|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Capcom||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capcom||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 11, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-16||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
More than just the Akrid are buggy in this incredibly wonky third-person shooter from Capcom. Sure, the game sports moments of great fun, but more often than not you'll struggle with loads of frustration, constant interruption, and uninspired gameplay. It's a real shame that a game built from the ground up for four-player co-op could be so forgettable. Undoubtedly, the graphical polish, brutal difficulty, and loads of content will win its fair share of believers, but most players that pick this one up will be looking to unload it after just a few hours of play.
Lost Planet 2 fails to improve upon the pitfalls of the original. In fact, in many ways, the predecessor was a lot more fun (even with the timer of doom!); it appears that all the revisions made to the game have essentially thrown the baby (i.e. fun) out with the bath water. Time and time again I found my enjoyment thwarted by poor design and bad execution. If it weren't for a few genuinely cool moments and features, this game simply couldn't be recommended at all. It's very ironic how a game this well-crafted in so many ways could be plagued so frequently by such amateurish missteps.
That being said, I'd like to start out by talking about what went right. What players are given this time around is an exceptionally beautiful, varied world within which to shoot giant bugs and rival factions. Truly, this is a gorgeous game that will set any high definition screen alight. From icy, windswept snowdrifts and stinking, oppressively hot jungles, to expertly lighted complexes and blazing deserts, E.D.N. III is a great place to battle.
In addition to the excellent environments, character and enemy designs are inspired. All the various human factions were nicely concepted; fleshed out with unique gear, tats, hairstyles, masks, etc. Also, there are a lot of unique, "oh s#!t"-inducing Akrids that constantly pop up. Best of all, the skyscraper-sized Category-G Akrids are some of the most imposing bosses you'll face in gaming.
Facing off against these Cat-Gs is where Lost Planet 2 truly shines. These gargantuan battles require players to work in concert in order to bring them down. Aiming for their glowing orange weak spots, you'll have to try and slice off their appendages in order to get at the truly vulnerable parts. These monsters also have supremely powerful, and varied, attack abilities, so dodging, using other players as bait, taking advantage of the terrain, and using superior firepower is all part and parcel of the intense, often strategic action.
As already hinted at, the game includes some rather robust co-op features that allow four-players to take on the campaign together. This game's story mode was meant to be shared with others. Truly, it was built from the ground up specifically for four-player co-op. Joining up with a group of four players not only can make for some memorable gaming, but it also maximizes the gameplay; simultaneously alleviating certain pressures while creating new teamwork-based challenges. Also, not enough games out there offer a truly compelling co-op experience, and Capcom has gone out on a limb to make co-op the game-defining feature.
Also in the plus column, Lost Planet 2 can be very challenging and boasts loads of content. In addition to multiple difficulty and friendly-fire settings, the Akrid can be quite lethal, human enemies are often entrenched, and missions can be failed for the careless implementation (or blatant disregard) of team tactics. As such, core shooter fans will find a lot of challenge to savor. Moreover, if you find the gameplay interesting, there is a lot of content to enjoy, not only in the campaign but in a handful of other game modes as well. Lastly, end of mission point tallies and grade ranks in the campaign, as well as leveling up in the competitive online side of the game, mean players have a structure that may make multiple play-throughs worthwhile.
Disappointingly, that's where the pros stop; the list of cons are far lengthier. For starters, the game is broken up by and into several missions. These missions feature cutscenes that try to throw an inane narrative into the mix. Unfortunately, you're attention span will be assaulted by a barrage of "Please Wait" screens; constantly getting ripped from the action by these seemingly artificial and unnecessary stoppages in play gets very disconcerting, very quickly.