Both Lost Planet and Lost Planet 2 were flawed games, but had something charming about them. The first game was a solid shooter with a main character called Wayne, which was enough for me to enjoy it. The second incarnation excelled as a 4 player co-op experience; the controls may have been a little funny, but there was great joy in bringing down Sir Om Nom Nom as a pack. In 2013, Capcom decided to do away with the slightly eccentric Japanese feel to the series and farm out development to Spark Interactive. They in turn created Lost Planet 3 and a more charmless experience you would be hard to find.
Lost Planet 3 is a prequel to the first games and tells the story of Jim Peyton and how he became involved with the Space Pirates. Jim starts off as a freelance Mech driver who is hired to go to Planet E.D.N. III and maintain the buildings and mine for precious resources. However, E.D.N. III is a very harsh planet and Jim’s fighting skills are soon brought into play; not only on the ground as a third person shooter, but in his rig as a first person brawler. Can Jim uncover the truth about the power behind E.D.N. III?
The more relevant question is, do we as players care about the story? The answer is assuredly no. Perhaps it is not the narrative that is to blame for Lost Planet 3's dullness, but the pace of the game itself. To reach new locations you must hop into your Mech and slowly walk across the map. This is a very boring experience and feels like you are actually doing real work. Gaming should not be a work simulator; but an escape from the mundane. Once you do finally arrive at a location of worth, things begin to pick up a little.
The third person elements of the game are OK, not exceptional, but ok. It is a run and gun affair as you come across a surprisingly small variety of alien life forms. The best elements of the game are, like in previous entries in the series, the boss battles. It is here that a sense of scale comes into play, a tiny man versus a giant beast. In some fights you have to utilize both the rig and you own footwork to succeed. There is fun to be had, but something is missing ….. 3 co-op partners. The experience is very similar to Lost Planet 2, but has none of the joy of seeing your friends being flung around the screen as they get too close to an Akrid's rear end. Capcom have successfully taken a winning idea and jettisoned it for the bland.
The issues with Lost Planet 3 are similar to those that are plaguing many modern Capcom titles; their obsession with westernizing their games. This is a publisher beloved by many gamers, who have created some of the most iconic videogame stars of all time – only really beaten by Nintendo and SEGA in this department. Why then do they forgo their Japanese origins in favor of this vanilla experience and the hiring of developers such as Spark Unlimited? Do they think the US and EU is looking for cookie cutter experiences with boring storylines? There seems to be a lack of passion during the making of Lost Planet 3 that has seeped into every pore of the game. It is a passable shooter at best, but I would go as far to say that it is bland, boring and not really worth bothering with.