Capcom Co.’s Lost Planet 3 for Sony Corp.’s Playstation 3, Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360 and the PC is a standard third-person shooter title. Developed by Spark Unlimited, it includes a sharper focus on story but loses grip on the action-based gameplay.

In Lost Planet 3, Jim Peyton, a Utility Rig pilot, secures a contract with NEVEC to secure Thermal Energy from the icy planet E.D.N. III. He subsequently discovers new occupants and secrets about the planet.

At home base, Jim can purchase new weapons, mingle with NPCs, and take optional missions to secure Thermal Energy currency. The large three-level base requires users to trek through a few loading screens to move from section to section.

Lost Planet 3Missions include a mixed portion of third-person and Utility Rig combat. Third-person combat is solid with strong aim properties and a decent range of upgrade-able weaponry, including shotguns and assault rifles. Dexterity is limited with a dodge/roll feature that is somewhat useful against the more mobile Akrid. Thermal Enery is no longer required to maintain health, and energy level is indicated by on-screen blood levels.

The Utility Rig is a beast and offers a claw, drill, and swipe to beat down enemies or scavenge through obstacles. Users can hop in and out of the Utility Rig in many levels. When outside, the user is tethered with additional environment information from the Rig.

Enemies are agile and range from crawling pods to wolf-like monsters to large enemy crabs. Missions tend to spawn the same enemies in different sections within tight corridors for repetitive and unwieldy shooting segments.

Environments are less scalable than prior installments due to the grapple hook required to be utilized at only certain portions of the level. The result is largely ground-based combat encounters that negate the multi-level strategy found in prior titles.

The multiplayer component offers more freedom with levels that offer grapple hook use on most structures. While co-op is not an option, the four competitive modes including Scenario Mode to allow two teams of five to compete in challenges or Akrid Survival for two teams of three to survive waves of Akrid.

The graphics engine at 30 frames-per-second with utilization of the Unreal Engine 3. The title succeeds in the creation of darker, claustrophobic environments in addition to superb light effects.

The sound engine is strong with a sci-fi score reminiscent of motion picture classics, and appropriate chirps and growls from the spontaneous Akrid.

Lost Planet 3 is a decent trek in the snow. While the title hones in a focus on the personal story of Jim Peyton, the title loses the variety of epic co-op action from the second installment, and the race to stay alive with Thermal Energy from the first.

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