Last Chance to Play: Lost Planet 2

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Lost Planet: Extreme Condition was one of the first 7th generation titles I experienced on the Xbox 360. While this game was virtually forgotten about by the time Gears of War established in a new standard for third-person shooters, Lost Planet remained an overall decent gaming experience. It had some rough edges, but the world was interesting, piloting mechs, or “Vital Suits” (VS) was fun, and there was good reason to look forward to future installments.

Lost Planet 2 brought some serious changes to the game that, on paper, should be amazing. The game is focused primarily on delivering cooperative experiences. The solitary, narrative structure of the first game is gone. Everything feels like a multi-player experience—there’s even respawn in the main campaign. It was the promise of taking down giant monsters with friends, storming snow pirate bases and more. Unfortunately, the game suffers from far too many issues to be even remotely fun.

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This is one of those games where you can just feel the potential running throughout the entire experience; every now and then you get the sense of the vision the game was aiming for, and yes there is some enjoyment to be had here and there, but there’s just too much bullshit in the way.

To start, forget calling the game Lost Planet 2. A more suitable name should be Data Post Activation Simulator. By activating data posts, the player gets a boost of thermal energy, and the map is updated—the same thing as in the first game. On its own, this is fine. The problem in Lost Planet 2, however, is that virtually half of the game’s missions consist of performing this activity.

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Again, making these items objectives on their own isn’t inherently bad—but the enemy forces have some of the worst AI I’ve seen in a game in a long time. They’re easy to dispose of, and there were more than a dozen times when the enemy seemed to be completely oblivious to my existence. Thus there are countless missions where you do a little bit of shooting, a little bit of button mashing and then on to the next stage! Boring.

The length of some of the missions is also inherently problematic. I ran through some areas in just over 30 seconds. Ridiculous. Countless parts of the game feel half-assed and phoned in. I honestly can’t imagine paying full-price for this game. In starting “Last Chance to Play,” there have been a few games I wouldn’t have had an issue paying $60 for—this is not one of them.

There aren’t many people playing online anymore, at least not on PlayStation Network; so I’ve experienced absolutely none of the cooperative aspects of the game. I will say, however, that I think this would make the game better. The harder difficulty is just slightly too much for a single-player, so with a party of friends, the experience could be improved significantly.

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The story is another weak area of the game. Jumping in between different episodes, there’s a lot of potential to tell an interesting narrative that explores the different groups living on E.D.N. III, but with the lack of any notifiable characters–since they’re all wearing masks–and some annoying voice acting here and there, I ended up being mostly confused and indifferent to their being a story at all. And I have no idea what that ending means—if it meant anything at all.

Overall, Lost Planet 2 would’ve benefited from some better mission design, actual characters and some tighter controls. Had it been more tactical, it could’ve even had a slight SOCOM-style vibe that would’ve encouraged more tactical and addicting gameplay.

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There are some genuinely decent parts in the game—and a few memorable moments. Overall, however, the game just does not deliver on its promise. And for those who care about what’s going on on E.D.N. III, you’ll more than likely be disappointed at the terrible storytelling.

– Eric

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