The ever-busy folks at Capcom have decided to continue the Lost Planet series with not a sequel but a prequel. The third game to delve into the titular misplaced spheroid, the events of Lost Planet 3 take place before Extreme Condition. Rocket Chainsaw dusted off our snow shoes and ski jackets to foray into the chilly world of EDN III once again, and what follows is what we found.
The very start of the game sees players take on the role of Jim Peyton, who is among the early colonists of the planet. He’s a contractor who is there to assist NEVEC, with mining operations, before they went all diabolical as seen in the first game. Of course, things don’t run smoothly from the get-go, and Peyton is beset with the aftermath of a crash. The early portion mainly consists of following along to different checkpoints as you receive radio transmissions. It seems a bit heavy in terms of hand-holding and is a trend that continues through the first two or so hours of the game, but thankfully things eventually diversify enough to have your actions go beyond walking. In your first encounter with the Akrid, you’re armed with a pistol. It has infinite ammo and you won’t struggle to take out even mid-range Akrid spawn with it. It also has the bonus of satisfying audio and visual effects upon firing.
After vanquishing several swarms of Akrid, Peyton finds himself in some caverns and actually gets a chance to do what he’s being paid to do on the planet – fix mining equipment. You get to fix the mechanics by swiveling around the two control sticks until things click nicely into place. It’s pretty basic and straightforward, though it’s fairly early on in the game and there’s definitely room for more complex mechanical moments for Peyton to ply his trade. Once the repairs were out of the way, the team headed back to base. The base in Lost Planet 3 is definitely of a sprawling labyrinth variety and definitely necessitates checkpoints with its corridors and elevators. Initially you are directed to go to the rig bay to check on the status of your rig. They’re giant mech types, but are only armed with an almighty grabbing claw and a big drill, as opposed to the more weaponized versions seen in other games of the series. The rig is also equipped with a zipline so you can switch between piloting it and exploring on foot when out in the field.
Once we became familiar with the weapons bay and picked up a shotgun, it was time to actually get a chance to stomp around the snowy wastelands in our rig in order to rescue a comrade with whom radio contact had been lost. Though we were able to use the rig’s drill and claw to crush and smash away at the ice, there wasn’t any chance to engage with enemies. Hopefully the completed game will be able to make better use of the rig system, as the portion on display was mostly about exploration, which could have just as easily been done on foot. After exiting the rig and finding our comrade alive and well, we had a brief boss fight involving two armadillo-like Akrid. It was a classic kind of boos fight involving dodging out of the Akrid’s way so it crashed into a wall in order to expose its glowing weak point of a tail. Though the shotgun was useful, you could probably use the standard pistol to take them out.
With the Akrid shenanigans out of the way, our next task was to track down a radio signal which had apparently been recorded by a scientist who went missing before Jim’s arrival. At this stage we were once again weaving through ice caverns, but with a twist – our surrounds were covered with glowing red pods which exploded on impact and caused a chain reaction, in addition to attracting the attention of the Akrid. Our journey also saw us confronted with pulsating masses on the wall which spat out more Akrid ad nauseum, with grenades the only thing to destroy them. Once we had found the signal and downloaded its data, we made our way back to our rig.
Lost Planet 3 so far looks to have the right ingredients to both feel familiar to and expand upon the previous games. Our preview was very much a tease and one gets the feeling that Capcom are holding back in the early segments of the game in order to deliver the literal and figurative big guns much later on.