Lost Planet 3 review – Leaving you cold


By James Lenoir on Wednesday, September 11, 2013
"Lost Planet 3 is a frustratingly average game"

There’s no easy way to say this, but Spark Unlimited’s Lost Planet 3 is like that little train that couldn’t. It’s always frustrating to review a title like this, because contrary to popular belief, as a gamer and a fan, I actually want games to succeed. I want to be entertained by them. I was literally rooting for Lost Planet 3 to finish strong, and prove the critics wrong. However, at the end, I felt deflated and frustrated. I could only pollute my mind with annoying thoughts of “what if”, “why” and “where can I buy a banana tie?”.

Lp33

It stings even worse, when you realise that the protagonist, Jim Peyton is a decent character. Jim’s a different breed. He’s definitely not an one-dimensional, one-line spewing, spacemarine man-brick. On the contrary, he’s an average family man; an average Joe who is forced to do some contract work for a massive inter-planetary corporation, called NEVEC – for the sake of his young wife and infant child. He’s not supposed to be a gun-slinging military man and that makes him instantly relatable. It also helps that the voice acting serves the character. This is even true for the supporting cast. You definitely can’t fault the voice work for this game.

Lost Planet 3 is also one of the better-looking games on the Xbox 360. There were a few times that I had to stop myself from marvelling at the icy landforms of EDN II. The game does have some very beautiful set-pieces, especially when the planet’s alien sun hangs low in the sparsely clouded sky and the sunlight dances across the icy ridges. Or… when you stare into a crevasse and your met by a wall of blueish ice, almost as if it’s straight out of a National Geographic magazine. The same can be said about the character models (both human and alien). Although I did find it strange that Jim Peyton resembled the greatest Coppola to ever walk this planet, a bearded Nicolas Cage. As for the planet’s indigenous life, the insectoid Akrid, you can literally believe that the larger Akrid with their hardened carapaces would be impervious to your flimsy firearms.

Lp32

And that’s exactly why Jim Peyton owns a towering construction mech! Yes, I said a mech, and it’s called Gertie. It’s also the primary means by which you can travel across the planet’s surface. As the game progresses, you will find upgrades for Gertie, from a welding torch, to even a deployable cable winch. Sadly, you never get a chaingun attachment or rocket launchers. But, it is explained that the mining operation is a civilian undertaking, and it would be very unsporting to mow down the indigenous life with military-grade weaponry attached to your rig.

When you’re in the mech, you can listen to some tunes, do a few odd jobs for the company and even take down some of the planet’s indigenous wildlife. Incidentally, a number of boss battles involve Gertie. Sadly, they tend to be quicktime events. You never get the satisfaction of stomping the jelly out of an alien bug (during quicktime events), because you’re not focussing on the action but rather on that elusive button prompt. Fortunately, its rare that you’re FORCED to play button roulette. Most battles allow you to jump out of your mech and make the battle a lot more personal. I have to admit, I was underwhelmed by the boss battles, especially the ones where you had to suffer through the annoying and frustrating button prompts. I can only hope that much like with “bullet time” in movies, that quicktime events will go the way of the dodo, and never sully my gaming experiences ever again.

TLp34

he best way to describe the story of Lost Planet 3, is to call it a sci-fi chimera. The developers have picked and chosen a mixture of sci-fi tropes, almost to the point where you wonder whether they are paying homage to the greats before them. There were times that it felt like they threw in a touch of Frank Herbet’s Dune (with a mysterious world/galaxy-saving resource, found only on one planet) to finding inspiration in the character designs from Alien, to the icy corridors straight from John Carpenter’s The Thing, to even an unhealthy dollop of James Cameron’s Avatar. If you’re a little confused, essentially (and without spoiling too much), the general gist of Lost Planet 3 is;

  1. Giant corporation sends newcomer to a new planet (EDN III).
  2. On EDN III, newcomer helps giant corporation to mine a valuable resource.
  3. Our hero discovers the planet was already colonised by humans.
  4. The natives (rightfully) bear a grudge against the evil corporation,
  5. And, everything goes pear-shaped when the crazy paramilitaries arrive from Earth.

