Monday, October 21, 2013

The Many Days of Horror! - Lost Planet 2

I felt like I was reaching a bit to include the original Lost Planet under the pretense it had horror elements, but I feel like I'm really reaching now with LP2. However I have had so little time to watch films, read books or otherwise engage with anything fun and not work-related that I'll settle for what I can get. Besides...the horrors of war on an alien world against an evil corporation that wants to do Bad Things to the whole planet sort of fits the bill, right?

If you finish the game and understand exactly what the fellows at NEVEC were planning please let me know....I think it involved popping the grand daddy of alien bugs full of thermal energy, while using a satellite station laser cannon to do it (or something) which was especially confusing since that's sort of what the good guys did in the end, too. Amidst all this are the true victims of the game, the eponymous akrid of the series which are tenacious and predatory but not in the least bit evil or horrific and just want to live, even if it means smashing all the humans in to paste.

Lost Planet 2 was something of an experiment when it came out, providing six chapters of story broken into multiple regions, each one designed from the get-go for multiplayer gaming in a "drop in, drop out" style, which meant no named characters for the most part and no distinct icons outside of the general look and feel of the Lost Planet 2 vibe. The end result is a ever escalating series of missions that are playable solo or (surprisingly even today years after its initial release) with random strangers who seem to die a lot. Well before I got to the last mission I was at some point scratching my head on the how and why of what was going on....the game was so busy being a co-op shooter adventure that the barebone thread of plot interwoven through occasional videos and lots of radio chatter was at times about as incomprehensible as anything you could find in a Modern Warfare title. All you end up knowing for sure is: there's dudes shooting at me, so I must kill them first and activate various beaons and triggers until the game lets me get to the next region.

To be fair, like it's predecessor LP2 plays extremely well and handles the whole "colonial marine who can jump into a big mech suit and smash alien akrids" thing really damn well. So if you just want a decent play experience, and have a fancy for plodding third-person adventures about guys wearing too much body armor, this game is like a sultry maiden waiting for you on a bed of soft leaves.

Winners of the "most uncomfortable armor" contest

If, however, the idea of plodding space marines in cumbersome armor jumping around and shooting innocent indigenous lifeforms that have committed no crime other than being efficient predators and Very Very Large...if that sounds like maybe you're tired of this formula, then perhaps you might want to look elsewhere?

I had fun with LP2, and was pleased to at last complete the game in solo mode (though I occasionally dabbled in multiplayer usually by accident) right up to the crazy-ass grand finale which involves blowing up the biggest akrid on the planet before Nevec does....or to spite Nevec? I really never did figure out why the solution to everyone's problems was to blow it all up. Release all that thermal energy I guess before Nevec harvested it, maybe. Ugh...the space opera fantasy logistics of the tech in Lost Planet breaks down quickly if you think about it at all, which is weird because without the thermal energy nonsense most of the game's tech at least looks plausible, if awkward.

If you can find it for $5 and are intrigued you can't go wrong! Just remember: the plot to LP2 is like the spoon: not really there.


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