Since the majority of my multiplayer experience in the original Lost Planet involved myself and a large group of Japanese players, it seems fitting I find myself surrounded by Japanese players in the latest Lost Planet 2 multiplayer demo.
The latest multiplayer demo for Lost Planet 2, which goes live on the 21, focuses on the core player-versus-player experience in the follow-up to Capcom's futuristic shooter. Sure, giant alien creatures hell-bent on your destruction roam the planet, but what are they compared to the most dangerous game of them all, other than graphically impressive?
While there aren't any magnificent beasties shambling about in the demo, there's no shortage of impressive graphics. The Turbulent Jungle map, which is the only map players have access here, is as lush and verdant as the name would imply. It's a futuristic base that's slowly being reclaimed by nature, with ramshackle towers jutting up out of the foliage, perfect for a well-armoured soldier with a super-powered grappling hook to scale.
I'm not sure if it's my early morning play times or what, but I inevitably found myself teamed up with players not of this country. Generally Japanese players, though I did manage one round against a British fellow who seemed more than happy to eat several grenades in the name of healthy competition.
The demo consists of two multiplayer modes, Elimination and Data Post Battle. Elimination is Team Deathmatch, while Data Post Battle is a capture and hold scenario, with teams battling over a series of control points spread across the map.
My early play times made it difficult to find a round, so the first thing I did was create my own Elimination match. Aside from starting the game and inviting specific players, there isn't much to tweak in the demo, something that should change in the full release, if the three pages of greyed-out options are any indicator.
I chose Elimination for up to 16 players, and waited for fresh victims to connect to my room.
After a few seconds a British fellow arrived in the room, and being an impatient bastard, I started the game.
With a 10-minute time limit and a 20-kill goal, Elimination isn't really meant for two players. Still, I made do with what I had.
The game controls very similarly to Lost Planet. Your guns, grapple and grenades are right at your fingertips, ready at a moment's notice should the enemy suddenly come into view.
Combat felt a little faster than in the original game, the controls tighter and more responsive. After getting shot in the face a few times I quickly learned how to capture posts to activate radar. Once I had a few posts active, finding and killing my adversary became much easier. I'd grab one of the game's impressively animated Vital Suit mech robots, taking him out in a hail of gunfire, or simply wait until I saw his red dot appear close to my location, toss a grenade, and hope for the best.
Unfortunately on a map made for 16 players, the two of us were never going to reach 20 kills in 10 minutes. Luckily I managed to hide well enough that when the timer hit zero I was one kill ahead, and victory was mine.
Not that it mattered much, as the game isn't keeping track of rank at the moment. Still, the sense of accomplishment was there, and the potential for two player games of cat and mouse intriguing.
My attempt to find a Data Post Battle game landed me in a room with seven Japanese players, clearly marked by their country's flag.
Several of the players dropped before the match started, so I wound up in a 2-on-2 match.
Data Post Battle is all about capturing and maintaining points on the map. With only four players involved, the 10 minute round was a merry chase from point to point, occasionally stopping to put on a Vital Suit or take control of one of the map's powerful stationary turrets.
I particularly enjoyed defending the data post located on top of a tower situated in the middle of the map, which afforded excellent opportunities for precision-timed hand grenades, blasting opponents off of the surface used to climb to the top.
My partner and I were getting our asses handed to us time and time again, until something wonderful happened.
It took us several harsh lessons on the power of Lost Planet 2's grenades, but we eventually killed the defending enemy, took his data post and somehow managed to pull off a win. My Japanese teammate muttered something into his headset and disappeared.
I didn't play much, but I did manage to get a small taste of what to expect in Lost Planet 2's online multiplayer. Fast-paced combat, stupid grapple hijinks and grenade spam seemed to be the order of the day. I fancy myself a sniper, but managed to hold my own with a machine gun and a string of muttered curses every time my body hit the floor.
Like I said, it wasn't much of a taste, but enough to leave me hungry for more. I'll see you Japanese players online come May 20.
The Lost Planet 2 multiplayer demo will be available April 21 for the Xbox 360.