It would seem to me that when a game comes out offering you, and three of your friends, a chance to team up against giant bugs that can eat you and poop you back out in an all-out, guns-a-blazin' action experience... then ups the ante by throwing in giant robot suits, it's going to be pretty hard for it to fail. However, as Lost Planet 2 proves, just because something sounds good written down, it doesn't necessarily mean it translates into an equally impressive playing experience. It's not that it doesn't live up to some of those expectations; it's that it doesn't live up to all of them, occasionally failing in impressively horrible ways.
[image1]If you just played the online multiplayer matches, you wouldn't think Lost Planet 2 was that bad. You could live your entire life confident that you'd made a sound purchase. It's the real meat and potatoes of it all anyway. Maps have a decent amount of variety, ranging from lush jungles to intricate industrial structures. Game modes, such as the newly added Fugitive, which has you doing a lot of "gun and cover", will entertain you for hours. And who can argue with a giant spider-mech that can carry your entire team on it?
It's everything outside of the deathmatches and data-post capturing (which you do way too much of) where LP2 drops the ball. Mainly due to the fact that the story mode borders on unplayable if you're not in co-op mode. The first few levels, you should have no problem with on your own. Blow up some akrids, capture even more data posts, kill some bad guys. It's not all a cake walk, but it's manageable. However, once you get to the train level, it all goes to hell.
This level should absolutely not be in this game. It makes every single flaw painfully apparent. Most notably it makes the A.I. look as if it's gone full retard. At the very end of the three poorly thrown together train missions, you have to arm a giant cannon to take out a giant sandworm akrid. Once again, it sounds cool written down. The only problem is that there are about four or five different positions around the train that need to be manned in order to keep everything from exploding, and all your derp-minded companions can do is bring more bullets up to the goddamn gun. They can't put out the fire with the coolant mechanism or help rotate the huge platform, but you got twenty fucking giant bullets lying around, thank god!
[image2]The A.I. should never get this bad. When the dust settled, it ended up taking me a little over an hour to play through and beat the third level, and that's not including the (many, many) several earlier attempts that left me frustrated, my controller thrown to the ground and my coworkers shocked at the impressive ways that I can string expletives together. Every time you fall of the train is an instant death, and with glitchy collisions and enemy rockets coming your way, you can imagine the suffering.
It's one thing to make a game tough, but it's an entirely other thing to make a game nearly unplayable if you don't play with friends online. I feel sorry for any anti-social agoraphobics trying to play this one on their own as they're going to have one hell of a time. Multiplayer is enjoyable with friends, if just to get extra items, but a game should never force your hand in such a manner. Once Japanese developers learn that, they'll probably start doing better with the Western market again. It's not that folks over here don't like playing with friends - they love it. They just like time to themselves too.
Lost Planet 2 is filled with too much mediocrity to be a great game, but it is decent, and odds are that if you like third-person shooters, you'll at the very least enjoy the multiplayer modes. Just don't expect this to be the phenomenal game changer.