Fighting the menus in Lost Planet 2

I like Lost Planet 2 quite, a bit, I just wish it wasn’t so terrible.Lost Planet 2 was released by Capcom in 2010, and was a radical departure from its predecessor. Instead of focusing on single player campaign, LP2 was designed foe four player co-op, simaliar to Valve’s Left Four Dead series. The game also touted massive boss battles against “Akrid” (the type of monster of the world” that towered over you and your companions. The game allowed players to take control of powerful “VS’s”, basically giant robots.  It’s all actually quite enjoyable, but it shoots itself in both feet


LP2 problem isn’t what breaks it, no instead its how the interface works. First is how Co-operative play works. As mentioned LP2 is focused of co-operative play, so one would probably want to play with other people. From the first menu, you navigate to the mission map and try to join a game. Unfortunately, just being able to join a game in progress isn’t possible. The way co-op is designed, the main draw of the game, makes it impossible to join game in process. You can only join a game that has people waiting for players. Once a game is started you have to wait in the “lobby” for the next part of the mission to join in.  This leaves you with a choice, either sit on your hands in the lobby, or just play by yourself.  It’s a frustrating position to put the player in, and that ignoring the interface issues.


One must navigate  a maze of submenus and sub-submenus, which the game never actually tells you ho to interact with it. The way the menus are designed are inherently frustrating, important options are outright hidden from the player, while just useless, and forgive the vulgarity, crap just covers the screen. For example, there an in game store in the game that allows a the player to use collected reward “credits” in a slot machine to obtain weapons and gear. The slot machine is a unbalanced and borderline unfair way to hand out equipment as it is, but the problem is compounded by the fact that the player is never told of its existence. Furthermore, the option to get to the machine is a small button in the character customization screen.  Its so easy to miss that I didn’t find it till six months after buying the game.


I like Lost Planet 2, there is a simple joy in running and gunning against a forty story tall salamander. However, while the “fun” stuff is polished, LP2 drops the ball on the basics of design. Instead of easily being able to start a game and advance your character, your forced to fight a menu system the entire time.


About scb1553

I am currently a Graphic Design student studying at ULL. The point of this blog is to examine design decisions of things I like.
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