All Lost Planet 2 had to do was build off of the snowy, akrid-infested mech action that was its predecessor, and perhaps throw in a few “sequel must-haves” like online co-op or bigger bosses. It successfully managed the latter, but somehow the developers seem to have taken a few steps back; instead of the few issues we had with the original game they decided to introduce new ones. Big ones. Find out just how big and ugly these new problems are and whether or not they drop the game from a buy to a rental.
In no way is Lost Planet 2 a bad game, and I say that because I might initially make the game sound like it was utterly terrible. Well, it’s not, but it’s certainly plagued by some frustratingly large problems. First off the list is the inability to save. You might say that many games don’t give you the ability to save, to which I’ll reply yes, you are correct. However, most of the games that don’t include this feature add a plethora of checkpoints to keep you from losing too much progress. Lost Planet 2 doesn’t seem to care how much progress you lose since the only checkpoints can be found at the beginning of the Episodes. Each Episode takes roughly 30-45 minutes to complete so if you have a life or die somewhere, you will have to start at the beginning. Not fun.
This game also fails to explain your objectives when you enter an area. Occasionally you’ll be gifted with a Mission Briefing, but most of the time you’re on your own. For example, if you need to defend a couple of important locations against waves of enemies, you won’t know that you need to do this until you’re greeted with a Mission Failed screen. Then there’s that whole ‘Start Over’ issue I complained about before you’ll have to contend with.
For a game that prides itself on its action-packed co-operative feature, the absence of a drop-in/drop-out feature is rather glaring, and the Matchmaking really doesn’t help this since you don’t have the option of filtering the results to only get games that are waiting in the Lobby. Usually you’ll have to wait patiently in the Lobby, all by your lonesome, singing tunes from your childhood as the other players kick tons of Akrid ass. This tends to take somewhere between 5-15 minutes, depending on the level of ignorance of the players currently in the game. Some people, usually those who haven’t spent much time with the game, might take a little longer to beat the level.
After all that the rest of my issues with the game aren’t as serious. The grappling mechanic is fun but you can’t grapple while jumping and its range needs to be longer. When you walk off a cliff, your grappling hook will automatically attach to the cliff keeping you from falling (an extraordinarily handy feature that saved me numerous times), and from there you can slowly descend to the ground. For some reason you can descend quite a long way showing how long your grappling hook is, but to manually use it you have to be within 10-15 feet from the object you wish to grapple to. Minor annoyance, but an issue nonetheless.
Speaking of minor problems, Lost Planet 2 looks amazing, but the character’s eyes don’t move. Instead they’re just painted on giving every character in the game that isn’t wearing some sort of mask a creepy mannequin look to them. You spend so much time rendering a gorgeous world filled with terrifying creatures, snowy landscapes, and lush jungles, but you can’t give us moving eyes? Are we still in the PlayStation 2 era? Oh wait, eyes moved back then too.
I feel I should touch on this even though it doesn’t bother me much (it’s a problem with many other people), and that would be the controls. Yes, the grappling could use some work but I’m talking more about the run-and-gunning. In case you were wondering, the controls from the original game haven’t changed, they’re still the sometimes-awkward third-person Japanese action/adventure controls that have you clicking the joystick to reload and using the bumpers to turn around. Some of these issues can be resolved by customizing your control layout, which is an option here, but for the most part Lost Planet 2 has me wondering why Capcom doesn’t just implement the tried and true Gears of War controls.
With all that out of the way, let’s get to the goods. Arguably the game’s biggest selling point is it’s bigger than life boss fights that are reminiscent in scale to the PS2 classic, Shadow of the Colossus. I loved every boss I had to put down because, like Colossus, each required a different strategy to defeat. Trying to take these massive beasts out with three friends only makes the encounters more enjoyable.
One of the few things that have been fixed from the original game is the variety. Every chapter throws you in a wildly different locale ranging from the aforementioned jungles and snowy environments, to an underwater laboratory, a prison, and even a space station. Combine this with Lost Planet 2’s vast arsenal of completely over the top weaponry and several new additions to the VS army (the game’s mechs) and you have a game that takes the phrase ‘over-the-top’ to a whole other level.
Lost Planet 2 is a game with a personality, and like all games that share this trait there are going to be things you love and things you hate. Capcom has taken a chance in hoping you will love more about this game than you’ll hate, and with a ton of mechs, awesome guns, beautiful locations, and a flawed online feature, there’s plenty to love about the game. It’s fun, at times bizarre, and occasionally frustrating as hell, but it does more than a few things really well. Unfortunately its also plagued by some rather serious design flaws that could've been solved if Capcom had taken a look at what the competition was doing. If you can look past that than you'll enjoy this game, but you might have to deal with some frustration along the way.