Lost Planet 2 Review

Finders keepers! VGD pronounces judgement on Capcom’s sociable sci-fi sequel. PlayStation 3 version tested.

By Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, May 12, 2010

Strapping yourself into a VS is a good way to flatten defences (yes, there’s a certain amount of environment breaking to be had) and lay the smackdown on acid-spitting tarantulas, but it’s also a good way to get everything and everybody on the battlefield attacking you. Being very slow on their feet, the Suits can be rocket-launchered to shreds with relative ease, so sending one into the crossfire unsupported is unwise.

Crikey, I didn't know it was possible to run on this thing. Time for a replay.

Crikey, I didn't know it was possible to run on this thing. Time for a replay.

With the hand-cannons proving a little hand-worn despite their visual bombast, it’s left to the scenario design to deliver Lost Planet 2′s occasional moments of brilliance. If you’ve read our preview, you’ll know that variety is a strong point: the third episode retains pride of place with its breakneck train battles, divvied up by carriage along the same lines (boom boom) as Uncharted 2, and there are also weirdly out-of-date yet entertaining underwater bits, more Sonic the Hedgehog than contemporary shooter – armor-plated space marines trotting unrealistically across the ocean floor or zooming surface-ward atop bubble jets. Once players acclimatise to its limited range, the grappling line lends itself nicely to the breadth and height of the environments and is, well, pretty damn cool. Walk over an edge and you’ll auto-grapple it, swinging airily down (e.g.) to plant sticky grenades on any bogies below, then winching yourself just as airily back up to safety.

Vital structure is provided by data posts, two or more per area, that triple as respawn points, sources of cumulative radar coverage and story objectives. The posts add points to your Battle Gauge, which determines how many respawns a team gets per area before saying hello to the ‘Mission Failed’ screen. The Gauge is generally fat enough at the outset to encourage a little risk-taking, but finite enough to deter lone wolf behaviour.

Then there are the ‘harmonisers’, inadequately explained lumps of backpack tech that refill your health bar with nourishing ‘T-ENG’ at a button’s touch – providing, that is, you’ve got T-ENG to spare, and providing you’re not taking damage at the time. As a mechanic, it’s no more than a mild elaboration of the red-tint-recharge every other shooter regurgitates, but there are some fun ramifications, like whether to splurge the yellow stuff on special item lockers or fire it at needy comrades. VS Suits also run on T-ENG, so any extended trips in the cockpit may end in tears once the drained pilot leaves his seat.

Ship to ship warfare! A competitive multiplayer version of this level would be immense.

Ship to ship warfare! A competitive multiplayer version of this level would be immense.

Cramped controls (there are several layouts, but no full customisation option) remain a slight annoyance throughout, grenade throws sharing a button with the T-ENG gun and crouch toggles mystifyingly absent, but the game’s real issue is a disinclination to evolve. Much as the storyline loses out by smearing itself across the plight of an entire planet, so the level designers sometimes refuse to expand on promising ideas in their quest for diversity. Stealth makes a furtive appearance in one area, for instance, while another sees you defending a base amidst blinding snow. Both dynamics could have done with more space. At times, too, the second-hand ebb and flow of the underlying respawn system gets tedious.

2 Responses to “Lost Planet 2 Review”

  1. Brush says:

    £17 at amazon….i’ve taken a punt.


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