Lost Planet 3 video review – a bad day at the office

Capcom’s Lost Planet 3 is available now consoles and PC, and features a  new protagonist Jim Payton, and a story prequel to the other games in the series. After three games, has the icy series run its course or is this latest offering a defining moment. Take a look at our video review for the full lowdown.

 

Text Review:

Today we’re taking a look at Capcom’s icy action game, Lost Planet 3 which returns the series to its cold and chilling beginnings on the planet EDN III.  Enter new hero, Jim Payton, who is a character with little explanation. In many ways, the focus of the game is on Jim’s personal side as a motivation for being a gun for hire, and general handy man.  We see that Jim has traveled to the Lost Planet, to earn coin for his wife and child back home, but we’re given little detail as to how Jim is such an expert acrid exterminator and general  dogs body mr fix it.

The story is told via flashback, depicting a dying Jim in his old age. Whilst the story itself, is fairly interesting, the real meat centers around Jim and his feelings as he wanders the icy wastes via various recordings made to his wife back home.

Let’s get this out there from the offset. Lost Planet 3 is not a mech game, and whilst Jim travels using a mech or rig as they are called, its use in the game is purely a tool to manipulate things and help Jim navigate the hazards of EDN III. The fact, the rig is not equipped with any weapons highlights this.  There are several moments where the rig is used to squash, maim and fight the creatures of EDN III but this is not the pure focus.

The core elements of the game revolve around exploration of the planet, moving at what feels like a snails pace in the rig. This creates a sense of space and a solitary notion that it’s Jim and the elements doing a job and getting paid. For some it’s likely that these spacious moments will grate, but for those who take on the role will enjoy the sights of the landscape – which do look very polished and overflowing with neat effects.

Players will mostly be spending their time on foot shooting up enemies, activating and collecting things.  There’s little more to the game, aside from the interactive elements of the rig and the various moments with the characters in the story. In terms of the shooting mechanics, the game is quite competent, offering weapons with sufficient kick, and unlimited ammo for the base pistol, which is welcome. Much like many third person shooters, Jim can move into cover and comes in handy when dealing with specific enemies which circle, and run away during combat. The enemy variety isn’t bad, but perhaps not as impressive as some of Capcom’s other games. There’s an abundance of boss creatures to best, but these somehow don’t feel as epic as the previous Lost Planet games. One gameplay mechanic which does become annoying are the moments when grabbed by an enemy and are forced to wrestle free using a knife, whilst handy in giving an energy boost ( if successful), the input mechanics are awkward and can result in an untimely, and unfair death, which in an already slow paced game, adds more salt into the wound.

Lost Planet 3, offers an semi-open world to explore, which is really a series of connected paths. Players are able to look off the beaten track and partake is optional side quests to prolong the experience, and find out more about the history of the planet. Various upgrades are provided by lively key characters and using the game’s currency which is gathered from acrid beasts or via payment from jobs and can also be used to purchase new weapons. It’s all rather standard fare and presented in a non taxing way, except, the bottom line is, there’s a general lack of pace to all aspects of the game.

Graphically, Spark have done a really great job of creating visuals which don’t offer too much scope given the icy nature of the game.  Whilst many locations are barren, and even dull in some cases, the areas that do shine stand out very well and suggest that some effort was placed in creating as pleasant a looking game as possible.

In terms of differences between the console and PC versions, the console version suffer from some terrible dips in frames throughout the game which remains playable, but isn’t as smooth as the PC version which runs perfectly. The console graphics are comparable to the PC but it’s the solid 60 frames of the PC version which make it a far more smoother experience, especially during combat when aiming.

Audio is also quite varied, offering a wild west theme with its optional country music provided by Jim’s wife.  In fact, the wild west theme is very fitting here, except ice replaces the dusty trails of the open plains. There’s some solid performances from the cast such as with the engineer Gail, amongst some touches of light humor from time to time, but it’s Jim who is the real star, and is performed very well – to the point where as a player, you’re more interested in keeping him alive to see what happens next. The small dialogues, the quips an remarks, make Jim an atypical gaming character, someone normal almost, and it’s this which is the game’s greatest asset for keeping players interested.

Lost Planet 3 perhaps scrimps on any extras for the solo campaign once bested which hovers around the 10- 12 hours mark, depending on how many side missions are undertaken, and if fast travel is used. So, taking the battle online is the next option which offers some pretty cool multiplayer versus action and even a some team based survival modes. Given the use of the grapple, and some varied level design makes for a welcome addition to the package.

Lost Planet 3 definitely will sit within the realms of acquired taste, simply due to its pacing and some odd design choices which could have made the gameplay more welcoming – we won’t even get started on the awkward waypoint marker which tends to not be the most user friendly. The console version does lose out in terms of performance compared to its PC cousin, but in general, Spark have done a marvelous job with the game’s looks on both platforms.

Lost Planet 3 is an interesting entry in the series that presents the plight, of the often one man army Jim Payton in such a likable way that it’s hard to not appreciate the difference in character form we’re normally presented. Perhaps the game should have had the moniker, “a bad day at the office” as this is what the game feels like in terms of the tasks being undertaken for small bits of coin. Lost Planet 3 should please fans, but won’t necessarily win over any new ones. If you like a bit of suspenseful no frills action gaming with a touch of mech, and ice cold extremes, then this is worth checking out.

Score 7/10 – Review by Robert Cram.

 

 

Written by: Robert Cram

Robert Cram has hundreds of video game reviews and thousands of articles under his belt. He aims to remain objective and fair in his analysis. With years of experience, feels his gaming opinions are valid and worth sharing. Agreement is entirely optional.