When discussing a sequel it is inevitable to mention the elements found in the original, whether they’re missing or present. Lost Planet 2 takes the elements of the original and refines them well. To be honest, the game has a Monster Hunter vibe, as noted by anyone who has played it. However, the true experience Lost Planet 2 has to offer can only be found in cooperation with others. The battles against the Akrid and rivaling factions have only escalated in the years between the two games. With the planet’s biosphere normalizing after NEVEC operations, EDEN III seems more reminiscent of Earth than the frozen wasteland it once was. It now features varying areas, but there is always a damn snow level. The Akrid received much needed diversity. Not only are all the original Akrid back, but the newer ones fit into the game quite well. Most of the boss fights in the game consist on fighting Category G Akrid (referred to as CAT-G in game). These towering monstrosities are memorable as well as enjoyable to fight. Each Cat-G may take a different strategy to defeat, but teamwork is always the best option.
Lost Planet 2 is meant for 4 people to enjoy together. While the AI partners are not useless, they tend to die much more frequently than a human ally. They serve their purpose of aiding the player character, but co-op is really the way to go on this one. The Vital Suit (or giant mech) aspect of the game is also expanded upon. With several new VSs to cause destruction, the game’s mech side hasn’t been lost, and with new weapons, VS combat still has a strong flame. The game’s story is split up into 6 episodes, each containing 3 chapters. These episodes cover the story of various groups of snow pirates, but focus more on an ex-NEVEC Special Forces team codenamed “First Descent”. This team of cloned soldiers is the driving force behind the story, with the episodes focusing on the pirates breaking them up.
Narrative structure and pacing are the first two problems Lost Planet 2 runs into. I don’t mind playing a story that shifts between several points of view, but who you’re playing as is often unclear (in fact, none of the characters you play as have names). Another narrative problem I see happens in the 5th episode. The entire episode is taken up by the Vagabundos, a desert faction completely made of people with horrible Mexican accents. I wouldn’t mind this break as much as I would if they had something to contribute to the ending, but they don’t. You never hear from these guys again. At least the other pirates’ actions aid First Descent in saving the planet, but all these guys do is steal a NEVEC battle fort and use it to fight a CAT-G Akrid and another battle fort.
The game’s difficulty seems to be others’ main problem with the game. The game is unforgivable at times, as was the first. While most see difficult gameplay as a turn off, I find the challenge a welcome change of pace. Most of the complaints come from Episode 3, Chapter 3. This train level is flooded with enemies, two cannons, a VS, and a turret gun. While it would be difficult to take on such odds at one time, this is not the case. However, the train is considerably long, and cover is easy to find. Another complaint is the damn grapple hook, which was a small problem in the first game. The tendency to miss whatever you intended to grab still present, and this makes getting out of some situations difficult. While not as sexy as the one in Just Cause 2, the grapple hook is still pretty decent barring this problem.
Aside from the insanely fun co-op, customization is where Lost Planet 2 starts to shine. After completing campaign once, the player has the option to switch characters for use in story. This helps the player level up characters that are not featured often in the game such as the Fight Junkies, or the Femme Fatales. The character model I enjoy the most is the Carpetbagger. His thermal pack emits smog at all times, and this level of detail carries over to the menus and “mission complete” screens, which makes me enjoy the model a little bit more. The leveling system only affects characters parts you get, not what weapons you find. That is done by the rigged slot machine system. Since there are so many tags you can get for your character, the slot machine is flooded with tags only. Never once have I gotten an extra character part. The icing on the cake is the guest character models Some unlikely (I mean really unlikely) heroes make a cameo as playable characters: Wesker from Resident Evil, Dom and Marcus from Gears of War, and best of all, Frank West from Dead Rising. I guess he really has covered wars, IN SPACE.
In all, Lost Planet 2 turned out well. From gunfights with Snow Pirates in a burning city to epic confrontations against colossal Akrid, this sequel is well worth the 60 bucks. Small problems remain small, and with solid, fun game play, Lost Planet 2 lives up to the quality of the first.
Score: 8.5/10 Wars Covered.