Ex Troopers Tokyo Game Show 2012 Hands-on Impressions -- A Lost Planet AnimeBy Jake Gaskill - Posted Sep 24, 2012
Perhaps the most surprisingly enjoyable game I stumbled across at TGS 2012 was Capcom’s Ex Troopers, an anime-inspired (and oddly Borderlands-ish) spinoff of its sci-fi action series Lost Planet coming to Japan later this year (and hopefully in the US sometime next year, although there currently aren’t any plans for this to happen, which is a bummer).
Like the vast majority of games on display at TGS, the demo was in Japanese, so I couldn’t tell you word one about the game’s story, but seeing as the playable level appeared to be the tutorial section, there’s little story to speak of anyway. Still, based on the mechanics alone—because the art style could not be further from Lost Planet’s reality-based design—it very much exists in that universe, with a few/welcomed differences.
For instance, the game is still a third-person shooter, but you can’t free aim; it’s all about target locking, which worked well enough since I was never facing more than a couple enemies at a time. I could imagine it getting frustrating though in larger battles, as you’d have to cycle through enemies to get the one you actually wanted to shoot. Thankfully, bullets don’t discriminate when it comes to blasting creepy crawlies and bundled up troopers to bits.
You also have a grappling hook, but it looks like you can only use it in on designated objects or specific spots. Luckily, you have a slick looking jetpack that you can use to fly short distances, lunge forward, and strafe. Lost Planet’s lack of mobility---or rather, the series’ oddly designed sense of movement---has always been one of the big turn offs for me, and while it’s obviously meant to fit in with Ex Troopers’ more fanciful anime style, the faster paced action is much more fluid and responsive than the weighty, grounded feel of Lost Planet.
In addition to standard machine guns with alternate firing capabilities (a three-bullet blast, a grenade launcher, etc.), you can also roundhouse kick enemies as your melee attack. Better yet, when you boost with your jetpack and melee, you can uppercut fools, sending them into the air where you can then proceed to juggle them with bullets. As you can probably guess, I spent far too much of the demo doing just this, but I don’t regret a minute of it.
As you rack up kills, you fill a special attack meter that, when triggered, unleashes a hell storm of bullets that swoops around you in all directions, dealing devastating damage to any enemies in your immediate vicinity. This attack is a great way to handle crowd control, and became especially usefully when squaring off against the towering mech boss at the end of the level, as did collecting the little orange health-giving globules the enemies dropped as we shot them.
When we weren’t dodging the boss mech’s massive blade arms or scrambling to get out of the way as it went soaring into the air and sent out shockwaves as it came crashing to the ground, me and my squad of three other AI allies (suggesting the possibility of four-player co-op) unleashed everything we had on the behemoth, and barely managed to bring it down before it buried us in the cold, cold ground. My completion time popped up at the end of the stage, so leaderboards should keep those with a competitive edge with plenty to keep them coming back for more.
It could be a while before Ex Troopers heads stateside, so for now, gamers in the west will have to be happy getting their Lost Planet fix next year with Lost Planet 3.