Review: Lost Planet 2

Greg Tito | 27 May 2010 09:00
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I totally get what Lost Planet 2 is attempting. As a third-person shooter, it tries to deliver a science fiction story with six different episodes full of many different, but still kinda hokey, elements. What sets it apart are the Vital Suits, which are basically huge mechas with even huger guns. While the first Lost Planet offered co-op play, because of the difficulty and the way that the boss battles are scripted, the sequel pretty much requires it. But if you don't have a regular group of shooter fans and you prefer to play solo (like me, for example), it's not very fun.

Lost Planet 2 (LP2) is set on the planet of E.D.N. III, which has been colonized by humans for about a hundred years. There are several factions in place on the planet including but not limited to Snow Pirates, Jungle Pirates, Mountain Pirates, Carpetbaggers, Vagabundos and NEVEC. The planet was wrapped in snow and ice, but the evil corporation NEVEC has been agitating the indigenous super huge insects called Akrid in order to harvest their "thermal energy." It's unclear, at least to me, why heat is such a coveted resource on a planet that seems to have jungles and deserts.

Taking place 10 years after the events of the first game, the plot of LP2 is barely detectable from the cutscenes because every character is wearing some kind of head gear. The character models themselves are neat (I especially like the Vagabundo's take on Homungus from The Road Warrior) but it's very hard to identify with characters when you can't see their eyes. There's nothing engaging about watching four identical masked men jibber-jabber complex plot points at each other. It doesn't help that most of the voiceover actors sound like generic military guy #5. That, and the campaign's six episodes jump from character to character and faction to faction, so that you never feel invested in who or what you're blowing up. If you don't care about story and only want to know where to point the gun, then there is plenty of available targets.

You do blow up a lot of stuff, and that is pretty fun. There is an abundance of firepower in LP2, usually supplied by the vital suits, horribly abbreviated as VSs - isn't that the same number of syllables? You can strap into these things like Ripley's going out of style and wreak havoc upon ... whoever. Other players can repair your suit if it takes damage, but that takes T-ENG, which is the game's short hand for thermal energy.

Everybody on the planet is searching for more and bigger guns, at least three of the episodes involve stealing a gun so huge that it has its own train, or a ship that has some big laser gun. You need this explosion stuff to take out the bigger Akrid, who always seem to appear at the end of chapters. The boss fights are slogs, though, unless you are playing with people who've played through the campaign before. But a game shouldn't only be fun the second third time you play it.

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