Lost Planet is one of those games that can't decide what it wants to be, the original was a mech suit romp set in a snowy wasteland, the second turned into a co-op focused grindfest with plenty of giant monsters to decimate, and with this third outing, it's changed yet again to a story heavy single player experience. Is this lack of definition a show that the creators don't have a clear vision for the franchise? Or is its saving grace that every experience will be new and unique?
Lost Planet 3 is a prequel to the two previous games in the series and focuses on the initial colonization of the planet EDN III, you play as Jim Peyton, a family man who has decided to work with NEVEC to help mine the planet for resources to send back to Earth, which is running out of natural resources of its own.
Upon arrival, Jim is instantly thrown into action, during a blizzard his ship is brought down a fair distance from his intended landing site, at which point the Akrid, the planets natural inhabitants, attack him. Fighting your way through a cave system, Jim is eventually united with a rescue party who help him get to the base. Jim brings with him his own mech, a huge machine equipped with drills and claw like hands built specifically for mining, and once you get access to it, it will be your main mode of transportation around the harsh winter wasteland that is the surface of EDN III.
|So... how about that drink?|
There's plenty more there there to keep you going through the whole game, I don't really want to drop any spoilers as there are a number of twists and turns to keep you guessing to what's really going on. Other than the main story, the characters, especially Jim, are really what drive the plot forward, it kept me entertained throughout the whole game.
Playing from a third person perspective, you are tasked with a wide variety of tasks to help maintain the base that you live in, this includes; fixing external parts of the base and reconnecting power supplies which get damaged by the harsh environment or come under Akrid attack. The game has you either walking about on foot or sitting in the cockpit of your mech, trampling about in the mech gives you increased protection from the elements and enemy alike as well as being a powerhouse at taking on larger monsters. It also provides you with your HUD elements such as a minimap, health indicators and ammo supplies, whenever you leave the mech these details disappear from your screen should you wander too far away. It's a good way to make the feeling of making you feel a bit less over protected and more vulnerable to whatever is happening around you.
|Everyone wants a badass machine like this.|
One issue I've found with larger monsters is they all have a weak spot, while this has been the same with the larger Akrid across the series, most of the time in this game you have to wait for a monster to charge at you, roll out the way and then shoot them in the back, either that or there's a specific thing you have to do using the rig such as grabbing a monsters arm as it swings at you and then put the drill into the weak spot, do this 3 times and then start all over again which can make the battle sections a little bit tedious.
|JUST DIE ALREADY!!|
Multiplayer has you competing to capture points on a map while also trying to take out as many opponents as possible, the mixture of deathmatch with objectives gives you two different ways to attack the opposite team which is good for mixing it up, but the actual gameplay is nothing special. It's a little underwhelming and feels like it's been shoehorned in and doesn't really complement the single player game.
Graphically the game looks good but with the occasional loading of textures, sometimes it can look a little strange with armour detail as well as characters faces not appearing immediately, not a huge issue but noticeable. Enemy design hasn't really changed much since the original game with the exception of the much larger monsters. All of the Akrid do have a similar design aspect with them all being fairly heavily armoured with a more bold colour palette which seems to allow the player to distinguish their weak spots a lot more easier, but it also allows them to blend in with the environment. The environments themselves are interesting enough, the main mass of land you have to cross is a pretty barren wasteland of deep snow and ice, as well as cave systems that harbour most of the alien species.
Part of what makes the single player so compelling is the great voice acting that has gone into Jim and the supporting cast. He's really brought to life through the video transmissions he sends between him and his wife back on Earth, as they are unable to have a direct conversation across the distance of the planets. These usually play to show the passage of time, there's parts of the game where a week or two will go by, but rather than have you play through these where nothing happens, there's a video call between Jim and his wife mentioning how long it's been since their last communication. Sometimes you'll also get a short video of Jim sitting in his mech listening to some country music, it helps to show another side of Jim as he's not constantly running about shooting everything that moves.
Lost Planet is a series that I'm rather fond of; the original was one of my first experiences with the Xbox 360 when it launched and the sequel kept me entertained for months what with the co-op campaign being so fun. Lost Planet 3's campaign was captivating enough to keep me interested enough to play through the entire story, but the lackluster multiplayer was a real disappointment which seemed to only be there to tick a box on the packaging.
Graphics/ Sound = 7/10
Final We Know Gamers Score = 6.6/10
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