Guest Author - James Shea
The sequel to "Lost Planet: Extreme Condition", Lost Planet 2 brings more of the same chaotic action that drew people to the original Lost Planet.
Lost Planet 2 is a third-person shooter that focuses very heavy on co-op gameplay. The basic gameplay is very familiar to the original Lost Planet, focusing on the use of guns, grenades, and mechs, as well as some more acrobatic elements like grappling hooks. This basic formula hasn't changed from LP1, and the control scheme is similar enough not to be distracting. However, the game is a lot more focused on the "multiplayer" aspect, making it the center attraction rather than a sideshow.
For example, there is no longer a standard "story". There's campaign missions with cutscenes and so on, but they're centered around fairly generic teams of four - perfect for co-op gameplay, at least. Campaigns are broken up into chapters and episodes. Chapters are the shortest unit, and take about 30 minutes to complete - if you quit halfway, there's no way to start again in the middle of one. Episodes are more of a division for story purposes, but they're capped off by a definite final boss fight.
While Lost Planet had a few unlockables, almost all of LP2 is centered around unlocking new stuff. This includes new weapons, new titles, new customization parts, and new emote animations. However, the unlocking method is kind of haphazard. There's two methods: experience and roulette. Experience is gained by playing as a character type, and getting experience unlocks parts for that character model. The roulette, on the other hand, is more generic: after a mission, you earn credits, and 2000 credits earns you a spin of the roulette wheel. What you unlock includes weapons, abilities, emotes, and titles, but it ends up being frustrating because of how common it is to get a title rather than something meaningful. There's hundreds of titles, and all they are is a word or phrase attached to your name, and they make up the majority of the game's unlockable content.
Weapons work a bit differently because of the unlock system. Unlike LP1, where you could just pick up any weapon, LP2 has a few categories of weapon - standard, short, long, heavy, etcetera. When you unlock weapons in the roulette, you unlock the ability to change your default weapon of a category to the new weapon. For example, the Hand Cannon is in the Heavy category. If I changed the Heavy category from the default (Rocket Launcher) to Hand Cannon, I would find a Hand Cannon wherever there'd normally be a Rocket Launcher pickup. Other people would see whatever they'd set as the "Heavy" category. It's kind of weird and unnecessary, but it at least allows for some tinkering and control with regards to the game's content.
The graphics and designs are pretty good, but one of the biggest changes in design terms is the introduction of warm temperatures - jungles, lakes, and so on - rather than the purely-arctic climate of the first game. Normally, having more environments would be a good thing, but Lost Planet 1 was kind of unique because of the fact that it all took place in the snow and cold. LP2's environments, while still nicely rendered, feel a lot more generic. Still, it looks nice all-around.
Overall Lost Planet 2 is an interesting game in terms of its dynamic. It's a fun game, and it's neat how tailored towards cooperative play it is. The game's major downsides are the roulette system and the use of "Games for Windows LIVE" rather than an internal online connection. Still, it handles pretty well and the gameplay's fun - worth a pickup if you've got a lot of friends looking for a game to play together.
Purchased with our own funds through Steam.