Capcom isn't afraid to try something new with its franchises. Earlier this year, it released DMC: Devil May Cry, a contemporary take on its action/adventure series with developer Ninja Theory at the reins. Despite the younger Dante, the game performed well in critical circles. This leaves Capcom confident that another team, Spark Unlimited, can do the same for Lost Planet.
Taking a break from the tropical settings in part two, Lost Planet 3 returns to the frozen side of E.D.N. III. The game's main character, Jim Peyton, wants to do his job to take care of his family. Of course, being a Lost Planet game, it doesn't take long before something goes horribly wrong, between conspirators within his crew and a swarm of nasty Akrid creatures that call this icy planet home.
We've only seen bits and pieces of the story, but Spark Unlimited put a heavy emphasis on the plot while keeping the action intact. You still use heavy weaponry when it comes to killing the aliens, while collecting precious thermal energy that serves more of a purpose this time around, acting as currency instead of energy to stay alive.
Spark also added some new role-playing elements to Lost Planet 3 to make it feel more personable. While you're around the home base, you're able to speak with fellow crewmembers, establishing relationships that could change over time and stocking up on enough weapons and health to keep going.
Checkpoints open up over the course of the game once you clear the Akrid. Doing this allows you to revisit these points over time to talk with more folks and get extra information about the planet. You might even learn additional details about your adversaries, applying said advice for the next time you head into battle.
Lost Planet 3 has a unique approach to its gameplay, thanks to the involvement of Spark. However, from what we've played so far, the developers stay very loyal to its general theme. There are plenty of dramatic moments throughout as Jim runs across the Akrid, whether it's a larger creature that requires heavy ammunition to put away or a smaller group that rapidly flies around the screen.
One new improvement to Lost Planet 3 is the mech. Before, climbing into one consisted of hopping into the driver seat and doing heavy work in a third-person perspective. For this game, it changed dramatically. You now have a first-person viewpoint, making it easier to target large and small Akrid alike. Your mobility is much slower than before, feeling more like an authentic machine, rather than one that sprints around. However, when you find these bad boys, you'll want to climb in without hesitation, mainly because they take a lot of damage while dishing out extreme firepower.
You'll need it, because the Akrid won’t stand around waiting to die. The smaller ones are hard to hit, swooping around quickly and trying to surround Jim before he has a chance to react. As for the bigger ones, they'll run rampant, and if you aren't quick enough to roll out of the way, you're done for. As you go through the game, new species will pop up, forcing you to change tactics to stay alive.
Along with the main mission, Lost Planet 3 provides secondary quests. Completing these will earn you more thermal energy, which you can spend on new weapons, as well as repair parts for your mech if you happen to salvage one. Do yourself a favor and stock up on the better rifles. Chances are you'll need these when facing off against tougher Akrid classes.
With its new open-hub system and a more dramatic approach than previous games, Lost Planet 3 could be a real game changer for the franchise. We'll see how it fares when the game arrives on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC August 27th.