Lost Planet 2 Review
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On 06/27/2010 at 11:59 PM by Nick DiMola
Giant enemies, mechs, and lush environments should spell success, right?
Only for fans of the first title.
It seems third person shooters are simply unavoidable these days. Some of them feature hand-to-hand combat, others stealthy sneaking. Regardless of the hook, each one of them has that small differentiator that should distinguish it from the crowd. Lost Planet 2 is mostly devoid of anything that might set it apart from other third person shooters on the market. In concept, shooting really big enemies and piloting a mech is more than likely what Capcom was going for, but the execution doesn't do much to make the gameplay feel different or unique.
Though a follow-up to Lost Planet, Lost Planet 2 has made some significant changes in order to match the offerings coming from the Western market. When compared to the original title, it's clear that Capcom has succeeded in making the title more Western-friendly. Unfortunately, this one success is not enough to claim victory for the budding series.
Players are thrown into a war between pirates and soldiers upon starting the game; both of which seem fixated on collecting precious T-Eng, which powers the world. In the meantime, the creatures of the planet, the Akrid (gigantic insects) are out to kill everything foreign that exists in their world. Throughout the quest, players will take control of both Pirate and Solider factions to complete a variety of mission based objectives. As players progress, they will encounter enemy forces that are both human and Akrid, and be tasked with both defeating them and completing objectives, which usually involve activating some post or piece of equipment.
These objectives are largely where Lost Planet 2 fails to be interesting. Most of the episodes in the game involve mindlessly plodding through firefights in order to activate some point in the map. Other maps will show a number of points, all of which must be activated and held in order to complete the mission. All of the objectives, regardless of what's being activated, feel the same. Furthermore, players will often feel alone in their missions thanks to the horrible friendly AI, which do very little to assist the player in completing the given objectives. As a matter of fact, enemy AI is not much better; most won't even shoot at the player who could literally be standing right beside them.
As the game progresses, players will sporadically encounter some deeper missions which require teamwork to complete and defeat massive Akrids. However, those playing alone will automatically be at a significant disadvantage thanks to their poor helper AI, who mostly stand around and avoid helping at all cost. While this issue can be alleviated by playing with a local friend or with a group of 1-3 online, there are only a few missions in which that set-up can be truly appreciated. Most of the time, players will be tasked with the mundane, making the experience often unenjoyable even with friends online.
The game also has a few odd shortcomings, including some poorly designed, uncustomizable controls. For instance, R2 (on the PS3 controller) doesn't shoot, rather R1, which is completely unnatural for anyone who has been playing shooters on the system this generation. R2 instead does a 180 degree turn, which can be unbelievably jaunting in the midst of combat. Furthermore, the game lacks something as simple as drop-in, drop-out co-operative play. This makes the campaign mode even less accessible and interesting, unfortunately.
The other supposed hook of the game is the ability to pilot mechs called VSs (Vital Suits). While these can be helpful in completing some objectives, they don't feel significantly different from just running around as a player attempting to defeat enemies. If it hasn't been made clear, like the rest of the experience, piloting a VS is mundane and uninteresting. Mostly they feel like a missed opportunity that could've been far more interesting and engaging. While uninteresting in the single player mode, in a team setting versus an enemy team in the online multiplayer, the VSs become more useful and enjoyable, particularly when a variety of them are paired together.
This mode features a number of unique types of battle that offer both character upgrading and customization. After completion of the campaign mode, players will likely spend most of their time here building up their characters across five factions. Unlike most multiplayer titles, players won't see their success gauged in kill counts, but rather a collection of points earned through successes in the skirmish.
The game offers up standard fare in the multiplayer mode including Team Deathmatch, and King of the Hill, as well as a couple other unique modes including Infiltration, and capture the Akrid Eggs. While the multiplayer is unique in its own way, it's no more interesting to play than any other multiplayer mode in a current gen third person shooter. Players who really connect with the game will likely enjoy the mode, but all others will likely move on to something more refined.
If one word could describe Lost Planet 2 in a nutshell, it would be mundane. Most of its objectives in the campaign are uninspired, it doesn't take advantage of the various potential hooks it sets up, and it comes up short in so many of the ways in which success should be a given. When it comes down to it, Lost Planet 2 just isn't fun. Obviously, those who enjoyed the first title will likely enjoy Lost Planet 2 as it is better in many ways, however most will not as they will have likely played other, more enjoyable third-person shooters.