Anthony Capone
27 Jun, 2010

Lost Planet 2 Review

360 Review | Nice and hot or left out in the cold?
The original Lost Planet had much going for it, and on its release, delivered the goods. It was a straight-up third person shooter, which offered countless hours of solo and multiplayer entertainment. The single-player made a good attempt at a discernible story, with plenty of mechanised action and epic boss fights thrown in for good measure. Some time later, and upon its announcement, Lost Planet 2 appeared set to continue the tradition. However, the sequel makes several design decisions that ultimately cripples what could – and should – have been an astonishing third person shooter. While certainly not the worst game on the market, Lost Planet 2 will appeal only to a limited market.

Set a number of years after the first game, Lost Planet 2 once again takes place on the planet of E.D.N. III, with much of the icy planet having thawed to reveal both lush and desolate environments. Rather than assuming the role of a single character, the solo campaign has players constantly shifting between various groups vying for control of E.D.N. III. Characters remain nameless and faceless, so there’s very little to identify with. Cutscenes look great and are well directed, but the absence of a defined plot makes them nothing more than a disjointed montage of glorified action sequences. Lost Planet 2 really fails on the story front, which is not in itself so bad, but when combined with the game’s other failures, makes the overall package hard to recommend.

Lost Planet 2 is far from mech-tacular.

Lost Planet 2 is far from mech-tacular.
In Lost Planet 2, there’s a larger vary of environments to explore. Not being confined to the icy regions of E.D.N. III, things quickly open up, and you can expect to fight in stunning rain-forests, atop moving machines and even in space. Two cornerstones of the first Lost Planet, giant monsters know as Akrid and player controlled mechs called vital suits (or VSs), return in the sequel. The key to overcoming the impressive variety of Akrid also remains the same – shoot the brightly glowing orange parts of their bodies. Jumping into a mech with a machine gun and blowing a monster or three to smithereens offers masses of fun, but Capcom nailed this down in the original Lost Planet. The sequel offers some encounters on a larger scale than the first game, but in attempt to make things seem bigger and bolder, gameplay and other features have been neglected. The result is a flawed and at times deeply frustrating experience.

The first couple missions in Lost Planet 2 are interesting, though not for the five or so minutes they take to finish. The game quickly goes downhill, with poorly implemented pathfinding and a number of other issues. Players will wander around aimlessly at length, with no clear route to travel. The mini-map is notoriously difficult to interpret, especially if the next objective lies above or below your current location. Not only is pathfinding frustrating, but certain sequences give you no clear indication of what actually has to be done. For example, in one level, players have to find out for themselves that they have to insert ammunition into the guns and put out fires, all the while battling a massive Akrid.

As a single-player experience, Lost Planet 2 well and truly fails. Your character is part of a squad of for, with the remainder controlled by AI. Computer generated players are utterly hopeless. Your AI companions won’t open doors or complete any other objectives required to advance – they can’t do anything other than shoot or stand around looking useless. And should you die, a trip all the way back to the start of the level is in order, unless you have any respawns available. Players can capture data posts to generate ‘respawn’ points, tokens which allow you to re-materialize at points over the map. A dedicated checkpoint system would have been a much better option, as the respawn system isn’t really suited to single-player. Having to babysit a troop of idiots, coupled with the frustration of having to restart entire chapters upon death, drains away any fun from playing Lost Planet 2 solo.

Did someone pack the bug spray?

Did someone pack the bug spray?
A number of other flaws plague Lost Planet 2’s campaign. The grappling hook, which was used to great effect in the first title, is poorly utilised this time around. Even figuring out what you can and can’t attach the hook to is a headache. The other main problem with the game is that you can only ever do one thing at a time and it takes far too long. Regaining your footing after taking a rocket or grenade takes precious seconds, being hit by just one bullet will prevent you healing, and recovering from a freeze attack with a lengthy stick-waggling mini-game is as tedious it can be. All the aforementioned flaws make you but ponder whether Capcom intentionally allowed them though, just to elongate the game.

