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Review: Lost Planet 3

We’re destroying our planet. Not thanks to war but thanks to the way we live. Human beings ask too much of the planet. Nature must make place for human expansion, but how long can this go on? In the world of Lost Planet, it’s already too late for planet Earth. Scientists discovered another planet where we could live however, the planet was named E.D.N. III. The only problem… the planet is way too cold. You are send off to the planet to start making it warmer but you’ll notice very soon that you aren’t that welcome.

Lost Planet 3 is a bit of a strange game when it comes to development. The Lost Planet franchise started strong with the first episode but the second installment wasn’t that great. Lost Planet 3 isn’t a sequel but a prequel, that means you’ll visit the planet before the events of the first Lost Planet game. To make things even more complicated this episode was developed by another team. The developer of this third installment is Spark Unlimited. Unlike the other two Lost Planet games, this one is developed by a Western developer and that brings some changes to the franchise.

You’ll go on a dangerous adventure as Jim Peyton. The first time you’ll open your eyes is while your lying under a huge pile of debris in an underground cave, not exactly the way you thought you would start your new quest. The story is told by Jim as he lays there under the rocks. The story began with the hard landing on Planet E.D.N. III. The reason you’re there is because you’ll need to assist a team to make the frozen planet ready for new life, you’ll need to warm up the planet. Short after your landing however, you’ll discover the dangerous Akrid, the insect-like life found on the planet. The Akrid aren’t happy with your presence and will attack at first sight. Lucky for you, Jim knows how to handle his handgun.

During your first steps on the frozen planet, you’ll notice one of the biggest changes in this game, the story. Lost Planet 3 is far more story-driven and you’ll face a lot of cut-scenes during your adventure. The protagonist Jim is brought to life thanks to the conversations you’ll have with his wife. Jim will often call back home to check in on his wife and tell her how much he misses her. Combine this with a lot of audio and textbooks found in the game and Jim will become a real person, not just a game character. This means you don’t fight with a faceless hero but with a person who has a lot to lose. Too bad Jim is the only character with such a deep personality. Other characters are often very stereotypical and don’t add much to the story when you talk to them.

lost-planet-3-1338841509-6 (A closer look at Jim).

Another big change in Lost Planet 3 is the way the game looks. For the first time in the franchise, the game runs on the Unreal 3 engine. This means the game looks much better than previous ones and seems. Aside from the looks, the controls are also improved. Lost Planet 3 is a third person game, so that means you’ll have to be able to control your character just the way you want him to move. Lost Planet 3 delivers on this aspect. Unlike other popular shooters you won’t find a lot of cover in the environment. Lost Planet 3 asks for a quick and dangerous method to take out enemies. By pushing the A-button, your character will roll away from danger. Using this dodge move in combination with your guns will often end in victory.  A cover system was integrated in the controls but because of the open battle areas you won’t be using the cover a lot. The fighting/shooting therefore is more intense than in games like Gears of War for example.

It’s too bad however that not all changes were made for the greater good. Fans of the franchise will think it’s a shame that the game was created by a Western developer. The game has become accessible for many gamers but that also means the difficulty level went straight down compared to the other two games. Lost Planet 3 is less original and challenging and that’s a bit of a shame. If the great looks and controls could get fully integrated in the original and challenging gameplay of the first game, you would have got the perfect Lost Planet game. What you get now is an enjoyable game with some missed opportunities.

The fighting and shooting really are intense.

Remember those huge and epic mechs you could control in the first games? You could use them to inflict some serious damage with their guns.. Well forget those. Lost Planet 3 is a prequel and the guns aren’t mounted on the mechs just yet. You can still control a mech but you won’t be able to shoot with its enormous guns. The only mech at this point is the utility rig which you control in first person. You can still punch enemies but the lack of shooting is a shame. It makes sense in the story but the different mechs will be missed by many gamers.

Another point where the game doesn’t really deliver are the enemies. A lot of new enemies are introduced and those are fun to fight but once you know their pattern, it doesn’t change that much. The developers also used the same type of enemies a little bit too much, more variation would be welcome. Lucky for fans, the huge boss-battles do make a return but are more accessible than the previous battles. You won’t fight huge monsters for more than 20 minutes this time. The most dangerous enemies still are very dangerous and hard to defeat but never are impossible. Bringing down those big insects still remain one of the most fascinating things to do in the game but now feel less impressive.

lost-planet-3-1366970320-2 (Multiplayer in action).

You may get the feeling that Lost Planet 3 isn’t a good game while reading those changes, that’s not true. Lost Planet 3 is a great game and some of the changes really are great as well. The way you play this game is a combination between open-world and story-driven. You can accept quests and missions from a wide variety of people, meaning you’ll have a lot to do in the world of Lost Planet 3. When you’re tired of doing mission you’ll also be able to wander around in the world on your own, killing some Akrid insects. The game is built out of several smaller and closed environments but that also means the world came more to life and looks better than the previous times you visited this planet. Combining the open-world with the mission packed levels worked out very well!

To complete the experience, Lost Planet 3 also has a small touch of RPG thanks to the Thermal Energy. You needed this liquid in previous games to stay warm and survive, in this episode it’s used as payment. Using the Energy you’ll be able to buy several upgrades for your armor or Utility Rig. To complete your full armor or Rig, you’ll need to play most of  the side-missions as well. A little touch of RPG as said before but mostly a reason to complete as much side-missions as possible.

Aside from the singleplayer, Lost Planet 3 also features a multiplayer mode where co-operating with other players is very important. The game offers several modes but the most fun to play definitely are those where you’ll work together in order to defeat the huge enemy. Other more traditional modes are also playable to keep you entertained for a long time to come.

All in all we can conclude that Lost Planet 3 is a great step in innovating the franchise. You can see this third episode as a reboot of the franchise and that means not everything is perfect just yet. Spark Unlimited worked hard and created a very addictive third person adventure on the frozen planet. Too bad the game still has some small issues but we’re sure those aren’t hard to fix. Lost Planet 3 is a welcome episode in the franchise and we can’t wait to see the future of this franchise. The first step has been made, now it’s time to finish it and make it perfect.

7.9/10

 

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.