I don't think I've ever played a video game that I don't understand. Until now. What is the deal with "Lost Planet 2"?
Before I start taking digs at the game, I heartily concede maybe "Lost Planet 2" isn't the idiot. Maybe I'm the idiot. Dunno. But here we go.
This is what I understand: "Lost Planet 2" is a shooting game. You play as a strong soldier on a weird planet. In the first "Lost Planet," the planet was all snow. In this sequel, it's jungles. You and three other soldiers jog through these settings to shoot bad guys, big-bad guys and giant evil flowers.
The plot: No idea/didn't pay attention/doesn't matter. There doesn't seem to be great depth to the story. Suffice to say, you portray a humanoid good guy, and everything else is a mean ol' alien humanoid, or dinosaur-oid or flower-oid in a sci-fi world at war.
OK, so here's what I don't understand, Part 1: When I turn the game on, the default setting wants you to play it online as a cooperative game with other real-life players. What? Really? OK, "Lost Planet 2," I'll grant that your co-op is sort of entertaining (and hard). But co-op is the default?
I had to turn the game to an "offline" setting just to play a solo campaign, so I could gauge whether the offline missions to save the universe are any fun.
The campaign is slightly fun but redundant. I do like how fluid and almost flawless it is to move your player through jungles, and to exercise the usual elements of a shooting game (aiming, reloading, respawning).
But here's what I don't understand, Part 2: In between battle levels of this war campaign, "Lost Planet 2" places you in a pauselike management screen. If I don't quickly press a "continue" button -- if I take a restroom or kitchen break -- the game times out, and ends, and I have to start over from scratch!
That's right. Go fetch coffee at your peril. That is nuts! I feel I must be misunderstanding something, that it's my fault. But I can't figure it out.
I want to ask someone at the company what the deal is. But I believe if a game's continuation system confuses me, then I should just observe that to you straight up, right?
Besides, the things I don't understand aren't my biggest issue with "Lost Planet 2." My biggest issue is, as I said, the shooting just feels redundant. You shoot this guy, you shoot that guy, you shoot this big dinosaur thing, you shoot that big dinosaur thing. Eh.
And I can't find a ton of people to play with in the competitive online multiplayer, which is kind of cool but hosts too few gamers on too-big maps, which take forever to load.
Anyway, please game designers, let me kill virtual dinosaurs in a solo campaign in peace -- without worrying what will happen if I take a kitchen break. Thanks.
("Lost Planet 2" by Capcom retails for $60 for Xbox 360 and PS 3 -- Plays kind of redundant; better in co-op mode but still redundant. Looks great. Challenging. Rated "T" for animated blood, language, suggestive themes and violence. Two stars out of four.)
Contact Doug Elfman at delfman@review journal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.