I have no qualms with a title cherry-picking story elements from other franchises. After all, Cameron essentially took the general story of Pocahontas and dipped it into a paint can of sci-fi blue. It’s just a shame that the Lost Planet writers struggled to tie everything together. It’s particularly annoying since this title serves as a prequel to the previous two. It’s supposed to act as a springboard for a planetary war, that’ll span generations. But even Frank Herbert had the sense to make the bad guys truly bad and the good guys a little messianic. Lost Planet 3 never reaches those highs, because while the character interaction and voice work are exemplary, the tale itself is hardly coherent. In fact, the pacing is completely off. Lost Planet 3 starts of slowly, by developing Jim’s relationship with his fellow colonists, setting up a planetary conspiracy but then suddenly racing towards the end.

Lp31

But the real problem with Lost Planet 3 isn’t the story or that it’s a a paint-by-numbers third person shooter, but rather that it suffers from a very bad case of genre confusion. It’s almost as if the developers were unsure whether Lost Planet 3 was going to be a pure action title or whether it was going to venture into the survival horror genre. The funny thing is that had they decided on one or the other, Lost Planet 3 would have been a better game. Of course, similar titles have managed to successfully pair different genres together, but the confusion permeates everything about Lost Planet 3. Where Lost planet 3 dips its toes into the survival horror genre, the result is unexpectedly comedic. I couldn’t help but groan whenever the ridiculous 1980s horror tunes popped up to (not so subtly) nudge me towards thinking something “scary was about to happen”. It’s incredibly cheesy and not in the least bit scary.

I might be going off on a limb here, but I wonder whether the genre confusion is not partially to blame for how BASIC the game’s upgrade system is. I’ve mentioned that you can upgrade Gertie, but there are also very bare-bones upgrade options for your character, his weapons and tools. I did enjoy the one upgrade, where Jim is given a DNA tagger, as an attachment to his handgun. It’s perfect as a means to get additional data on the Akrid, and even hunt very rare albino Akrid (for DNA points to upgrade your character) but you can’t help but wonder why this system wasn’t expanded or explored even further. As it stands, it all feels like a time sink. And, while it might be intended to be just that, in better designed titles, you’re almost oblivious of this fact.

Lp36

Lost Planet 3 finds redemption in its multiplayer. However. my experience of this side of the game was sullied when my progress was reset – not once but thrice. Since gear is extremely important in multiplayer, losing my progress meant being a defenceless “fish in a barrel” a lot longer than my nerves could take. Granted, I always take it as a necessary initiation to be an easy target in the beginning, because eventually you get a feel for the maps, and you learn tactics from other players. When you’re constantly forced (due to a persistent glitch) to run into a fire fight with a toy hammer, your enthusiasm starts to wane. But, I did enjoy the multiplayer. You have the usual deathmatch modes, and there’s enough variation to the Capture-the-Flag and King-of-the-Hill game modes, to make even the most cynical gamer happy. There is one mode called Akrid Extraction that I thoroughly enjoyed. In Akrid Extraction, your team hunts an Akrid for its DNA sample, but once you kill it, the the real action starts as two teams battle it out to control the precious sample.

Another feature that I loved is the progression wheel, where you can unlock weapons and skills – from a devastating grenade launcher to a punishing automated gun turret. However, it all rests on a netcode that seems to hate South Africans. There’s nothing more annoying than unleashing a hail of lead at an opponent, seeing his body absorbing it all, and then dying because he “one-shotted” you. Or worse, “rubberbanding” across the map, while your contribution to the match is negligible, and then getting a prompt that informs you that you’re dead..

Overall, Lost Planet 3 is a title that could have been a worthy contender for game of the year. For the most part, Spark Unlimited made all the right mating calls, showed off a colourful plumage, did a decent mating dance, but… unfortunately failed. At the end of the day, Lost Planet 3 is a frustratingly average game.

Lost Planet 3 was reviewed by on the 11th of September , 2013 at 3:30 PM on Xbox 360

GAMEPLAY
5.0
While, Lost Planet 3 may be an average third person shooter, the real question is, “how can you go wrong with a mech?”. Apparently, easier than you think. Just add annoying quicktime boss battles.
DESIGN
8.0
Visually, Lost Planet 3 is stunning, and the voice actors carry their characters like professionals. It's a shame that their contribution will be overshadowed by the game's other shortcomings.
VALUE
4.0
Multiplayer glitches and a terrible netcode mar what could have been one of the best multiplayer experiences on consoles. While you could revisit the singleplayer game to collect some of the collectables you missed, it all feels a little hollow.
TOTAL
5.0
Despite looking the part, and having some of the best voice work in a third person shooter, Lost Planet 3 turns the gun on itself with bad gameplay design, terrible boss battles, and a story that never delivers on its promises.

