Looking to kill big, are we? Then welcome to a 4-player co-op styled kill-a-thon. Lost Planet 2 promises giant and epic boss battles alongside a huge array of weapons, mechs (VS) and deep character customisation. The Category G Akrid battles are what you play for and working out their various weak points is the goal. Of course, there are plenty of smaller Akrid and people to fight.
Lost Planet 2 in essence is one of the most Japanese games you’ll play this year. Not only with the odd control system, weak-point centred boss battles, and thigh high socks on the femme fatales, but also with the slightly dated feel of the gameplay. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s that familiarity that shows Lost Planet 2 as a strong competitor in a sea of co-op titles. Remaining hardcore, Lost Planet 2 has one of the hardest trophy/achievement sets I have ever seen. Ranging from completing 300 chapters to levelling up all factions to 99, you are in for a serious challenge ahead.
In bear essence, LP2 is a third person action game which offers a six episode campaign mode broke into three or four chapters. The chapters contain several checkpoints to hit, each with different objectives. You can’t load up from the checkpoints, only the start of chapters themselves, something that becomes infuriating as the chapters get longer and more difficult. Lost Planet 2 feels a lot like Left 4 Dead in that you’re playing to get through chapters rather than hitting checkpoints. It’s so much easier with a co-op team than AI as they are not very dependable, even on the easiest setting. Chapters can range from 2-20 minutes, depending on your skill and there are plenty of collectables, and objectives to keep you playing.
There is a story but, if I am brutally honest, you are probably not going to be paying much attention to it. You are killing things together, again like Left 4 Dead, not paying strict attention to the narrative. Relaying on transmissions and the on-screen commands to lead the way, the story felt a little short though there to pad out each area and give a little background.
There were some cut scenes that rendered pointless and a few forced QTE action sequences could have been removed. The QTEs seemed a little meaningless as failing one didn’t cause any repercussions other than seeing your character fall. I can certainly see what Lost Planet 2 was trying to attempt here, with its cinematic styled cut-scenes and big set pieces, but it felt over saturated with these mini moments; Like the 40 second cut scene where one no-named soldier shoots the enemy that was attacking their team mate, then vice versa, they both nod at each other and the game resumes. Nothing was gained from the scene and it certainly wasn’t worth chucking me out of a rather solid section of the game to do so.
I’m not saying that all of the cut-scenes should be skipped. There are some truly beautiful scenes to behold and some fantastic entrances for the huge Akrid bosses you encounter throughout the game. The game is gorgeous, lush and changes up constantly, allowing the player to soak in the action in snow, sand, deep sea and even tropical jungles. It was a shame to see these ruined by slight screen tearing in while playing In HD, though not as bad as Resident Evil 5.
For a game that really emphasises on people playing together, it certainly doesn’t like you joining in on games straight away. Unless you have finished the chapter in question, then you can’t join in with one. While this would be understandable for stopping players trying to get to the end straight away, it doesn’t make sense blocking players from joining a level they have unlocked but not completed. For instance, I was really struggling with level 3-3. I decided to find other players on the same level but when I tried to connect to that game I was refused entry. I have not completed chapter 3 so I wasn’t allowed into their game. It doesn’t even take into account any checkpoints you have hit during the chapter either. So, if your friends get the game early, then start hoping that they are willing to start all the way from the beginning with you or you are going to have to catch up alone.
As I mentioned before, there is a real feel of the Left 4 Dead type online structure. It’s fun, addictive and enjoyable with friends but a little bit slow, stale and frustrating alone. The AI has a real issue providing ample back up during the bigger fights and are especially frustrating when they blatantly refused to help with a boss battle. The game is much easier in co-op and, pushing previously mentioned joining restrictions aside, the drop-in co-op play is great for those who just want to join in on the action.
Boss battles are Lost Planet 2’s selling point and they take each one to a new level. From the huge and iconic Salamander, to deep sea dragon-like Akrids, each boss battle was unique and exhilarating. It’s tough when you are trying to work out how to take each out, but rewarding and rapid once you have learned the trick. I spent 30 minutes working out how to take down this one boss, only to be shown an alternative trick which resulted in taking it down in less than 5 minutes. This also contributes toward unlocking new gear, customisable content for your characters. The faster, cleaner and more organised your team is the quicker and more rewarding each playthrough becomes. This makes each replay of a level more enjoyable than the last.
There is a training mode for those who need to learn some extra tricks, each trail more challenging than the last. A huge multiplayer mode, which all the classics like capture points and death match to be explored just in case you get board of playing co-op.
Lost Planet 2 is a huge package. It’s challenging, rewarding, frustrating and enjoyable all at the same time. While the game is more hard-core than your average third person action game, it isn’t one to simple ignore. Lost Planet 2 is a serious competitor for the co-op market, especially Left 4 Dead and apart from a few niggling annoyances with connecting to co-op games, Lost Planet 2 is a fantastically deep title that is well worth the time and rewards you will reap from it.
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