Lost Planet 2 ROCKS!

27 02 2010

Last year around late Fall, the Lost Planet 2 demo went live on the, you guessed it, Xbox Live Marketplace. I immediately played it and got hooked with the gameplay mechanics that I was able to witness. I played and joined numerous online games with each one bearing a slightly different experience from the last game played. My original intent was to post up my thoughts on this demo, but all of this got sidetracked with everything else going on which is usually the case for me.

Recently at the beginning of this year, I replayed the demo with friends after urging them to download it. This post is based off of my experience and thoughts from that time.

Upon loading up the demo, you are brought to the title screen where campaign trial is the only accessible part of the demo. The campaign trial is divided in an offline and online game mode with online play allowing you to connect with up to three other individuals for some cooperative fun. For all intents and purposes, I will be covering the online aspect as the single player campaign is relatively the same as the online component sans the additional help made available to you.

When starting up an online game, you can find an already pre-made lobby and the game will provide a list of lobbies with the amount of open slots available. You will need to back out of this menu to the previous one if you want to refresh current and active lobbies which was a bit frustrating on my end considering the amount of times I needed to refresh to actually find a suitable lobby that wasn’t already in session, full or had the lobby creator – who is the host or leader – idle indefinitely on that screen. If you have at least 2 other friends, it is recommendable to create a game with private slots so that you can invite whomever you want without running the risk that a random individual with join your lobby.

The controls for the game are, for the most part, common in button assignment and functionality; the right bumper allowed for a 90° right turn, the left bumper was a 90° left turn, the left trigger threw grenades, the right trigger fired the weapon, the left stick button manipulated movement, clicking in the left stick button made the character assume a crouched position, the right stick button aimed the reticule of the equipped weapon, clicking in the right stick button reloaded the weapon, the directional pad/D-pad activate the zoom feature of a scoped weapon, the A button dictates jump , the Y button changes from a primary to a secondary weapon or picks up a new weapon, the B button melees, the X button anchors the user by deploying a grappling hook. Other button functionality includes pressing the Back button to access the PDA which is essentially pausing your game to access other sub-menus such as in-game options that offer limited tweaking to the restrictions of a demo, pressing the Start button uses up a health item called the Harmonizer to restore some lost Battle Points, and the Y button + left trigger/ right trigger to heal with T-ENG or to drop the current weapon. The aiming speed is defaulted to 5 which is not too slow and not too fast for most players. I am starting to play on maximum aiming speed levels in other games, so playing with a neutral speed level can feel a little off at times.

In the pre-game lobby, warriors outfitted with various gear and articles of clothing similar to a nomadic style stood before us. In that instance, I guessed that the climate to be a colder one based on how much clothing were on our warriors and the environment from Lost Planet. You could also see the regions of the players in the pre-game lobby which I’ll explain one of my experiences with an online game later on. On my first trial run with my two other friends, we decided to create a close lobby with private slots to see if we could invite someone from our friend’s list to join us. Seeing as no one on our friend’s list were on, we jumped into the game with a party of three.

Once the game loaded up, there was what appeared to be a lush environment with plenty of green for the eye to see. This right here undid my previous thought of some arctic battlefield with unforgiving snowstorms and lands devoid of plant life. On the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, the HUD displays a simple image of the currently equipped gun along with the current amount of ammunition while the top right has a mini HUD with your character as the central marker. The user has a default of 5000 battle points with 3000 allocated to the team’s overall status on the top left-hand corner as well as the harmonizer bar and the T-ENG supplier prompts and grenade stock occupying the bottom left corner. There are game controlled AI teammates that assist you in this demo, but AI teammates are usually never comparable to that of another human being. Clicking in the left stick button immediately reminded me of the running mechanics in Gears of War where the player’s character is closer to the ground to do a sprinting motion before returning to a clunky motion that is also featured in that game. There are multiple fluorescent cyan modules that scatter the initial area where the player(s) are  deposited in that offer some gameplay tips. Teammates’ names – both in-game and real life – are highlighted above their heads so you’re aware of position, health and can provide some assistance. Items such as weaponry and equipment have a thin yellow highlight to them, making it easier to detect where weapons and equipment are located.

As soon as the players make their way towards the edge of the overlook, an enormous reptilian armor with a spiky exoskeleton emerges from the ocean. This creature is of elephantine proportions and is even bigger than the dragons in Capcom’s successful Monster Hunter franchise. Without needing any obvious directions, the players need to destroy Category G and are prompted to aim for its core which might be a vital spot for the monster. The rocket launcher near the edge of the overlook is the best weapon to grab from the get go to land in some crucial shots when G initially emerges from the water. After playing the demo and observing others, I quickly make a dash for the data post and repeatedly tap the B button to quickly activate the data post. Completing certain objectives such as the activation of the data post rewards the character with points that rank players, but the data post serves as spawn points for the player so that they can easily join the fight immediately after a respawn. Glowing spots situated on Category G’s six knees as well as the bright horn atop its head are vulnerable parts that effectively take damage and break off after sustaining x amount of hits.

