That's the mantra Capcom seems to be chanting as they work on Lost Planet 2. Thanks to a competition run by Kotaku, I scored early access to the multiplayer demo and logged a few hours since Sunday.
Don't get me wrong, I loved the original Lost Planet's multiplayer offering. Released just a few months after the all-conquering Gears of War, LP offered a credible, less violent alternative to murdering your opponents with lancer chainsaws. Maps varied from claustraphobic (read: poorly designed) interior maps to expansive (f&%&ing brilliant), multi-tiered outdoor battlefields featuring abandoned snow fortresses and jungle palaces. In almost every match I made a mad dash for a VS suit (for those of you who don't know, a robot with big guns for arms) and shot at anything that moved. You had access to a grapple hook which could be used to traverse maps faster, or reel in to points of interest (like sniping positions, VS suits and data posts). There was a standard array of weapons, with some real stand-outs. The disc grenade which could be lodged into people or VS suits and you could actually pull massive guns from VS suits and have an Arnie (Schwarzeneger) moment if you really wanted. Below is footage from the original Lost Planet.
Three years on and Lost Planet 2 is nearly with us and from the looks of things, very little has changed. After a few matches, I noticed only two changes/improvements: the ability to repair damaged VS suits and turrets and the range of the melee hit has been reduced to the point of redundency. Movement is still very rigid and you can't use the grapple hook with the freedom you really desire. If you are more than about 10 steps away, you are out of range, plus you can't jump and grapple at the same time (my Spiderman fantasies died very quickly). The maximum amount of players is still 16 and that really isn't good enough when compared to the likes of Bad Company 2. Worst of all, the netcode does not appear to have improved at all. Matches with US players often meant that I could empty 2 clips into an opponent with no result. Following is footage from Lost Planet 2.
It's not all bad. You can still hang from ledges and snipe away, VS suits are still a ball to jump, hover and fly around in and there are new weapons to play around with. The new map featured in the demo is also quite interesting with multiple camping positions and spawn points. It is perhaps a little too large as I often found myself running around for what felt like minutes trying to find opponents (or even fellow team members). If you weren't sold on the original game's multiplayer, there would be very little to pull you away from Modern Warfare 2 or Bad Company 2.
Bottom line: If you were expecting some massive changes to how Lost Planet does it's business you will be disappointed. If you were wanting a fix of the same old stuff with a few minor changes (not necessarily improvements) then have your wallet at the ready.
The Lost Planet 2 multiplayer demo will be available to all PSN users and Xbox Live Gold subscribers on April 22nd. If you're interested, I would love to play a few matches with some of you based in Australia, South-East Asia and New Zealand.
Does anyone have access to the LP2 demo at the moment? Are you enjoying it? What's you favourite online shooter? Mine was the original Gears of War, nothing for my money matched its intensity.