure what I expected coming into this game. It's got two sequels, so it had to have been well received, right? To me it just feels that instead of going for this weird hybrid of traditional third-person shooter and Monster Hunter style multiplayer they should have focused on one or the other. The game isn't awful, it's just confused. I suppose it's worth playing if you wanted to get the backstory before moving onto the other two.