Lost Planet 2

Publisher: Capcom

Price: �39.99

Format: Xbox 360 (also on PS3, PC)

Age rating: 16+

Score: 4/5 Stars

SET 10 years after the events of the first game, Lost Planet 2 wastes little time developing a coherent storyline.

Arming you with a couple of basic weapons, it pushes you out of the door with nary a wave goodbye, and tasks you with stomping around an alien world hunting bugs the size of skyscrapers.

Split into six chapters, the game has a co-op focus throughout, so while it’s possible to play the main campaign on your own, it works best when you’ve got three friends watching your back. If you’re a Billy-no-mates or rarely venture online, then it’s probably not for you, as your computer-controlled teammates are a pretty useless bunch.

To help battle the giant-sized insects of EDN III, you’ve obviously got access to an arsenal of inventive weaponry, including gigantic Gatling guns, rocket launchers, sniper rifles and grenades, but the Vital Suits are the star performers.

Once you’re armed to the hilt, you’ll need to target the glowing weak spots of your opponents. It’s an age-old mechanic, but it works and helps you concentrate your fire in the heat of battle, with the orange gunk released from squished bugs used to power everything from your energy weapons, shields and health bar to your mech suits.

The arctic wastes of EDN III have been terraformed into verdant jungles, arid deserts and huge expanses of water for the sequel, throwing up all sorts of environmental challenges. Everything moves along at a cracking pace, too, especially when you go online and experience the various competitive multiplayer modes – including an eight-versus-eight elimination bout, survival and capture the flag.

Lost Planet 2 is a credible third-person shooter, but it suffers from some idiotic AI and the lack of a decent cover system. There’s also a slight disconnect between chapters – thanks to the fact that you take on a number of different roles – that’s only resolved towards the end of the game. Those quibbles aside, it’s a brilliant co-op game that’s definitely worth checking out.

Natalie Bowyer