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Review: Lost Planet 2

Greg Tito | 27 May 2010 13:00
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That is the major failing of LP2: it's all about co-op. In the first game, you can play cooperatively but it was hardly a necessity. With the sequel, it feels like Capcom wanted to steal Left 4 Dead 2's gameplay by forcing you to play with other people. You can play by yourself, with up to 3 AI bots to assist you, but they don't do very much. This is especially evident for the many boss battles, where there is usually something that players have to do together. Understanding what you and your team is supposed to do at any given moment is not always obvious. There's one fight where you have to kill a big Akrid who is chasing the aforementioned train gun. You have to kill it, ostensibly by using the huge gun, but how that occurs is a bit of mystery. It shouldn't be left to trial and error to figure out that you have to bring the shells to the gun, load them, then turn the gun to point at the big bug. All of this is possible solo, but it is really necessary to have buddies with you to load the shells, "energize" them with T-ENG and then assist in turning the big ass gun. If you are alone, all of those tasks take up too much time and the boss is busy eating the ship.

All of this makes the big climactic fights feel like WoW boss fights when no one has read the strategy guide: "Oh I get it, I'll shoot the big weapon over here and you go over there and activate that data post while Shooter McJones shoots thermal energy at me if I take damage." I can see that this might be fun if you have a tightknit group or lightning strikes and your PUG is awesome, but playing as a novice the first time through LP2 isn't easy, even on easy. It's just a hard game, there's no other way to put it.

I would commend the effort if it was a simple task to find a partner to play through the campaign, but the system provided by Capcom isn't ideal. Searching for a specific chapter or episode to play over Xbox Live is easy enough, and I played a lot of the game with other random people from places like Germany or Australia. The problem is that you can only join games in chapters that you've already completed. If you try to join a game already in progress, even only a few seconds, it bumps you out. Perhaps if there were more games being played, then I could join a chapter in "standby" and start the mission together. As it was, I hosted my own games and started the mission after I grew tired of waiting for some random gamer to join me.

LP2 has most of the pieces for a great game, but it just doesn't put them all together correctly. Riding in a VS is fun, and the abundance of grenades and rocket launchers makes for some big explosions, and everyone loves blowing stuff up. I just wish that the story was a little more streamlined and, if the co-op was going to be the focus, it was a hell of a lot easier to find a group than it currently is.

Bottom Line: The guns and bugs make for some spectacular fireworks, but, after the sparks settle, you are left wishing you had played something a little more substantial.

Recommendation: Pick up Lost Planet 2 if you have a core group of shooter fans to tackle the campaign together, but if you like playing on your own, look elsewhere for your shooter fix.

This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.

Greg Tito wishes that they lost the planet.

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