Lost Planet 3 Is As Cold As Ice, Be Willing To Sacrifice
Lost Planet 3 is a prequel to the first two games in the series, and is the next title in Capcom’s library to receive the DmC: Devil May Cry treatment with a western developer at the helm of the game’s development. But will the game be an improvement over the previous two games, or a mediocre mess?
Name: Lost Planet 3
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Developers: Spark Unlimited
Release Date: 30 August 2013
Price: R599 (PS3, Xbox 360), R429 (PC)
The story of this new prequel follows as such that before the events of the first and second game the planet of E.D.N. III is still an icy tundra of a planet, which differs from the tropical environment present in the second game. Instead the game tells the tale of the first wave of colonists to the planet, who are sent to the icy planet by the Neo-Venus Construction company (NEVEC). The main protagonist of the game is one Jim Peyton, a colonist, who helps NEVEC to mine the planet for minerals that can be sent back to Earth. In this game NEVEC is not yet the enemy you face in the later games, and instead helps the colonists to terra-form the planet into a hospitable place. The game will explore Jim’s journey in discovering the very nature of NEVEC.
The insect-like enemy known as the Akrid make a return in the game, with a variety of new types for Jim to deal with. In terms of mechs, this game doesn’t feature the VS mechs of the previous games, but now has the predecessor of the mechs with Rigs, which aren’t military weapons this time around. Rather the Rigs are equipped with drills and claw arms which are all necessary for mining on the planet by NEVEC.
Combat looks to be cover-based in areas, having a variety of enemy Akrid types that you will encounter throughout the snowy landscape of E.D.N. III. Third-person shooting mechanics look to be smooth, from gameplay footage that has been released. However shooting and gunplay can only get you so far in E.D.N. III and you will face much closer combat than in previous games. Meaning that you can expect a fair amount of QTE-based combat when close quarter fighting is in question. Spark Unlimited, the developers behind this new entry, have included a “struggle” mode for when QTE-based combat is initiated with smaller Akrid types, the player has to counter attacks from the large insect by moving a reticule to aim at enemy weak spots whilst button bashing to an extent. According to the developers, this inclusion livens up the often mundane and repetitive nature of QTEs in close combat scenarios in Lost Planet 3.
Eventually some missions will require you to move into much larger areas where you’ll encounter more aggressive and bigger enemy types which will require you to run and gun, dodging and weaving enemy attacks. The combat seems to vary from mission to mission, but we will only know when the final product is released. You will also have a variety of high-powered weapons to combat hordes of Akrids that may attack you in the heat of battle when you’re trying to complete a mission objective. When combating much bigger enemy Akrids, you can use the Rig mech which will switch you to a first-person perspective. With the Rig you can simultaneously deal with smaller flying enemies, and then can take into account much larger enemies within the scope of an ensuing battle.
The rest of the gameplay design for Lost Planet 3 involves a story-driven campaign in the fashion of the first game, and a separate multiplayer component with different co-op modes. The campaign will be mission-based with core quests to pursue which progress the narrative arc of the overall game, and side quests which will be offered to the player by colonist NPCs. Lost Planet 3 will contain RPG elements and allows you to explore areas of E.D.N. III, and in the process you can complete quests, upgrade equipment and build your own Rig. This apparently makes up much of the gameplay design.
Lost Planet 3 will be the first entry by a western developer in the series, instead of internally developed by Capcom themselves. The track record of Spark Unlimited is worrying, as most of their games have been critically panned and sold badly. Why this franchise was given to Spark Unlimited is questionable at best. However, from gameplay footage freely available on YouTube, there seems to be quite a bit of promise to the game, and Lost Planet 3 appears to be attempting to re-cast the mould of the previous game, particularly the second entry in the series.
Visually the game is looking fantastic, and is running on Unreal Engine 3 with polished models and rendered environments. The weather effects and the general atmosphere of the snow-capped planet that is E.D.N. III comes across well enough in gameplay footage. The variations in enemy type designs are also another warm welcome, and the change up with gameplay may be bring some flavour to the blandness left in the mouths of dedicated fans, who enjoyed the first game and thought that the something was amiss in the second entry.
Suspected Selling Points
- Fighting off giant insects with a giant drill may be your thing.
- The game may be more Dead Space than Dead Space.
- The story is very intriguing.
- Visually the game is quite pretty.
- Spark Unlimited have a bad track record, and this leaves much doubt.
- Dead Space 3 may be more Lost Planet than Lost Planet 3.
- Capcom has not been a bastion of quality titles, as of late.
Lost Planet 3 will be out at the end of August, and the game does have some promise. However, the history of Spark Unlimited as a quality studio is indeed in question. Also, with GTA V and Saints Row IV just around the corner this game may not be the most sought after title, facing such stiff competition in the sales department. In all fairness, it is best to wait for reviews to surface and then make a decision from there.