|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Capcom||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capcom||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 11, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-16||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Travis Fahs
June 9, 2009 - In 2006, Capcom revealed Lost Planet at E3, and it completely shattered everything we thought we knew about the Japanese developer. While Capcom has always been known for endless sequels and a sometimes rigid adherence to convention, Lost Planet served as something of an admission of guilt by embracing Western design and control conventions in a completely new world. Now a sequel is finally on the way, and Capcom's internal studio is working even harder to keep up with America's best.
Cooperative play is the name of the game, and one of the most requested features in action gaming. To show off their new sequel, they had locally networked units running the campaign in four-player mode. Rather than assuming control of Wayne, players can create a custom character before joining in. We're a bit worried that this could compromise the cinematic storytelling. A Capcom rep assured us that since cutscenes are all real-time, this won't be an issue, but the demo itself was devoid of any story at all.
The gameplay is still very familiar. Despite the fact that the world is no longer snow covered (though it is the same planet), there is still "thermal energy" that works as fuel and constantly ticks down to keep you moving. The controls are identical, with a classic first and third-person shooter dual analog set up. Old weapons returned, along with some new ones like a flamethrower (admittedly not very effective in the demo).
What has changed is the scenario itself, which seems to be built from the ground up with co-op in mind. While the campaign will still be playable solo, the emphasis will be on multiplayer. The demo featured only a single enemy, a massive hundred-yard-long, six-legged monster capable of squashing you or a squad-mate with a single blow of his giant foot. The usual glowing orange weak points are still present, but this monster positively dwarfs anything in the original game. It's so huge, you can even travel inside of it when it's wounded.
The epic scale of the fight really does encourage cooperation, but maybe at the expense of the single-player game. The representative told us that at the present time the difficulty does not scale depending on the number of the players, which could turn the solo game into a frustrating or tedious experience. In fact, we were told that this massive boss (easily bigger than anything in the first) was one of the smaller bosses from early on, and that giant creature fights were par for the course, which could further compound the problems for those who want to play offline. We also have concerns that the focus on multiplayer will mean reduced cutscenes.
What is clear, however, is that Capcom is intent on delivering the best possible co-op game they can, whatever the cost. Whether the revised focus pays off remains to be seen, but team players will have a real feeling of accomplishment if they can manage to tear down the towering boss creatures in Lost Planet 2. The title is currently scheduled for the crowded fourth quarter of 2009.
CCC Freelance Writer