Developer: Spark Unlimited
Release Date: 08/27/2013
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The Lost Planet series is one of those sad ones you see on “worst of” or “what happened” YouTube videos. The first game is great if not repetitive. It was early in the HD era of gaming and showed off what the Xbox 360 could do. The second game took a serious dive and tried to be a Monster Hunter rip-off and the third game tries to blend both but doesn’t do it very well. The biggest strength in Lost Planet 3 is the continued story from the first game and it’s done quite well with story twists and surprises, but it’s dished out too slowly and the game in between is repetitive and slow.
You play as Jim Peyton. A man who is just using his rig to make some money to send back to Earth for his wife and baby. You are back on E.D.N. III and you are back to work for the NEVEC company just like in the first game, and the story starts out really slow. While you wait for that to pick up you get to learn the two main gameplay loops here. On foot shooting and your rig. The rig is a hulking mech that can’t really fight. It’s mostly used to trek across small areas to get to an objective and I honestly find this a waste of time. The whole trapesing across areas to get to somewhere isn’t done right. The areas are small, there’s zero exploration, and it just wastes time. You can eventually unlock fast traveling, but you can only fast travel at the opening of each area. The first 2/3 of the game starts each mission with you doing the same preamble of walking out of the base and then across the same areas dozens of times to get to the objective. When fast travel is unlocked it helps, but why wasn’t this an option from the start?
The rig can kind of fight, but it’s melee brawling with larger Akrid which are the planet’s native creatures you must kill. The same five-six enemies repeat throughout the entire game and it gets old quickly. There are a ton of repeated boss fights in the game and to mix things up (not really) you can fight them in the rig as well. This consists of timed blocks and then using your claw arm to and drill to get at their weak points which glow orange, a series staple. This orange stuff is the lifeblood of the planet and used as currency in-game and is sent back to Earth to solve the energy crisis. The mech itself is very clunky but in a bad way. It feels unresponsive and sluggish to move and the boss fights are never epic feeling or satisfying. The most irritating missions are the ones in which it turns into a drilling platform and you must defend it. These missions last for what seems like forever and you never have good enough weapons for the enemies at hand.
Let’s get to the on-foot combat. The weapons here are completely useless. Only the shotgun and assault rifle is any good. The hunting rifle, bowcaster, and grenade launcher are mostly useless. They fire too slow as every single enemy moves fast and swarms you. They only became useful in the final chapter when you finally fight human enemies. The same few enemies repeat. Three small swarming enemy types, two larger giant dog-like creatures, one centipede-like creature that can use cover, and three boss types that repeat often. That’s it. The game relies on quick-time events when enemies get too close and especially in the rig. They all move fast and don’t benefit from long-range weapons or slow-shooting weapons. You need a lot of ammo to pelt at them to keep them off of you. There are upgrades and weapons to purchase, but you wind up not needing most of them for the other weapons because they are useless. You can also upgrade your rig, but outside of armor there really isn’t a reason to do much upgrading.
The entire game is also dull to look at. Sure it looks nice graphically, but artistically the entire game is just ice and snow. There’s no variation and it just looks boring. Even the base is boring to be in because it’s all ice and snow. I know this is a frozen planet, but there are usually other biomes on every planet type. Mix it up some. Outside of shooting Akrid you are pulling levers, turning knobs, and pressing buttons. There are some scripted events, but the few interior areas are drab and just as boring as the outside. The game has no soul and feels like a typical cookie-cutter shooter. It feels like it tries to be Dead Space 3 sometimes with odd horror music that doesn’t fit and the creatures that hide behind cover.
Overall, the game is just so underwhelming. It doesn’t have compelling shooting, the weapons suck, the rig is wasted by not having any weapons, and the areas repeat just like the bosses and enemy types. The story is the only thing worth sticking around for, but unless you’re a hardcore Lost Planet fan there’s no reason to play this. The story is for fans of the original game and newcomers won’t get the full impact of the twists in the story. The graphics look nice, and the voice acting is great, but the same repeated ice and snow levels for 10 hours get old really fast. Sadly, this series doesn’t end with a bang and there’s a reason why Capcom left it in the graveyard.