When Capcom promised to include co-op play in many of their future titles, the community of Co-Optimus held their breath in collective anticipation. We’ve already sampled the flawed delights of Resident Evil 5, but what about the sequel to a slightly more obscure game? Lost Planet was a decent seller, but never broke through to the mainstream. Those that did play the game found it a challenging experience that was equal parts exhilarating and annoying. There were plenty of mistakes that Capcom could fix in a sequel; adding co-op and removing Wayne are just two of them. Were these changes enough to make the game a must buy?
Capcom is a Japanese game publisher that is interested in selling to the Western markets and this is reflected in many aspects of Lost Planet 2 – as the action loved by the West is mixed with the Mechs of the East. Set 10 years after the events in the first game, the campaign is split between 6 major missions, each from the perspective of a different faction of Pirates. This allows Capcom to set the game all across E.D.N. III, which is no longer just snow fields as the ice has melted to reveal a multitude of new and interesting environments. As before, Thermal Energy is the resource that all the factions require to survive and this comes in its natural form within the bodies of the deadly Akrids – the local alien population. As each mission unfolds you will need to battle through both alien and human foes to get what your faction requires.
When Lost Planet 2 is at its best, it is quite unlike any other game available. The game is built with co-op in mind from the bottom up, to the point that playing the game as a single player is almost broken. Luckily, we at Co-Optimus are very interested in the co-op aspects of the game, and here it shines. Up to four players at a time can tackle the campaign online, or two via splitscreen at home, where each mission has a series of chapters that lasts between 5 and 25 minutes. As a foursome you must successfully achieve the mission brief, which is usually kill everything or activate all the Data Posts. You share a common Battle Gauge that acts as a collectible life pool; this means that true cooperation will be needed if you are all to survive. If one player is weaker than the other you can place them in a support role such as a shield carrier or sniper.
Whose turn is it to feed the Akrid?
When you are all in the zone the game truly shines. Chapters vary from open vistas, rocky outcrops, underwater battles, on rails gunfests; and many others. Nearly every larger mission ends on an epic boss battle that brings to mind the sense of scale seen in Shadow of the Colossus as you must work as a team to bring down a massive enemy. To aid you are a series of powerful weapons, and more importantly Vital Suits (VSs). These suits are mech type contraptions that you can climb into to even the odds. There are many variants on offer, from solo pilot mechs, to mechs that allow the entire groups to jump in and fire a separate weapon, or hang from the side.
It is here when you and three friends are all together in a giant Vital Suit, standing off against what looks like an insurmountable alien creature that you realize Lost Planet 2 is quite unlike anything else. However, these moments are perhaps too infrequent, and there are also an abundance of small issues that will make many people dislike the game.