Don't cut no ice with me.
Lost Planet 3 acts as if Lost Planet 2 never existed. To be sure, this isn't too surprising since it's a prequel, set during a time when the Neo-Venus Construction (NEVEC) company wasn't yet the monopolizing dictators of E.D.N. III. But this also extends to the gameplay, which shifts the multiplayer-focused grindfest that Lost Planet 2 attempted to instill in the franchise to a more personal action-survival style that feels more like Dead Space in the freezing cold.
Leaving behind his wife and child on Earth, protagonist Jim is a member of a small team sent by NEVEC to colonize the icy planet of E.D.N. III and mine rare minerals hidden beneath the surface. Between missions, he can speak with the other crew members for deeper insight into the dangers on the tundra, additional sidequests, the state of the underground base, and the shady company he works for, which operates under the guise of helping mankind make the planet more habitable. Eventually, though, he begins to unravel the company's two-faced agenda and must decide which side he's on.
Soon after settling in the underground environment, he learns that his team is not alone, as he discovers the alien insect-like Akrids who want nothing more to eliminate this threat of foreign monkeys burrowing into their territory. While exploring the dangerous environment, Jim needs to be careful not to let his body temperature fall too low, especially in temperatures that can drop as low as -87.5°F, and must take advantage of mechanical Rigs, which doesn't have any fancy weapons apart from a drill arm, to traverse the deep snow quickly and defeat large monsters should the need arise.
Luckily for Jim, all of the ice-blue Akrid have clear weaknesses highlighted in orange (evolution apparently didn't weed this defect out), usually located around an Akrid's joints and back. He's also proficient with long-range weaponry and has no trouble back circle-strafing around an enemy with an assault rifle, occasionally rolling out of harm's way and tossing a grenade. But if a voracious, face-hugging Akrid gets close to slicing Jim's face off, he will need to force the bugger off by aiming his knife into its body. Jim flirts with death often, which make ice caverns and jury-rigged mining tunnels only the more claustrophobic.
Capcom has slowly been turning over its franchises to third-party publishers, with the Devil May Cry franchise in the hands of Ninja Theory and the Lost Planet franchise in the hands of Spark Unlimited. Apart from what this says about the state of Japanese game development, it shows that Capcom desires a different, more modern perspective on its properties. Lost Planet 3 looks to deliver just that, when it releases some time in 2013 for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.