SAMPLES > Lost Planet 2 (demo)

First of all: are there any actual fans of the original Lost Planet game at all? Having worked in a game retail outlet for a couple of years, I don’t recall ever seeing a person buy it. Are my doubts about the justification for a sequel a little too cynical? Or is this something that’s genuinely been long-awaited in some deep recesses out in some heavily-wooded areas?

Also, I’ll be previewing the single-player mode only. Why? Because there will be an unending cavalcade of multiplayer talk well into the next era of mankind. Especially with Halo: Reach due for release.

Set some ten years after its predecessor, the game still takes place on the same fictitious planet. Only the snow has melted this time (an allegory of our impending global crisis? You decide…). Though you wouldn’t really know it from the outset.

The demo drops you straight into the opening level (or what we may assume is the opening level) with no background information. This ambiguous beginning generally makes for a more confusing method of play rather than as a tantalising tease as to what the game could possibly be about.

Fortunately, in single-player mode, after the inevitable bash-the-buttons-to-see-what-they-do that accompanies demo games, there are AI characters scattered about the landscape. One assumes these are members of your team. Though none of them remain alive long enough to clarify this.

Before a hearty hello and handshake can commence the ground is torn asunder as a 100ft cross between a spiky toad and a dinosaur modelled from faeces emerges for battle and eviscerates the AI players before it even finishes tying its shoelaces.

This incident of immediate AI death occurred both times I played so it’s not accidental. It almost seems as though the game wants you to play co-op rather than single-player; as though the AI are too stupid to last more than a few moments.

So it’s left up to you to fight off the beast in this climatic duel of man vs. frog-poop creature. In-game pointers give hints about where and how to kill it and the scattered remnants of your team’s dropped weapons are the only arsenal available. Which causes the player to run rampant towards and away the beast looking for something stronger than the pea-shooter-machine-gun you’re currently carrying.

There is the option to fight the beast from inside its gullet. Not something that’s mentioned in the brochure but it’s there if you want it. If you don’t mind other-worldly creatures swallowing you whole and then doing battle with mini critters that are clearly ripped off from Starship Troopers then have it, sir. It adds a certain interesting element to the game but it feels unnecessary when one can remain outdoors and blow its kneecaps off instead.

This is the entirety of the demo. And it doesn’t really say a huge amount about the finished product. Lord knows who those other chaps were, and for all we know the gargantuan beast may just want a hug and to share some croissants.

It looks pretty and it’s quite immense with its one-on-one stratagem of fast-paced action which leaves the player feeling small and insignificant but wholly macho once the creature has been felled. But there simply isn’t enough there to make me want to pick up a finished copy on release.

The aim function is a little sloppy as well, but in retrospect it actually works a lot better in third-person than it would have done in first-person. Generally there is nothing overtly exciting about the game other than battling monsters of huge proportions. The demo seems to hint at the idea that this is all the game will consist of, which, from a person stand point, makes Lost Planet 2 seem a little anti-climatic; especially in the preview.



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