Since, I knew the importance of activating the data posts would prove pivotal to our success of the mission (and the additional points didn’t hurt, either), I took no care in trying to damage Category G save the few shots I would fire every now and again. After activating the third data post near the tunnel, I jumped down and anchored by hook into the tall overlook and began to rappel myself towards higher ground. Using the injection gun, I quickly scoped in to fire off a burst offensive then defensive stat boost. It was a temporary effect, but it could mean life and death if the situation called for it. One thing I tried in close proximity to another teammate was to send off thermal energy blast akin to throwing hadokens that restored allied health.

Slowly, the glowing parts would glow brighter with each impact of a bullet until the leg blew apart into 3-dimensional cube shaped objects scattered about on the ground. Collecting “?” serves no purpose in the game aside from accruing bonus points that get tallied into an overall rank. Well, the demo had no real purpose for them, but I imagine that they might be exchanged for other objects or be an achievement based challenge. The destruction of any three of Category G’s legs gets the monster ready for infiltration via its oral cavity. Yes, you have to go inside what seems to be a feral abyss.

Every time Category G nears infiltration, I stock up assault rifle ammunition and grab a rocket launcher or sniper rifle. If I happen to be close enough, I’ll rip off the gatling gun and use that as the primary weaponry in whittling away at its innards. One of the coolest things in this demo was that I could rip off the gatling gun off of any of the multiple immobile mechs scattered in this demo level. It is honestly the best thing to use to steadily decrease G’s health gauge. Oh yeah, reloading while in scope mode is definitely the way to go! Once inside, numerous smaller insectoid creatures with multiple legs spawn from intestinal tract along with bulbous masses that explode after damage. Landing shots on what appears to be a lone, dangling organ in the distance upsets G severely. Eventually, the peristalsis causes the user to flow deeper within the intestinal tract until s/he is expelled out of the body.

Mechs named VS are useful in the sense that they can hover and effectively move out of G’s area of effect attacks, but they provide additional firepower and protection. The majority of the mechs scattered in the demo seat only one user, but the mech situated near the tallest overlook in a small alcove has two additional side seats. In one of my earlier playthroughs, I repeatedly put my mech in standby mode to appeal to other players. I mean what’s the point of riding in a 3-person mech with only 1 person. I don’t have what any clue what happened next, but hovering near G’s body with a player at either side of me holding down on the trigger button filled me with much delight. I may have been amused at the time. After successfully killing G, multiple cube shaped objects fall to the ground with players scurrying about in a frenzy to collect as much before the timer ends. The highest ranking is S with D being the lowest that I have personally seen in the matches that I played. My best score was an ‘A’.

I imagine this might be an option for customization, but friendly fire is always on in the game. When using the injection gun, it might cause confusion in allies who are too quick to judge that you are trying to sabotage the mission. It also means that the possibility of getting a bonafide douchebag in your game is much higher if you don’t know who you are playing with. For example, I ended up in a team with all Russian players who took it upon themselves to bombard me with fire. Being the type of person who doesn’t back away from a challenge and knowing this game wouldn’t go anywhere, I retaliated back just waiting for the game to end already. In my most recent game with my friends, we got grouped with a douchebag who kept throwing grenades in our direction, but was not very good at tk’ing. We all had headsets on and proceeded to curse said douchebag out. While these are just minor grievances, they are still grievances nonetheless.

I took this from Grizzlyfire’s youtube channel to demonstrate what the demo looks like so that my words have an image to connect with. In this video, the player does an offline single player campaign and does things very differently from what I described and the video cuts out before the demo is technically finished, but you should get a good idea of this game.

Here is the trailer with hints that there might be some Gears of War cameos.

– Courtesy of



7 responses

3 03 2010

Random groups usually end up in heartache for me too. Every once in a while though it’s nice when you actually find someone on the same wavelength, from a random group. Although I’m only speaking from past experiences in WoW.

But the bosses in your game look intimidating and gorgeous in terms of details. Not a game I’ll end up playing, but I like learning about it all the same.

6 03 2010

@duckie: Yeah, I experienced that a bunch on Guild Wars, too. It just can’t be helped. I’ve also “met” some amazing people that I still talk to through random encounters. I think it’s the same thing you get in real life as well.

You are the only person that I know of that would refer to the monsters as “intimidating”. Everyone else that I know of that has played this demo or monsters of this nature all have the same “in awe” reaction. I’m curious. Since you don’t play a lot of games and certainly wouldn’t be playing this genre, what is it that you exactly learn?

