Review: Lost Planet 3

titleI’m not sure exactly why I was excited for Lost Planet 3. Maybe after the fairly disappointing Dead Space 3 I was looking forward to a game that took the whole ‘survival on an ice planet’ concept and explored it to it’s full potential. But after 2 fairly different yet equally mediocre titles, the Lost Planet series returns for the third time (seriously, who other than me is buying these games?) and the result is a strange game that’s certainly different to what came before it but, you guessed it, still mediocre.

First impressions of Lost Planet 3 aren’t great. Considering how much money goes into creating games like this I’m surprised by how many start off by having you kill some bugs. Even Halo 4 did it, it’s like the developers didn’t want to bring in the real enemies right away but were also worried that you’d be instantly bored if you didn’t have something to shoot in the first five minutes of gameplay. And that’s all it takes before you’ll realise that combat isn’t Lost Planet 3’s strong point. This is your generic Unreal engine shooter and it feels like a bland Gears of War meets the original Mass Effect. Of course Mass Effect had two excuses, one it was technically an RPG. Two, it’s now six years old.

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Oh and if you didn’t like shooting bugs that’s too bad, as that’s the name of the game. Later on there’s a big space crab, and if you’ve already played Dead Space 3 then you’ll already have had some practice at ‘shooting the orange bits’. Because that’s how you kill space crabs. But when you’re not shooting stuff, Lost Planet 3 will probably surprise you with how mundane it actually it. Seriously, if you’re looking for an exciting action game you’re out of luck. Tasks on the Ice Planet generally fall into two categories; fixing things and scraping ice off things. You’re even given a robot to help make your job easier. The robot has two arms, one is a claw (perfect for fixing things) and the other is a drill (gets rid of ice really well). The claw is controlled with L, the drill R. You’re job is to head out into the icy planes, probably fight off some bugs on the way, and get fixing and scraping.

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I’m probably being overly harsh, Lost Planet 3 does have some good qualities and I haven’t mentioned any of them yet. Firstly you can play music inside your robot. Walking slowly so you can fulfill a pointless task is made surprisingly more enjoyable when you can listen to classic country music as you do it. Also you can swap in and out of the robot very quickly. You’ll be doing this a lot so thankfully jumping in or out of the cockpit is a smooth and fluid process.

Then as you start to get into the game it starts to become strangely enjoyable. It’s a bit like watching a bad movie that’s so bad it becomes good again. Lost Planet 3 makes so little effort to entertain you that it almost becomes interesting for this very reason. It’s the exact opposite of what has become predictable in the world of videogames; generic action shooters that bombard your senses as though they’re afraid that you might not be having enough fun. And if that’s what you like then great, but if you want to shoot civilians in a Russian airport then you might have bought the wrong game.

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With it’s slow pace, dull missions, and bland graphics (everything is blue) Lost Planet 3 might seem to be a hard one to recommend. But y’know what, there’s still enjoyment to be had here. ‘What will the game throw at me next? Fixing? Drilling? Maybe some backtracking? Will I get to shoot more bugs (yes)? And can the framerate handle it (no)? If I’m super lucky will I get another video call from my character’s annoying wife?’. These were the questions that went through my head as I played Lost Planet 3, and the answers usually made me smile.

7/10

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