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Review: Lost Planet 3

I didn’t expect to like Lost Planet 3 as much as I did.

Starting up the game, I was dropped into a Dead Space 3 rip-off featuring cheap scares, plastic, super-glossy textures and horrible snow physics. Yep, I said snow physics. It wouldn’t take a Canadian to stop and notice how weird the snow acted when you walked over it.


Playing as Jim Peyton, you begin your playthrough crawling through frozen wreckage and having Akrid pounce out at you when you “least expect it.” I put that bit in quotes because it’s incredibly, laughably predictable. Once you get past the game’s introduction and the cheap scare tactics are dropped, Lost Planet 3 begins to give you a taste of what it’s really like.

At that stage, it still looks like a Dead Space rip-off. The game’s HUD is an on-screen affair, immediately bringing back feelings of Visceral Games’ action horror franchise. As Peyton eventually gains access to his super-cool, mech-like RIG, the first thing that plays is a recorded video from his wife. A la the original Dead Space. Coupled with the freezing world of EDN-III, it’s really hard to shake the feeling of déjà vu…

Getting past that, Lost Planet 3‘s gameplay is in three parts: shooting things on foot, killing things using the RIG and moving from one location to another. Playing the game, I honestly think I spent about 65% of my time just travelling back and forth between the game’s hubs. It got to the point where the game itself knew it too; a character I kept running by asked, “Are you jogging laps? Is that it?”

“No”, I wanted to reply, “the game’s just making me go back and forth FAR too much. And now you’ve broken the fourth wall and pointed that out, you bastard.” Fast travel does speed things up a bit after you get going, but it’s still quite ridiculous, especially considering most of the interiors and exteriors of the game look the same.

Foot-based combat is a bit generic, with Akrid enemies who all feature glowing orange weak points and a variety of weapons to shoot said points with. Peyton also picks up a tagging gun, which only adds to the amount of collectibles he’s supposed to grab (yaaay!). The Nic Cage lookalike also gets to use a grappling hook, but it’s mostly for transportation. Combat isn’t bad, but it’s not great either. There is something to be said for taking down a massive monster on foot and then reaping the thermal energy rewards afterward.

On that, it’s good and bad that this prequel-sequel changes so much of the Lost Planet franchise’s lore; thermal energy, once needed to survive the bitter cold, is now just a form of currency. Still, it was annoying to have to barely cling to life between area to area in the original game, so it’s a welcome change in the end. Like Dead Rising and Devil May Cry, Capcom made the right decision to send the franchise to western developers. I do wonder if this game would have been more successful if it dropped the Lost Planet name and tried to standalone as a new franchise.

At any rate, the game truly shines when you get to use Peyton’s RIG. It has a very heavy feel to it, which is perfect. As you swing your bulky mech arms down on enemies, it’s not hard to quickly feel like a bad-ass. You stop feeling like one shortly afterward, however, when only a couple hits from bad guys will forcibly eject you from the mech, but you can level it up to reign supreme once again. Fighting a boss on foot and then having to fight the same boss a bit later on using the RIG really makes you aware of how different the game’s combat is in each form. That’s a great thing, and something that brings this game out of purely average rankings.

That being said, it’s a shame you don’t get to do more with your RIG than fight a couple bad guys, use it as a zip-line anchor and turn some levers.

Some of the game’s characters appear two-dimensional at first, but if you actually take the time to talk with them between missions, you actually grow quite fond of them. The same is said for the relationship between Jim and his wife, who’s stayed behind on Earth to watch over their son while Jim earns a ton of danger pay. If I’m going to make comparisons to Dead Space, I’d better do it here too: you’ll be able to identify with Lost Planet 3‘s characters FAR more easily than that of the Dead Space games. In fact, you’ll actually care about what happens to Jim and the rest of the EDN-III crew. Apart from Issac, Dead Space doesn’t get to claim that feature.

There’s a lot to like about Lost Planet 3, and there’s a lot to hate as well. Nothing’s overly awful, just awfully generic. Multiplayer is run-of-the-mill, and I’m sure won’t have much staying power. The game’s RIG sequences push it past pure mediocrity, but only just. If you’re itching for another third-person shooter, or you’re into mech play (that doesn’t sound weird, by the way…), this is the game for you. For everyone else, it might be best as a try-before-you-buy. The RIG, the game’s story and its characters made me keep playing once I got into things.

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About the author

Steve Wright

Steve's the owner of this very site and an active games journalist nearing twenty (TWENTY!?!) years. He's a Canadian-Australian gay gaming geek, ice hockey player and fan. Husband to Matt and cat dad to Wally and Quinn.