Conrad Reyners hopes Capcom will deliver a better product than this E3 demo promised.
Lost Planet 3 is the latest in Capcom's generally well-regarded series of first person shooters. A prequel, part three follows the trials and tribulations of a miner far from home, as he attempts to make some money by doing what he does best: putting himself in dangerous situations.
Basically, what this boiled down to in my hands-on session was an introduction to the story, before heading out in a mechanised mining rig, which is like a huge robotic suit your character sits in.
The planet on which all this unfolds is rather inhospitable; not only is it super cold outside, but there are powerful storms that rage all over its surface at unpredictable intervals. What this means is that you'll spend your time trudging around in snow, and will occasionally be unable to see what's going on outside. Other times, you might have to get out of your mech (like I did) in order to shoot ice that forms over your rig and stops it from moving - which seems ludicrous.
The world is also teeming with alien life which is out to get you. The generic crab/beast things (of which I got to dispatch a "variety") will generally set about trying to kill you by boring you to death. From the smallest to the largest, there's not much to see here: beasts of various sizes will move towards you at different speeds while occasionally making loud noises. Loud noises. Exciting, this ain't.
Eventually, after leaving my rig and heading into the wild without its metallic embrace to keep me company, I happened across a boss, of sorts: a larger creature with orange glowing bits strategically positioned for me to shoot at. Aside from the glowing bits, and a bit more aggression in his attacks, he varied little from his smaller pals.
This fight also highlighted the awkward camera, which seems to be out to make things harder for the player by concealing things from them.
Eventually, I shot him up enough and he stopped moving. I moved on, did some other stuff, and... came across another one. Fortunately, my mech thingy was nearby, so I thought I'd try taking it out with that.
The mechs have no weapons as such installed, which means you can only do things like grab them with your claw or punch them with your drillbits. While this might sound pretty nasty, it is in fact pretty lame, so I clambered out and performed the dodge-shoot-dodge dance that should be familiar to anyone who has played any game ever.
In case you haven't picked up on my thinly veiled hints, I wasn't impressed. It's not that the game is bad, per se, it's just that it's so gosh darn generic. You've played it a million times already. It's not even remotely exciting or interesting to play, it's not a world you want to spend any time in.
It looks nice enough, for a barren icy wasteland, and the sounds were suitably thunky and bangy, as appropriate. But it's hard to imagine anyone but the die-hard Lost Planet fanboys getting even remotely enthusiastic about this, unless Capcom are saving the best for a later reveal.
Based on what I've seen so far, I suspect your interest is better served elsewhere. Capcom have a solid history of delivering fans something that at least resembles what they want, however, so of course our verdict is reserved until we see the rest of the game. But my excitement was definitely muted by my experiences with this demo.
Here's hoping Capcom can pull it out of the fire.By Conrad Reyners