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Lost Planet 3 Review

publisher: Capcom Entertainment
developer: Capcom Entertainment
genre: Action

ESRB rating: T

release date: Jun 26, 13
» All About Lost Planet 3 on ActionTrip

Okay, Capcom treats us to another sequel, sticking to its year-long tradition. After seriously screwing things up with Resident Evil, they have a chance for redemption with other games. When it comes to Lost Planet 3's storyline, things kick off in a rather promising way, but then things get disappointingly mundane. This is the story of a guy who travels to a distant planet where he gets to shoot and squash giant bugs. That's it in a nutshell. The plot of this game begs the question: how much is such an experience worth your attention in this day and age? Not much, we bet.

Lost Planet 3 is a prequel to 2007's Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, which you may recall for its realistic depiction of snow and excruciatingly obnoxious NPCs. Imagine my surprise when this time around I got to interact with convincing characters, a few of which are genuinely likable. The central character is as close to an ordinary, believable person as game characters get these days. The man's bursting with good intentions and he's the reason I struggled to finish the game (He really does sound like a good bloke – Ed. Vader). And when I say I struggled, I'm thinking of a dumb giant robot vs. robot fight where I had to pummel my opponent for half an hour, without knowing how much pummeling there's left to do. Thus we undoubtedly arrive to the game's lowest point.

Lost Planet 3 is another tragic case of a good game brought down by design decisions meant to artificially lengthen play time. The single-player should take you about 14 hours to finish, but the fun is often spoiled by occasional moments of boredom. Everybody loses. To begin with, there's too much backtracking and repetition. Too much down time. The areas you get to visit are few, small and linear. There's a fast travel option introduced after the first couple of hours, but both main and side quests often send you back to previously explored areas. Which, by the way, look spectacular, but you get tired of them after the 3rd, 4th and 5th visit. Most of the traveling is done aboard your rig – a giant, weaponless multi-purpose robot/exoskeleton that moves slower than an asthmatic garden slug with some heavy baggage. That's fine by me, but all these little things add up and become a problem. An hour spent with Lost Planet ends up being roughly 70% fun and 30% boredom.

You play as Jim Peyton, engineer, husband and father, set out to earn money by working on ice planet E.D.N. III, for a company called NEVEC. Earth is in dire need of energy so Jim and his colleagues harvest the thermal energy present in the soil and inside the creatures of E.D.N. III. These creatures are called Akrid and they attack people on sight because shooting giant bugs is fun. The story's simple and predictable, so I won't elaborate on it. I'll just add that the main antagonist deserved more on-screen time because he's quite the character. Developer Spark Unlimited was obviously constrained by having to do a prequel, but to their credit, they managed to make the setting interesting enough, thanks mostly to the excellent effort they put into creating believable characters. All cut-scenes had my full attention and the video messages between Jim and his wife felt so natural and intimate they almost made me feel like I was intruding on these people.

The gameplay's solid and you'll get to do everything you'd expect from a 3rd-person shooter. Add to that a dodge mechanic that's particularly useful when fighting large Akrids. No more running around like an idiot while big guy takes two steps and catches up. All you need to do is dodge at the right moment and Jim goes into an animation that lands him safely out of harm’s way. With a bit of determination you can take down enemies larger than your rig with only your pistol. Oh and unlike in the original game, you don't have to desperately search for thermal energy to survive. You can take your time and admire the scenery, which by the way is usually worth admiring.

Production values are high on all fronts and the game is well-optimized. I only experienced some slight frame-rate drops when tons of particles were cluttering the screen. Nothing major. Enemy AI ranges from basic to impressive. In the latter category I have to mention a type of Akrid resembling the bird-like Necromorphs from Dead Space 2 & 3. These babies are even more "playful" and they're a blast to fight. They attack in groups, flank you and spit projectiles from behind cover. Speaking of combat, two of the battle themes come to mind, one of them resembling something Bernard Herrmann would have done if he were alive today. Good stuff. The soundtrack is very good – compliments of Jack Wall, of Mass Effect fame.

Lost Planet 3 is a bit of a wasted opportunity, but still a journey worth taking if you’re into some solid action and pretty visuals. Sci-fi fans will surely get their fix, assuming they're prepared to take a dose of boredom with their action. As far as I'm concerned, I'd like to see Jim return someday in a game that's less grindy and puts even more emphasis on its characters. Hear that Capcom?


6.9   Above Average 

Convincing and well-written main protagonist, the on-foot segments are fun, top-notch graphics;

Monotonous, the story is underdeveloped and unfolds too slowly, larger and more varied environments would have spiced things up.


4 post(s)
Reader Comments
optimus slime Sep 06 2013, 05:53 am EDT
Never heard of the series, but yeah I already played Dead Space so no thanks.

Been listening to Mass Effect ost recently though. Might check this soundtrack out then.
  Vader: You never heard of the Lost Planet series?
optimus slime: Yes, I meant the Lost Planet series. Why, was it wort…
Vader: Beats me, I'm totally lost.
finaleve: It was an average launch game I think? I know it cam…
im_stardust Sep 06 2013, 08:05 am EDT
What about the graphics? any good?

The first Lost Planet was good.
  Un Om Bun: Yeah I mentioned somewhere in there that they're good…
Vader [STAFF] Sep 06 2013, 03:43 pm EDT
The graphics were always good in Lost Planet. The original in particular. The gameplay was awesome too. Shame they screwed it up in LP2.
kreep69 Sep 07 2013, 09:06 am EDT
I like the score at least.


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