If there's one thing Capcom wants to make clear about Lost Planet 2, it's this: There's much more variety in the levels than there was in the original Lost Planet. We've seen everything from lush jungles to arid desert environments in Lost Planet 2, and our look at the latest demo revealed a new area--stormy seaside cliffs where ex-NEVEC marines make landfall to begin the assault on their former employer and stop the company from returning the planet of EDN III to its formerly frosty state.
The mission objective for this particular section of the level is simple enough--activate three data posts scattered throughout the enemy's fortress with a team of four marines (three of whom can be played by humans or bots). But getting to these points under a barrage of enemy fire was the real trick. We started out by grappling up the side of a nearby cliff and were greeted at the top by an empty vital suit (a mech that you can pilot) that we subsequently jumped into and put to good use by unleashing its dual Gatling guns on enemy vital suits and troops down in the small valley below. After picking off some foot soldiers here and there, we jumped down into the valley to take on two of the enemy vital suits defending the area, which probably wasn't the best tactical decision, but it let us put this particular vital suit's agility to the test. We were able to jump into the air and hover for a brief period of time, enabling us to rain down bullets from an elevated position. And we also tried to make use of the vital suit's dashing ability, which gives the suit a quick burst of speed to avoid enemy fire.
But we weren't able to evade everything, and the suit suffered as a result. Since one of its wings was severely damaged, we weren't able to hover for as long in the air, and while you (or your teammates) can repair vital suits, you can't replace a wing. Still, we took out the two enemy vital suits as well as the pair of turrets sitting atop towers in the area. With the immediate battle seemingly over, we jumped out of the vital suit and proceeded on foot, only to be met with a new type of enemy vital suit that is far more agile and more adept at melee attacks than those we faced just minutes before. Needless to say, we didn't last too long against them and quickly died. If you're ever low on health, you can use stored thermal energy (collected from fallen enemies, teammates, and other sources) to refill your health bar.
Unfortunately, that wouldn't have helped us in this particular situation. We respawned near the beginning of the level and headed right for one of the data posts inside a small bunker on the cliff. After taking out a few enemies with the default assault rifle (you can carry up to two weapons at once in Lost Planet 2), we activated the post and headed back down to the valley, where we found our battle-weary vital suit. Since there wasn't any immediate danger (and no sign of the two enemy vital suits that killed us), we took the time to repair the suit and move forward into the main portion of the base, where we met little in the way of resistance. But that didn't last for long--as we powered up the last data post, a swarm of inbound massive enemy helicopters (that also serve as troop transports) came into view, dropping off reinforcements--suddenly, we were on the defensive.
Thanks to a nearby Gatling gun (which we picked up), we were able to take down one of the inbound helicopters right away, but our position was quickly overwhelmed by enemy troops, and those two other vital suits also decided to show up again. Fortunately, there was an intact enemy turret close by, so we grappled up the tower, jumped in, and took down the transports as they came in. With the last batch of them destroyed, we went on foot to clear out the rest of the area of foot soldiers and enemy vital suits, completing the mission.
This particular mission in Lost Planet 2 shows that you can tackle some objectives in any number of ways--whether you want to go in with guns blazing or take a slower, more methodical approach. And if you're playing with human cooperative players, there's even an added layer of strategy involved thanks to the integration of persistent characters. Over the course of the game, you have opportunities to upgrade and buy equipment (crates that appear have credits to spend on either items or new weapons) that can help specialize what you do on the battlefield. For example, you might have someone on your team who's more adept at repairing than the others, putting him in a support role when equipment is in need of fixing.
Additionally, at the end of each mission, you'll see a rating screen that shows you how well you performed and rewards you additional credits for your character. You'll also see how many sub-achievements (different from the Xbox 360 achievements or the PlayStation 3 trophies) you've completed in the mission. You'll also see ratings for your cooperative buddies if you're playing over Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, or two-player local split-screen. Lost Planet 2 is scheduled for release on May 18 for both the Xbox 360 and PS3.