Lost Planet 2 Preview (Xbox360)

Lost planet 2 has kind of snuck up on me this year. While it is a fairly high-profile release, for some reason it just hasn't been having the same impact on us as other titles that have come out recently. That's not as reflective on the game itself as the climate it's entering into - as a shooter, even a third person one, LP2 will have a lot of competition when it comes to online and carving out a community for itself. At yet another random venue in the heart of London, Strategy Informer was able to get some hands-on time with Capcom's latest foray onto the world of E.D.N III.

Playing through Lost Planet 2, at first I couldn't help think that, whilst fun, it wasn't overwhelming in anyway.... That is, until I saw the transforming VS that reminded me of Megatron and The Transformers - I think we've found the new Game of the Year. In all seriousness though, it will be interesting to see how gamers respond to Lost Planet 2, as even though it's not quite the same class of game as the current multiplayer leaders, it will still be compared to them. Lost Planet 2 has a lot going for it, but even though it's unique, it doesn't really stand out.

It's easy to see though that this game is massive improvement over the original, with many of the first game's criticisms having being addressed and improved upon. There's plenty of extra content available across the board, especially in certain key areas. Producer Jun Takeuchi reckons there's so much extra content in fact, that during a presentation of the games more advanced features he said that it should actually be called Lost Planet Squared.

The main reason we were at the event was to see the multiplayer for the first time, and many test consoles were set up so that ourselves and other games journos could explore the full potential of the game's 16- player gameplay. Given the game's new part-tropical setting, the map pool has diversified considerably, with some of the more classical snow-based maps being brought forward from the first game, and other, more tropical or desolate urban maps also included in the mix. This new global environment has also effected how T-ENG works, with your gauge only depleting whilst you're in a VS or using energy weapons.

Speaking of VS', it's quite easy to see where a lot of the effort has been put in: there are far more VS variants than in the first game, including several flying ones, and even ones that look like Akrid. As mentioned above, there is certain potential for nostalgia as many of the new VS have extra modes or things they can transform into. Whilst this wasn't witnessed personally, it is also reported that several VS Mechs can actually merge to form an even more powerful one. Now that is what I call a Gestalt mode.

The other main focus arguably is the customization of one's avatar. In the first game, despite having several options available everyone pretty much looked the same - in Lost Planet 2, the team have done all they can to minimise this happening. Not only is there an extensive range of skins available, but the skins are also interchangeable, so you may have the head of one, the body of another, etc...

Also available for customisation is a person's weapon set. There are several categories here, with a general heading such as 'Handgun' 'Long Range' 'Rifle' etc... however, you can customize what weapon your character actually uses in each of these categories, and there's several options for you to unlock and play around with, which will inevitably result in new strategies and tactics. Saying this however, there isn't as much diversity in the weapons choices as there seems to be in VS choices, although new categories such as 'Support' weapons have been added for extra combat diversity.

Apart from this, multiplayer combat is as it was in the original game. The control scheme is as weird as ever, and your trade mark grappling hook will open up routes and areas that would normally be closed off. There are still little niggles with the game, such as one's inability to jump and grapple at the same time, but those are very minor. There's a lot of potential for mayhem and destruction in the online mode, with some sessions being reminiscent of Unreal or Team Fortress 2. There's even one map that's set in a stadium that's there purely for TF2-like carnage, especially when using the 'Heavy Weapons Only' mode.

To quote an old adage: so far, so good. There's nothing worrying here that could hurt the game's release. Single-player seems to have lost some of its personality in favour of action-fuelled set-pieces, but to be honest it's all part of the package. Like the recent slogans suggest, everything is bigger, badder and more chaotic than before, and it should make for a decent experience.

It would be surprising, and a little sad, if Lost Planet 2 was a flop. It's a good game, and it will definitely please the hardcore fans. It's also different and unique enough to entice new audiences, even from the COD/BF crowd. That being said however, there's nothing truly 'amazing' here and so it's unlikely to be toppling anyone anytime soon. Still, with a good design, decent gameplay, and high production values, a game could do worse than to simply not stand out.


By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on May 14, 2010
So far the official Reviews have been far from kind, and given it's pedigree and unfortunately Capcom's less than stellar reputation at present, I'm not very surprised. I'll pass.