However hard other developers may try, Capcom remains the master of the heart-in-mouth, adrenaline-soaked boss fight. The sandworm thing that the four of us are currently trying to kill is about 50 times the size of the cannon-mounted freight train that we're fighting it from. Every time it emerges from the sand with an ear-shattering, screeching roar to gobble up another carriage as if it were a Smartie, we all instinctively reel back in our seats. Lost Planet 2 has a shot at being the best euphoric four-player monster-killing experience since, well, Monster Hunter. (Yes, I know I namedrop Monster Hunter in practically everything I ever write. Take the hint, people!)
"The original Lost Planet was a bit of a tough sell," explains producer Jun Takeuchi. "Being a Japanese science-fiction shooter that has giant robots, a lot of people [at Capcom] were asking 'is this actually going to shift any units?', so it was a bit of a struggle to get the support for the first game. But it got great reviews, it sold beyond our expectations, and there are a lot of people out there looking for a sequel, so getting the support for Lost Planet 2 wasn't a problem."
The Tokyo Game Show demo is two levels quite different from the jungles we've previously torn apart. The first is a near-deserted settlement peppered with square mudhouses (and, naturally, the requisite selection of weaponry and mech suits to pick up and shoot things with). After our team of four finish clearing snipers off the roofs, two massive dinosaur-like lizards with glowing red weak spots on their underbellies announce their arrival with camera-shaking roars.
Lost Planet is a third-person blaster, sure, but it does involve a lot of thought. You don't just empty clips at a huge monster until it falls over, you have to work out a strategy with your team-mates. The massive dinosaurs we're currently fighting find their way around by sound, so if you start happily firing away at weak spots as soon as one stands up to have a look around, you'll be swiftly crushed as it comes charging towards you at terrifying speed. We quickly learn to stand stock still as soon as we see one start to raise itself up on two legs - the tension is palpable.
"The most important progression we wanted to make from Extreme Condition was the introduction of four player co-op, that's really the key feature of this game that everything else revolves around," says Takeuchi. Co-op is essential to the game; though you can play through on your own with AI companions, it's only half the experience (or perhaps a quarter). It adapts contextually around four different players with different preferences - if you've got shotguns equipped as your short-range weapon, for instance, you'll see a shotgun lying on the ground where your friend might see a pistol. It's ludicrously customisable, too, letting you change every detail of your character's helmet brim and underwear as well as every imaginable gameplay option.