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Review

Lost Planet 3 Review

  • Game release: August 27, 2013
  • Reviewed: August 27, 2013
  • PC

Lost Planet 3 is both less exasperating and less diverse than its predecessors.

by

In the third iteration of the Lost Planet series, some things are gained, and some are, appropriately enough, lost. Lost Planet 2 was a frustrating and beautiful concoction, loaded with grand ideas that all too often sacrificed basic playability. In this mediocre prequel to the original Lost Planet, the frustrations are minimal, but so are the ideas; its predecessor's variety and visual panache are steamrolled in favor of perfectly decent, perfectly standard shooting encounters. Lost Planet 3 is a difficult game to hate and an equally difficult game to adore. It might feature monstrous aliens, but it never thinks big.

One aspect of this third-person shooter that will keep you thinking, however, is its story, a surprise given the series' lack of a personal touch and grand plot ambitions. The early hours move slowly, introducing you to hero Jim Peyton, who has journeyed across the blackness of space to the planet E.D.N. III to assist the Neo-Venus Construction company in its mining efforts. Jim is an excellent everyman, frequently exchanging personal video messages with his devoted wife, who is raising their newborn son while Jim works toward a brighter financial future. The couple labor to maintain a tone of normalcy, but never fully contain their misgivings and personal longing. The dialogue is natural and delivered gracefully; Jim's love is not characterized by overwhelming passion, but by quiet adoration and sincere concern.

While performing odd jobs and fighting off the wildlife that threatens the mining operation, Jim spots a figure eyeing him in the distance. Jim's paranoia turns to confusion as he uncovers truths about NEVEC and the indiscretions of the company's past. Here, the tale begins to follow recognizable paths, invoking elements of stories like Pocahontas and James Cameron's Avatar by contrasting the greed of the invader with the purity of the land. But it's how Lost Planet 3 subverts cliches that makes it so compelling. In fiction, lines like "I didn't know you had a wife" often lead to predictable story outcomes--but not here. Lost Planet 3 avoids overt moralizing and soap-opera melodrama, instead placing ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances and allowing them to find their way.

Lost Planet 3 makes no secret of where you should be aiming.

That isn't to say there aren't sour notes. A miner with a deplorable French accent tops that list, though an annoyingly chatty engineer can also grate on your nerves. Both ultimately earn a vital place in the story, though not before injuring your sense of good taste with their cliched characterizations. The game's tone wanders, sometimes shooting for "space cowboy" a la StarCraft or Firefly, and other times getting jokey, going so far as to point out its own mechanical shortcomings. A little lighthearted humor is appreciated, but when it's a bit of dialogue pointing out how often you have to turn on an elevator's power, you can't help but wish developer Spark Unlimited had avoided repetitive mission design rather than cracked wise about it.

That repetition is a problem. Many of Lost Planet 3's missions have you heading out into E.D.N. III's icy wilderness to perform odd jobs for NEVEC or other allies, flipping switches, riding elevators, and shooting some aliens in a comfortable but overfamiliar pattern. Like in the previous games, your primary foes are the akrid, aliens primarily known for their insectlike appearance and the glowing orange growths that indicate weak points. Previously, fighting the largest of these creatures could be both a stunning and frustrating affair, with their outlandish attacks sending you flying through the air and into drifts of snow, where you had to struggle to your feet and resume battle. Combat arenas were often large and gave you the opportunity to pilot combat mechs, and giant akrid forced you to use your wits when you weren't busy cursing the frustrations of irritating knockbacks.

The pre-rendered cutscenes do a great job of showing you Roman's desperation.

In Lost Planet 3, the distress and the diversity have both been toned down. You face some large akrid, but you do so without worry of being bowled over by numerous enemies and paralyzed by endless animation loops. Yet with greater playability also comes greater predictability. Regardless of the monster you face, the tactic remains the same: you tumble out of the way, the creature gets stuck for a moment, and you shoot at the glowing bits. And when you aren't fighting the bigger akrid, you're fighting off the smaller ones, which you can typically dispose of with a few shotgun blasts. And you do all of this in samey gray-white corridors and in small arenas frigid with wind and snow.

The action is bog-standard shooting, and the encounters are tame when compared to previous Lost Planet games. New this round is a cover system, though you rarely need to use it in the single-player campaign, and it's bizarre to see non-humanoid life-forms sticking against cover and rising up to fling projectiles at you. Yet there's still joy in watching orange thermal energy burst from an akrid's vulnerable wounds when you shoot it, not to mention the sense of relief that comes from smashing its iced corpse to smithereens. In the first case, you see the lifeblood leaking from your foe; in the second, you prove your superiority by vanquishing all remnants of it. The combination makes for a rewarding power trip.

