Lost Planet 2
Much as we had anticipated the early 2010 release schedule is proving even more scary that the late 2009 one. As game after game fled from the devastating shadows of Modern Warfare 2, Assassin’s Creed II and FIFA 10, they began to hunch up between January and April 2010 and now we’re seeing many escape again.
Chief among them are some of Capcom’s heavy hitters of the new year such as Super Street Fighter IV, Dead Rising 2 and our focus of attention here Lost Planet 2, which have all been ‘strategically delayed’ to avoid the cramped schedule of releases.
It’s not a bad move as it gives us a little more time to chew over what these games will be bringing and in the case of Lost Planet 2 that’s rather a lot. This is surely one of Capcom’s most ambitious games to date, simultaneously looking to bring new levels of interaction and fun to co-op gameplay while also creating a world on a scale we could barely have imagined.
Whether or not there is an allegory for global warming, rampant expansion of human settlements or careless expenditure of natural resources in the backdrop of this game matters little when a worm the size of Derbyshire (it may actually be a little smaller) is attempting to eat you.
Lost Planet was pretty impressive in terms of scale, but it pales into insignificance next to its successor. The size of the Akrid bosses here boggles the mind and fogs the senses. Seeming one emerge only helps to hammer home just how important it is that you work as closely with your squad as possible. The co-op gameplay in Lost Planet 2 is a centrepiece of the game as we have discussed before, but it holds together because the rewards are numerous and fun. This could actually be a game you could play with strangers as working together gives you a payoff that is hard to resist.
For instance there are around four times as many Vital Suits this time around and many of them afford more than one person to interact with it. There will be one pilot of course, but some suits allow for additional players to latch onto the mech and fire secondary weapons. In this way the mechs become even more like walking tanks or personnel carriers and should make light work of those pesky Akrid. In the case of our giant worm friend, killing him off involves manning a rather large cannon and having the other team members find, charge and load shells into it for someone to fire. Once again, it’s a fine example of co-op being integral to gameplay, but also easy to pick up and obviously beneficial to everyone.
The ultimate rewards for all these efforts are the item drops you get from enemies, which add to the customisation system that is a vital part of tuning your own experience of the game. Weapon drops for instance will appear to each player differently depending on their loadout preferences meaning you won’t get bogged down with useless items. This is perhaps one area where playing with friends would be advised as you could work to specialise yourselves and create a more effective and balanced squad than might otherwise be the case. There are not fixed classes though, so it’s really just down to personal preferences, but having a point man, explosives guy and at least one support guy isn’t going to do you any harm. We’ll let you argue about who gets to walk around with the rocket launcher.
As you might expect from a game that is attempting to shake up conventions a little the introduction of a boss to the area is accompanied by an optional cinematic, but this sequence doesn’t take you out of the game. Hitting the d-pad will cue camera pan to introduce the latest beast, but you still have full control of your character, can be attacked and can fight as this happens. You don’t have to cue the camera move at all if you don’t want. If you do you’ll just have to make sure you’re paying attention to your surroundings.