When it comes to making titanic, jaw-dropping boss battles, no one does it better than Capcom. We'd like to imagine that the four-player co-op in Lost Planet 2 was the result of them making a monster so colossal, it'd be impossible for just one person to beat, but that's probably going a bit too far.
This game follows the tried-and-tested school bully wisdom that the only thing more entertaining than squishing bugs is having your mates watch and high-five you afterwards. If you have friends to play with, you'll love it. If you don't have friends, now's the time to get some - the AI is competent enough, but the game is more forgiving, and much funnier with others around.
We can't think of many sequels that jettisoned the main character after just one adventure, but that's exactly what's happened to poor Wayne, the slightly dull and wimpy hero of Lost Planet. He's probably better off in the dole queue anyway, because some of the Akrid monsters in this sequel are the size of a small city. You now play as five fearless teams of Snow Pirates, spread across different regions of Planet EDN III.
Each chapter of the game tells their individual stories, before uniting them all for one incredible last stand. The ice age is over, and we're now left with beautiful, verdant jungles, a high-tech submarine base and the endless desert from Dune. There's also one final setting that you'll never see coming, and it's definitely worth the wait.
There isn't really much of a story this time, but most of the action revolves around the pursuit of T-ENG (thermal energy).
This glowing orange goo powers everything in the game, from your recharging shields and energy weapons to the robotic V-Suits you ride around in.
Everyone needs it and everyone wants it, but unless your team shares its T-ENG effectively, everyone will just end up as bug-bait. A new weapon, the Energy Injector, allows you to shoot globules of T-ENG from one player to the next, giving them a recharge when they need it most. It's possible to charge-up shots to increase their potency, but this comes at the expense of your own supply.
You can also shoot T-ENG directly into your friends' V-Suits. It's a real fist-pumping moment when you do this just as their fuel meter is ticking down to zero. Truly, this must be what it's like to be the galaxy's most heroic petrol pump attendant.
Heavy weapons crates are the one stumbling block between being a band of brothers and a bunch of selfish bastards. Unlocking these crates requires a large quantity of T-ENG, and you'll often wish you'd turned on friendly fire when your mate starts parading around with his shiny new minigun at the expense of everyone else's supply.
We love the banter though, and there's almost always a massive scramble to be the first person to climb into one of the redesigned V-Suits. Fortunately, some of them have more than one seat, which allows your friends to either ride pillion or in a mounted gun turret. The durability of your vehicle also improves with every passenger you carry - another cool system that the game uses to encourage you to stick together.
There's a ton of replay value, thanks to hundreds of 'Good Job' side missions that you can only discover as you play. Some of the basic ones for each mission appear on the briefing screen, but the majority are undocumented - and, pleasingly, not all of them are related to conventional things like combos and headshots.
There's one for grappling on to an Akrid's back and rodeo riding it for a few seconds, and one - our favourite - where everyone has to strike a heroic pose after defeating the gigantic salamander boss. Thrusting, gyrating and high-fiving has never been so rewarding, or so weird. If only it made that oh-so-sweet Achievement noise too, then it'd be perfect.
Instead, you get credits to spend on a fruit machine that rewards you with random weapons, emotes and costume parts. While you can customise your load-out at any time, you aren't able to change your character's appearance until the second play through.