Release Date: August 27th, 2013
Developer: Spark Unlimited
Platform: [Reviewed: Xbox 360], PlayStation 3, PC
Rated: M for Mature
Along with many other series, Lost Planet 3 is going the way of the prequel, and in turn, changes the very direction of the franchise. A return to its icy setting Lost Planet 3 want to tell a more compelling story with much more believable character performance and motivations, but fails to innovate gameplay along with it.
50 years before the events of the first Lost Planet there was our main protagonist, everyman Jim Peyton, who does whatever he must to provide for his family. Peyton works on the familiarly icy EDN III, mining Unobtainium in the incredibly cold condition to simply send money to his family back home. Peyton comes across as a very likeable character you can sympathize with. Unlike the ultra space marine that can save the galaxy without a sweat, players can relate with Peyton and his struggle to see his family again.
With all human mining operations on an alien planet there was inevitable going to be a discovery of nefarious intent by the company running the show. The main villain is one you can’t hate as his motivations are not that of conquest or domination, but of sound reasoning when you understand what he’s trying to fight for.
His talks with his wife and a picture of his family are the driving force for Peyton, a constant reminder of why he’s on this “hell froze over” planet. But the humongous insectoids called Akrid still present a constant threat to Peyton’s life and he must escape with his life if he ever wishes to see his beloved family again.
One of the few things added to Lost Planet 3 is the inclusion of a main base; a place where Peyton can talk with the citizens and purchase items. This is sort of like the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword’s bazaar where all your equipment needs are all in one place. But in this case take out all the convenience and replace it with long loading times and unbearably slow elevators.
Fans of the series will be pleased that the gunplay has been left mostly unchanged. When on foot you use your standard weapons and armaments to defeat your standard Akrid and human combatants. You can upgrade standard ammunition and replace them with more powerful alternative ammo, however these special munitions can’t be picked up on the field and you must return to a shop to replenish them. If a small Akrid were to even get is mitts on you can fend it off. Instead of just mashing a button you will have to struggle to place a cursor over your assailant if you want to land hits making these moments much more intense and satisfying when you have to fight to live instead of press to win.
The biggest change to the insect fighting formula is Peyton’s utility rig that is also used to traverse E.D.N. III. The trek through bland and uninteresting locations proves to become extremely boring, especially since your rig moves at a snail’s pace; you’ll be begging for, I don’t know, a big giant insect-like creature to break up the monotony, or just use the fast-travel system.
Now Peyton’s rig is not a piece of military hardware, it is one for mining and lifting large objects, and does not carry heavy weaponry. However, it’s more than a match for the larger Akrid as it can deliver devastating melee attacks with its claw and drill attachments. The freedom to switch between ground and mech combat brings variety to Lost Planet’s combat that feels invigorating.
Unfortunately the melee combat in the mech can prove sluggish as you’ll be flailing around, swinging your arms not even connecting blows, having to resort to grabbing your enemy and drilling them to death. Be careful though, if your rig becomes too damaged during combat you will be ejected from the pit and left to fend for yourself while the rig initiates auto-repair, leaving you to battle towering Akrid with your tiny guns.
The main forces standing in your way are of course the Akrid, large insectoids species that will stop at nothing to protect their home, and you got itty-bitty human pin cushions for your bullets. The giant glowing orange weak spots are the Achilles Heel of the Akrid, a constant focus of firepower will topple even the largest of Akrid.
About a little more than halfway into the campaign you will contend with human enemies and this is where the A.I. shows its flaws. These foes are no problem as they are merely a shooting galleries pop-up target, sticking their heads out of cover for you to simply take their skull caps off. There are varied enemy types for both humans and Akrid, but the fact of the matter is that they all possess the same patterns that lead them to be taken down with the same methods. Only the Boss battles will have you studying their movement before starting an attack.
The planet of E.D.N. III may be a gorgeous home for man-eating bugs, but if you are going to spend some time walking through frozen caverns and networks you’ll be begging for some splashes of colors in no time. That’s why the Akrid are a welcomed sight and as macabre as it may seem the orange goo of Akrid blood is the only literal splash of color around.
Lost Planet 2’s online co-op mode is regrettably gone and in its place is a pretty fun 10-player competitive multiplayer with six maps to choose from. Unlike the some standard matches of other multiplayers there are modes where the objective occasionally changes to provide frantic and entertaining changes in strategy and approach.
You can earn money for completing matches and spend them on new abilities, weapons, and mods to improve your arsenal over at the Progression Sphere. There are branching paths to which you can choose to follow to gain bonus stats.
The much more story focused Lost Planet 3 follows Peyton’s unveiling of a corrupt corporation is a told through good and some hilariously bad acting. The Akrid are scaled down from the absolutely monstrous titans of Lost planet 2 and combat could’ve done more than a clumsy mech. Regardless, Lost Planet 3 has a good story and can be considered a decent if not unpolished shooter. Lost Planet 3 isn’t an awful or even a bad game, there’s just not enough to good elements to balance out the poor design choices and inconsistencies to make up the sum of its parts.
Replay Value: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 3.25/5