If there's one thing Lost Planet detractors and defenders can agree on, it's that the series has got a quirky personality. For better or worse the environments, abilities, and pacing all have a design you're not going to find many other places. After spending a few hours with a portion of Lost Planet 2's multiplayer offering, it's safe to say that fans of the original will recognize the latest iteration, as the core mechanics are intact. Some nice additions include a variety of new vital suits (VS), detailed character customization, and a leveling system. While I do have a few gripes, Lost Planet 2's multiplayer appears to be a solid entry into the sea of online shooters.
The demo consists of only a fraction of the full offering, featuring one 16 player map and two game types, but you could still get a good feel for what Capcom is bringing to the table. The map is called Turbulent Jungle and players are given the opportunity to play either Elimination (Lost Planet's version of Deathmatch) or Data Posts (control points mode). Turbulent Jungle is a dense, tropical environment with scattered crumbling buildings to add a bit of verticality. The openness between structures, combined with the thick foliage seem to favour snipers, unless you hop into one of the few vital suits. This doesn't vary much between the two game types, both of which are pretty standard.
Lost Planet 2, like most recent shooters, has definitely been inspired by Call of Duty - adding depth to the multiplayer component with features such a leveling system, and an ability system similar to COD's perks. The demo didn't give us a chance to upgrade many weapons or abilities, so it remains to be seen how deep the leveling will be. Instead of having preset classes at the start of each match players can customize their character at any point during a game. The customization allows you to change anything from weapons, to abilities, to the look of your character on the fly which is a nice touch. Another useful feature is the game's stat tracking which ranks players at the end of each round by every metric conceivable, and allows you to compare your score against individual players. Overall, Lost Planet 2's multiplayer offers a surprising amount of depth for those willing to invest the time.
While I enjoyed the limited experience with the game, there are a few drawbacks. First and foremost, people are bullet sponges in Lost Planet 2. Playing with the standard machine gun, it got to the point where players would stand in one place shooting each other, because that was easier then running in circles emptying three clips before someone would fall. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but the point remains that the developers should consider rebalancing the damage. Second, the controls are a bit too quirky. They match with the overall theme of Lost Planet, which has always been distinctive, but when compared to the top tier shooters, they feel slightly out of date.
Based on the brief snapshot I played, Lost Planet 2's multiplayer is looking like a surprisingly strong entry into the online shooter arena. The unique, charming feel and pace of the gameplay is a nice break from the barrage of present day military shooters. The game also offers the same amount of depth you would expect from a top tier shooter. There are a few drawbacks, but some tweaks to the final product could still be made. Bottom line, Lost Planet 2's multiplayer is worth checking out.