Though Capcom has been making plenty of noise about the narrative developments in Lost Planet 2's single-player campaign, the developer has also been hard at work making improvements to the multiplayer. New modes, maps, and character models have been introduced to this mode, along with a number of gameplay enhancements. We got to check out all these features and more during a recent play of an epic LAN match.
Like its predecessor, Lost Planet 2 will support up to 16 players online. Most of the popular match types from the original have been brought across, including Team Elimination (a team deathmatch mode) and Post Grab, where each team tries to activate and defend data posts on the map. New match types are also being introduced, including a last-stand-style mode where players team up against a giant arachnid. Multiplayer matches are fully customizable, so you can choose the map, the match type, and weapon loadouts, such as power weapons or pistols, before jumping into a game. The character customisation and leveling systems from the first game have also made their way into the sequel. The leveling system is standard fare: you level up by earning experience points in online matches. Reaching higher levels unlocks new items, including clothing and skins, which you can use to give your character a fresh new look.
Thanks to EDN III's ice-free landscape, the multiplayer maps are much more varied than before, so we were able to try out three of the new maps in Team Elimination mode: Turbulent Jungle, Descration, and Cube. Turbulent Jungle was easily the best looking of the three, with mud huts, sparkling blue streams, and lush green foliage making up the world. The huge mass of trees and hilly landscapes meant we could always find somewhere to take cover or hide out and ambush the opposing team. In stark contrast to the Turbulent Jungle map was Descration, a postapocalyptic-style city full of destroyed buildings and roads. Though it was less vibrant than the jungle, Descration's run-down cityscape offered plenty of places to find cover, and the high buildings allowed us to easily rain down death with a rocket launcher from above. The final map we saw was Cube, which boasted a completely different style to the others. Rather than being a large-scale environment, it was much more enclosed, taking place in an arena surrounded by Nevec Industries banners. Inside the arena were hundreds of steel crates, which formed corridors that bunched many of the players together, resulting in much more frantic gameplay.
Each map had a variety of weapons scattered across it, though these varied depending on the loadout chosen for each match. Most of our time was spent playing with power weapons, which included rocket launchers, miniguns, shotguns, mines, and plasma grenades. Each weapon packed a wallop, with the shotgun in particular being very aggressive. Of course, the most interesting weapons in Lost Planet were the mechanical vital suits, and thankfully these are in abundance on each map. There are many different types of suits available, ranging from simple body armor to more extravagant mechanical walkers. Different weapons, such as grenade launchers and miniguns, are equipped to each suit, and we had heaps of fun using them to do some shooting. However, this did make us a much easier target for the opposition to spot, and we often found ourselves getting killed rather quickly in a suit. Fortunately, all it took was a little teamwork, and we found it best to use the suits when accompanied by other members of the team who could repair us each time our suit took damage. A new feature is the ability for teammates to hang from the sides of the larger suits, giving support to the driver by laying down machine-gun fire and dropping grenades.
Seeing a mech for the first time can be a terrifying experience.
There was an impressive sense of scale when using the suits, and it was an intense experience to suddenly be ambushed by a towering mech ready to lay down some carnage. The maps are also impressively large, with the crumbling buildings and lush tropical trees appearing to stretch forever into the distance. This gives plenty of breathing room for 16 players to do battle, even when there are several vital suits walking around at once. Lost Planet 2 is scheduled for release on May 18 for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, so keep reading GameSpot for more on the game in the run up to release.