Alright, I should stress; the Lost Planet 2 reviews were not wrong. When it released, the gameplay was designed against you; badly stitched mechanics, the faceless (lack of a) story, a multiplayer focus with weak matchmaking, that fucking train. Weighted down with all these problems, I watched Lost Planet 2 transform from a broken sequel to a personally regarded treasure that I hope isn’t tarnished.
Now I’m not saying Lost Planet 2 is perfect, far from it, and though it’s patched to its throat, a patched turd is still a turd. Animation timing have evolved from horrendously outbalanced to only manageably bearable. The giant bosses still retain their relentless animations that continuously knock down players, but their cool down times are lengthened to give the player a sense of leniency. It’s campaign is cooperatively focused, but has traded in its haphazard matchmaking for a lack of players, baring the dedicated few. Firefights are hilarious, simulating airsoft pellets bouncing off kevlar until the combatants explode in ragdoll physics.
Even with these problems stated, it’s still an hilariously fun romp, and gameplay is decent….now. Instead of putting all its chips in realism, Lost Planet 2 feels very gamey, something that’s become a relic of design. Objectives are loosely disguised in context; animations switch transparently, and hardly ever try smoothing together its maneuvers. Upon defeat, bosses regurgitate credits with no other context beyond being meant for upgrades; and heads pop with an unrealistic, completely inhuman “Ping!” to help confirm your headshot. All painting the picture that Lost Planet 2 understands its a game, and doesn’t bother propping up its badly constructed fourth wall in the hopes of feeling cinematic.
Lost Planet 2 visits every environment I can imagine: mountains to jungles, swamps to cities, deserts to the sea, and up to space, and though it’s not pristinely detailed due to minute issues with Capcom’s MT Framework 2.0 engine, LP2’s visuals are still vivid. Cutscene surprise me how well they can be despite being an less-than-average looking game from 2010 (especially when presenting lots on screen), and the densely braided pathways of the levels create an broad open world while still pushing you from objective to objective. Yes, Lost Planet 2 isn’t the greatest at handling a set piece, but (at least in my case) my imagination combined with the combat’s ebb and flow compensated for its lack of spectacle, once I was given the diverse settings as my playground.
Now I can’t recall the story events or the whole picture’s significance, but I don’t need to to have fun, and I think thats the point. In fact, the looseness of its story returns me to a lost past time of when I was an ignorant child who misunderstood gaming’s many convoluted plots. Since I didn’t know what was going on, I’d reinvent and interpret my own story. Though I don’t care for the masks, they do help envision your own protagonist, making it your own story, something that certainly increases my investment in the experience.
And my Coup de Grace, Lost Planet is my favorite Gundam(insert favorite giant robot series here) game, envisioning how I’d imagine the machines would work. The controls are obtuse, (almost purposefully) to add the sense of complexity that staring at a real bipedal’s control panel might develop. The understanding of weight, as the larger behemoths are rightfully heavy, and therefore slow and clunky to handle, making it easier for the smaller and agile soldiers to outmaneuver, until attached with jets to propel them across the battlefield. The advance suits defy reality, while still appearing plausible, dancing around with rocket propulsion, but requiring frequent short bursts, as the jet’s don’t wield enough thrust to move the weighty mech great distances. While it isn’t the greatest, Lost Planet 2 is one my favorite, and closest representation of a Gundam simulator I’ve witnessed, better than the actual series has managed.
Its got everything I need in a video game, unique yet loosely defined story to breed my imagination. A decent engine thats not bad to look at. And while overly complicated, I really enjoyed LP2’s controls, as they make the combat dense and satisfying, even if they’re not entirely thought out or ergonomic. It has Gundams.. I’ll say it again, Gundams..
With Lost Planet 3 and returning to the original’s viewpoint of the singular hero with a heavier cinematic focus, putting its chips into realism and immersion, and redesigning everything including the mechs to a practically engineer-driven design, I hope I dont lose what I enjoyed about Lost Planet.
What do you think of the Lost Planet series, Did you enjoy the original? Did you mock the sequel? Do you believe the series deserves a third chance? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!