Inside Pulse 12

Review: Lost Planet 2 (Sony PS3)

Lost Planet 2
Genre: Third Person Shooter
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Release Date: 05/11/10

Lost Planet 2, developed by Capcom, looked like a very promising game, so imagine my surprise when I found a large laundry list of bugs, bad game design, weird graphic glitches and a big gaping hole where a story should be. I’m going to be honest and say that I’ve only played the first installment briefly, and back then I was intrigued, but not enough for a second rental. Recently a friend told me that he played all the way through Lost Planet: Extreme Condition and stated that it was just an “average” game plagued with bad launch title syndrome, but a nonetheless interesting take on third-person shooters. Then, I ask, why is there a sequel? Critics gave the first game a gigantic middle finger, and the sales weren’t extraordinary, so what’s the point?

Lost Planet 2 isn’t nearly as bad as I’m making it out to be though. In fact, there were definitely some very fun parts on the disc, but wading through the frustrating game mechanics with no attachment to any of the characters isn’t.

No Love for the Ninja

Throughout the game, the player takes on the roles of various factions in the universe. There are snow pirates, sand pirates, jungle pirates, city pirates, piratey pirates, fruit pirates, space pirates, internet pirates, rum pirates and NEVEC. Okay, only the first four pirates and NEVEC are real in that list, but honestly there was way too much pirating going on. It takes no imagination to make up different factions based solely on their geographic location and adding pirate to the end of their name. Not only that, but what if I don’t want to play as a pirate? I suppose there’s always the high-tech, militaristic NEVEC to play as, but their helmets look weird. Actually, NEVEC was the most interesting faction to play, and considering the group the player follows is made up entirely of clones and is surrounded by a world of pirates it’s surprising. Aside from having pirates jackhammered down your throat, there is a decent amount of customization for the avatars. There’s nothing amazing, and most of the time you have to unlock these customizations, but it is there for the person that just can’t stand to be like every other swashbuckler out there.

A major benefit of having different factions in a game is that the player gets to experience a different play style, or at the very least weaponry, for the different groups. Not in Lost Planet 2. There are identical weapons on each side, I never did actually get to use a flamethrower, and each pirate/space clone has the exact same constantly glitching controls. The general attitude of each pirate the player controlled was quite different, however, it doesn’t really matter because after another two to three hours of gameplay you’ll be playing someone else.

Winter Wonderjungle

E.D.N III, the name of the planet, was originally a snow wasteland. In this installment the planet is thawing, though everyone seems to be trying their best to destroy that, due to the T-ENG (thermal energy) that is present in the Cat-G (Category G) Akrid. T-ENG actually is an energy source and Cat-G is just a method of rating the size and deadliness of the local bugs. Cities on the surface all seem to have made a priority out of being run down and trashy. The atmosphere of the game is probably one of its best assets. The environments change constantly, exposing you to a huge color palette threatening to yank your eyeballs straight out of your head. The major problem with the environment is graphical. Water looks terrible (this seems to be a trend with games I’ve been playing lately), and why is that data point that looks riveted to the floor staying fixed in space while the floor moves?

Kill Big

Hands down the best part of the game is shooting gigantic guns at gigantic bugs. Unfortunately, unless you have a friend, you won’t be having much fun. The controls are just bad enough that without having another player running around distracting Fatty McThermalFace you’ll probably never get too many shots off, because you’ll be too busy stumbling around trying to get out of the way of the various energy beams, gigantic feet, or random appendages that are out to get you. To be fair, this game was definitely meant to be played with more than one person. The best mission features the players on a train while a gigantic sand whale that loves eating train tracks attempts to destroy the train car they happen to be on. The train car they happen to be on, however, features a massive cannon, small turret guns, and a cooling system that heals the car if it takes damage (it doesn’t make sense but shut up). The main cannon turns extremely slow and can be aided by cranks on either side of the gun. Beating the monster consists of a lot of teamwork, and is quite rewarding. The honest truth, though, is that this is the only boss I really liked. Most other bosses are either boring or frustrating.

Generally, when fighting big monsters, the character is forced into VSs (mech suits). The suits don’t control very well and are basically used as heavy artillery to take down large groups of guys or big bugs. They can be equipped with various weapons, and some of them can fly. The suits die pretty fast usually and their utility is usually limited to their immediate vicinity due largely to level design. There are a few parts where you can take them to the next level with you, but generally not.

What’s that? I can’t hear you.

As I’ve alluded to before the story isn’t really there. The factions hate each other for ::insert reason here:: and honestly they have bigger things to worry about later on in the game. The characters don’t have names and the story could’ve benefited from a little bit of exposition. Most of the time I didn’t know what was going on, nor did I care. Not having characters really makes it hard to anchor anyone into a world especially me. As far as I’m concerned the story is, “Oh hey look a big bug! Let’s kill it!”

I’d Dodge You If My Legs Worked

In Lost Planet 2, all characters come equipped with a grappling hook that can latch onto to almost any surface, which they can use as a spring board or a wall mount. This would be a great mechanic if it didn’t get you killed so much. I can’t count the number of times I’ve grabbed onto something and, with no intervention on my part, my character does a very nice back flip off the wall down the throat of a giant beast or into the middle of a crowd of people with rocket launchers, but hey, at least he looked good doing it. Not only that, but I just couldn’t seem to shake this feeling that I wasn’t mobile enough. There is no roll, dodge, or anything really designed to help you get out of danger. This means that if that Giant Headless Praying Mantis wants to crush you beneath his feet, he generally gets his way. This game would’ve been a lot more fun if there had been some sort of a quick dodge.

The worst part of the game has got to be one shot kills from enemies. In no game should there be computer characters that can one shot you without any sort of broadcast of their move. Having these in a game doesn’t add difficulty, it adds memorization, and as a college student studying for the medical field I have plenty of memorization to do already. I don’t need a game requiring me to know exactly where all the snipers are in a level. Not only that, but enemies can shoot you with shotguns while your character is trying to stand up, knocking you down again, meaning that they can quite literally shoot you until you are dead. These two problems wouldn’t even bother me that much, but on the train mission I previously mentioned there was a mandatory ten minute part at the beginning of the mission that you had to repeat every time you died. This happens in other places too. The levels can last forever, and dying can mean another hour long commitment. If I felt that it was my fault that I died, then sure, but there are very few times in this game where I feel like I deserved my death.

The Scores:
Story: Bad
Graphics: Below Average
Sound: Mediocre
Control and Gameplay: Bad
Replayability: Poor
Balance: Awful
Originality: Decent
Addictiveness: Poor
Appeal Factor: Mediocre
Miscellaneous: Bad
Final Score: Poor Game!

Short Attention Span Summary:

If you want a good third person shooter you’ll be better off going for a Gears of War title. Lost Planet 2 is filled with graphical glitches, instant kills and hair pulling frustration. The time commitment that needs to be put into a level if you’re stuck is ridiculous. The game is meant for multiplayer, so if you have some friends that want to try it then it might not be that bad of an idea. Rent it, don’t buy it.