Ben's Top Mecha - Day 4: Lost Planet

Lost Planet is a series that very often gets overlooked. Back when it first came out on the Xbox 360 and PS3, the online demo was often pushed on the online market place, and copies of the game could be found in pretty much every store. It was one of Capcom's major "next gen" titles, and it was popular enough for them to release an enhanced "Colonies" version which had cross play with the PC release. (Poor Xbox me didn't stand a chance.) Of course, it's popularity didn't stop there. As time rolled on, the game eventually received a follow up sequel titled "Lost Planet 2," that would shift the series' focus to co-op and giant boss battles (kinda like Monster Hunter in a way, with some Monster Hunter emotes and costumes making it into the game), and then after that Lost Planet 3 would release with more of a focus on a single personal story. A mobile game was also released earlier on in the series' life, and before LP3's release, we would eventually get a PS3 and 3DS spin off game as well. This game seemingly used assets from the canceled Mega Man Legends 3 project, and focused more on dungeon crawling styled levels, and boss fights. This was back in 2012 though, and with LP3 releasing in 2013, we have never heard from the series since. That doesn't stop it from being one of my favorite mechas however.

Lost Planet 1:

I know I've mentioned this before on the blog, but Lost Planet 1 really was an eye opener for me. When I got an Xbox 360, I really didn't know what I wanted when it came to it's games. At the time I mostly stuck to what I considered "safe," and rarely branched out. One day however, I decided to give more games a chance. I remember it was a weekend where my dad had to work on Saturday, so we didn't have anything planned, and I decided to ask my mom if she would take me over to Best Buy. Back then I didn't have a car of my own (being only 17), and Best Buy was roughly an hour drive away. Well, see agreed, and the two of us went out to get something to eat, and then on the way home we sung by the store. I didn't know what I was looking for at the time, but I had extra cash I wanted to spend, and I was really interested in trying out something new. That's when suddenly Lost Planet Colonies Edition caught my eye, and I decided to give it a chance. It was dirt cheap, and, from what I played of the demo, it seemed like it would be fun. To top it all off, it was a game by Capcom, and that alone was more than enough for me to give it a shot. So I picked up the locked case the game was sitting in, took it to the counter, paid for it, and then ran back to the car. That hour drive home felt like it took forever, but it wasn't anything I wasn't already used to. Many of my games had been bought at either that store, or the Target close by, as at the time we really didn't have any other options. GameStop wasn't around here yet, and Walmart honestly didn't have that much. So I was pretty used to the long drive. Once I got home however, that was the last my family saw of me for awhile.

Lost Planet blew me away. The graphics, the physics, and the setting itself was impressive to me. It was set on a frozen planet where humans must not only survive against the freezing cold, but against the giant monster aliens that lived their as well. Killing these aliens required you to shoot out their heat source, and once it was taken out their bodies would freeze over, and shatter as they crashed into the ground. This was amazing to me, as I had never seen anything like it! It made me feel like I was in an action movie or something, as I gunned down swarms of flying enemies and watched them plummet to the earth! The fact that you too had limited heat as well was pretty interesting to me, because it required you to blow things up so that you could absorb the energy to keep on living. It meant you were on a timer as you went through the levels, but it never felt like it was too strict. It even rewarded you for exploring off the beaten path, so as long as you weren't playing on the hardest mode, you never had to worry about freezing to death. This was only one part of the gameplay though, as what I didn't expect was how mechs would come in to play a role.

While on foot you have access to a grappling hook that you could attach to nearly any object, and pull yourself up. I thought this was really cool, and made the levels a lot more vertical based than what you see in most 3rd person shooters. The introduction of mechs however was even more interesting to me, and became easily one of my favorite parts of the game. Scattered throughout each level in the game were different armors you could pilot, and each one would typically come with different weapons for you to use. These machines were powerful tools that helped make it easier to survive in the world, but at the same time, they also required more resources to run. This meant you had to work faster with your new found tools, or else you'd find yourself freezing to death in no time. It was a way to balance the sometimes "unfair" stopping power the mechs had, but without taking it too far. You still had plenty of time to use each mech as you found them, and often you'd run out of ammo long before your energy would drop to 0. Even so, piloting the mechs was a lot of fun, and I especially loved the role they would go on to play later in the story. It's one reason I couldn't wait for Lost Planet 2. (Assuming they would make one.)

Lost Planet 2:

While I consider Lost Planet 1 my favorite, 2 was a lot of fun as well. This is the game that introduced co-op to the series, and large boss battles. Because of these new bosses, mechs once again played a large role, and it was still a lot of fun piloting them. Many of the added fights however, did rely on you coordinating with your team, and that also meant that each person would often have to take on a different role in the fight. This unique "Monster Hunter" like twist is something you rarely see in 3rd person shooters, yet alone games where mechs play a huge role in said fights. I had a lot of fun playing this game with randoms online, and still to this day I love sharing some of the crazy stories that happened during these matches. Sadly the game's story wasn't quite as good as the original's, but it was still a lot of fun gameplay wise.

Lost Planet 3:

Lost Planet 3 was nothing like the previous games. It was a slower moving game, with more of a zoomed in camera, and focuses a lot more on exploration and "horror." In some ways it felt like a Resident Evil game, but without actually focusing on horror survival. In this game you were thrown into a connected world, and tasked with traveling across it. While a lot of the gameplay did take place on foot as you explored caves, the mech in this one had even more of a focus than ever. It served as your "home base," and was essentially your key to survival. This mech would be used to travel the world to get you to key areas, and then you'd disembark and explore said areas on foot. It was a very interesting system, and is unlike most other "mech" based games. It constantly forced you to rely on your machine, yet it was more like a partnership, rather than it just being another tool for you to use.

EX Troopers:

While this game did come out before LP3, it never received a US release, and because of that I ended up playing it last. As I mentioned before, this game was more of a dungeon runner than a Lost Planet game, and it's missions controlled what you could or couldn't do. The main game would have you running around the hub base talking to NPCs and triggering story scenes, but once you accepted a mission, you were then thrown into one of the game's many levels. While a lot of these stages mostly asked you to kill all of the enemies, or to take on giant bosses on foot, some were actually fully mech based. These missions included team matches where you and your partners would fight against enemy groups, but of course mechs were featured in some "normal" stages and boss fights as well. It just depended on the mission you accepted, but even then, with or without the mech, most stages were "the same." This game was a high speed combat dungeon crawler, and overall the mechs stages weren't too much different than the on foot ones. That's not to say they weren't fun though!

(At least you survived Legends 3....)

So which was my favorite?

It has to be Lost Planet 1. While I loved the larger focus on mechs in LP3, LP1 will always be my favorite of the four. It blended interesting levels with mechs perfectly, and I really enjoyed the story. It's something I've watched through multiple times, and still go back to every once in awhile when I feel like it. It was a really great game, and is well deserving of now being called a "classic." It's just too bad we never received a collection, or HD remaster.

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