Review: Lost Planet 3
Lost Planet 3 is a prequel to the first Lost Planet game. In this iteration of the franchise the game has gotten the DmC: Devil May Cry treatment with a western developer, Spark Unlimited. What this undoubtedly leads to is a game with a great premise and loads of problems.
- Worth The Time?Not really, there are far better third-person shooters out there.
- Things LovedThe world of E.D.N. III is a cold expansive tundra with much to explore, the Rig (your giant mech) is great to use for exploration and fighting off bigger Akrid enemies. The characters are likeable enough and the story is quite engaging if you're into Sci-Fi fare.
- Things HatedThe game can be very glitchy at times with some texture popping and broken character animations, particularly in the online multiplayer. The multiplayer modes feel tacked on and don't serve any other purpose. The story takes way too long to get into and the game starts off very slowly, and the side missions just feel like an added chore that does nothing for the main story arc. Cover-based shooting has been done far better in other games.
- RecommendationIf you enjoyed the previous Lost Planet games, and you are a fan, then you should check this out. Otherwise, you should really give this one a miss.
- Name: Lost Planet 3
- Genre: Shooter
- Players: 1-5
- Multiplayer: Yes
- Platforms: Xbox 360, PC, PS3
- Developer: Spark Unlimited
- Publisher: Capcom
- Price: R620
- Reviewed On: Xbox 360
Lost Planet 3 has a pretty basic story. It follows 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 of the second game. Lost Planet 3 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 Jim Peyton, a colonist, who helps NEVEC to mine the planet for minerals that can be sent back to Earth. He pursues a job on E.D.N. III to support his wife and newborn son back on Earth. In the 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 and harvest an energy source called T-Energy (the life blood of the world and the Akrid) which is used to help solve the energy crisis back on earth. The game basically follows Jim’s journey in discovering the truth about NEVEC.
This is where Lost Planet 3 makes its first stumble, as you only truly become immersed in Jim’s “journey” when you’ve gone through five hours of gameplay and the rest of the affair story-wise feels mundane. The introduction to the world of E.D.N. III feels like a laborious exercise in insipid world building. It is a process akin to pure filler and more than “tutorialises” the first missions and outings into the frozen tundra. When the story finally picks up it’s all too boring to make you really care for the characters and their motivations. In this way, developing the story properly took a seat to the hodgepodge of game mechanics Lost Planet 3 throws at you.
In this new title in the series, the Akrid once again return as enemies in vast numbers. They range from small insect-like enemies, to giant crabs you fight with your Rig to even creatures reminiscent of the aliens from Alien. When it comes to the diversity of Akrid types you face and the environments you explore, it can vary quite a bit. But this only really happens when the game starts to hit its stride a few hours in. The way in which Lost Planet 3 utilises the different types of Akrid can be problematic at times. Especially since the game’s idea of upping difficulty is throwing an increasing number of enemy units at you in tightly confined spaces, in the the third-person shooting perspectives. When an Akrid gets too close, the game engages at QTE combat mode where button bashing comes into play.
As it stands, all of the enemies and bosses are pretty simple to take care of. All you do is expose their weak spots which are highlighted by glowing areas on their bodies. With bosses, the simple tactic of rolling, dodging and weaving will suffice and win you most boss battles. Even when fighting in the Rig most of the time a battle will become a QTE-fest where timing will make up most of the challenge and thinking strategically is not required. The cover-based shooting, when you encounter the smaller Akrid, is typical of the genre as knee-high dugouts for cover are littered conveniently across the area of a level giving you clear signs of when enemy Akrid units approach. However, this all feels too typical and a series like Gears of War pull this off far better than Lost Planet 3’s attempts. Weapons are typically standard of the genre, with an assault rifle, shotgun, sniper rifle, some form of energy pulse rifle, a grenade launcher and such. They are what you’ve come to expect from a Sci-Fi based third-person shooter, and it doesn’t deviate too greatly from the norm.
The side missions usually have no consequence on the main storyline in most cases and there are very few cases of side missions offering introspective exploration of characters and their motivations. Meaning you can pick and choose as you see fit. Side missions include doing tasks for NEVEC, mining for T-Energy, acquiring DNA samples of various Akrid types and maintaining mining operations throughout the planet of E.D.N. III. By doing side missions you get points to upgrade your Rig and your various weapons which comes in useful at later stages of the game. The Rig itself is equipped for mining dangerous terrains and has a giant drill and claw when you start off. You use the Rig not only to mine the planet, collecting T-Energy, but to defend yourself against the giant Akrid you come face-to-face with. Some side missions do delve into particular characters, but they are few and far between.
The main storyline missions are far more compelling. Most noteworthy is one particular segment of the game where you investigate an abandoned space colony station that has been ravaged by Alien-like Akrid with Facehugger type Akrid around every corner. This particular section of the game came much later in terms of story progression, but was nonetheless fun and filled with tension. In this way, Lost Planet 3 was far more of an Alien game than Alien Colonial Marines.
The multiplayer modes are bog-standard and are lifted straight from other third-person shooters. You have a horde-like mode as known from the Gears of War series, a deathmatch mode and an objective based mode to name a few. These can all be found in other games and are vastly more improved. The multiplayer experience is particularly glitchy with character models clipping their environment and general bugs in many of the maps.
The visuals are pretty good, especially in the singleplayer campaign which is where the game truly shines in terms of visuals. However, this is marred by poor character animations for characters you meet on E.D.N. III. For example, one such glitch is a man in the NEVEC barracks playing a guitar with invisible strings, and such issues are pretty noticeable. The landscape of E.D.N. III itself is spectacular and the game captures the vast expansive of a frozen tundra pretty well. The audio design is pretty slick with a great cast of voice actors, atmospheric music and a great playlist for you to listen to in your Rig whilst traversing E.D.N. III. This playlist can be customised to any other music you have on your console, which is a warm welcome. In truth, all of these elements can’t forego the other problems, as shown above, with Lost Planet 3.