8 03 2010

When a blog does a post about a game I’m not keeping an eye out for, I get to learn about the game itself, that’s about it. I wouldn’t have known anything about this game otherwise. But with the screenshots I also get the eye candy of seeing where video game graphics are at. The games I play (at least lately) tend to be a few paces behind what the video game industry is currently capable of. But I get FF13 soon, so at least temporarily I should have a game with graphics that are current.

I suppose I use the word “intimidating” when they’re so large in comparison to your character. So I guess I could have just said “large and detailed”. But I probably say intimidating because bosses like these give me a greater thrill when I take them down…*thinks of Shadow of the Colossus* I don’t usually encounter such large bosses in the live action style in the types of games I play.

13 03 2010

@duckie: That’s definitely true as a rudimentary statement. Well, to the casual eye, screenshots definitely don’t say anything about where video game graphics are at. Hell, even CG trailers do nothing to really show what a title, a developer, a platform and most importantly, the video game industry is capable of. Being able to visually gauge from a technical standpoint the graphical advancements in a title requires the user to be able to distinguish and differentiate the difference from standard to impressive and I, frankly, don’t think that is something that can easily be done unless the person has a background with art in it, programming/developing, has played enough video games to see the improvements, or any set of the above choices. There are honestly three graphically definitive games out there currently on the market and the difference between them and the rest is of elephantine proportions and I highly doubt those titles would necessarily be your cup of tea, so there’s a good chance you’re playing with outdated graphics which is fine because a game’s merit shouldn’t heavily depend upon its pixel count. Ah, don’t mistake a current game that has released a lot of CG cutscenes and is a namesake title as being the standard or even remotely close to the baseline for the bar for video game graphics. Final Fantasy XIII is relatively better than a suped out PS2 game that was graphically impressive for it’s time; the video game industry has since surpassed and is miles away from that point.

There can definitely be a correlation between the size of boss/enemy and a greater sense of accomplishment. The bosses in Shadow of the Colossus are generally small and unimpressive in scale to the ones in Lost Planet 2 with the monsters in Bayonetta providing a more apt comparison. Generally speaking, larger scaled enemies tend to be more exciting in nature to take down, but Shadow of the Colossus is one of those games whose mood and setting convey the exact opposite. I think it is very easy to equate size to a sense of accomplishment without factoring what type of tone is being set which is equally important if not more so in the context of whether one’s actions can be deemed morally good or unnecessarily evil. What do you mean by “live action style” of gameplay? I have only heard of that word used in the context of a fictional setting/story that gets acted out with human actors, but this term has no bearing or place within the context of video games. I am gonna go out on a limb here, but I think you mean non turn-based as an in-game mechanic and not necessarily as a genre or maybe even real-time gameplay.

Man, I ♥ videogames!

18 03 2010

LOL you know I re-read my response before I read yours and when I saw I wrote “live action gameplay” the only thing in my mind was “wtf?” I have NO IDEA why I called it live action (maybe something Jay said about a J Drama was on my mind?). I believe my intention was to say action/adventure games…so yes you’re coreect in your interpretation of my response.

Also thanks for your response, you made valid points that made me think. You’re right I definitely am not the type that’s able “visually gauge from a technical standpoint the graphical advancements”. The whole extent of my analysis is pretty much if I think the image is gorgeously detailed and impresses me, I think of them as the current graphics out there (commercially released already). My POV really isn’t one I can make those calls from, I’m missing a LOT of information because I’m focused on just one genre. I agree graphics don’t matter at all in games, some of the best experiences I’ve had playing games have been ones that were released before I started playing video games. For example I played ICO just 3 years ago, at the end I was completely blown away by the ending. All of the unanswered questions and my theories on what happened make me think about this game more often than most. Also I played FF5 a year ago, and I just really loved the job system they used. I’m not sure I could say which game has my favorite character development system for sure, but FF5 would definitely be one of the titles I’d be thinking about.

“Shadow of the Colossus is one of those games whose mood and setting convey the exact opposite”
True, I don’t feel thrilled when I take down a Colossus. It’s a mixed feeling when you win one of those battles. All this chat about ICO and Colossus has me thinking abou how I have The Last Guardian to look forward to.

18 03 2010

* “I agree graphics don’t matter at all in games”

You know, I retract that. That’s untrue, they matter to a certain extent…but other factors are more important to me. ALSO you never implied that they don’t matter “at all” so that statement doesn’t agree with what you said any way.

1 04 2010

@duckie: Graphics matter on a trivial level and it only goes to a certain extent unless the graphics serves to push something or is doing something revolutionary. Graphics among other qualities should all (ideally) come together to push a title to epic proportions.

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