Lost Planet started off as a survival series set in the harsh frozen tundra of E.D.N III. It’s sequel, Lost Planet 2, changed that almost entirely with multiplayer gameplay in an almost tropical paradise. Strangely enough this series has switched direction again, going back to colder temperatures in this prequel. For Lost Planet 3, The story starts off in the present as Jim Peyton, an older more grizzled protagonist is saying his dying words to his granddaughter. Most of the story is told through flashbacks of when Jim was recruited by NEVEC to explore the exciting new planet they found. He’s not there to save the world, in fact he just wants to provide for his family. Thus his reactions to the many dangers of the environment are believable. This is especially crucial in a game about survival, where having an overtly machismo main character would ruin the immersion. You even begin to feel for the man as he is forced to send one way messages to his wife so he can remember why he took this crazy adventure in the first place.

Frequently the game throws you into harrowing situations, where it seems that the odds are against you. Your mech in this game is called the Rig. It’s extremely different from the smaller, human-sized mechs of the first game. In fact now it seems more like piloting a towering titan worthy of the gigantic monster battles you’ll be embroiled in. Guns and chainsaws have been replaced with a claw for one arm and a drill for the other, so even when you feel powerful there is a sneaking sense of weakness.  Simple things we’ve come to expect in games like a radar and ammo counter are only there if you are close to the Rig. Venture too far and they begin to distort until you are completely isolated. Creatures called Akrid stalk you during every mission, looking for the opportunity to make you their meal. There are moments when you’ll fight them off easily, giving a sense that you can conquer this primitive world and make it your own. Then there are other times when your mech is frozen, your gun low on precious bullets, and you’re surrounded with no possible way out than through the horde of salivating monsters. It all lends itself quite well to the feeling that LP3 is trying to convey. It’s easy enough to make a game with tiny hallways and jump scares, but it took some real work to give this game the sense of loneliness that you cant help but feel.

Saves are handled in a questionable manner. Rather than having slots, you have two auto-saves. While this was fairly reliable, it means a player can’t save and quit whenever they so desire. The multiplayer leaves much to be desired as well. What should’ve been exciting skirmishes filled with awe inspiring battles where random monsters decimated both sides turned out to feel like nothing more than a Gears of War rip-off. Controls that felt well suited for fighting indigenous creatures were atrocious to use against live opponents, and the wildlife plays an insignificant role in most of the battles.

Just like the icy desert it takes place in, Lost Planet 3 is a perilous buy for the faint of heart. This game will scare you or at the very least give you a sense of solidarity in its shroud of sleet and snow. Horror fans should not miss out on this game, and even if you still sleep with a night light you should give it a try.

Lost Planet 3 Trailer