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[PS3 Hands-on] Lost Planet 2

Written by: guuzen on 6 June 2010 at 4:53 am No Comment

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I have been playing this game for around a month, and so far I have only completed the campaign on three difficulties (easy, normal, hard). In terms of game completion I am probably not even halfway through thanks to the many collectables in the game. It is okay though because I am still having fun with it.

I have played a ton of the cooperative and multiplayer demo together with Zenical so I jumped into the retail version knowing very well the little, but numerous flaws that are in the game. What I can conclude about Lost Planet 2 is that if you do not have time to invest in the learning curves, then you should not pick this game up. In this post I will address some of the problems I have faced so far.

Undesired Controls

The first and one of the most frustrating problem that most people will face is the awkward control scheme. People should note that the game does not follow the typical controls for a normal shooter. For example, the reload button is pressing R3, throwing grenade is the L1 button, and zooming/scoping is the up/down directional buttons. I have scrolled through the provided control schemes and none of them are much better or worse than the other. The controls will take some time to master, but it is not impossible.

So lets say you have mastered the obvious movement and combat controls. There are still a ton of “hidden” controls for you to find out and get used to. Unless you read through the whole manual to uncover some of them, most people jump straight into the game without doing so, expecting some tutorial levels or pop-ups to teach them that. Well, Lost Planet 2 has none of those so it is up to you, your friends, or the loading screens to teach you how to execute the more advanced controls. One example would be dashing while on a Vital Suit (VS). You have to push the left stick in the desired direction while pressing it down, and then press the X button. Unless you view the in-game VS manual, there is almost no way that a person will be able to find out about that. Once again, learning these controls will take time but not impossible.

Clunky Menus

The menus in this game suffer the same problem as Resident Evil 5, it feels very time consuming to get to the desired page that you are looking for. The game’s main page itself is suffering from clunkiness. There are icons arranged in a horizontal manner, each depicting the menu that it represents. However, the name of the menu that they are depicting will only appear when you select it. Of course, this will not be a problem after a while but it is still an unnecessary inconvenience to new players. After selecting one, you may be greeted by tons of sub menus before reaching your desired page.

To add on to the problem, some of the menus require a loading screen which really gives a “can’t this thing go any faster??” kind of feel. This is not a very big problem, but there are times when it does get in your way. For example, a lot of times I just want to visit “My Page” just to use up my credits on the slot machine. But when you enter “My Page”, it requires a loading screen. If you are rushing for time, this will frustrate you a little.

Slow Character Animations

The characters in the game wear really heavy armor. Unfortunately, the weight has been carried over to the character animations. If you have played games like Monster Hunter or Resident Evil 5, this is quite similar to those games. when you switch your weapons, your character will stop moving. When you are throwing a grenade, your character will stop moving. When you fall from a certain height (quite low), there will be a 2-3 seconds stumbling animation. When you are near a grenade, you will be knocked off your feet and getting back up will take 3-5 seconds. These animations may sound quite fast when you are reading it, but when you are under fire by a bunch of enemies, 3 seconds is enough to get you killed.

Story Feels Unimportant

There are a lot of times I find myself just not interested at what is going on in the story. Usually when it involves some sort of large scale catastrophe, I will be more inclined to find out what happened. But in this game, I just feel detached from the story.

I feel the main problem is the campaign being 4-player cooperative. It feels like the developers are more focused on making the levels playable in a cooperative environment than trying to make them convey the story better. All you do in the game is activating data posts after data posts and then when all of them are activated, you will go to the next area where you can activate even more data posts. Then when you die, there will be a respawn timer and then you can select the data post that you want to respawn at. I am not sure why, but the fact that you can respawn in such a manner just makes me feel disconnected from the story. Left 4 Dead is a perfect example on how to make it less obvious and more in tune with the game’s setting.

Another aspect that makes the story feel unimportant are the characters in the game. The snow pirates in the same faction look identical and they sound almost the same, so it is very difficult to distinguish them. Furthermore, all of them are wearing some sort of headgear that either covers the bottom half of their face or the whole head. Not being able to see their full facial features makes me feel unattached to them, which is crucial for better story progression.

With those things in mind, I am more interested in shooting and surviving than what is happening to the planet.

Textures Vs. Close-up Shots

There are a bunch of close up shots in the cinematics of Lost Planet 2. They are good to use to express certain emotions and make viewers feel closer (NOT literally) to the characters. However in this game, the close-up shots show the “ugly” side of the game. When zoomed in, the textures in the game look blurred which in turn make them look awful. I have to say though, that when the view is more zoomed out, the game looks great. So if they handle the camera shots better, my impression of the overall visuals will definitely improve.

No Friends? Avoid Playing

The cooperative campaign is a lot of fun to play with. However, if you do not have any friends to play with, you will find it quite boring after a while. I usually play with Zenical and rarely find myself playing alone. I can complete the story once by myself just fine, but the main reason that I am interested to play through it again is that I have friends to play with. It is fun to help each other and laugh at all the dumb mistakes that we make. If I do not have any friends, I will still be replaying it, but the main reason will be to earn trophies.

Another reason why it is better to play with a friend is that after a while, you will keep skipping cutscenes because you have already watched them. Unlike Resident Evil 5, there are no indications that your teammate(s) wants to skip them. So you will find yourself going off to do something else while waiting for the cutscene to end. There is in-game voice-over chat, but I usually do not use it when playing with strangers so I do not want to turn it on just to tell them to skip cutscenes.

On A Brighter Note

Apart from the textures and story, I find that with more time and a few friends, the game can be quite fun. There are tons of guns, character parts and abilities to unlock, it is fun to coordinate attacks with your friends, you can laugh at all the silly little mistakes that your friends make, see what funny Noms de Guerre that your friend has applied, enjoy the great visual effects, and probably a lot more that I cannot think of right now. If you can look past some of these flaws, the game is actually pretty decent.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I feel that Lost Planet 2 is pretty similar to Resident Evil 5. The game can be really fun, but the playing environment has to be just right. Once again if you do not have the time to invest in learning curves, you are better off playing other games that are more suitable for you. If you are patient or have time to spare and got a few friends to play with frequently, then you should really get it.

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