At their Captivate 09 press event in Monte Carlo last week, Capcom may have disappointed some journalist by not letting them have hands-on time with Lost Planet 2, the sequel to the 2007 third-person sci-fi shooter. And yet even without it, the game was still one of the highlights of the event, a testament to how well it seems like this sequel is coming along.
Ironically, some of the new information they revealed about the game might actually upset fans of the first one. For starters, the planet is no longer a Hoth-like frozen world. The snow has melted (as was foretold by the original game’s ending), so you now find yourself in jungles, forests, and at least one area that looks like a Louisiana swamp. Because of this, the areas we were shown weren’t bleak plains but lush greeneries with plenty of trees to hide behind, which changes the game’s vibe considerably.
You will, however, still have to gather up thermal energy — the fight for which will drive the game’s plot — since it is used to power your weapons and other things. You just don’t need it to stay warm anymore.
This sequel is also jettisoning Wayne, the hero from the original, in favor of a player-created character. Well, four of them, really, since you play as part of a four-person squad of soldiers who have to take out the insect-like Akrid that infest this world. In fact, the game is actually built to played as a four-player co-op shooter, with people being able to drop in or out in between chapters, though the developers are working hard on the balancing and A.I. so you can play with less or on your own.
Lastly, they didn’t say anything about the game coming to PCs or the PlayStation 3; it is still an Xbox 360 exclusive, even though the first one eventually made it to them.
There are some changes, however, that will please people who fought their way through the original Planet. Your character can now run, the camera has been tweaked to make your character more prominent, and the game boasts three times as many weapons as the original.
They’re also not skimping on the new stuff. The character customization section is rather large, with tons of helmets, boots, pants, and armor to chose from (and possibly more via DLC later on); everything from shogun-looking outfits to some cyberpunky stuff that would’ve worked in BioShock. You can even chose from a variety of celebratory moves that will kick in when you score a touchdown, er takedown of a big Akrid, though some were rather silly.
Oh, and yes, your character can be a boy or a girl.
There are also some new VS mech suits, including some that can accommodate your whole squad, as well as some new single-person ones that the developers acknowledge look like the mechs in the Matrix sequels.
But the best bit we saw was that they’ve not only kept the gigantic boss battles, but you can now fight these beasties from the inside, which they illustrated by jumping into the open mouth of a huge spiky six-legged salamander and giving him some heartburn.
The developers also briefly touched upon the game’s competitive multiplayer options, which will bring back all the modes from the first game and the director’s cut-like Colonies edition. Matches will accommodate up to 16 players, and there would be as many maps as the original game included at launch, though additional maps are also planned for release later on.
The game will also boast a leveling up system that will give you new character customization items and other abilities as you progress. Your level will even carry over into multiplayer, though they didn’t say how that would work.
Needless to say, we were very excited by what they showed off at this event, especially after they said we’d be able to enjoy the salamander battle at this year’s E3.