Yet once you've vanquished one big akrid, you might as well have vanquished them all, and the best boss encounters in the game are those against different kinds of enemies entirely. And it must be said: the visual spectacle is noticeably lessened here, particularly on the PC, where bland textures, wonky animations, and low-resolution cutscenes are more prominent. (Also, be prepared to tweak the keyboard controls, because the default keybindings are laughably dumb.) Furthermore, small but vital flaws add up to give Lost Planet 3 a pervading sense of clumsiness. The grappling hook returns, but you can use it only in scripted locations, and zipping to a higher ledge delivers little sense of weight and momentum. Invisible walls pop up here and there, as do large collision boxes, which can keep movement from feeling absolutely fluid. Colossal akrid are not immune to these issues either; expect to see at least one big boss get stuck in place, allowing you to shoot it down without resistance.

For a mining machine, the rig sure packs a punch.

The vital suit mechs are gone from the campaign, though you do get a new toy to commandeer: a mining mech called the rig, which does a surprisingly good job of defending you from the local fauna. The rig isn't an offensive powerhouse, but there are numerous "hell yeah" moments that make you thankful for its protective housing. In the rig, you can grasp smaller akrid with its claw and drill them to death, watching t-energy splash all over the windshield. Facing a larger alien in the rig results in a rhythmic dance culminating in a scripted event in which you raise up the akrid's limb and drill into its tender joints.

Such events meander between traditional quick-time events and the tense interactions in the Walking Dead series in which you must hover the targeting reticle over a sensitive spot before attacking. It's the later mechanic that keeps rig battles from falling into too deep a rut, as repetitive as they can be. Besides, there's a real sense of impact when you swing your rig's mechanical arm that's missing from the on-foot shooting, and watching the drill buzz into your foe, spraying goo every which way, is plenty satisfying.

Another bug battle in another snowy area. Yawn.

That goo was your ticket to warmth and health in previous Lost Planet games. In Lost Planet 3, it's just a currency you collect that you then cash in for weapons and weapon upgrades at NEVEC's center of operations. After many missions, you return to base and dock your rig; in fact, the game's open structure lets you do this whenever you like. It also allows you to repeat previous missions under the guise of "side missions." That menu designation doesn't boast truth in advertising, but at least you can go out and earn more t-energy at your leisure. There are also a few nooks to explore, where abandoned machinery and scattered audio logs flesh out NEVEC's complicated history, though you shouldn't take that to mean that E.D.N. III has much in the way of exploration value.

Lost Planet 3 ignores its past almost as completely as NEVEC does. Fugitive mode? Gone. Granular match customization? Forget it. Persistent faction battles? Gutted. Instead, you get less interesting (and on the plus side, less frustrating) team deathmatches, an objective-based Scenario mode, and Extraction, which has both teams fighting each other while collecting thermal energy. In spite of the familiarity of the modes, competitive multiplayer is good fun, in part because the grapple hook gets a good workout. You can grapple to higher ground or use a zip line to slide to the other side of the map in a matter of moments. It's gratifying to use the grapple hook to get to higher ground and get the drop on a competitor that had you on the ropes a moment before--and it's hard not to wish that the single-player campaign had made such good use of the hook.

Perhaps Clearasil would be just as effective.

In competitive matches, you can get a couple of armored vital suits in play, firing bullets and rockets at oncoming challengers, but none of the maps have the challenging verticality of Lost Planet 2's marvels. Thus it's the new three-on-three Akrid Survival mode that best captures the imagination. This mode combines cooperative and competitive play, first pitting teams against attacking akrid before bringing them together and forcing them to fend off the gross aliens--and each other--to retain control of a central structure. The tug-of-war can be challenging, with teams tossing grenades and firing explosive bolts into the outpost in hope of softening the enemy and rushing to take it for themselves, all while fending off the swooping critters that complicate matters.

Lost Planet 3 takes narrative steps forward while standardizing its sci-fi action, for better and for worse. It's a decent game, neither a mess nor a triumph. Its story pulls you through, even when the missions themselves don't deliver any sense of urgency. Shooting giant bugs on a hostile world is still entertaining. But in this wholly adequate prequel, a struggling series has lost some of its identity.

The Good
Great story that focuses on ordinary people in an unfriendly circumstance
Akrid Survival mode is tense and exciting
The Bad
Repetitive encounters in repetitive environments
Execution stumbles dampen the action
Loses what made the series unique, both online and off
5
Mediocre
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Discussion

303 comments
biokrysty
biokrysty

this game is more like a movie with normal characters and the lost planet environement, they tried something but it didn't worked out so make us a real lost planet game next time.

gabrielstilistu
gabrielstilistu

is good this game? i vant to instalit i vant an opinion !!

BradBurns
BradBurns

Westerners have their ups but their downs have always been obvious to me.

Mainly bad art and animations. Westerners simply seem unable to animate or model a character in a graceful or attractive way. Lost Planet 3 is no exception to this problem. 

