You have to give Capcom credit – they love to take chances. Of all the game companies in the world, they seem the most willing to push the envelope with their titles. Sometimes this results in great games – Breath Of Fire: Dragon Quarter or God Hand, for instance. Sometimes it results in games with serious flaws – say, Dead Rising. Which category does Lost Planet 2 fall into?
A little backstory. Lost Planet is a survival-action game that puts you in the shoes of a mercenary on a desolate, snowy planet hunting giant insects called Akrid. You can either travel on foot or pilot a variety of mechanized suits, and all the while you need to keep your thermal energy from depleting and letting you freeze to death. The huge enemies and exciting setpieces were great, but the overall game felt a little “samey” – awesome boss battles but too much trudging from fight to fight. The sequel was touted as “Lost Planet Squared” – does more content make the game better?
In a word: kind of. The improvements are serious improvements. The gigantic Akrid are amazing, and in a first for just about any game I’ve ever heard of, you can breach their exoskeleton and attack them from the inside, even as your co-op buddies are hammering at them from the outside. Oh, did I say co-op? That’s the way to play Lost Planet 2. With a group of op to three buddies online, the game becomes a lot more fun, especially because the AI that would normally control your friendlies is, in a word, horrible. There’s absolutely no excuse to have AI squaddies soaking up bullets and ignoring objectives in a modern game, especially when the enemy AI is on point. Throw in arbitrary walls that make you wait while areas load and a grappling hook that is less than dependable and there’s some serious frustration to be had.
However, don’t think that the game is all bad. When things are firing, it’s a definite improvement over the original. In addition, the constantly draining thermal energy has been somewhat leavened, no longer killing you if it runs down. The new Vital Suits and weapons are all pretty awesome, especially in co-op where you can actually have your buddies hitch rides on the outside. For those brief fleeting moments, Lost Planet 2 succeeds at what it sets out to do. I just wish the whole game lived up to that standard.