Lost Planet 2 is a big game. More specifically, it's a game with big bosses. We've witnessed that firsthand with our last few looks at this four-player sequel to Capcom's hit 2007 shooter. First there was the giant salamander boss back from the 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo, a massive enemy that you could actually crawl inside of provided you had the courage to grapple-hook inside his mouth and even more courage to make the journey back out at the other end. Then at the Tokyo Game Show 2009, we got a chance to take on a sand worm boss that had us displaying the full force of our teamwork to rig up a giant cannon to shoot this beast down. Now we've seen a new boss here at CES 2010, dubbed Akrid X. Like the others, he's a building-size enemy that can be felled only if you and your three teammates operate at peak efficiency.
The fight takes place in an urban city environment that feels like a distinct departure from the green jungles and sandy wastelands we've seen in previous Lost Planet 2 stages. Throughout the game you're playing as different pirate factions all trying to survive the Akrid invasion. In this episode, you're playing as the NEVEC, a group you may recall as an enemy from the original Lost Planet. The Lost Planet storyline is surprisingly dense, but if you're a fan of the original game, you'll find yourself rewarded with a few bits of fan service in the form of references to characters from the original game. Remember Ivan Solotov? It turns out there are some clones of him serving in the NEVEC ranks.
As for the Akrid X boss, he's a tough beast to describe. Imagine a demon, a crab, and a dragon, and then combine them all into one towering demon-crab-dragon, and you've got a good idea of what this guy looks like. He's got a few devastating attacks that are capable of killing you in a single heartbeat. First is his ability to leap up to the roofs of the giant buildings flanking the small little courtyard where the battle takes place. He can leap back down below and knock everyone in the immediate vicinity down with a devastating shock wave. Get too close, and you'll be pancaked instantly. He also has the ability to breathe fire, which he does quite often.
Though Akrid X is every bit a hulking colossus, he's got his weaknesses just like every other boss you'll face. Those who played the original Lost Planet will recognize the presence of glowing orange spots on the boss--these are the weak zones where your weapons do significantly more damage than shooting anywhere else on his body. Helping you are a number of vital suits (that is, mini-mech suits) scattered throughout the world that you can either ride around in or strip of their huge guns. There are also battle suits, which are temporary suits of armor that drastically boost your defenses without taking away any of your agility.
These battle suits were the key to our success against Akrid X. Our winning strategy went like this: Run like a madman to the nearest battle suit, throw it on, and then run like a madman to the nearest grenade launcher gun. Once we found one, we'd then briskly walk (hey, we've only got so much stamina) to the bridge cutting through the middle of the level and hide out below to shield ourselves from the boss's death-from-above stomp. From here we'd hang out and fire rockets at his glowing orange limbs. Since he's so tall, he had a tough time seeing us under the bridge, and there were generally teammates scurrying about in vital suits to draw his attention from us.
Though this was our preferred strategy, there were certainly other options for destroying Akrid X. One of the more intriguing weapons from this area is a huge drill--roughly the size of your character--that you can pick up and use against old demon-crab-dragon. The trick, though, is that you'll need to use your grapple hook to get up on top of Akrid X. He's a quick and nimble beast, so it's not very easy to do--but do it right and you'll be able to take your huge drill and bore holes into his weak spots like a futuristic space pirate version of Wander from Shadow of the Colossus.
After an unsuccessful first attempt, we managed to fell this boss on our second go. It was intensely satisfying to see him hit the ground with a giant thud and then disappear into globs of thermal energy. It's a satisfaction you can share with up to three teammates thanks to Lost Planet 2's inclusion of four-player co-op. We're big fans of the teamwork elements that are required for success against these huge bosses, and it's something that makes for an altogether different experience from the original game despite the fact that you're essentially doing the same thing (pointing your gun at the bright orange bits on an enemy and firing). At any rate, we're eager to see more of Lost Planet 2. In the meantime, you can expect it to hit store shelves May 4.