Lost Planet 2 Review


Sequels are supposed to take a game franchise forward, building on their predecessors' strengths, shoring up their weaknesses, and adding new features to enhance the gameplay. Unfortunately, that's not the case with Lost Planet 2, a sequel that manages to be a step backward from the original game. In fact, if Lost Planet 2 was the first game in the franchise, then there probably would never have been a sequel.

E.D.N. III, the frozen planet that served as the setting for Lost Planet has begun to thaw in Lost Planet 2 to the point where steamy jungles and wind-swept deserts have started gaining a foothold on the planet. I suppose that the developers took E.D.N. III in this direction to provide for some variety in the game's environments, but in doing so they lost a lot of what made Lost Planet unique. The constant need to acquire T-Eng (thermal energy) to keep from freezing to death added an element of suspense to Lost Planet as you had to contend with the constant ticking of your death clock while fighting your way across the frozen tundra. In one of Lost Planet 2's jungles you still collect T-Eng, but it's just used to collect weapons at crates scattered across the levels and is such a non-factor in the gameplay that you wonder whether or not it's even worth the effort to go around scooping it up. You'll spend most of these levels with the T-Eng meter pegged to full so you'll probably go with 'not'.

The original Lost Planet was perfectly playable as a single player game, and although the story wasn't an entirely coherent narrative at least an attempt was made. In Lost Planet 2, there are some cutscenes between missions but there's no real story to speak of it's more like a collection of Sci-Fi movie clips than it is a story. But if you pick up Lost Planet 2 to play as a single player game the lack of a story will be the least of your problems. The game's campaign is such a mess that it's practically unplayable in single player mode and even taking it on in four player co-op won't help much.

The first time you sit down to play the campaign you might think that you accidentally entered into the multiplayer game because the campaign starts you off in a game lobby with options to host or find a game. To play the game on your own you need to host a game and fill out the other three co-op spots with AI-controlled players and once the mission begins you'll find that there's very little 'I' in that 'AI'. Computer-controlled teammates constantly get themselves lost or stuck somewhere, are incapable of helping you accomplish mission objectives, and have a remarkable inability to hit anything that they shoot at. You'll essentially be on your own in each mission, which can make for some frustrating times when faced with objectives clearly designed to be accomplished by a squad of human players in co-op play. Amazingly your teammates are superior to your enemies, who will often stand a few feet from you and do absolutely nothing at all as you fill them full of lead. Making a bad situation worse, the mission design is terrible. Objectives are poorly designed and even more poorly communicated to the player. You have to play through an entire level's worth of missions in one sitting or you'll be forced to start over from the beginning the next time you play because you can't save your game between missions.