LOST PLANET 3 REVIEW
Icy Capcom have made a new Lost Planet ...
Posted by PlayDevil.com Staff on Sep 30, 2013 14:31 (165 days ago)
Written by: Alex
Capcom's recent trend of sharing their IPs with Western studios has lead to some mixed results. But of all the franchises the Japanese giant has shipped out, Lost Planet seems to be among the strangest.
As niche franchise to start with, the series has always lacked a real direction, as it has moved from a story focused, single player game, to a multiplayer mission based experience. All of which has left the latest hired-gun developer, Spark Unlimited, with the task of getting the franchise back on track.
To help guide this process, Spark Unlimited has taken the series back to its frozen roots. Rewinding time and sending the world of E.D.N. III back to a point before the events of the first game, to tell the story of some of the first humans to colonise the frozen waist planet.
Told in flashbacks Lost Planet 3's story is framed by the protagonist, Jim, confessing to his granddaughter his part in events on E.D.N. III as he seeks absolution for his past.
He explains how he travelled to the ice planet, along with his massive bipedal mining 'Rig', with the goal of making money for his young family. Luckily, thanks to the NEVEC Corporation's obsession with finding ways to harnes the planet's natural thermal energy reserves, the company offers very generous remuneration for work, and he hopes to quickly make his fortune.
Unfortunately all is not as it seems, and as NEVEC's true intentions, and the nature of the planet, are revealed Jim's part in events begin to unfold.
It's a touching story, especially Jim's recorded messages back and forth with to his family on Earth. Yet, while the flashback framing does allow for some informed story telling, it does nothing to help the overall tale, feeling unnecessarily shoehorned in.
Like previous Lost Planets, the prequel splits the action between on foot and mech sections. On foot Jim proves quite nimble, with standard third person mechanics and familiar controls used to trudge him slowly through the snow.
He does have a number of tools on hand to help him through the liner progression of tasks set for him by NEVEC, including a powerful range of meaty weapons and a grappling hook. This allows him to rip himself instantly into the air, or repel down shear cliff faces. It can be a handy tool (literally, its attached to its arm) but its usefulness always seems muted in comparison to the simple roll.
As the name suggests, rolling sends Jim rapidly off in the desired direction. It's a tight mechanic, that requires timing and skill to use effectively, but it begins to feel ridiculous as it proves the only move needed to escape almost any dangerous situation. Once established as primary combat technique the only real issue is the spasmodic camera that can struggle to find its target after a quick dodge, or as the number of enemies start to increase.
Though most of the game is spent on foot it is the huge mining rig that steals the show. Jim designed and constructed his own mechanical giant and has placed many of his life plans in its hands… well claw and drill but you get the idea.
Inside the massive machine, Jim turns from hunted to hunter. While slow and cumbersome compared to the on foot combat, the claw is easily able to lift even the strongest of creatures from their feet to be eviscerated by its vicious drill. Its like a comically imbalanced episode of Robot Wars when it works, with the creatures of E.D.N. III being lifted into the air, crushed, and sliced to bits.
It is not all-powerful however, and if you take too much damage while in the rig you will see it expel Jim from the cockpit to fend for himself while it undergoes self-repair. This forces him out into the cold at some of the most awkward moments, leaving him to fight for his life against all manner of E.D.N. III natives. Fortunately all is not lost, as the rig is more than capable of automatic recovery, even going as far as repairing glass.
When you think about it, it is a strange ability for the robotic giant, but a vital one as E.D.N. III's
storms are bad enough to freeze it metallic joints solid and turn Jim into a fleshy ice-lolly if exposed. When frozen, it become necessary to climb out of the rig to shatter the ice that holds it in place, an interesting mechanic that leads to some nice combat set pieces.