Lost Planet 2 hands-on – The PS3 Attitude Preview
It seems they have a bug infestation – and they need our help by allowing us access to copious amounts of Lost Planet 2 at a special event.
Can the game surpass its highly regarded predecessor?
Lost Planet 2 is a third person shooter with a heavy emphasis on co-op play, be it with friends or bots.
In the first game in the franchise the planet – EDN III – was a snowy wasteland, but now it is thawing due to the war between humans and the Akrid – a bug like race (think of the film Starship Troopers).
Humans can take control of ‘Vital Suits’ – essentially mechs with a fancy name – as well as a huge array of weaponry to wreak havoc on enemies.
First off we feel we should pass on an interesting little ditty from the games producer Jun Takeuchi, who flew in from Japan on the day of the event. Apparently we have all been calling the game Lost Planet 2 – but look at the logo more carefully. It’s actually Lost Planet Squared – as in Lost Planet with vastly more content.
The aim of the event was to show off the multiplayer mode, and the much touted co-op system. We have to be upfront, all the consoles were Xbox 360’s – although in an ironic twist this caused the days major upset, as the console with the game installed on to it was nowhere to be found. Cue an hour and forty five minutes of panic from the Capcom PR people.
First up was the multiplayer. Throughout the day we managed to play eight vs. eight team matches, and standard death matches.
Being completely honest, we just weren’t sold on the multiplayer. It was in no way bad, but several factors just don’t gel together particularly well.
First off, your character feels slow and clunky. You end up ambling from point to point whilst being overtaken by snails and people in Zimmer frames. This causes no end of frustration when your spawn point is a mile away from where the action is.
The Vital Suits do add an interesting twist though, and have been balanced well. Don’t think that because you’re in one you can go on a massive killing spree, because there’s a fair chance there are several people with rocket launchers right around the corner.
The sheer variety of Vital Suits is also impressive. They range from small personal suits, up to some fantastic creations that transform into spaceships at the press of a button – think Starscream from Transformers.
You also have access to a handful of vehicles – mainly troop transporters, helicopters and an armoured jet bike. The helicopters were fine, and strafing about in them felt pretty good – but the jet bike was useless, unless you enjoy being intimate with brick walls and concrete pillars.
The multiplayer maps were the biggest issue. We managed to have a go on several maps, and felt they were far too big for only sixteen players – taking an age to traverse, even in the Vital Suits, before finally finding the opposing team.
Saying that though, a couple of the maps are intense. One in particular springs to mind, set in a giant sports area. It was small, fast paced, with plenty of places to utilize your grappling hook, and provided by far the best experience, with whoops and yells reverberating around the event floor – and the kill count rising into the dozens.
Also, hats off to Capcom for creating the funniest moment of the day, providing a map in space which caused half of our team to run off the edge and plummet to our doom!
Unfortunately this sums up the Lost Planet 2 multiplayer – when it blows hot, it’s boiling hot and you’ll love it, but more often than not it leaves you feeling apathetic and, dare we say it, yearning for something else.
But hang on because we haven’t gotten to the co-op mode yet – and it’s an absolute doozy. In fact, it’s a completely different animal to the multiplayer mode.
Capcom have really gone to town with this. Your co-op character is completely customizable from head to toe – and we were shown some very bizarre creations – such as an army man wearing short shorts and a smile!
If you are slightly mad, you can customize your weapons so that when it fires, instead of gun smoke being produced, you get coloured ribbons or a group of flying Akrid or something equally obtuse.
Next up you can choose support weapons, such as a riot shield type device, or multiple types of grenade – our favourite being the brutal Shuriken grenade, which is exactly like the spinning disc weapon in the film ‘Blade’, except this one explodes as well.
Having obviously looked at games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Uncharted 2: Among thieves, you also have two ability slots. These are essentially perks which you can equip to sway games in your favour. One we saw was to make activating data nodes a slightly speedier affair – which is an absolute godsend, as the amount of times we had to ‘tap B to activate’ throughout the day was obscene!
Last but not least are the taunts. You can have group taunts, where each character does part of a super hero pose – like in Dragonball Z – or single taunts like ‘bullet time’ from The Matrix. These sound silly but never fail to raise a smile – particularly after a tough battle.
PS3 Attitude played through Episodes One and Two and thoroughly enjoyed it. The computer controlled bots are surprisingly useful, and will happily go about disposing of enemies or activating data nodes. This was a pleasant turn of events, and at some points we actually thought a human player had dropped into the game and taken over.
Our only complaint is that there are far too many human enemies in the levels we played. They are all so generic and look suspiciously like the main character from the Bionic Commando remake – boring!
But as for the bugs – oh good god! Epic, huge and terrifying, and they just kept getting bigger! We faced several bosses throughout our playtest and were left gobsmacked and slightly sweaty after each encounter. Capcoms reputation for awesome bosses remains very much intact.
Towards the end of the day Takeuchi-san was kind enough to show us some brand new co-op gameplay from Episode Four of the game, and all we can say is ‘wow’. The four Capcom guys playing through the level decided to switch from easy mode to normal mode – much to the dismay of Takeuchi-san who insisted they shouldn’t. The picture below was taken three minutes into the level. A pushover this game isn’t, even for people who know what they are doing.
Suitably humbled, and with the difficulty set back to easy, we were then shown the boss of Episode Two. It’s at this point that almost everyone in the room said a swear word. It was huge – and even on easy mode the guys barely scraped through after a tense ten minutes filled with multiple deaths, smashed Vital Suits and spent weapons.
We left the event feeling that Capcom have definitely produced a game of two halves – and they couldn’t be more different.
Fans of online multiplayer best step away. Unless Capcom do some serious tweaking there really isn’t anything to see here.
However, we can’t recommend the co-op games enough. The feeling of fear when the Akrid emerge and the feeling of elation when your team triumphs cannot be beaten. It’s slick, well paced and we can’t wait until the final product arrives in May.