The Lost Planet series started back in 2006 with a sequel released in 2010 before the third game was released just last month. The best way to describe the series is a mix between Avatar and Starship Troopers. Earth is no longer livable due to pollution, chemical warfare, low resources, global warming, and whatever else that could be going wrong. Luckily, another planet exists titled E.D.N III that is inhabitable with a double bonus of also containing precious resources. Very much like Avatar. Not so lucky, there are very hostile bugs and creatures called Akrid that live on this world—this is where Starship Troopers comes into play. The game has a sound premise, what could possibly go wrong? Trust us, a lot goes wrong.
Lost Planet 3 is actually a prequel that takes place before the rest of the series. You play as Jim Peyton who is an everyday type of guy looking for some good work to provide for his family. He comes over as one of the earlier crews in a construction rig to help dig resources, better life, and colonize the planet. He’s a good protagonist and some of the best moments of the game are watching the video messages between him and his wife back on earth. You feel for the guy. He’s on a hostile planet in a frozen wasteland just trying to earn some cash for his wife and their baby. The dialog they share feels real and it makes the characters come alive in return. The story is surprisingly good, not that it’s original, because it’s definitely filled with cliché pitfalls left and right. Yet that doesn’t stop it from being entertaining and enjoyable to experience.
The landscape is nicely done with some pretty spectacular views that present a wild land yet to be conquered. The game does a good job of radiating the vibe of the Wild West or a new world. It’s scary, yet the potential that the world holds is worth the risk. The game looks pretty at first as you take this all in; however, the landscape never really changes leaving you with a pretty bland repetitive feeling. Admittedly, the entire planet is covered in snow so it’s going to look similar throughout, but even the insides of ships and bases are identical. The nice graphics help but everything gets old rather quickly.
That’s the name of the game: old quickly. It’s one of the most generic third-person shooters in recent memory. Nothing feels satisfying about shooting the weapons, getting new ones, or upgrading old ones. It’s all there, but nothing special about it to give you any real delight in playing. From start to finish there was never that “wow” moment or “man I really want to play that section again”. Exploding alien creatures was fun for about five minutes before that even grew old. There were multiple occasions where I sprinted past the enemies because I didn’t want to fight them anymore. The only thing that really makes you want to push onward is the protagonist and the story.
Boss fights mix it up a little bit, but the game makes the mistake of having you fight the same bosses multiple times so even that gets dull. Even new bosses still involve the same routine to defeat them. Wait for them to charge, roll away, and shoot their back, rinse and repeat. What should have kept the gameplay new and interesting is the giant robot rig you can pilot on occasion. The game switches from a shooter to a brawler, but not so shockingly. It gets old. Granted, there are some boss fights that are entertaining involving it, but most of the time you wait until a counterattack then follow button prompts. It’s unimaginative and poor execution of what could have been jaw dropping gameplay.
One of the strangest parts of Lost Planet 3 is how the game attempts to play as an open-world game. It’s clear from the very beginning that the developers were making strides to change the genre into something the user has more control over. There are side-quests to partake in, you can travel around the world, and even a fast travel system implemented. The problem with open-world games is the amount of time spent traveling. Those games battle that problem by giving you an abundance of stuff to do. Usually things like: fishing, hunting, collecting stuff, fightings different things, etc.
Lost Planet 3 doesn’t really have any of those things so you spent a majority of the game walking from place to place with very slow steps in your rig (even sprinting is ungodly slow). Worst of all, the world isn’t even that big, it’s still walking down narrow corridors with twists forcing your direction. It simply feels like an open-world by how it’s designed by talking to people and moving throughout the areas. This doesn’t really give the game any positive , but only add on negatives. Such as the horrible loading times you have to witness constantly, or the pointless travel time between two important areas. You don’t even want to buy new weapons or upgrades, because it involves riding in that godforsaken elevator with more loading screens. Then you get into your rig, walk ten steps, loading screen, walk another ten steps, loading screen. It’s horrendous and ruins any chance of you wanting to explore the “open-world”.
There are also technical issues that weigh the game down like minor bugs, textures popping in and out, and the problem of constantly getting stuck in the environment. Hell sometimes you even get stuck in the enemies themselves! Any idea how awkward it is trying to shoot something when half of it is inside you? There are times when you will be pinned up against a wall and can’t do anything but wait for that inevitable death screen. Sometimes the enemies get stuck in the walls making for pretty easy targets to shoot. Hey, at least it’s a level playing field of awkwardness.
There is a multiplayer as one would expect with any shooter. It’s creative in some regards of mixing two types of games into one. For example, one survival mode starts with you and two teammates fighting off Akrid without even seeing the other team. As the game progress, it switches objectives and now you have to hold an outpost fighting against other human players. It’s a creative mix and the change-up in gameplay keeps things interesting to some extent. There is only one real problem that stops the multiplayer from being any fun. As stated earlier, one of the main problems with Lost Planet 3 is the actual gameplay. It’s not fun! So why would anyone want to play the multiplayer? There is no incentive to experience the multiplayer and it won’t hold your attention long. That is, if you can even get into a match since many of the lobbies are already empty.
The Lost Planet series has always had a loyal following where people see the potential the series holds. It definitely has an interesting premise with some great concepts, and people keep hoping that potential will be achieved in the next game. Lost Planet 2 didn’t do so well and now Lost Planet 3 also can be considered a failure. Okay, failure might be a little strong. The story is worth experiencing so play the game at least once, but don’t pay a lot of money for it since you’ll cast the game aside pretty quickly once you beat it. It has some grand ideas, like its predecessors, but there are simply too many faults with it that prevents the game from being enjoyable. Apparently E.D.N III isn’t the only thing that should be lost.
This review is based on a retail copy of the Playstation 3 version of Lost Planet 3 developed by Spark Unlimited and published by Capcom.
- Good Protagonist
- Well Scripted
- Dull Gameplay
- Very Repetitive