As a relative veteran to the Lost Planet franchise, I can deduce but one thing for Lost Planet 3. It does not fit the Lost Planet mold. Now is that a bad thing, a good thing, an okay thing? That’s up to you but for me, well, it gets a little complicated.
Way back in 2007, I played Lost Planet: Extreme Condition and hated it. I couldn’t stand the game. I beat it but it felt clunky, repetitive, and simply, a little too ridiculous for me. It was praised and well received but frankly, I just wasn’t that into it; however, being the curious and forgiving gamer that I am, I tried out Lost Planet 2. Unsurprisingly, I felt the same way about it as I did with the first one. But again, I am a forgiving gamer and I was more than willing to give Lost Planet another go.
Years later, Capcom handed down the franchise to the men and women at Sparks Unlimited and presto! I got my chance with Lost Planet 3! And what was the general consensus, you ask? Well, Metacritic compiled scores for a 57 out of 100 (Xbox 360), 60 out of 100 (PlayStation 3), and 58 out of 100 (PC). It was often marred with the idea that it wasn’t original, that it lacked it certain ‘umph,’ or that it was simply just a bad game from Capcom. All of these responses are perfectly reasonable and entirely misleading! (…wait, what?)
Here’s the thing, despite the title, Lost Planet is essentially its own game. It may have fallen a bit back to its storyline roots but when you pick up this bad boy and start firing it up, you’ll feel like you’re in a completely different world. The down side to it is that you’ll feel like you’ve seen it all before.
Lost Planet may have been forged earlier than Dead Space but you’ll certainly feel like you’re playing a strange rip-off when you boot the game up. You’ll see a holographic display for an interface, the usual health displayed on the suit, and the accustomed text/audio logs. I’m not saying Lost Planet ripped off Dead Space interface but it is eerily similar.
The gameplay itself works as a usual third-person shooter with the addition of jumping into a mech (aka a rig) to explore this mysterious (albeit, relatively familiar) planet. Since the game is a prequel, you’ll find that your giant mechanized suit doesn’t have any firepower and that some of the technology has been relatively simplified. As for the combat, it isn’t necessarily pretty or flawless but it manages to hold its ground as stable, manageable, and not entirely frustrating either. You certainly won’t be facing ungodly hordes of enemies all at once like Lost Planet: Extreme Condition instead you’ll be facing (again) a Dead Space 3 like combat system with a large amount of enemies but nothing entirely overwhelming.
Aside from the mechanics, you’ll be focusing heavily on storyline and side quests. As a prequel, the planet E.D.N III is still an icy death ball and relatively unexplored. With that being said, it seems relatively prevalent that your core gameplay and directives will be to explore your surroundings. Now if you’re an old Lost Planet fan, this might seem like a bit of drudgery for you and to be honest, it will be. For newcomers, you might just get enthralled in the icy tundra.
Continuing with the storyline though, it’s nothing extraordinary but it certainly won’t bore you to tears. The characters are a bit cliché and stereotypical but they often can have their sparks of personality when they need it. As for the voice acting, well, I noticed a jarring difference in voices between cut scenes and gameplay dialogue. You get used to it after a while but I’ll admit that it was a bit of a nuisance. I will admit though that my major grievance is the change in character and voice for the main character from the CGI trailer. He just seems so charismatic and full of personality. It came through occasionally in the game but it felt a bit off for me.
As for the multiplayer, well, it felt unnecessary but it comes standard with Lost Planet games these days. It can be competitive with some strong co-operative and competitive game modes but again, it isn’t a noteworthy addition to the overall experience.
To round everything up, Lost Planet 3 is simply a decent third-person shooter that is placed in franchise it doesn’t necessarily belong in. On it’s own, I think it would have been met with difference scores and perspectives but since it came with the expectations of a Lost Planet title, it suffered greatly. It isn’t a bad game and it isn’t anything revolutionary. You’ll enjoy your experience but not if you paid top-dollar. Give it a try and neglect it’s franchise nametag. It’s a fun game with a few bugs and it certainly doesn’t deserve the flak it’s received.