The game is quite enjoyable actually, despite the nitpicking that GameSpot and IGN have been giving it, resulting in its overall low scores. However, that’s not to say that the game is perfect. This review only covers the 360 version.
Let’s start with the bad parts first. First off, split-screen does not allow for multiple profiles, which is a big bummer. It also doesn’t allow online players to join in, nor does it allow you to enter multiplayer matches. This was a big feature back in Halo 3, would have been nice to see this actually implemented in Lost Planet 2. Secondly, the game does not save between missions. It does save between chapters, and I think something is saved still even though you exit mid-chapter, but I haven’t had a chance to look over whether or not rewards or boxes are saved through this.
Third, you can’t restart from a mission. If you die on a mission, you have to restart the entire chapter. I would have preferred an option to restart the mission specifically, but it would cause a massive rank drop if I did. I’d rather take a rank drop than have to restart the entire chapter. Finally, as a nitpick on my own part, I would have liked options in co-op to do things like disable story cutscenes, so that I wouldn’t have to have everyone press Start to skip.
Now that we’ve pushed past the infrastructure/design issues, let’s move on to the good. The graphics are outstanding (if you play normally, not in split-screen), with attention to detail all around, including the environment, background, etc. Sound and ambience also matches quite well with the levels, which are not subpar in design like GameSpot and IGN would like to have you believe.
Controls are still the same as you’d expect from Lost Planet 1, but if you want the control scheme you liked from there, you’ll have to tinker with the control types available. They offer several, but it would also have been nice to configure your own. That said, the controls change when you get into a VS, so this might possibly complicate things.
Online play is also quite enjoyable. Campaign play online stresses the co-operative aspects by quite a margin, so communication is key. For example, if someone needs a VS to get rid of a boss as quickly as possible (which they can), then other players that opt to give up their VS will be rewarded when they slay the boss in said time. Or, players can lead others to hidden areas or ledges that will give them an advantage in battle later. AI partners that fill in the player slots are actually pretty well designed, doing specific things to help support you, such as shooting T-ENG at you, or bringing up ammo to a giant railway gun. However, they stop short of actually finishing mission objectives; that’s your job, after all.
Competitive multiplayer splits off into three categories; player, ranked, and faction. Player matches are the same as you’d expect; you create your rooms with settings you’d like, fill people up and start. Things you do in player matches will affect your career level, but credits for the LP2 Slot Machine are not offered. Ranked matches are the same as player matches, except they count in leaderboards. It also follows a system similar to Halo 3’s matches, where matches are randomized along with the players, and players can vote on what kind of rules or maps they’d like to see. Faction matches involve weekly arenas where players align with a faction and fight in these arenas for the week to try and let their faction win. Once you pick a faction, you can’t change until the next timeframe.
One thing to note is that there is now a DNF% counter, or “Did Not Finish %”. Basically, if you disconnect or leave a game early, this % will go up, and if it passes 30% then your career level cannot improve through any of the match types. Though it would be nice if the DNF% counter would weigh actual disconnects less compared to people leaving the game early via other means.
Customization runs across many aspects. You have character parts, which you can customize across five different characters, each representing a different faction. You level up each character to unlock more parts, and if your career level is high enough, you can mix and match parts (so I hear). Weapons are gained through the LP2 Slot Machine, where you spend credits to earn new weapons, emotes, abilities, or titles.
Emotes are used in-game for doing animations just for fun, and titles are simply displayed beside your name. Abilities actually change your character’s features. Remember what CAPCOM said about the T-ENG gauge not dropping anymore? It’s actually because of a default ability you have. You can change it up to do things like become totally silent, invisible on radar, higher attack power, and so on.
In summary, Lost Planet 2 is still an enjoyable game if you can get past the infrastructure/design issues with the game, which I hope CAPCOM fixes in the future. It’s not a game that I’d rate down to 5.5/10 or 6/10 though; in those cases, the reviewers were totally not in line with those who played the game in the videos before. On the other hand, reviews ranging above 70% do indicate there are infrastructure issues with the game, which do need tending to.
If CAPCOM is reading this, I’d also like to see the ability to save the music played in the Main Menu. That’d be awesome.