Lost Planet 2

If Lost Planet 2 were the only videogame on store shelves enabling players to shoot at shit, it would be revolutionary. But it isn’t. It’s just another deposit of digital cholesterol on a constricting artery that’s one cheeseburger away from being clogged forever by uninspired third-person shooters. Set a decade after 2007’s Lost Planet: Extreme Condition—which turned heads with its icy-space-tundra setting and stories-high bosses—the new Lost Planet 2 sees fit to introduce global warming, take a rusty hacksaw to cohesive storytelling, and dare players to suffer through six monotonous multi-chapter campaigns. Those are little more than a routine of shooting at soldiers and then shooting at colossal bugs, while being interrupted by varying excuses to activate all-important data posts.

There is no rock-star, Master Chief soldier in Lost Planet 2—the emphasis here is 100 percent on teamwork (which is actually evaluated on the fly via “Good-Job Rankings”), whether you play online or off. But seeing as how your offline AI squad-mates are only capable of bounding around and following you like a couple of gun-toting puppies, the real only way to wring a shred of enjoyment from LP2 is going online with strangers or friends—especially since LP2 won’t let you delegate orders to your AI underlings. The mission criteria unfortunately go no further than fill-in-the-blank orders stacked with the words “infiltrate,” “destroy,” or “data post.” Even when the tasks at hand are exceedingly obvious, it’s often frustratingly unclear where to go next, or what to do once you’ve blown up everything in sight. When the massive bosses do come around, somehow there’s no sense of danger or even challenge: Their health bars are artificially inflated to accommodate four players, and when you die, the worst consequence is waiting two whole seconds to respawn again. Worse still, the ocean-liner-sized insects’ grace and speed offsets how inexplicably clumsily you and your comrades navigate the battlefield. Why can they leap from skyscraper to skyscraper quicker than you can turn around to escape?

More to the point, why play LP2 online when there are countless other games in this genre that either still stand up or are new and do the same things much better? Simply put, Frankensteined-together deathmatch maps aren’t worth experiencing for one person, much less four at the same time—no matter how vital those data mines supposedly are.

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