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  • Admiral Chief of Rivia

    Heh, Frozen bananaaaaaaaaa

  • Umar Final Fantasy 15 Hopeful

    Nice review sir :) Spark Unlimited has great ideas, but fails to realize them

  • Unavengedavo (aka. Frik)
    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      Awesome dude, I’m going to rock that like a boss!

      • TiMsTeR1033

        Hey man, how did they let you review a game?

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          Truthfully? A couple years ago I begged Gav to give me a job as a videogame reviewer. I was young, impressionable, much like you Tanya…. He said yes, and now I can finally go to college and become… a POLITICIAN!

          • TiMsTeR1033

            Gavin gave you a job. I always wanted to be a video game reviewer, sadly I do graphic design instead.

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            There’s no shame in graphic design, a worthy profession. One of my best friends is an artist worth her salt. You need to post more of your work.

          • TiMsTeR1033

            Can I post it here?

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            I don’t know, maybe ask Gav or Geoff first.

          • RincemySniperKittEH0-O

            Lol. Door, OPENED 0-O

          • John on trial

            Doed. Art is really a gift, no matter what form.

          • Devourer of Small Bunnies

            So Tim is Tanya???? omfgzj FINALLY
            NOW I KNOW

          • John on trial

            Oh, you must’ve missed it.
            We need a recap comment each morning, just so this doesn’t happen.

          • Devourer of Small Bunnies

            Maybe a commentators blog/forum :P

  • TiMsTeR1033

    How did Jim get the chance to review a game?

    • Admiral Chief of Rivia

      Trolling Jim? Jim is a legend

      • TiMsTeR1033

        I am asking a question.

        • Admiral Chief of Rivia

          Jim actually has done quite a bit of reviews, he is a master of the writing skills. Although, he is actually a figment of my imagination…

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            A figment of all our imaginations! Even Zoe considers Jim to be the greatest lover she has ever known. Brenda too…

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            Not me O_O

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            That would be incestuous.. Sies man!

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            Was referring to Brenda dammit, focus Jim!

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            Brenda is your greatest lover? Wait what?

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            No, she was your greatest lover, and not me, foc.us JIM

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            I sense a terrible case of cognitive dissonance here.

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            *passes Jim the beer*

            This will cure your “sensing”

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      I had to submit a CV, with a cover letter, and then I went for an interview. It was brutal Tanya. Gav said I wasn’t the right person for the job, and then Nic laughed at my pointy shoes and Geoff said “Oh hell no bitch, I’m the only Asian in this here house”.

      And I was like.. “Oh hell no, you dinna go there”
      And he was like..”Oh bitch, whatcha gonna do?”

      And then I shot everyone with my shotgun.

      Brutal dude… but that’s how we roll in Cape Town!

      • TiMsTeR1033

        So are you now part of lazy gamer?

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          Nope, I’m an independent contractor, like Jim Peyton :P

          • TiMsTeR1033

            So your job is writing?

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            On occasion, although I’m best known for my short time on Isidingo. :P

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            Those were the days…

          • TiMsTeR1033

            What role did you play?

          • Umar Final Fantasy 15 Hopeful

            Barker Heynes Double

          • TiMsTeR1033

            Do they look alike?

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            Banana Jim is shorter

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            Much shorter…

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            But not in the pants

          • TiMsTeR1033

            How short?

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            Like your capability to remember to spell correctly…

          • TiMsTeR1033

            Did I spell incorrectly?

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            You used to, but then you took a challenge to the knee

          • RincemySniperKittEH0-O

            Hahaha!

          • John on trial

            Winner

          • Brady miaau

            capacity…..

            :)

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            Both :P

          • RincemySniperKittEH0-O

            And more yellow…

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            Heh, “sock puppet”, still laughing at that one

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            Yep! Barker Heynes is actually based on my life story.

          • TiMsTeR1033

            Well I must say, Your review skills are great and I’d enjoy reading more.

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            Click on “view all posts by Jim Lenoir” above and enjoy

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            Thank you Tanya, I’m actually writing a book at the moment, at least now I know someone will read my chicken scratch :D

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            When is the next video review dammit?

          • John on trial

            I also want to know.

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            Working on the video reviews this weekend. Will probably post them in the comment section when they’re done.

            but cough… performance anxiety… cough!