It does have one thing that westerners are always fairly good at; multiplayer. It looks much funner. 

I bought Lost Planet 2 on day one and sort of regretted it. It had a lot of big ideas but rarely made them fun. At least it looked good while it did it.

Rayrota
Rayrota

Whoa, I've completely forgotten about this series.

DAOWAce
DAOWAce

This is sad.


I thought they learned after the garbage console-esque tripe that was Lost Planet 2. They even said in their early development video (or maybe it was a convention interview, I forget) that they're going back to the series' roots, aka the first game, and making another in that tradition.

To see the game fail on that account is really sad.  I loved LP1 for what it was; such a shame to see the series fall like this, though it did happen to another series I loved.. Dead Space.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

Yeah, the fact that they didn't even use MT Framework says a lot about how involved Capcom was in this game.  Just another misguided attempt to give a series to a no-name Western developer.

b74kd3th
b74kd3th

Crapcom strikes out again!

bigruss51
bigruss51

This game needs sexy female characters. How can you have a bunch of guys alone in space? No wonder this game sucks.

Mabrry
Mabrry

The frustrating thing is they went away from LP 1 and 2, and I loved the second one to death. The fun arcade action with 3 other buddies while looking ridiculous... I don't know why they took away the customization that people have loved since the mp in LP1

SJGSpook
SJGSpook

I made the mistake of buying the first one. That was bad enough so how it spawned two sequels is a mystery.

Wreexx
Wreexx

To be honest, i kinda knew that Lost Planet 3 will fuck up, and be not as good as Lost Planet 2, which was extremly addicting game, and still is...Reason why is because they made this it into a "one man story" game, it's too story centered...Lost Planet 2 was about having ur own customized character kick ass with your friends in arcade type of stages...Fail capcom...Fail.

mulder_000
mulder_000

This is another one of those games that will be perfect in Steam's Xmas sale for $10-$12.  Unless the game is a standout, I see no reason to buy it at full price.

Especially, with new consoles a few months away, I expect to be grabbing a lot off of steam.  Plus, I have GTA V in less than 3 weeks.

Slade968
Slade968

You know, I keep expecting these games to be good and they always disappoint. 

Securator
Securator

GOD..!!, why the hell is capcom on a self destructive path.and why is everyone just hellbent on fucking our cult franchises.

There's really something wrong with this generation of game devs, i mean what the hell did they grew up playing(or smoking), to spew these mindless barrage of quick time shooters. They should just shoot their concept guys and recruit everyone from Gamespot comments section. 



wizardboyus
wizardboyus

wait do u have to aim the quicktime attacks? whenever that knife comes out i see a cursor swaying around all crazy. that's actually a pretty cool concept mechanically if so

BillyColeman
BillyColeman

This looks more like dead space 3 now only a very junk ver sad how capcom can't seem to make any good sequels LP1 was and all ways will be the best LP2 was fun if you were drunk or had good buddys to play it. And LP3 looks to much like the american culture took over as every other LP game looked made by Japanese it's geting more and more sad to look at capcom

skunknuts
skunknuts

Ideas.... they don't got 'em.

Infinite_713
Infinite_713

Capcom is NOT the developer. They are the publisher...and I wish they wouldn't publish anymore of the lost planet series until they get it right. Also, I wonder why no lost planet character made it to Marvel Vs Capcom 3.

frozenux
frozenux

I had so much hope for this to succeed.Looks like Operation Raccoon City scenario all over again.Stop handing over your franchises to western studios thinking, it's going to make them them better.

mohammadznd
mohammadznd

 capcom is getting worse & worse

Resident evil ( now it is call of duty, nor Resident evil) & now lost planet. 

LaserXUKM
LaserXUKM

I loved Lost Planet 2. It was a great game with a great arcade feel to it and lots of humor. Dunno why so many ppl hate on it.
This looked bad from the start. Maybe ill try it some time down the road, but prob not.

realguitarhero5
realguitarhero5

Neither Lost Planet 1 or 2 were worth playing either

ferna1234
ferna1234

capcom should look way back to the last good game they made: Megaman x2

pcty
pcty

You have to applaud Capcom for being consistently bad.

lexyz1992
lexyz1992

Is it me, or the main character looks like a bearded Nicolas Cage?

uglypinkmoose
uglypinkmoose

This series was lucky as hell to get so much attention and they wasted all of it..... This could have been a cash pumping series but they just keep making mediocre games 

psuedospike
psuedospike

Hey look a game that actually deserves a 5/10!

shadowedkiss
shadowedkiss

if Capcom is trying to tarnish their name they are doing a good job of it. Other then Deep down it is probably the last game I consider before I treat this company like EA Madden.

BradBurns
BradBurns

@YukoAsho 

Yep. 

You hit it on the head. You, sir are a gentleman and a scholar.

