Capcom’s forthcoming Lost Planet 3 is starting to attract the attention it deserves. Creeping ever-closer to its summer release date, gamers worldwide are beginning to realise that there’s some potential in the return to the story-driven design of the original title, and that our new hero, Jim Peyton, is more than just another skinhead machismo gun prop. In fact, he’s anything but.
Starting at the very beginning of the videogame, after Jim and his colleague has crashed in the E.D.N. III wilderness, the player enters the tutorial in a fashion similar to that of the recently released Tomb Raider. Told how to walk and talk, and yet natural expecting that you will probably know how to perform these actions already. It feels informative without becoming frustrating, and is welcoming because of it. Press right trigger to shoot and the X button to reload. Got that? Good, no here’s a dozen fiends vying for your blood.
A linear trudge brings you to your destination and the ship part you apparently need to get things moving, but while obtaining it might be easy returning it isn’t going to be a walk in the park. A bigger beast is always out there, so it’s a good job you’ve got friends. After saving your ass they let you walk straight back into a whole new world of danger, but this time you know what you’re up against. A bit of back story and character exposition mixed with some combat and a vehicle repair mini-game, Lost Planet 3 is only minutes old and already it’s throwing some interesting pacing at the player. This is an action videogame, so why shouldn’t you be pushed into new moments of adrenaline-rush gameplay with every corner turned?
Already revealed to be a contractor, a trip back to base introduces some of the characters and Jim’s mission; it’s not saving the world, it’s not saving the city and it’s not saving the girl: it’s collecting a new source of fuel for the money men. Nothing more, nothing less. A little bit of quiet time allows you to explore the base, make some friends and locate your rig. Another tutorial, this time for the first-person rig control, and you’re out into the wild.
It’s a search and rescue mission, and a fairly short one at that. Your own savour from earlier in this opening sequence needs your assistance, and once found the reason why becomes obvious. A short while later and victory is assured, but once the call is made another mission is at hand: find a T-Energy post established by your predecessor. This is a bad thing. Akrid, the indigenous creatures you’ve been pumping full of lead thus far, like to hang out by disused T-Energy posts, and as such you’re essentially heading into a hive. Explosive eggs, enemy spawners and kumpong foes make for a welcome tactical challenge, all the while with your objective in sight.
An audio log offers hints of the demise of your predecessor, and leaves you wondering what challenges lie ahead. And therein is the beauty of the Lost Planet 3 that Electronic Theatre has experienced thus far: an ever-evolving combination of plot and action that pulls you onward. Whether the videogame can sustain this momentum for the duration of it’s entire campaign remains to be seen, but judging by the evidence presented thus far Electronic Theatre can’t wait to find out.