Lost Planet 2 Update: X10 Impressions With Gears of War and Resident Evil Character Skins

What happens when Marcus Fenix and Dominic Santiago get lost in Capcom's upcoming shooter? Things blow up.

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We got the chance to try out the recently announced character skins for Lost Planet 2 that let players blast their way through E.D.N. III as Marcus Fenix and Dominic Santiago from Gears of War or Albert Wesker from Resident Evil 5. The levels on display were taken from the second chapter of the game's first episode (the game is broken up into episodes that are made up of separate chapters). We played through two chapters, set in a tropical jungle on the once frozen planet.

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The two levels had us playing with a team of four human and AI-controlled characters. We played as Dominic Santiago, while our teammates included Marcus Fenix, Albert Wesker, and one of the standard pirate characters from Lost Planet 2. The gameplay wasn't affected by the cosmetic changes offered by the three selectable skins; all the characters handle the same and feature the same animations as the game's regular cast.

The first level we played was a straightforward race to activate data posts scattered throughout a lush jungle. Although the posts were easy enough to find thanks to the onscreen radar, activating them was a challenge because of the mobs of akrid. Apparently the alien critters are very anti-human, regardless of any cool skins on display, which made for a whole lot of shooting. While the akrid are a real drag when you're trying to get your data-post activating done, their weak spots are helpfully highlighted by bright orange markings that let you know exactly where to aim. The level featured a smattering of weapons and grenades to collect, which made killing the alien bugs an easy thing.

Once we cleared the level by activating the required data posts, we went right into a boss fight with an unpleasant akrid miniboss. Known as Queen Gore Chryatis, it's a massive multilimbed creature intent on murdering some humanoids. The creature popped out of a watery area and flailed its arms to smack anything within range. In addition, the critter shot out a frigid beam that froze anything it hit. When hit you're stuck in a block of ice, immobilized, until you break free by moving the left analog stick from side to side. While the queen made an imposing impression, it had plenty of colored weak spots to shoot at. The most useful targets on the creature were the two main arms it uses for flailing and ground pounding. The smaller arms on its massive body were more cosmetic but did set the queen on you if you blasted them off. The main weak spot on the massive creature is its head, which features a bright spot that amounts to a massive bull's-eye for you to target. The fight is tricky due to the queen's attacks and the general chaos that happens when four ice pirates are standing around being attacked by a creature that appears to be out of their league. However, as we've seen in demos of the game before, a little bit of teamwork and ingenuity can do wonders in the face of overwhelming odds.

The visuals look stunning, and we can't go on enough about the game's performance, which is smooth, stable, and fast. The jungle locale featured sharp detail and shiny water effects, which looked great. The various effects for explosions, weapon fire, and the queen's attacks popped out in spectacular fashion. On the more subtle side of things, character animation was smooth and well done, albeit a bit more disturbing than we would have liked: Marcus, Dom, and Wesker's motions, especially taunts, weren't quite in character. Lost Planet 2's wide array of customizable poses and animations may unsettle diehard Gears fans not ready to see Dom and Marcus pose and strut like supermodels.

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This tiny slice of Lost Planet 2 left us hungry to play more of the promising game. The action has a good feel to it and is complemented by the impressive visuals. The addition of the unlockable skins is a nice extra, especially for Gears fans who just can't quit Dom and Marcus. Speaking of the skins, for those wondering, while Wesker is confirmed to be unlockable across the PS3 and 360 versions of LP2, there's no official word about Dom or Marcus--though we're pretty sure the odds of the dynamic duo's appearance in the PS3 game are exceptionally low. Lost Planet 2 is slated to ship this May on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Look for more on the game soon.

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