Lost Planet 3 | Zombiegamer Hands-On Preview [PS3]

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We recently were fortunate enough to preview some of Capcom’s upcoming titles at SterKinekor.

I understand why Capcom might have wanted to shake things up a bit when it comes to the Lost Planet series. While the series started off well, it has faded somewhat, got lost a little between the seasonal title releases, the type that will have every last marketing ploy thrown at it, to insure the insanely large developing investments are not spent in vain. One could argue that The Lost Planet series became that talented up-starter that got lost on the way, for lack of being in your face, or perhaps it didn’t quite deliver as promised.

The Japanese gaming industry, the once uncontested royalty when it came to games, has for awhile been considered to be losing ground with the Western gaming world. And so Capcom has let Western developers in the boardroom with many of their treasured franchises. The Lost Planet 3 development surprised many when it was given to the relatively unknown studio Western Studio, Spark Unlimited.

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So like many others, I was more than just a little concerned, of what could be the nail in the coffin for the series. The development being handed over could very well alienate the audience it had once gathered. Fortunately, now that I got my hands on the game, my outlook is a little brighter and I suspect the series’ future may not quite be as bleak as I may have previously thought.

One of the major reasons the Japanese looked at the West, was for the narrative style. Westerners haven’t always understood the Japanese way of story-telling. A huge focus has been placed on Lost Planet 3’s narrative. I got to sample the opening mission, and the prelude was a very cinematic experience, painting the picture on what seemed to be a strong narrative.

The introduction to the planet is pretty atmospheric, pleasing to the eye and with the sound effects to back this up. The leading crew are battling through a blizzard, and right away the protagonist you are playing as needs to jump into a Mech-like rig to drill through ice. You hop into the rig, switch to first-person, and manoeuvre the rig around. One of the rig’s arms is a drill while the other is a claw-like arm. I enjoyed controlling the Mech and hope this will play a primary role in the game. I suspect it will, as it was introduced right away.

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Once I had broken through ice and hopped out of the Mech, the camera switches to a solid over-the-shoulder view. The standard feeling third-person shooter controls felt familiar and solid. I was particularly impressed with the weapons – sci-fi type guns, interesting and chunky feeling.

After roaming around a bit a few objectives open up, all which are viewable in your swish looking holographic HUD. The HUD is not dissimilar to that in the Dead Space series. All your required information like your radar, weapons, ammo, objectives and such are present in the HUD.

To compliment the narrative, the cast seemed particularly interesting. Roaming around, you meet some of the cast, and I got the impression that careful thought went into the characters’ designs. The developers and Capcom have been very vocal about the immersive narrative, and with strong character design and pleasing cinematic bits, I would agree at this time.

I did not get my hands on the multiplayer offerings, but this is also an area that has been given careful consideration. Multiplayer will include 5 versus 5 match-ups with a variety of modes. The multiplayer will include sorted customisation options and a progression system.

From my experience Lost Planet 3 is now definitely on my radar, where it may once have been in the “I’ll get to it when I get to it” category.  I was expecting a bog-standard shooter experience, but I have now tasted enough to leave me feeling fairly optimistic. While I do not think it will rewrite the shooter experience, it certainly felt interesting and a little unique.

Lost Planet 3 is set for release on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC in late August.

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About r0gue Zombie

Known as Victor Vieira to his mommy, r0gue is a Consoloptipus [con-sol-opti-pus] plural: con-sol–opto-pi • Derived from Latin meaning “he who is too cheap to buy a gaming pc” • Commonly found online. If encountered in natural habitat, presume dangerous [to himself]. • From the ‘alles-terian’ group [will eat anything]. Needs regular feeds.