I remember the early days of the current gen consoles. I was impressed by the slew of games coming out, but was still on the lookout for a game that truly blew me away. The first Lost Planet title from Capcom was one of those games. The graphics were stunning for its time, and it was a lot of fun to play. It was still mostly based on “shoot the weak spot, rinse, and repeat” style gameplay, but it was fun and absolutely gorgeous. The latest Lost Planet title from Capcom, Lost Planet 3, was taken on by a western developer and was pushed in a very different direction. While many of the core mechanics of Lost Planet 1 and even some of the co op aspect from Lost Planet 2 are evident, Lost Planet 3 is a different beast altogether. How did it all turn out? Well, not too bad!
I’ll tell you right off the bat that I did not even touch Lost Planet 2. I played the demo and decided that the main focus of the game just wasn’t something I was interested in. Not because giant co op battles with your friends didn’t sound interesting, but because it just didn’t seem to work well enough. Lost Planet 3 strays away from that base mechanic, and instead opts for an open world approach. It also introduces a new way to combat the giant adversaries of the hoth-like planet; a giant mech. Yes, I know the games had vital suits before, but this one is, well, bigger! I’ll get into the specifics later.
Lost Planet 3 takes place on E.D.N. III, the same planet from the first game. You play as Jim, a sort of everyman character who is working on the planet to provide a better life for his family. The story is actually very well told and aside from a few less than stellar voice actors, it’s convincing. I found myself actually starting to care about Jim’s fate, and didn’t feel that the story being told around and about him was tacked on. You get to watch as Jim interacts through video logs with his wife, and each one feels natural. The voice acting for Jim and his wife is particularly great and helps with the game’s immersion. The story seems predictable at first, but there are a few twists you probably won’t see coming.
The most jarring thing that I noticed was that the game doesn’t look as good as the previous titles. The textures are ok, but bland, and the animations seem very stiff. The grappling hook animation is also very stiff and doesn’t seem as fluid as the previous titles. It works, yes, but it just can take you out of the experience when you watch Jim get pulled up to a ledge like a mannequin. Also, gone is the need to collect the orange thermal energy to keep your health up. Now it’s just another form of currency, but a welcome change if you felt frustrated with the timed aspect of the first titles. The shooting mechanics work well and each gun is satisfying to use. Blasting a giant Akrid boss in the back with the shotgun never gets old and even though the methods to bring the enemies down are almost always the same, it’s still fun. The missions you’ll take on do fall into the realm of “fetch quest” territory though, and the game’s characters even seem to acknowledge this fact. Fetch quests are fine, but they should be few and far between.
Once the game starts heating up, you’ll use Jim’s giant mech called a “Rig”. This huge mining vessel is tremendously fun to use. You can pick up smaller Akrid with the claw and drill them into an orange pulp, but the larger boss battles will take some more skill. Most of the boss battles will require quick time events to be waded through in order to bring them down for the count. I don’t mind QTE’s, but I’m still waiting for the day that we can take on these kinds of battles with complete control over our actions. Here, it works well nonetheless. About 8 or 9 hours into the game, you’ll actually be fighting more human adversaries on the ground. I won’t spoil anything about the plot, but let’s just say I enjoyed fighting Akrid a bit more and felt this was all too similar to the largely human based fighting from Dead Space 3.
The multiplayer offers several different modes that are all pretty fun. My favorite was a mode where each player has to fight off Akrid on their own, before all coming together to fend them off as a team. There are still standard deathmatches that utilize the mech suits, which creates a new dynamic to the match. While it is fun and challenging at times, I could already tell that the number of players was dropping and it made it much harder to find a full match. If you want the game specifically for the multiplayer, look elsewhere or keep to your copy of Lost Planet 2.
Overall, Lost Planet 3 is far from perfect and has a few jarring problems, though nothing big enough to take you completely out of the experience. The story is well told and you get some insight into the planet of E.D.N III before the events of Lost Planet 1. It’s a fun third person shooter with a giant mech mechanic. If that sounds like your cup of tea, then Lost Planet 3 isn’t a bad way to kill 10 hours.