In 2007, Capcom's Lost Planet: Extreme Condition imagined what would happen to a struggling humanity after environmentally hazardous choices burned out ol' mother earth. In that game mankind pulls up stakes and makes its way to a frozen ice ball of a world that actually could use a little global warming.
It's so bitterly cold on E.D.N. III that the humans almost give up and move on. But then they realize that the planet's gigantic insectile inhabitants, Akrids, have an energy source running through their veins called T-ENG that's a hundred times more potent than oil. And the only equipment needed to drill out this go-juice is a big gun and a sturdy trigger finger.
Just like that, a winter-bound, bugaboo-blasting third-person shooter captured gamers' attention.
Lost Planet 2 picks up 10 years later. And things on mankind's new home aren't quite as extreme … in the wintry sense anyway. With a little terraforming work, E.D.N. III's frigid surface is starting to thaw and more earth-like environments are sprouting up—from desert plains to tropical jungles.
Humans still rabidly pursue the creatures' energy-rich blood. In fact, the hunt for energy is so prevalent that the various factions of humanity are now at one another's throats over who will have ultimate control.
No More Mr. Ice Guy
That's pretty much all the drama on hand this time around, though. And if I wasn't familiar with the first game, I'd be hard-pressed to even come up with that much backstory. Because the central characters from the last game are gone and forgotten here. Now you play as several different battlers who are given campaign missions that cover six continents. The missions can be strategically challenging and are often deep in beautifully rendered environs. What's not quite so beautiful is the fact that those military assignments are essentially orders to kill and obliterate everything that moves.
It's a T-rated killing, so the violence on display is dialed down, but like the first Lost Planet, there's still plenty to go around. Men blast away at monsters and each other with a wide array of weapons, including machine guns, robot suit-mounted Gatling guns, rocket launchers, laser rifles, land mines and grenades.
The skyscraper-tall insects swing razor claws and pincers. And while human characters drop and disappear when they die, the Akrid can lose a limb or burst open and gush their blood-like essence.
Female characters sport cleavage-baring outfits. And offline combatants can be heard spitting out blasphemes and vulgarities that include "god," "s‑‑‑," "d‑‑n," "h‑‑‑," "a‑‑" and "b‑‑ch."
Battling Online Bugs
Lost Planet 2 isn't really designed to be an offline kind of game, though. It does have a disc-based training mode to help you perfect your movement and weapons skills. And a campaign mode features single- and two-person play that shows you the lay of the land.
But everything else is geared for online play—where you're surrounded by friends and strangers. (There are one- to four-member play options along with a number of two- to 16-person multiplayer free-for-alls.) And that online focus introduces a few more potential problems.
As with most network campaign games, the number of online missions and battlefields will continue to grow, which means you're offered a virtually endless stretch of multiplayer trigger pulling. And during all those long hours there's more than just bullets and grenades getting lobbed. The co-op banter between network-connected players can quickly leave the ESRB's T rating out in the cold.