Lost Planet 2 somewhat redeems itself with co-op for up to four players. Battling your way through missions and boss fights is actually entertaining when you don’t have to do all the work yourself. There’s really something to be said about working in unison with other real-life players to bring down a massive Akrid. The co-op gameplay is a blast, but unfortunately, the game lacks the proper infrastructure to support it. Forget about dropping in and dropping out of a friend’s match - you all need to be present in the lobby at the start, and everyone needs to have played up to the desired level. Not being able to jump ahead to complete a level with a buddy is a problem that rears its ugly head all too often.

With a real friend by your side, the game might actually be enjoyable.

With a real friend by your side, the game might actually be enjoyable.
Multiplayer offerings replicate the original game, which insofar as Lost Planet 2 is concerned, isn’t a bad thing. Players can expect the usual modes, such as Elimination and Team Elimination. Lost Planet-specific Capture the Flag and Conquest matches are present, called Akrid Egg Battle and Data Post Collection, respectfully. Fugitive mode also remains largely unchanged from the first Lost Planet. Multiplayer matches can be customised according to your preferences, with options like choosing how many VSs will be available, to what conditions must be achieved to declare victory. The game offers rewards for all the points you have accumulated in battle, but getting a new weapon is rarer then obtaining a title or useless costume piece. Overall, Lost Planet 2 multiplayer isn’t anything spectacular, but mixing a number of human players with overpowering mechs is always entertaining.

Visually, Lost Planet 2 displays Capcom’s trademark ability to squeeze every ounce of juice from your console. From snowy icecaps, lush jungles to red and sandy deserts, there is plenty to be amazed by. Character models, textures and lighting are all excellent, culminating in a truly immersive game environment. Music is also fantastic, with epic orchestral scores underpinning the majority of the game. It’s a real shame that, in the end, the beautiful look and sound is undone by countless gameplay flaws.

Lost Planet 2 offered the perfect opportunity to capitalise on the success of the first game. Unfortunately, things have gone wayward in Capcom’s sequel, with numerous shortcomings in the gameplay department. Co-op and multiplayer are mostly competent, but the third-person shooter fails miserably as a solo experience, with endless frustrations and dated design. Lost Planet 2 unquestionably looks and sounds sublime, but the strength of its presentation offers little redemption. Fans of the original should do themselves a favour and look to the recently released Transformers: War for Cybertron for a much more rewarding mechanised adventure. Lost Planet 2 is okay for a whirl with real friends and adversaries, but not much more.
The Score
Capcom’s defrosted sequel offers some satisfactory multiplayer and co-op play, but fails completely as a solo experience. Lost Planet 2 may look and sound astonishing, but it is ultimately undermined by poor design and frustrating gameplay.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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3 years ago
Normally love capcom games but the demo left me really cold. Particularly the 2nd demo which was horrible. So no buy. Neexxtt

Glad to see the review cementing my decision to opt out
3 years ago
I actually really enjoyed the campaign, despite the moronic AI. The level design and variety of ways you can do things makes it a blast to replay. It definitely could've used a lot more information on the characters, factions, and situation though (I didn't even realise the two NEVEC teams you play as were different until the end...).

The vs multiplayer is just blah. It's essentially "spawn, get slaughtered by the guys who've been playing it nonstop since the game came out, repeat".

It's disappointing that a really solid core gameplay was let down by such a sloppy game built around it.

But eh, I got it for like 25 bucks from the UK, well worth the money.
3 years ago
I too got a cheap import from the UK. I don't regret it at all.

I started playing alone and it's alright. There's not much of a tutorial and you're pretty much left to figure things out on your own (e.g. your reticule goes green when you can grapple onto something; there's a green diamond on the map where your next objective is). Got through to the giant worm vs a gun on a train level, which is very overwhelming on your first play. The bots will load ammo for your (slowly) but not repair or energize the gun.

That's the point where I started playing co-op with a friend. The game is immeasurably better with someone to talk to and strategize with. Completing objectives is also much simpler, especially when the objectives are spread out (e.g. attack a point while defending your own).
3 years ago
Wow I was really hoping this would be good as I loved the first game, I might give it a miss and pick up Transformers instead.
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    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  13/05/2010 (Confirmed)
Year Made:

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