Lost Planet 2 Multiplayer Hands On - A Mechanical Wonder
Written Monday, March 22, 2010 By Dan WebbView author's profile
If there’s one thing that’s certain about Lost Planet 2’s multiplayer, it’s pretty much that it’s all about the Vital Suits (VS). Okay, that might be a bit of a hyperbole, but it’s one thing that the game’s multiplayer gets right and separates it away from its competition.
For those unfamiliar with the Lost Planet franchise, the VSs are huge mechanical suits that players can step into, to take advantage of their supreme firepower and gain a huge battlefield presence. With plenty of different VSs and each one offering different firepower and advantages, it’s sure to be the unique selling point of the game’s multiplayer.
Mechs aren’t new though, you’re right about that, but having your compadres hanging off your VS’s legs and having them detaching and reattaching different weapons on your suit definitely seems to offer a fresh take on these mechanical wonders. The good thing is they’re not over powered either. Sure you can go on a bit of a rampage in one, but should the opposing team decide that enough is enough, a few well placed grenades and a rocket or two later and you’ll be eating asphalt.
How do you make them even cooler? Easy, you let players combine these VSs together to create Transformer-esque monstrosities or if that’s a little too complicated, have them shapeshift into other contraptions; for instance you can switch one of the game’s spider tanks into a more traditional land tank if you so wish.
Our recent hands on with the title’s multiplayer in London last week was a 16 player bloodbath that gave us a good chance to check out a wide range of maps, a good portion of weapons and get behind the controls of some interesting Vital Suits. Participating in mostly team deathmatch and capture the data point modes, we got a good feel for what we can expect this coming May.
Truth be told, the first thing that you’ll notice about Lost Planet 2 is how convoluted the control scheme seems. It’s definitely an interesting setup with the shoulder buttons acting as quick 90 degree swivels, the grenades on the left trigger and the scope or zoom options for weapons on the d-pad.... something that I have to admit is quite new to me for a third person shooter. Even things like VS combines, switching across to the VS’s alternate features and distributing some of the life force you’ve gathered, are activated through a series of multiple button presses. Admittedly, after spending an hour with the title it became second nature and thankfully, we had more than an hour to hone our skills.
Outside of the VSs the weapons revolve primarily around your standard stock of weapons; including but not limited to the assault rifle, sniper rifle, shotgun, handgun and the supremely powered and splash damage crazy rocket launcher. There are also a ton of giant from-the-hip weapons that you can pick up as well that include a massive chain gun which has some insane recoil action, a huge laser rifle that is devastatingly powerful and more.
If there is one major complaint about the multiplayer – aside from how slow and sluggish it feels navigating the larger maps – it’s definitely that you can’t use the grappling hook whilst you’re mid-air. With a company like Capcom at the reins as well, who’ve had a fair amount of success with Bionic Commando’s grappling hook, you’d have thought they’d have picked up on this and remedied above everything else.
It’s safe to say that Lost Planet 2’s multiplayer is definitely an aspect of the title that will need a thriving community to be successful, especially seeing as how all the maps we frequented – apart from Cube, which was a small arena based environment with weapons galore and frenetic combat– actually seemed rather large, and if possible, a little too big. Lots of time was spent running from one side of the map to the other, just to get involved in some combat. Yes, there are vehicles to make that trip a little less painless and yes, you can capture spawn points, but it’s difficult to rely on two factors that are ever-changing. If you so happen to spawn at the other side of the map to your team with no vehicles in sight, expect a long and lonely trek to find some action.
In terms of the actual environments and level design though, Capcom’s design team have done a great job in keeping things varied and placing weapons and VSs at perfectly strategical points. If you so happen to play it and disagree with us though, the two round, half-time switcheroo system that the matches are based on ultimately means that you can’t grumble that the other side have an unfair advantage because it’s the same for both teams come the final score card. Think of it like a football match with two halves and the teams switch ends at half time. Simple, but effective stuff.
In our few hours playing through the multiplayer we went from snowy mountain levels and dense jungles, to a decaying set of ruins and out to the far depths of space. However, despite all those fantastically diverse environments, it was easily the simple box arena level, Cube, that stole the show. A few games of rocket tag here and it definitely stuck out as the shining light for us, providing a much faster pace than we’d experienced on any of the other maps.
Whilst the game’s producer, Jun Takeuchi, was running us through the game’s four player co-op – in which the Capcom PR and development team struggled against a giant Akrid... on easy – the producer also ran us through some of the game’s customisation that works across the board. Aside from Dom & Marcus, Albert Wesker and Frank West – which we reported on earlier – the chance to change your character’s loadout and look will surely be a time sink if Takeuchi-san’s walkthrough was anything to go by. The setup is simple but effective and not only can you choose the head, top and bottom for your character – and incidentally make it as bizarre as you like – but you can also change the colours of each bit of clothing as well.
With a good range of maps and plenty of variety in the weapons and battlefield toys, Lost Planet 2’s multiplayer mode could provide a few hours of enjoyment when it ships this May. It seems to have a very laid back feel and doesn’t boast the intensity that some other multiplayer games do, which is a welcome change if you ask us. There is a slight learning curve to it and familiarising yourself with the maps is essential if you want to get an edge over your opponent because the weapon pickups make all the difference. Our only concern lies in whether there is enough variety in game types – granted, we didn’t see them all so can’t really comment there – and if the community doesn’t stay healthy long enough, the maps could become oversized and desolate wastelands of nothingness. That being said, Lost Planet 2 is all about the mechs! And yes, I loves me some hyperbole!
Lost Planet 2 is out May 18th worldwide.
Oh, and uber kudos goes to anyone that gets the Britpop reference in the tagline without having to Google it!