Sunday, February 13, 2011

X360 Look - Lost Planet 2

I have my reasons for not picking up games at launch. Most of the time they're just too freaking expensive and the price drops by half in about a month anyway. The case with Lost Planet 2 was...well, I read some of the early reviews and figured the game wasn't worth the hassle. I liked the idea of a focus on cooperative-play to get through the campaign but it wasn't a $60 like. I also had to take into account that at the time my internet connection was terrible.

So fast forward to just short of now and I gotta say, Lost Planet 2 is really underrated. It is sort of like the culmination of many games Capcom has done in the past. The Lost Planet sequel has a bit of Spawn: In the Demon's Hand, a sprinkle of Powerstone 2, some Monster Hunter, and bits and pieces of every cooperative-based game Capcom has ever put out. It's got everything I could ever want in a game from guns to women in tiny outfits to spending ridiculous amounts of time unlocking junk.

The story is something best left forgotten and ignored. I think the only cutscenes I didn't skip were the funny ones where my character who was obviously a woman had the voice of a man. There are also some QTE cutscenes which I have no idea why they're included. I don't think I ever failed one and if I did I wasn't punished for it. Regardless the campaign is all about blasting humans, mechs, or akrids.

The humans are still jerks as they're always fighting each other over fossil fuels, territory, and technology. A good bit of the campaign involves entering enemy bases and tearing up their stuff. The only real worry about these guys is getting outnumbered and cornered(although snipers are a pain in the keister as well). All too often these soft and fleshy humans find comfort inside a mech. Taking these abominations down involves some powerful weapons or a mech of your own. Although if you happen to have a plasma gun you can just knock the pilot out and steal his ride. The akrid aren't gone just because some pretty-boy and his dorky buds stopped a blizzard. They're still out and looking to protect their planet from all those dirty colonizers. Akrid have also dabbled in evolution and it's expected that some massive beasts will stand between you and uh...well I have no idea what anyone is fighting for.

Oh that's right. Everyone is fighting for career points and money. Like almost every other game made in the present the primary goal in playing any game is the constant pursuit of upgrades and larger numbers. Each of the five human factions are playable so whether you're a Femme Fatale from Florida, a NEVEC Lackey from Quebec, or just some hombre with a stereotypical accent, it's guaranteed that 98 levels of experience stand between you and all those fancy customization options and unique weapons. Weapons, special-abilities, character-actions, and names are also handled by a slot-machine.

In what could be considered one of the worst ideas Capcom ever had, almost all upgrades in Lost Planet 2 are doled out via random chance. More often than not your rewards for saving the world are a bunch of silly names you can give yourself like "Dog Lover" and "Tech Romancer". The animations are at least amusing as you can break into one of those Russian dances at every opportunity. This game is totally not recommended for fans of achievements as it'll likely take hundreds of hours to get all of them.

Oh and competitive-multiplayer fans? I'll be the first to admit you guys are a weird bunch. Spending 10 minutes at a time being shot in the head by gamers worldwide is not my idea of a good time. If you really want to give this game a go competitively do know that 90% of the players have all but mastered the MP and they're either on your team or punching your clock. For me, playing competitively is out of the question as there is so much to unlock and if I end up with more deaths than kills that means I'm getting next to no points. There is still a pretty respectable number of people playing this game but it's still a rough shooter to learn.

There really is nothing better than being jumped by someone and being unable to react as they slowly chew me apart with a machine-gun. Constant grenade-usage is also expected and God help whoever doesn't have some killer weapon like a good mech. Map-control is a major aspect of this game and a lot of the time all it takes is the right tools in the right hands and the opposition has no chance. I won't even bring the non-team elimination mode into this because anyone who bothers playing it is insane. The average elimination match starts with you dying very quickly. It then leads to getting spawn-killed for the rest of the match. The game offers a short period of invulnerability so respawned players can get away but it doesn't mean much when they get cut down shortly afterwards by somebody better equipped and positioned.

Thankfully cooperative mode is where it's at and is pretty much the major reason to get this game. There have been horror stories in the past about a particular mission that takes place on a train but from what I've played it isn't bad at all. This game is best tackled with at least one semi-competent friend. Everyone tends to have their own collection of weapons they use and tactics for completing each chapter of the game. As long as players can handle their own the game is quite entertaining and long nights of constant play are guaranteed. There's at least some depth to the whole affair as while the skill rankings don't mean much of anything it's still a good idea to perform various tasks in each Chapter to raise the "GJ" rating.

The difficulty level tends to be all over the place. There's not too much in the way of challenge although there are times where the player seems ill-equipped to deal with a particular boss or the enemy soldiers are suddenly able to snipe a wing off of a moving fly from fifty miles away. I'm also really not sure just what in the heck the last boss was supposed to be. The last portion of the original Lost Planet didn't have much in the way of fans but at least it was different. In this game I'm not even sure if I'm supposed to care. Then again I guess if I bothered to watch a cutscene or two I'd probably have understood.

Really though what it all comes down to is that I have a game I can rely on for that good feeling I get from levelups. The rest of the stuff is just window-dressing at this point. It feels like we're at the point where the actual game is about getting those numbers raised and everything we do to get there has become the meta-game. Fans of achievements have been there for awhile considering the games they play solely for the gamerscore. As far as myself is concerned I guess I'm just waiting for that perfect game where I can play dress-up, level-up a bunch of stats that may or may not mean anything, and possibly do something vaguely videogame-related like shoot an alien or buy a tunic. So far I'd say Lost Planet 2 has gotten a lot closer than all of the other similar games I've played and that's an admirable feat. If this keeps up I might eventually start to forget the differences between a good and a bad game. Lost Planet 2 is definitely good and could probably be even better if the competitive multiplayer wasn't a bad joke. It has the identity, a better grasp on its concept than its predecessor, and it's just a fun game for shooting the crap with friends.

Still I think I need to focus on some games that aren't going to reward me with garbage just because I play them for a long time.

Game Rating - 3 out of 5
My Rating - 5 out of 5

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