I've always been curious in checking out the Lost Planet series. The idea of this extremely weighty and animation-heavy shooter has always sounded pretty appealing to me, in a similar way to my fascination with the Monster Hunter series at that, given that Lost Planet is essentially, ''what if Monster Hunter was a TPS''. Though while I'm still waiting on the off-chance that Monster Hunter is released on a console I own or am going to own (AKA, not a Wii U), I'm outta luck on that front. But Lost Planet is ever accessible so I finally decided to give it a shot!
Lost Planet 2 wasn't exactly the most well received of games, nor was the reception to the reception... the reaction to Brad's two star review was bad enough that it created a mini-disaster. Of course an outcry of utter outrage at a review isn't exactly rare, but Lost Planet 2's is certainly up there with the likes of the Catherine and, yes, the recent DmC review.
After putting in roughly around 13 hours thus far, a lot of the criticisms are most certainly justified. Some, however, I've found to simply be a matter of taste. The plodding movement speed and animation-heavy actions of your characters? Bloody love it! All the more so for the ultra-powerful mech 'Vitality Suits' you can use. Much like for the same reason as to why I've always enjoyed the driving in GTAIV, the weighty nature of the mechanics just make everything about you feel tough; like you're lugging around a giant suitcase full of 20 ton badassery. Lost Planet 2's shooting also has a really great kick to it. Weapons feel powerful and have superb sound effects, and the meaty roar of its shotgun is especially pleasing to the ears.
Even besides the sound effects, the game in general is still quite the production power-house. Given that it's Capcom it comes to little surprise, considering even 2009's RE5 still looks really pretty to this day. I was pleasantly surprised to see how there's a good variety of locales at that, all of which carry their own specific style of atmosphere from the early snow blizzards to the late game spacefaring.
However, while I have enjoyed my time with Lost Planet 2, I'm still a little reluctant to call it a good game. Pieces here and there I've genuinely found to be a lot of fun--the giant, glowy weak-spot equipped Akird boss battles in particular--but there's still a swath of problems to contend with. I should also note that the game's been patched a couple of time since its release, so the version I've played was assuredly a great deal friendlier than how it was at launch.
Even still, the fact that it's built from the ground up as a multiplayer game only to disallow drop in/drop out capability is insane. Though weirdly enough people are still playing this thing! With a little patience as I hanged around in my lobby, I was able to pick up two randoms; too bad they decided to leave after only one chapter. And that's another thing; the way the game is segregated between sections that can sometimes literally be completely in like 3-5 minutes long is awkwardly designed. Consistently having to go through load screens and menus, and then having to wait through the ''get ready - Go!'' load at the start of every level, only breaks up the pacing of the game.
Furthermore, the story is a nonsensical mess, with you constantly switching between generic facemask wearing pirate faction after pirate faction, all of whom lack any distinctive characteristics (besides the silly 'Banditos') and for the most part are defined by their outfits and their 'cool' generican (generic American...) accents. All in the name of stopping some evil corporation who barely exists beyond a name. To say that the story is undeveloped would be an understatement in any case. Which is unfortunate, because the cutscenes are well directed and carry a lot of style to them. Of course Capcom in particular are known for being all style little substance, so a story that only barely hangs on shouldn't be too much of a surprise.
Not being to use your customised characters in the campaign until you've completed it, however, was. I mean seriously, the cast of this game are more avatars than they are characters, so forcing you to play as the defaults for the sake of 'canon' or whatever the Hell is really strange. That said, the amount of weapons and cosmetic doodads you can unlock is really appreciative, especially for someone like me who loves him some variety when it comes to their video game characters. The roulette wheel you unlock the stuff from does seem annoyingly biased in the title category, but I unlocked quite a few goodies just from a single completion.
One thing that really took me surprise was how easy this game was. Again, I must reiterate that it's been patched a fair bit since launch, but hearing all of the horror stories involving the train bit in particular never left me with the same impression. Don't get me wrong, the train akrid boss battle is a load of bullshit if you're trying to manage the cannon (especially in single-player where it's practically all up to you), but falling back on the helicopter VS on the cart below was all I needed and I went through little hassle. The ending boss battle was a little confusing, though, and not to mention anti-climatic. But overall I'd say the game is perhaps a bit too easy least on the normal difficulty.
The fact that any sort of AI for the human enemies barely even exists was the biggest contributor. It's been a rather common occurrence for where a human enemy will literally just stand there, empty headed and confused about what's going on around him. Until I add to that empty headedness when I nail a headshot with my ridiculously overpowered Plasma Sniper Rifle. And even when they take action, they'll do little besides shoot at you on the spot. Of course, AI of all kinds has also never been one of Capcom's strong suites.
And even with all of that said, for as much as I enjoy playing the game, there's still some control squibbles that can get on my nerves. Like how you can't use your grappling hook mid-jump or the awkward input you need just to do an evasive roll. See, you can only roll from a crouching position and by then pressing X; not only is this an unnecessarily needless combination of inputs, not only do you crouch by pushing in the left analogue stick, but there's no option to set it to toggle, either. You have to permanently hold in the left analogue stick to crouch... and then press X from that position to roll. It's fucking lunacy!
LP2 also still has its competitive multiplayer of course, but after 3 years on when pretty much 9/10 server is being run by a Japanese player, I found it pretty difficult to compete as I keep getting creamed by weapons I've never even seen before in the story. Plus for as much as I enjoy the heavy everything about this game, I don't think it fitted the competitive scene quite as much.
Still, tinkering about in the campaign has been a bunch of fun, and I got a solid 13 hours worth for a fiver. I originally headed in to LP2 mostly for 'scholarly' purposes, so all in all I came away pretty satisfied with the end result. Make no mistake, even after the fixes, LP2 is a highly flawed game. But there's clear ambition here and some of it at least managed to hit the mark. You just don't find many shooters like this anymore, and LP3 looks to be a lot more generic in regards to the gameplay and is unfortunately an UE3 game at that. The writing and its story still look to be well and beyond prior Lost Planet's, but it's unfortunately comes with the price of morphing into much blander style of shooter.
At the low price Lost Planet 2 can be found at nowadays, I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to try out a shooter that's a little more methodical and deliberate. It's no doubt all the better on PC as well, so getting three mates together to shoot down some giant alien bugs--if this style of game appeals to you--is more than worth the pittance.