Lost Planet 2 Game Review (Mania.com)

By:Tim Janson
Review Date: Tuesday, June 08, 2010


The tag line to Lost Planet 2 is “Kill Big!’ Unfortunately this doesn’t necessarily translate into as some poor level designs, clumsy controls, and terrible AI in solo play sucks a lot of fun out of the game. The story is set 10 years after the events in the first game. Much of the frozen tundra of planet E.D.N. III has given way to tropical jungles and arid deserts, opening up new terrain for the player and also meaning that T-ENG (Therma Energy) doesn’t drain as drastically as it did in the first game.
Perhaps the biggest growth in video gaming is in online play but its nice if a game still gives you the option of playing online or solo. The first thing you notice when selecting the campaign mode in Lost Planet 2 is that the options all appear to be online options such as selecting a quick match or a custom match to join where you select the episode and chapter you wish to play. This puts you into a multi-player game with three other players in a cooperative environment. So how do you play solo? Good question…The game virtually hides solo play (never even calling it solo play) in the Create your Own Game option. To play solo you have to set the AI players to three. You also have to set the connection type to offline so you can pause your game. More on solo play later…
The muddled storyline finds you and the other players taking the roles of various factions who are battling for control of the planet’s T-ENG and fighting off hordes of E.D.N. III’s native aliens known as Akrid which are giant bugs that make the monsters in Starship Trooper look like fleas. The problem here is that you’re essentially playing as a nameless grunt so there’s little in the way of character development. Playing cooperatively is the key to having a successful campaign, as some of the levels can be long and frustratingly difficult. In one sequence you’re battling a giant worm while riding on a speeding train and given little hint as to what to do to defeat the creature. Fail, and you’re doing the whole thing over again with 20 – 25 minutes of gameplay lost.   The game is played in six episodes, which are divided into several chapters that you’ll get to know well by repeating them over and over.
One of the stumbling blocks of the multi-player campaign play is the wait to join a game. Even selecting the quick match can leave you waiting for several minutes for an opening to join. You can’t join a game that is already in progress until the level is complete or a checkpoint is reached. This all pales next to the solo play which Capcom and clearly discourages. The AI of the NPCs is awful. The three NPCs will often all converge on the same data post, seemingly fighting over who gets to access the info. Even worse, they’ll stand about staring off into space as you are getting attacked. I can’t imagine it’s even possible to complete the campaign playing solo.
One of your main tools is your anchor which is a projectile rappelling tool that allows you to scale walls, mountains, giant Akrid, etc…Recently Just Cause 2 came out which had a similarly device that was simply a joy to use. You felt like Spider-Man shooting out a web strand and propelling yourself along…here your anchor is as likely to pull you off the edge of a cliff, as it is to save you.
Lost Planet 2’s strength lies in its visuals, which are fantastic. The monsters are big and there is a large variety of them. The cutaway videos are gorgeous, making you feel as if you are in the midst of the action. There’s great special effects and explosions, usually courtesy of some of the many cool weapons you get to use and its in this area where Capcom did a great job.
The multi-player online play gets a nod over the campaign play by far. It’s no Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, but it’s a lot of fun. The usual options of Deathmatches and capturing the flag (i.e. Akrid Eggs), Team Elimination and more. Fugitive mode is back as well and pits a small team of lightly armed fugitives avoiding capture against a fully equipped team of hunters. There’s a good number of map choices and Capcom promises a lot of downloadable content as well.
The bottom line with Lost Planet 2 is that if you enjoy cooperative or multiplayer online play, then its worth at least a rent or two but if you like to fly solo you’ll want to pass on this one.

Mania Grade: C
Video Game: Lost Planet 2
Developer: Capcom
Platform: Playstation 3