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By Kris . June 7, 2012 . 1:02pm
The Lost Planet 3 demo I played involved the main character, Jim Peyton, tasked with harvesting a stockpile of thermal energy that another one of his co-workers was too scared by Akrid to take advantage of. In his place, Jim jumped into his giant rig (think mech suit) and happily obliged.
After a little bit of first-person walking and ice drilling (done with R2), Jim was caught in the midst of a snowstorm and had to hop out of his rig to defrost it… by shooting the ice off of it. While I was attempting to do this, an Akrid appeared out of nowhere, jumped on me, and initiated the game’s "Struggle" mode. In this mode, you have to mash a button until Jim draws his knife, then you use the right analog stick to move a resistant reticule onto a key part of the enemy (one of the orange weak points that all Akrid have), and press R3. The Akrid was knocked away for a second, but before Jim could get to his feet, he was tackled again. So I did the struggle mode again.
…and then again. Missing the proper location on the enemy in struggle mode wouldn’t kill Jim immediately, but it would hurt him. After killing the first Akrid through simple roll (X) and shoot (L2 to aim R2 to fire) tactics, a couple more attacked me as I tried to de-ice my rig.
Once I’d done that, I could hop back into the rig and fight with that. I just picked up enemy Akrids with L2 and crushed them (L2 again) or drilled them. Both of these methods got a lot of orange goo on the windshield. Eventually, I was forced to leave my rig. Jim then fought an "Ice Crab" Akrid, whose claws had giant orange weak points on them and could be shot off. I could also toss grenades into its mouth. After a while it was destroyed and Jim discovered a mysterious structure hidden under the ice he’d just melted.
Entering the structure revealed it to be a derelict laboratory of some sort. As Jim got further from his Rig, he lost his radar and T-Eng count as onscreen text warned that Jim was separating from his "umbilical point". This radarless, indoor part of the game was pretty much Dead Space-lite. Enemies skittered around just out of view and made loud noises. Shortly after entering, I was thrown into another struggle mode with little skittery Akrid at one point, who required multiple slashes after wrapping themselves around Jim’s neck.
After flipping some switches and fighting some Akrid, I was able to leave. Upon doing so, I was immediately faced with another ice crab. Fortunately, my rig was nearby, so I hopped in and battled the ice-crab kaiju-style. After countering an attack by blocking at the right time, I was able to grab one of the crab’s claws with R2, lift it up with the left analog, and drill into the orange weak point, eventually removing the claw. Grabbing the stub of the arm allowed me to drill the giant weak point on the crab’s back. Drilling into one of the crab’s T-ENG filled weak points would refill the rig’s health bar. I couldn’t just grab any part of the crab at any time, but considering how bad I was at parrying, I’m curious as to how exactly the icon indicating I could grab a part of the crab would appear.
The curious thing about Lost Planet 3 is that it abandons what I always thought were the staples of Lost Planet. Jim doesn’t need thermal energy to survive the cold weather like Wayne did in the first game, or even use it to augment healing like in Lost Planet 2. Instead, Jim picks up T-ENG from defeated enemies to sell to people. It was weird to be out in the middle of the icy environments and not be worried about my character freezing. Jim doesn’t even put up his hood! (Ishaan’s note: The beard shields him. There’s no other explanation.)
The grappling hook, which I thought was a blast to use in the previous games, is now designated only to specific grapple points. No more grappling onto enemies and shooting point-blank into their weak points, no more hopping up the sides of buildings. In fact, when I was tasked with leaving the laboratory, the route I took into the lab was just out of reach, but that route was not a designated grapple point. While the lack of a grapple point ultimately led me in the direction I was supposed to go, it’s a bummer that the hook can only be used at scripted points.
Food for Thought:
1. During my first fight with the ice crab, I used a dodge roll to avoid his charge attack at the last second. The roll itself was in slow motion, but aside from looking fancy, there was no tangible benefit.
2. Jim’s Rig has a little bobble hula dancer on the dashboard.
3. Taking enough damage during the fight between the crab and the rig would crack the rig’s windshield. Humorously, healing yourself by drilling the crab would make the cracks disappear.