          • RincemySniperKittEH0-O

            Come dude, they are good. Haven’t had any more from you though, you need me to input you know what to do.

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            Should get a whole bunch of them during the course of this month, I recorded a couple of them, just need to get some time to do a bit of post-editing wizardry.

          • TiMsTeR1033

            In after effects?

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            Nah, I’m not that hardcore…. :o

          • TiMsTeR1033

            If you need any graphic design stuff let me know. For the reviews.

          • John on trial

            Fiction book? I know an SA fiction writer.

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            Wait till I get published lol, for now I’m just a guy who writes.

          • John on trial

            So was he. So I’m guessing it’s fiction. Fiction FTW.

          • TiMsTeR1033

            Can I be in your book?

          • Umar Final Fantasy 15 Hopeful

            OR is your life based on his??da dummmmmmmmm……that made no sense

      • That Tall Twit

        Thanks for the review Jim. :)

      • TiMsTeR1033

        Your from Cape town too?

        • John on trial

          *You’re

          • TiMsTeR1033

            You’re I am sorry John. Forgive me.

          • John on trial

            I’m helping a brother out before the overlords see it.

          • RincemySniperKittEH0-O

            @timster1033:disqus WHAT IS THIS I SEE!? 0-O

          • John on trial

            Us underlings must stick together

      • Her Highness the Hipster

        haha, now i get the joke behind banana ;)

    • http://www.twitter.com/WobblyOnion Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

      Jim’s done quite a number of reviews for us over the years. He takes his SWEET TIME and he waffles a bit, but he’s got skills; and great for when we just have too much on our plates.

      • RincemySniperKittEH0-O

        Don’t forget me! :P

        • http://www.twitter.com/WobblyOnion Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

          Who are you again?

          *trollface*

          • RincemySniperKittEH0-O

            I don’t know :(

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        I love to waffle. :D

        • Anon A Mouse

          Banana waffle anyone?

      • TiMsTeR1033

        You guys should let him do one on Gta v, please man. He would do it brilliantly.

  • That Tall Twit

    ‘Jim’s a different breed. He’s definitely not an one-dimensional, one-line spewing, spacemarine man-brick.’
    Talking from experience?

  • John on trial

    I really did not enjoy the previous Lost Planet at all.

  • CypherGate

    The sad part of 3rd person shooters nowadays is that the armours and characters themselves look like skinned Gears of War characters. Am i the only who sees this or am i imagining?

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      You’re not the only one to have noticed it, although for Lost Planet 3 it makes sense that they’d wear these bulky suits.

      • Admiral Chief of Rivia

        True

      • CypherGate

        Yeah the bulky suit makes sense, but look at the actual character face structure. So similar to Gears Marcus character or almost any other bulky character.

        • Admiral Chief of Rivia

          You find these okes in the USN section of pharmacies….

          :P

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    I don’t know where to buy a banana tie, but you can buy a squeezy banana stress toy @ Big Blue.

  • RincemySniperKittEH0-O

    Banana Split! Sounds more like Banana spits though. This is a shame. It has a look like Dead Space 3 to it as well.

  • Rock789

    And the crowd goes bananas (pardon the pun!). :) Nice review Sir Banana… And afraid you’ve confirmed all my fears about this title… Sadly, it isn’t for me (until, perhaps, it arrives in the R99 bargain bin).

    • Admiral Chief of Rivia

      LOL, I got nr1 for R28 (shipping included)

      • Rock789

        Lol… :) You didn’t take that off some poor kid who had no concept of money, did you? ;)

        • Admiral Chief of Rivia

          Takealot.com nogal ;)

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        R28? Hectic!

  • Cameron Brown

    This kind of super badly written…. As if not edited at all. Anyone else notice that?

    • Admiral Chief of Rivia

      Explain?

      • Cameron Brown

        “While, Lost Planet 3 may be an average third person shooter, the real question is, “how can you go wrong with a mech?”. Apparently, easier you think. Just add annoying quicktime boss battles.”

        • RincemySniperKittEH0-O

          I don’t even understand what you just wrote mate :)

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            Same

          • John on trial

            Me either

        • TiMsTeR1033

          Is it the mech part?

          • Cameron Brown

            Perhaps this is a sad expose of our “reading skills” and what not, I think there are far too many misused commas all over the place and words omitted.

            “Apparently, easier you think.”

