Sunday, 16 May 2010

Review: Lost Planet 2

On paper, Lost Planet 2 sounds fantastic: team-up to take down huge bosses using a plethora of cool weaponry and robotic suits, customise your character with unlockable items whilst levelling up in both the campaign and multiplayer. However, like everything else in life, all of this comes at a cost. In exchange, Capcom wants your sanity, your sense of equilibrium and about three control pads. In short, it is one of the most frustrating games I have ever played.

Lost Planet 2 is full of epic visuals, slick art direction and the kind of strong ideas that you'd expect in a Capcom game. The problem is, nearly all of them are so poorly implemented, or marred by another, flawed feature, that every session will leave you feeling sore and only looking at the negatives.

Capcom has clearly focused their efforts on making Lost Planet 2 a sequel in the Hollywood sense. It most certainly is bigger and packed with new features. Some of the giant boss battles are genuinely impressive and convey a sense of scale that would make Cliff Blezinski weep. Unfortunately, by diverting all their attention into those huge bosses, Capcom have forgotten to address the issues from the first game and have even created new ones that could have been easily avoided were they paying more attention to the basics.
Rather than pitting you against legions of Akrid, you now spend the majority of your time duking it out with other gun-toting, Vital Suit riding snow pirates. Gone is your sense of power, the variety and the arcade pacing that made the first one so much fun, instead leaving you with a run-of-the mill cover shooter without a cover system.

In single-player mode the game is rendered almost unplayable at times, thanks to some brutally retarded AI. One sequence in particular tasks you with defeating one of the huge 'Category G' Akrid using a mounted railway cannon. This sequence involves having to manually load it with huge shells, then energise them, rotate the cannon to the correct position and then get in it, aim and fire. All the while, your train is being rammed by the giant Akrid and you are being swarmed by smaller, 'projectile' Akrid. It doesn't end there, either. You also have to monitor your train's declining health bar, running to the bottom after every second or third Akrid attack, to inject coolant to stop the thing going up in flames. Oh, also if you fall off, it's instant death and back to the beginning of the entire level, not the boss battle, the ENTIRE LEVEL. Now, this may be totally manageable with three team mates, but the fuck-awful AI would rather watch as you perform each task yourself. Seriously, it's almost as if they are mocking you; they even occasionally will pick up a shell, as if to rub salt in the wound, showing what, in a fair and just world, they should be doing to help you.

Next time a game markets itself as a 'team-up' experience, really take that into consideration before you purchase it. The AI renders whole sections of the game unplayable, leaving you wishing for the uninvolved, checkpoint activating nonsense that comprises the other 90% of the game. The game is criminally shallow at times, posing you with little more to do than find another data post, each time insisting on another, ill-conceived reason that you would be doing it, usually it's to facilitate some sort of evacuation procedure. Most of the time I felt like the world's unluckiest cartographer.

I wish there were more nice things to say about the game, I truly do. As a die-hard Capcom fanboy, I wanted to love this game and bought it over Alan Wake, telling myself that I should always support the things I love, like when I bought Brutal Legend over Uncharted 2. I know, I know. Lost Planet 2 almost goes out of the way to frustrate you. One moment you'll be admiring the lush scenery, marvelling at the sense of scale, eyeing up a new piece of robotic hardware and the next, you'll be throwing your controller, because you can't for the love of God understand why they won't allow you to use your grappling hook mid-fall.

Even the promising unlockables system is let down by some frankly bizarre systems. Rather than collecting character parts and weapons in-game, you collect points. However, these points can't be spent on whatever you want, but instead you must use them on a 'spinner' (read: gambling machine) that nine times out of ten dishes out titles and taunts rather than anything of any actual use. You could be forgiven for thinking that the game was purpose-built to frustrate and annoy.

Lost Planet 2 had everything going for it, but is ultimately let-down by it's refusal to address the issues from the first game, adopt a user-friendly control scheme or steal from Western action games. It's as if they think Western gamers desire little more than online co-op and competitive modes, forgetting that the successes of Gears of War and Call of Duty are down to their tight mechanics and even tighter execution. It's a shame, because in the hands of more forward-thinking, or even contemporary developers, Lost Planet 2 could have been incredible.

1 comment:

r4 sdhc said...

Lost Planet 2 is the best third person shooter game to play. The difficulty will increase in its every stage for us. We can get the lots of action to play this game.