Lost Planet 3 (PC/PS3/360 - 2013)
No, I didn’t mean to put “Dead Space 3,” but comparing Spark Unlimited’s take on Capcom’s hit-and-miss Lost Planet series to EA’s survival horror franchise is closer to the mark than you might think. While the third-person shooter elements remain largely intact, your encounters with the tundra planet’s hostile inhabitants, the Akrid, are much more intense — the fierce insectoids bearing down on you until your ammo is out and your supplies thinned. You could hop into a towering mech and try to even out the odds, but be prepared to face horrors even bigger than your tin can. Remember, the world is against you and it’s not even your world.
Admittedly, Spark has delivered us critical clunkers in the past, but Lost Planet 3’s stark change of tone could signal a similar metamorphosis for the relatively green developer. While sci-fi survival horror is a great starting point for the title, the worst thing it could do is retread Dead Space beat for beat. It’s a wire act, sure, but if Spark can really harness E.D.N. III as a menacing yet organic part of the game’s onslaught, Lost Planet 3 could really set its self apart (which it’ll need to if the rumors of a Dead Space sequel set on a frozen planet blossom into truth).
Anime-Style Lost Planet Spinoff Coming to Confuse Your PS3 and 3DS
Even though the gaming populace’s acceptance of the branding has been mixed across the board since Lost Planet’s arrival in 2006, Capcom refuses to let the property slip into the cold wind. We’re nowhere close to Lost Planet 3’s release (a sequel hoping to capitalize on the survival horror aspects that have made another one of the publisher’s titles so popular), but that hasn’t stopped Capcom from dishing out an obscure little spin-off meant for both the PS3 and, naturally, the 3DS.
A lot about E.X. Troopers resembles Lost Planet lore including the setting of E.D.N. III, the violent bug-like Akrids, and “action shooter” mechanics, but the similarities pretty much end there. Troopers plays out closer to an anime show than a third-person shooter, with cel-shaded graphics, manga-paneled cutscenes, and an eclectic cast of supporting weirdos featuring a girl who’s able to communicate with Akrids and a sentient, talking mech.
Despite there not being much in the way of gameplay details, we do know that you’ll control a new hero, the almost-normally-named Bren Turner, as he joins up with the snow pirate academy (snow pirating requires practice) in their fight against the Akrids. The academy plays a central role in the story, as the game features a school theme akin to Final Fantasy VIII. E.X. Troopers also implements a form of player choice where choosing one of three different bases of operation will impact the story you see and the characters you meet.
It’s all sort of strange — and very tenuous in regards to the source material — but I’ve seen flimsier concepts work. Or it could be just too damn strange to see release outside of Japan this year. If the impending Lost Planet 3 somehow doesn’t scratch your itch, fly on out to Tokyo at the end of June to get in on E.X. Troopers’ playable debut at Capcom’s Summer Jam.