If you are considering buying this game despite some low scores, consider no longer.

Lost Planet 3 is the epitome of a cult gamer’s game. As a reviewer myself I will not quibble with the review scores; LP3 simply transcends simple numbered scoring abilities. The flaws yank that score down but there’s so much great stuff here for down to earth gamers it is not to be missed.

I have not played the previous two Lost Planet games so I can’t give anybody an accurate assessment of what does or doesn’t carry over into this title. I hear it is quite different. A game one can draw many parallels to is Dead Space 3. Both spend time on frozen planets, are third person over-the-shoulder action titles, and take place in a sci fi setting. As it happens I played them back to back.

Quality-wise Dead Space 3 obviously is the better presentation, but I prefer the experience with Lost Planet 3 more. Maybe the fact that I liked the old survival/horror aspect to Dead Space that got sucked out the airlock in DS3 affected me, or maybe it’s because Lost Planet 3 delivers the sci fi goods on a bigger, better scale.

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It’s a story-driven game, which I find helpful to the immersion of the bleak atmosphere. As Jim Peyton you are the future’s version of a long haul trucker. Your rig is a giant mech on a planet far from Earth and you are there to do grunt work to support your wife and son back home. The game uses messages from home and some task oriented gameplay to get you into the boots of the main character. I think this is accomplished quite well. Others will complain that you spend too much time in your mech traveling and such but that’s just not the case. Time spent traveling is important to expanding the map, upgrading, and collecting T-Energy (the game’s money and life blood of the planet). In addition to the main missions there are side quests that make it a semi-open world experience. If you can’t enjoy the novelty of traversing a planet in a giant walking machine there is a fast travel option.

It isn’t a bunch of boring mech walking though, traversal is actually pretty fun as you keep adding new ways to get around like grappling hooks and zipline attachments for both you and your mech. On foot the gameplay is quite varied. There are tense times in close quarters while exploring and powering up the dark corridors of derelict and inhabited areas that aren’t supposed to exist. There are also all out blastfests with the many types of alien forces as well as wild boss fights you’ll sometimes have to climb into your mech to complete.

Weapons aren’t anything amazing. There’s no awesome crafting system like in Dead Space 3 but what is there is more than enough to keep you happy. You use T-energy to buy and upgrade various weapons and other upgrades from quartermasters. What you choose to carry has a pretty heavy impact on how the action will play out for you. Close quarters weapons and explosives make for a very careful gaming experience and full auto weapons make things fast and flashy. There are ranged guns as well but the aliens (called Akrid) won’t always cooperate with your plan to keep some distance. I like some balance, one full auto and one powerful weapon. You can also buy special upgrades for your mech and special ammo for your weapons. It’s a pretty well rounded combat set if you ask me. There’s a ton of shooting going on so if anybody is worried that it’s going to be too slow just forget about that. It might seem too slow if you need shooting happening through a whole campaign.

The characters and story are a bit of double edged situation. On the one hand Lost Planet 3 plays the old school sci fi tune really well. Some folks might be critical of this direction but as a child of 80s movies I like it. What that entails is a crew of deliberately very different people. Everyone in the game has a big personality, their own language or accent, and generally fit a stereotype. In that sense the narrative can feel a little unimaginative since more nuanced characters a la The Last of Us are all the rage now. I like this approach though, it puts one in mind of the movies Alien and The Thing, both of which influence this game. Voice work is also mixed, there are some great performances and some really annoying ones.

The plot is a number of familiar elements put together in just enough new ways to keep you interested. In truth it’s probably better than the average Hollywood sci fi flick, but don’t expect some kind of breakthrough. It’s a video game script after all. In any case the characters help to drive this story just as well as those of a more successful, AAA game.

So what’s wrong with it? Why the bad scores? LP3 kind of gets crushed beneath the weight of its own big vision and everything it takes on. It can be a cover shooter, a horror game, a run n gun game, a first person mech combat game, a linear narrative styled game, and a half dozen other things. Because of all it tries to accomplish it becomes quite unstable at times. The frame rate can drop significantly, there are numerous (but not lengthy) loading screens, side missions can get repetitive, controls aren’t always balanced, and there are any number of little hitches and hiccups.

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The graphics are no powerhouse, this game just has too much happening at a very fast pace or in too many perspectives for it to be pretty everywhere. The worst of this is actually the characters, while some can look quite amazing close up with their facial animations and such, most others will appear as lifeless dolls with dead eyes. The planet is bleak, there isn’t a lot of great scenery here. It’s dark and cold and foreboding. Big deal though right? Cult gamers game with their imaginations on.

If you are at all interested in the game after reading a few things about it then it is my opinion that these problems are quite easily overlooked. There are games where the hitches cripple the whole damn thing (ahem, Aliens: Colonial Marines) and there are games where you can still have a blast. Lost Planet 3 is a game that you can really sink an afternoon in to. After that you’ll probably keep coming back until it’s done.

Go ahead and scratch this itch for the current price, there’s no need to wait for this one to go below the price it’s going for now. I think I picked mine up new for about $23. Turn out the lights, get in your favorite chair and take your mech for a ride to see what’s out on that frozen horizon.

 

  • Issac clarck

    Lost planet is definitely worth playing once,but I like dead space much due to the epicness.