Lost Planet 3’s only crime towards interactive entertainment is having nothing worthwhile to say.
It’s not obviously objectionable or appalling compared to other third-person shooters, but the third entry in this snow-themed Capcom series is so tonally bereft that it actually feels a bit offensive in its blandness.
You play a colonist worker on the ice planet of EDN III by the name of Jim Peyton, a moniker that has an almost Mike Judge-like air of boring irony until you realise Lost Planet 3 is relatively straight-faced about this dull action hero. His job involves stomping around in an enormous robot, setting up thermal outposts in terrible conditions and fending off the native creatures known as the Akrid, antagonists from the previous Lost Planet titles who sometimes come in enormous reptilian form.
Slowly, a larger, more mankind-centric tale starts to come together – though nothing that has any particularly interesting gameplay consequences.
You get a snapshot of Jim’s life at the colony, and it’s really not very interesting at all. There’s an attempt to give the dialogue a Whedon-style bounciness that comes across as irritating rather than entertaining. Lost Planet 3 impresses when it gives you gorgeously matte painting-like icy vistas to march headlong into, aboard these hulking metal beasts of machines, but never actually feels fun to play as an on-foot shooter.
It’s rote, with no panache to the pacing and few interesting set pieces, while some obvious borrowing from Dead Space fails to disguise the complete lack of tension or atmosphere when you’re wandering through the environments of EDN III. The indoor bits especially suck interest out of an experience that already lacks in energy.
Lost Planet 3 is a bit like being drafted by the Rebels and getting the boring jobs on Hoth: clear out the Wampas here, establish an outpost there, while the whole time you’re reasonably certain that someone else within Echo Base has been given a much better gig than you.
Yet it’s all perfectly functional as far as third-person shooting goes – you just shouldn’t settle for a game that misses the importance of having a distinctive voice amidst the typical sci-fi imagery.