Preview: Lost Planet 3 hopes to avoid an icy reception

October 21, 2012

The first two Lost Planet games, despite not finding much critical success, were enjoyed by many, and the series keeps going along, albeit with a new dev team. The new installment makes some efforts to change things up, though we can’t be sure they’re the right ones.

What it is: Lost Planet 3, developed by Spark Unlimited (known for Legendary and Turning Point), is a prequel to the first title and follows a rig-operating colonist as he survives and works in the icy environment of E.D.N. III. The game’s set before the series’ villainous corporation, NEVEC, took its dark turn.

Why we’re excited: Regular mech combat is a bit played out, so the idea of non-militarized rigs with drills and claws alone is one that has some potential. Also, it seems the story has taken more of a focus, and we’d love a nuanced tale set on the harsh, cold planet. The on-foot combat has you shooting enemies, often with shining weak spots but evasive tactics. The enemies look fun to take on, as long as there’s some variety.

What we’re wondering: Is the whole game just a big quick-time event? There are a lot of moments in the opening half-hour that are unnecessary strings of button prompts, and the rig’s claw and drill functions are super-scripted and have you rotating your analog sticks to turn arms for more than just a few seconds. Also of note: despite some nice camera angles and such, the game’s not very slick-looking, with low-res textures and rough ice effects. It feels like the game is designed as if it looks better, because it tries to showcase these elements whenever possible.

Lost Planet 3 is slated for release on 360, PS3 and PC in 2013.