At least Capcom learned from their mistakes and now changed their stance on western developers. They no longer think it's a good idea to outsource developers according to their share-holder meetings. 

They did it because it was cheaper than higher often times superior Japanese developers, by the way.

BradBurns
BradBurns

@b74kd3th 

When they 'strike' do they do a crap airstrike with a shit bomb?

I can only imagine them flying by in a Crap Bomber, ready to 'strike'.

BradBurns
BradBurns

@bigruss51 

No, no, no!

Sexuality is evil, remember? Haven't you been following the whole Kojima debacle?

Printul_Noptii
Printul_Noptii

@frozenux this is not true ! RE ORC is by far worse, this one has at least a decent story and great voice acting as well as okay gameplay but RE ORC was just mindless run and gun with the name RE slapped on it and as a pure third person cover shooter it wasnt even that good ! DmC was awesome thou so that proves that capcom can work with western devs.

BradBurns
BradBurns

@mohammadznd 

I was shocked by how badly RE6 was received.

It sold terrible for its budget. Tomb Raider outsold it by leaps and bounds.

But Capcom got the message, they said that the next RE game will be done in the classic style.

frozenux
frozenux

@LaserXUKM  

It sucked because it was multi-player oriented instead of  single-player.Felt more like a bunch of MP maps stuck together rather than an actual adventure like the first one.

Abdulrahman1981
Abdulrahman1981

@realguitarhero5 I agree, slow character, repetitive gameplay. I don't know why they made 2 in the first place. Now there's part 3!!!!!!!!!!

ivan_osorio
ivan_osorio

@ferna1234 Blasphemy... X3 was excellent.

Personally, I never clicked with X2.. But I have undying love for both X and X3.

lambofgod008
lambofgod008

@BradBurns  Ok, whether or not japanese devs are better than western devs is a matter of opinion, and as someone who never really cared for anime or many of the anime-esque video games, it boggles my mind how people just bash western developers because they don't follow the same formula for character creation and ridiculous story lines that MOST japanese developers do. I do love some of the japanese developed games, ie; resident evil, metal gear, devil may cry. These are some of my favorite games, in fact, but even so, they have their problems also.


I do believe it is japanese developers that have been dropping the ball in the resident evil franchise as of late. Metal gear solid 2 was a great game, also, but I was laughing so hard by the end of it, due to the ridiculous amount of plot twists and story elements that japanese devs are notorious for. That's more than likely the reason I lost interest in the metal gear games. 


Those are just a couple of examples, but I find stuff like that in most japanese developed games I try to play. Also, not everyone needs a beautifully drawn, aesthetically unrealistic character design to enjoy playing the characters. I, personally, can relate more to a realistic character design. 


This is, of course, just my opinion, but I see a lot of people bashing on western devs and promoting japanese developers like they're gods. Maybe it's the fact that my generation was just behind the whole anime explosion in the US, but I just don't see the reason why these devs are held in such high regard when compared to western developers. Regardless of what you think about either, there are bad eggs on both sides.

BillyColeman
BillyColeman

@Printul_Noptii @frozenux DMC was made by Ninja Theory and they are from the UK not the west anyway it's true this is not anyway as bad as ORC but it still is showing just how far Capcom is falling 

frozenux
frozenux

@Printul_Noptii @frozenux 

"Not true"? lol i think you meant "i disagree".Like you,I just stated my opinion.Same way you telling me DMC was awesome is a joke to me.It was decent but awesome i don't think so.Between the teen angst,low combat depth,less challenging bosses,less rewarding rating combo system,i wasn't totally sold on it.I was expecting a dmc3 kind of impact and got something else...

Looks like in this case they tried to turn it in some kind of action/horror flick(alien/thing) cliche,something dead space had already covered.The franchise had its own identity in the first one.The mech fights used to be fun and they turned it  in some kind of FPS(of course...) with command prompt fest against bosses.I'm probably going to wait for steam sales if i ever think about trying this shit.

Printul_Noptii
Printul_Noptii

@ivan_osorio @ferna1234 I like them as a trilogy MMX1-3 are all the same control wise but they are all higher tweaked and yeah MMX3 was excellent it kinda started to decline after there thou... MMX4-5 were passable

BradBurns
BradBurns

@BillyColeman @Printul_Noptii @frozenux 

The UK is part of the West. 


Europe and the Americas are what most people are referring to as 'the West'.

Lost Planet 3

  • Xbox 360
  • PlayStation 3
  • PC
Lost Planet 3 has players return to the extreme and unpredictable conditions that characterized the Lost Planet series. Players take on the role of Utility Rig pilot Jim Peyton who leaves Earth to take on a hazardous but lucrative contract on E.D.N. III.
ESRB
Teen
All Platforms
Check out even more info at the Lost Planet 3 Wiki on Giantbomb.com