Lost Planet 3: Capcom's Frozen Shooter Leaves Us Cold

One of the first games to make proper use of Xbox Live on the Xbox 360, the Lost Planet series has always had a steady cult gamer following. Unfortunately, attempts to widen its fanbase with its third iteration fall somewhat flat...
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One of the first games to make proper use of Xbox Live on the Xbox 360, the Lost Planet series has always had a steady cult gamer following. Unfortunately, attempts to widen its fanbase with its third iteration fall somewhat flat...

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A dying Jim recounts his arrival to E.D.N. III to his granddaughter. To Jim it was all a job. He has no agenda going to E.D.N. III, he is just a working man, looking to make a living and to provide for his wife back home.

The game is set back before NEVEC (antagonists of previous Lost Planet games) have got their fingers into E.D.N. III, and became the villains of the story (though they are sure working hard at getting there!) so Jim’s main job is to help the future baddies to gain a foothold on this planet. Whenever some dark and sinister was hinted at, I just wanted to scream at Jim to use his bloody head, but no, he ignores the warning of his deceased predecessor which leads Jim to the opening scene.

The first mission on the anti-Dune, is to regroup with the life boat. The atmosphere is tense, teasing the existence of the Akrid. However all the tension and tone is ruined when thousands run at you. I was hoping for a bit of Dead Space, and the game teased me with this experienced, and then gave me the run of the mill shooter.

Clearly the shooter genre has been ruined from me. I need polished, I need new and interesting. Sadly, something Lost Planet is lacking in. The game runs on the tired and used Unreal Engine, and feels clunky like Gears of War, though I didn’t seem to encounter the usual missing textures. The over the shoulder shooting was mundane, however the first person controlling of the rigs was unbearable. I felt no connection between my actions and the results. In the first Lost Planet, I enjoyed the mech parts, but this one I dreaded them. And they were plenty of them…

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Ignoring the gameplay, and the atmosphere, this game does get one massive thumbs from me in the character department. I felt like Jim was real, the video messages from his wife back home, and the playlists that she sends him add a nice human touch to an otherwise mundane game.

Talking about characterisation, the humour of some of the random NPC’s was interesting. One NPC was naked and swimming in a pool, another, told me about his love of penguins (though warned me not to try and have sex with one…), and finally one NPC gave me some sage like advice that toilet paper was like gold, and should be used as currency instead of ‘heat’.  And this humour helps the genre confused atmosphere (somewhat). It helps builds a sense that these guys are pioneers, on the frontier, just trying to stay alive, and using humour as a coping mechanism.  Though in fairness, the whole concept is kind of a like a joke, a valuable heat source is located on the coldest planet… It’s one big cosmic joke really.

The game also boosts a multiplayer portion which houses some of the tired and tested gameplay modes. Nothing new in this regard, and wasn’t enough to hold me past a few games that seemed to take forever to fill up. I suppose this is what happens to the ‘smaller’ games when, Battlefield 3, Call Of Duty, and Halo has the FPS online sector locked down.

So in conclusion, fans of the series will like the return to the snowy E.D.N. especially after the slightly hotter Lost Planet 2. But I’m predicting this instalment won’t grab any new fans, certainly when standing up against the array of games coming this fall. Might be best to save your for GTA V and November’s onslaught of new games.