LittleBigPlanet 2 Video Review
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Sackboy returns in a sequel worthy of the name LittleBigPlanet. An enormous toolbox for a would-be level designer and new devices like the controlinator make LittleBigPlanet 2 the absolute gold standard for PlayStation's Play, Create, Share motto.
- Extremely diverse level design tools
- A near infinite amount of replay value
- Quirky and adorable presentation
- Gameplay physics, while improved, can still be frustrating
- Level creation is time consuming (but some may welcome the long hours)
When it was released more than two years ago, Media Molecule turned more than a few heads with LittleBigPlanet. Since then, the adorable Sackboy has served as an unofficial mascot for the PlayStation brand, representing one of the most artistic, addicting, and clever platformers to date. The LittleBigPlanet community, given the opportunity to conduct some basic game development, has constructed more than three million user-created levels—an unprecedented feat on a console. At the time of the original's release, it seemed a sequel was unnecessary as gamers had a nearly endless supply of new levels, stickers, outfits, and other goodies to keep them busy. When it was revealed that Media Molecule was releasing LittleBigPlanet 2 in early 2011 (delayed from late 2010), it was obvious the developer had more it wanted to show off, and after spending time with the game, it’s clear this new entry was handled quite well. Everything in LittleBigPlanet 2, from the slightly enhanced gameplay physics to a near overhaul of the level creation system, is an improvement upon the original. LBP2 will extend the franchise indefinitely and provide many more years of dazzling entertainment.
There are few games that offer as much variety as LittleBigPlanet 2. It has the skin of a platformer, but its heart is an empty canvas, waiting for brilliant designers to build their masterpieces. There is more variety in the gameplay than in the original. In one level you’ll pilot a bumble bee through a side-scrolling shooter, and in the next you’ll be playing hoops against user opponents. It’s the retooled level creation system that gives new life to the game. Building levels is still slow and time consuming, but you are no longer restricted to the basic platformer style; you can create just about anything your imagination can conceive of—after all, that is the game’s original intention.
Those new to the world of LittleBigPlanet, and even those returning from the original game, will want to start with the Story mode. There are 30 new levels to play through, all of which are varied and showcase what you can do on your own in the Create mode. An actual story is virtually non-existent (as it should be), though the basic premise involves the evil Negativitron invading Craftworld. As Sackboy or Sackgirl, you're tasked with destroying the beast. A quirky cast of characters, which provide tutorials for the new devices and gameplay features, aid you in your quest. More than anything, the story is intended to show players what they can build for themselves.
The basic platforming elements remain virtually unchanged in LittleBigPlanet 2. Sackboy has three planes to move on—tapping up or down twice will move him across each plane—and he has two basic moves: jump and grab. There is still a particular weightless feeling to Sackboy’s movements, and surfaces still feel a bit slick (although this isn't as drastic as in the original game). The controls are extremely simplistic, but getting a feel for your sackperson’s movements may take some time. You still collect point bubbles, stickers, materials, and other objects that you can use to customize your Sackboy or to create your perfect level. Needless to say, the very basics of LittleBigPlanet are completely untouched. If you only play through the first few set of levels, you will undoubtedly question the hype surrounding the sequel, but if you play through its challenges and later levels, you’ll quickly find that the game has tremendous potential.
The game looks extremely unique and sounds as fresh as an iTunes commercial. The soundtrack is simply wonderful, while the art style is moody with a vaudevillian flair. Each world looks completely different than the last. Still, up to this point, you are probably thinking, "this seems like more of the same." But the real entertainment comes in the form of the challenge levels. You can play against a real life in-game opponent in racing games, pool, basketball, even shooters. The further you progress in the Story mode, the cooler the levels get. Without being too specific, the last set of levels offer some truly challenging yet appropriately quirky space ... (continued on next page)
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