Thursday, 10 October 2013

Review: Lost Planet 3 (360)

Nearly two months from its official launch and it's hard to find anyone talking about Lost Planet 3. Hell, even around launch there wasn't much, if any chatter, about the game. It's a darn shame too because Lost Planet 3 is part of the quickly dying breed of mid-tier games that offer good action in short bursts. In a broader perspective, there's an ever-widening chasm separating AAA-blockbuster and everything else, which usually amounts to indie projects.

Pecking away at Lost Planet 3 over the last month and a half, I've enjoyed the game more than I probably should. There's enough action, giant bugs, interesting takes on what constitutes "mining equipment," and more giants bugs that it entertained me without trying to beat its chest like so many AAA titles do.

Set well before the events of the first game, Lost Planet 3 concentrates on humanity's early involvement on EDN III, an ice-swathed planet that's more Klendathu than Hoth: it's cold and full of bugs of varying sizes.

Playing as Jim Peyton, there's a bit of a mystery to solve. Well, "solve" is a bit of an overstatement because most solutions boil down to shooting the glowy bits on the local fauna (Akrids) and smashing things while piloting the "Rig."

There's a see-saw balance between running around on foot and piloting the Rig, blasting Akrid, acquiring upgrades to open otherwise inaccessible areas, etc. It's not taxing but I wouldn't have minded at all if the entire game took place behind the controls of the Rig. Developer Spark Unlimited did an awesome job giving the Rig weight and presence in the game, to the point where I didn't want to ever get out of it.

The Rig isn't as nimble as Jim on-foot, but being able to roll and take cover isn't really a trade-off for grinding an enemy with a giant drill bit.

The multiplayer scene has pretty much dried up at this point, if there ever was much of a scene to start with, which is too bad because any time I actually played a multiplayer game, it was actually quite a bit of fun. I chalk that up to focus of smaller maps and a relatively low player cap. There should be some kind of unwritten rule that restricts multiplayer to 5v5 (or co-op), unless it's Battlefield.

There's already been a price drop of about $20 for Lost Planet 3, which makes it a pretty good deal. The timing for such a thing isn't great. There are a couple new consoles launching soon and the tidal wave of 4th Quarter games has only just started, I think Lost Planet 3's window of opportunity has closed for this somewhat enjoyable mid-tier game.

- DD Nunavut

The Good:
- Doesn't have that "outta left field" ending of the original game
- Piloting the Rig is downright awesome
- Played in short bursts is a good idea
- A prequel was a good idea

The Bad:
- Mostly forgettable game
- Multiplayer seems to have dried up pretty damn quick

Score: 7.0 / 10