I remember two things very distinctly about the first Lost Planet: snow, and very large monsters. To that effect the game delivered, but on a personal level I was very disappointed. It had all the mechanics of a typical Capcom game, implemented in the right fashion. Weapons scattered across a level, bosses with very large glowing areas to depict where I should shoot, and robots in some format were all part of the game's core design. But it always felt like there was something missing. Unlike Shadow of the Colossus which lent itself beautifully to a single player experience, Lost Planet really just felt like it needed more help in the monster-killing department. I would even go as far to say that the world of Lost Planet felt almost empty without the presence of additional players.
While there are a lot of games out there I've purchased (or played) simply to test out the online aspect, there aren't a lot of games that I buy so I can go through the campaign with a friend. Certainly Gears of War is on that list, and I suppose Little Big Planet would also have to be there as well. But the difference between these titles and Halo 3 (which also included Co-Op in the main campaign), is that those games felt like they were clearly designed to have extra players involved. While most developers don't realize this there is an extremely large difference between a game meant to be played with someone else, and a game that was simply given the option.
As a result Lost Planet 2 feels like a game that was completely designed for the purposes of online Co-Op. The setting of a world filled with danger is still present, but the design in every creature feels like more then one person is actually helpful. Being able to power through the weaker enemies while employing minimal tactics against the slightly larger ones is a bonus, but the real fun comes in the form of the giant boss battles where teamwork can actually make a difference. Very few games actually capture the feeling of having a partner that matters, but in Lost Planet 2 the difference between fighting a boss solo and fighting it with a friend is like night and day.
This isn't to say that the multiplayer versus mode isn't going to draw in some people, or that the storyline won't be a fun experience solo either. No doubt the two modes will still have their own draw to others, however I am willing to put forth that anyone buying the game won't be receiving the full experience without playing online with others. Similar to the experience that Army of Two tried to offer, except that this game will be a bit more engaging (and fun).
It definitely marks a different type of exploration for Capcom as they continue to develop engaging single, and multiplayer experiences. It'll obviously be a while longer before we can safely determine if Lost Planet 2's teamwork is different from the back-to-back struggle that Resident Evil 5 encouraged, or if it holds its own from the Dead Rising 2 multiplayer that hinges on a more frantic-based fun. Either way Lost Planet 2 looks like its going to be a blast, and I can only hope that more games take into consideration that I have real life friends that also like to spend time kicking alien butt with.