Wednesday, April 7

Don't Ever Change

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.


  1. I'm loving it, so far. I appreciate the movement not so much as something rigid in comparison to, say, the fast and fun Warhawk, but as something with inertia...momentum; a sort of purposeful weight behind the character. Definitely an acquired taste, and some would be incredibly turned off by the bullet-sponge nature of taking someone down. However, it just feels so nice and unique that it may very well become my go-to online game.

    As far as great online titles...well, can't say I've delved too long or deep into anything in particular up until now, but back in the day, I spent a hell of a lot of time playing Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops online - strange choice. Also played a lot of Killzone: Liberation online, too. Recently, it's been Bad Company 2 and looking forward to sinking a lot of time into Section 8.

    Keep up the good work, sir.

  2. The only PSP title I played online was Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror and that was a blast. Surprisingly it not only played well but there was very little lag.

    I do still enjoy Lost Planet 2 however I am disappointed that so little progress has been made. If there was some jump swinging and a little less sponginess I dare say my impressions would have been much more positive.

    Bad Company 2 is awesome. Just wish I was better at it.

  3. Oh yeah, Syphon Filter! Played the sequel, Logan's Shadow, online for a bit and it was indeed awesome. Something noble about online handheld gaming...the economy of system, but the scope of gameplay.

    I think the map on the Lost Planet 2 multiplayer demo is a bit of a poor choice on Capcom's behalf. It'd work much better in tandem with a larger map, sort of as a refreshing close-quarters affair in between more vehicular/VS-based battles. You're right in regards to the lack of firing off the grapple during a jump, although in a masochistic way, I kind of appreciate the clunkiness...strange, but I dig it. However, the bullet sponge stuff is irritating at times...and I'd like to see some other control schemes...especially one that maps the zoom/iron sights-ey toggle to a shoulder button - what we Western dogs have enjoyed since 2001.

    Still, I'm taken with it. Nothing else quite like Lost Planet!

    And yeah, Bad Company 2 is goddamn awesome. I bet you're more bad-arse than you're letting on.

  4. I didn't find myself aiming down the sight too much. The jump clunkiness brings to mind previous Capcom classics with unforgiving leaping mechanics like Ghouls n' Ghosts. In GnG however said mechanics added to the difficulty, the style even. In a shooter (with a grapple hook no less), movement should be footloose and fancy free when in LP2 it is instead awkward and frustrating at it's worst.

  5. The grapple hook should work like it does in Just Cause 2?

    Haven't played LP2, but I am not a fan of on-line 3rd person shooters. Example, I absolutely loved UC2, but I just can't play it online. It feels wrong.

    On a side note, the Dutch is alright at BC2, he isn't spectacular (neither am I, mind you) I would say we are probably mid range. I am trying to unlock all the class specific weapons and such, and think it will become a lot easier to rape teh face when I have settled on a certain set-up/s that I can go to. Also, playing in a decent squad/team helps so much in BC2.

    My fave on-line game of all time is COD4. That game was just so much fun to play, I also really enjoyed KZ2.

  6. KZ2 was good, but it was way too easy to hit General rank. If I can do it, it is too easy.

    I think of myself as team player in BC2. I get most of my points from support (Resupplies, Assists).

    I didn't like playing Uncharted 2 online because it took up to 10 minutes to find a game.