            OK but if I’m the only one who notices, I will cease my “Grammar Nazi Douchebaggery forthwith.”

          • John on trial

            No one’s perfect dude. We read the review, we don’t analyze it.

          • RincemySniperKittEH0-O

            Speak for yourself cretin. ;)

          • John on trial

            Yes, yes. No one but the Admirals and Masters.

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            There is but one Admiral

          • John on trial

            Admiral* sorry

          • TiMsTeR1033

            Well look at me, I have been challenged to improve my spelling among other things, and you know I am trying. The lazy gamer community tries, and I for one say Banana Jim did I great job. If I did the review I assure it would be alot worse.

          • RincemySniperKittEH0-O

            -1UP “a lot” SPACE!

          • crackback

            you are a big bully!!! alot is spelt correctly!!!!!

          • RincemySniperKittEH0-O

            O-0 not if you write, A LOT 0-O

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            Lazygamer!

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            Missing adverbs are always an editor’s bane. It happens, and it’s easy to miss. But… and I’m not trying to be pedantic, but you’re missing a few verbs as well. Not to mention your sentence structure is very clumsy and fragmentary :P

            I suppose therein lies the danger when correcting the grammar of others. You have to make sure that yours is pristine as well.

            “This (is?) kind of super(?) badly written (?)…. As if (it is <– although optional) not edited at all. Anyone else notice that?"

          • RincemySniperKittEH0-O
          • Cameron Brown

            If you were pedantic, your article would have been a bit better?

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            Perhaps, but since I’m a terrible writer, with barely a rudimentary understanding of the english language, I guess you win. I’d suggest celebrating with a fine merlot and a slice of pizza.

            In the meantime, the rest of us will continue chatting about Lost Planet 3.

          • Sageville

            Werd! I did understood all your’e words and i haddn;t even needed to goggle anythink!

          • Cameron Brown

            Self deprecation is such a sexy colour on bananas!

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            If it worked for Rodney Dangerfield, George W Bush and Doug Stanhope, it’ll work for me.

          • RincemySniperKittEH0-O

            If I white Knight you, do I get points? BWAHAHHAH!

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            Points? What is this a JRPG? Nay sir, you get a Collector’s Edition Banana Jim commemorative poster! Assemble White Knights!

          • Sageville

            Ni!

    • RincemySniperKittEH0-O

      I think it’s more than likely just Geoff’s super editing skills after he’s done a Breaking Bad :)

    • Devourer of Small Bunnies

      Well if we are in a world where we come to gaming sites for an expose on English lit and grammar, we have bigger things to worry about, no?

    • Marigold

      You’re being idiotic. If you’re going to correct someone’s grammar at least make sure your own isn’t crap. Ignore this idiot James.

  • Sageville

    Almost sounds like the plot for Avatar…. but with snow.

    • RincemySniperKittEH0-O

      So Avater 3 then? lol

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      Pretty much… although unlike in Avatar where you care about the Navi, I didn’t feel the same connection with the Snow Pirates.

      • RincemySniperKittEH0-O

        You cared about the Navi? Wait, was I rooting for the wrong team? 0-O

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          Wait you wanted Colonel Scratchyface and his mechs to win? You’re dead to me!

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            Same here Jim, my heart is broken now

        • Admiral Chief of Rivia

          WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT????

  • http://lazygamer.net/ OVG Beyond your comprehension

    Dead Space 3

    • RincemySniperKittEH0-O

      See below :P

      • http://lazygamer.net/ OVG Beyond your comprehension

        lol

  • Martin du preez

    How do piece of kak franchises like these still get sequels?

    • Admiral Chief of Rivia

      C(r)apcom?

      • Major FoxHoundR – what the fox

        thats why call of duty is the best they make better games with better stories than capcom or ea

      • Tbone187

        Really?? Are you talkin’ bout the same company who gave us Street Fighter, resident evil and Monster Hunter, to name a few??

        • Admiral Chief of Rivia

          Indeed. None of those pique my interest.

          • Tbone187

            Have you played Monster Hunter…? I reckon you should…Quite a phenomenal game that’s tough and hugely rewarding…

          • Admiral Chief of Rivia

            Currently hunting monsters in Witcher 2

          • Tbone187

            You mean the game commonly referred to as : ‘the other Monster Hunter” …hehe

    • Tbone187

      The 1st one was quite cool…The scale of the monsters was amazing…

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