Capcom claims that Lost Planet 2 isn’t really a sequel at all; instead, it is in fact, "Lost Planet Squared" but is that a fair claim for Capcom to make? Lost Planet 2 is big, huge even. But does bigger always mean better? Double entendres aside, Lost Planet 2 has a lot to live up to since the first game was such a success. Can a game with so much potential still go astray? If our Hands-on Multiplayer Impressions are to be believed then the answer is yes. However, a flawed multiplayer game can sometimes be saved by an amazing single player campaign. Does Lost Planet 2 fit into that category?
One of the features that had me genuinely excited about this game was four player co-op. Growing up with a close-knit group of friends, it was pretty rare to find a game that we could all play at the same time that everybody liked. The Hunter: The Reckoning games and a few Gauntlet titles aside, there really wasn’t much for us to do. When games promise four player co-op, they pique our interest immediately, and Lost Planet 2 was no exception. The co-op is a really amazing experience when you play with your friends, but the fact that the game allows you to play with 3 AI-controlled teammates is great! Unfortunately, the game relies on co-op so heavily, the fact that the AI can barely put together a 2-piece puzzle makes attempting to play the game with anyone BUT your friends an extremely challenging task.
As stated in our prior impressions, I was still not satisfied with the controls. The fact that I had to run and melee with the same button made for lots of dilemmas. Rather than force myself to have to decide whether to run or melee and hope for the best, I chose something entirely different: I decided to never do either. How can you play the game like that, you might ask? Very carefully! The grappling hook makes for a pretty quick escape route (provided there is something to grapple onto) and jumping worked fine enough. But how hard would it have been to map "run" and "melee" to two separate buttons? Seriously! Shoddy control decisions aside, the rest of the game played pretty well. A lot of things take some getting used to, like reloading by clicking in on the right thumbstick, but if you are serious about getting in on some LP2 action then you will hardly notice the controls after about an hour.
If you have a tendency to get frustrated when you can’t get past a certain part or beat a certain enemy in a game, Lost Planet 2 will be a hard game for you to get through. Even on Normal, the game can get pretty difficult, especially once you get past the second episode. The Cat-G Akrids that you fight in the game are grand in scope and fierce in their attacks. If you are not prepared to get knocked off your feet over and over again, you might wind up throwing your controller against the wall in frustration. Too many times to count, I found myself committing suicide as one of the behemoths knocked me back about 20 feet off of a ledge THAT I WAS NOWHERE NEAR ORIGINALLY. Heck, the suicide thing happened even with regular enemies that managed to knock me back. It’s almost as if Capcom determined that the best way to level the playing field was not to make smart AI that used cover and tactics but to instead make certain bosses and enemies so frustratingly difficult that the player just quits the game entirely. Surely, someone should have told Capcom that there are other means of making a game difficult without annoying the hell out of its players, but I guess the testers were off on their lunch breaks.
As for the game’s multiplayer, not too much has changed since our initial impressions. The variation in game modes like Elimination, Post Grab and Fugitive go a long way to increase the replayablity and fun of the game (as long as you can master the controls!). One thing that will probably keep players online is the amazing character customization that LP2 offers. There are so many different options such as the "nom de guerre," armor pieces, emotes (dances, taunts, etc.), and weapons to unlock, that hardcore players and collectors will surely be playing LP2 for the foreseeable future.
Lost Planet 2 is one of those games where they force you to pay attention to the story, however weird and incoherent as it may be. Sure, there are times when you can skip the cutscenes, but with a game as beautiful as LP2 you shouldn’t be doing that, you jerk! While the game has a few "press x button here" events during cutscenes, they don’t hinder them in any way, other than forcing you to pay more attention. I was caught sleeping a couple of times and paid the price. After spending around 15 to 17 hours with the campaign, you notice all of the details that the game’s environments offer. From jungles, to glaciers, to industrial buildings, to deserts, everything that Lost Planet 2 shows you and lets you interact with is rendered beautifully. If there is one thing that I can’t bash LP2 for, it is definitely its graphics.
As with other games in this genre, Lost Planet 2 features amazing sound. The background music is epic in scope and for a shooter, the sound effects are unique. As with any good game, sound is used as a means of setting the games’ atmosphere and mood. When you don’t hear any music, there isn’t much going on in-game, but when the music kicks into high gear, know that you are about to be taken on a wild Akrid-killing thrill ride.
By offering a ton of unlockable content and a plethora of customization, Lost Planet 2 is serious about letting you show off the type of player that you are. Are you a Marcus Fenix and Dom Santiago type of person, or are you more of an Albert Wesker and Frank West kind of person? While you have to beat the campaign to unlock those characters (and have the correct saves on your hard drive), being able to romp through the jungle as any one of those "guest" characters is a pretty nice touch. While LP2 may not be as much of a "square" as Capcom wanted, it does offer lots of fun, should you be willing to dredge through its frustrations. As with most things in life, great risk equals great reward and Lost Planet 2 is no exception. The rewarding parts of the game are truly amazing, while the risky parts are extremely frustrating. Should you be willing to put your patience to the test, Capcom has made a good game for you to enjoy. Just don’t come complaining to me when you have to go buy a replacement controller!