by Joseph Barron
previewed on PS3
Get ready for some jungle warfare, planet E.D.N. III style. Forget militant rebels; in Lost Planet 2, the sequel to Capcom’s snow-bound 3rd person shooter, Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, you get to kick alien ass.
In the original game, Earth’s climate had become so inhospitable that mankind had branched out and colonized other worlds, including the snow world of E.D.N.III. However, the colonists quickly discovered an aggressive insectoid alien species known as the Akrid, and all hell broke loose. You played as a “snow pirate” trying to overthrow the company in control of the planet, while dealing with the Akrid menace. In Lost Planet 2, the fight for control of the planet’s energy resources is still raging, but the ice age has ended and many jungles and tropical regions have sprung up on the planet’s surface.
The climate change is more than cosmetic – it has significantly altered the gameplay as well. You are no longer required to constantly collect Thermal Energy in order to stay alive, as the planet is now much warmer. This should be a huge help to reducing the barrier to entry for new players, as gamers will now be free to concentrate on the action and not spend the vast majority of their efforts focused on how much Thermal Energy they have left. However, you will still need to collect Energy occasionally because mech suits (which include flying ones this time) and some weapons will require Thermal Energy in order to be used.
Bring a Friend Along
As with many other modern 3rd person action games, co-op will be a big part of Lost Planet 2. You will be able to play 4-player co-op campaigns over PSN or Xbox Live, or 2-player split-screen. Offline campaigns will fill up the extra slots with bots. Each player will be able to gain experience points by killing enemies and completing bonus objectives or other unique actions. EXP can be spent as you see fit, making the game a very customizable experience. Players will be able to customize their character's head, body, back and legs. There are also plans for special items of clothing, unique gestures and weapon models, with even more available through DLC. However, weapons used in competitive online multiplayer will have to be unlocked through a separate experience and leveling system. The first Lost Planet suffered from being too generic, despite the gorgeous visuals. The detailed character customization in the sequel should definitely make it stand out much more in a marketplace crowded with quality 3rd person action games.
The rest of the game promises to be an improvement over the original in every way, with Capcom claiming we will see even bigger bosses, each with multiple ways of defeating them. The genre is crying out for a new approach to boss fights and if anyone can provide that, Capcom can. At last year’s Eurogamer Expo we saw one giant boss that could be killed with standard gunfire, a mech suit, or even by entering its mouth and destroying it from the inside. It is a mightily impressive looking game too. The snow effects from the original game were utterly incredible, and the lush jungles of the sequel are just as striking.
Not So Lost This Time
If you played the original Lost Planet, you will find that an awful lot has changed for the sequel. Some of the changes have clearly been designed to make the game more accessible and a little easier for the average gamer. However, if you give the game a chance, you will be richly rewarded with some enormous action set pieces and the chance to return to a familiar world and discover the mysteries that were hidden beneath all of that beautiful snow.