LittleBigPlanet 2

This unique arts & crafts-like adventure greatly improves on everything its predecessor has since accomplished.

By azn_pride, Posted 19 Feb 2011

It feels like forever since the first LittleBigPlanet took the level creation scene by storm. The ridiculous amount of user-generated content has grown since then, demonstrating the power of what a design tool can do, and achieving what other creation-based games could not. LittleBigPlanet 2 is everything its predecessor was, emphasizing a more sophisticated creation tool that shows greater potential. As a result, the game is a tour de force in and of itself, giving players a broader sense of creative freedom to make their levels more complicated, interesting, and engaging than ever before.

Like the previous game, players are in control of Sackboy (or Sackgirl) once again, as he sets off for another grand adventure to save the Cosmos from an evil force trying to destroy everything. LBP2's story pretty much serves as a basis for what you're going to expect out of the rest of the game, helping you get set up for what the franchise is really all about: the user-generated content. The main campaign does introduce some new gameplay mechanics--the grappling hook, which helps Sackboy swing from ledge to ledge, the Creatinator is a hat that can fire projectiles at enemies, and the Grabinator allows the player to grab and throw objects--that may tie in the level creation process, in which users can come up with some devious ways to implement these new gadgets effectively.

LittleBigPlanet 2, Little, Big, Planet, Review
The campaign introduces you to basic ideas of LBP2, as well as some...interesting characters.

Like its predecessor, you unlock stickers, costumes, and objects from the single player that you can use in the game's creation mode, making the campaign mandatory if you want to use the widest array of objects for your levels. The addition of an in-game tool called the controllinator enables you to manipulate other objects in the environment besides Sackboy, allowing for more freedom besides just platforming your way through the end of each level.

You can also produce your own cutscenes, sound effects, and even use an in-game music sequencer to record theme songs. Also, you can link multiple levels together that take you immediately to another level instead of choosing the second part from the menu. You can even use these links to create a consistent series of mini-games, lengthening the play experience, as well as the enjoyment, of course. There are also a multitude of tutorials you might have to go through to get the full gist of LBP2's creation mechanics, though if level designing isn't your forte, you can skip the creation stuff altogether and just play. Either way, you'll still have a wonderful time.

The first LBP has accumulated over 3 million user-created levels since its release, and what's great about it is most of that content is backward-compatible with LittleBigPlanet 2. What's even more amazing is you can upgrade them to much crisper versions of the original. Made a really cool level from the first LBP and people liked it? No problem! Feel like adding a first-person shooter sequence just for the hell of it? Or create a Final Fantasy-like role-playing game as a tribute? Go for it! You can make these significant changes and some clever new additions to spice up the gameplay; and that's just the tip of the iceberg. With all these nice little additions in the level creation tools (and more), the possibilities in LBP2 are absolutely endless.

LittleBigPlanet 2, Little, Big, Planet, Review
You can make your own music through this sequencer.

That said, this isn't to say the game is without its share of grievances. First and foremost, the controls. For the most part, it controls well, though its floaty nature makes it difficult to traverse through booby trap-filled segments, and the experience ends up creating frustrating moments than pure enjoyment. On top of that, there's a certain weight to the controls that make timing your jumps, as well as some of the non-platforming events, a rough experience. The height of the jumps is never quite enough, making it disappointing not only for the players, but for the many users that want to create the craziest levels out there. As a result they're forced to downgrade certain parts of their levels just to match the controls' hindered quality.

I also feel that level creation can progress a lot faster if the game had better control schemes for it. Or, in other words, if the Playstation Move was actually compatible within creation mode instead of just an optional thing during co-op. They've recently released a patch that I assumed would actually enable that plus a bonus keyboard/mouse support as they've previously announced. But as far as I know, unfortunately, there hasn't been any progress on that end.

Though wearisome at times, everything else about LittleBigPlanet 2 is outstanding, and the overwhelming amount of user levels is definitely worth checking out. At one point you'll find yourself playing old-school shooters akin to Asteroids or Galaga. Next thing you know, you're playing through near-perfect, bootleg versions of Pitfall and The Legend of Zelda. Seeing these nostalgia-filled homages is indeed exciting to see. And should you desire to play these levels again, you can instantly queue them in your community profile, enabling you to just play them on the fly instead of going through the trouble of searching for them again. You can also find new levels and Media Molecule's personal picks on the go, as well as giving you the option to rate and review them. It's thanks to this superb database filter system that you're able to find the best levels as quickly and efficiently as possible, encouraging you to expand your repertoire even further.

LittleBigPlanet 2, Little, Big, Planet, Review
Doesn't this bring back such good memories?

LBP2's unique arts & crafts aesthetic makes it a joy to see everything in action, giving it that puppet show vibe as well as a sci-fi feel, thanks to the brilliant mix of licensed and original music. There are some levels that feature fun jungle environments to traverse, though for the most part you'll find yourself trekking through space and heaps of high-tech machinery. Unfortunately, technical issues mar the game's visual quality. It's fairly difficult to get into a user-created level you want to play, as the load times often take too long. Sometimes you'll be sitting there for a while just waiting for your chance to actually get in on the action. Sometimes you won't even get in at all. These shouldn't be a major problem though, considering the amount of fun that you'll undeniably be getting out of the game will help stave it off.

Overall, the developers at Media Molecule have truly outdone themselves this time, featuring a more robust creation system that expands on everything great about the first game. Though I will continue to contemplate on my inability to design a cool level for the world to see, playing through others' cleverly-crafted ones is more than enough to keep me satisfied. Whether you've got a thing for game design or want to lose yourself playing a million levels in one sitting (which I doubt is possible), LittleBigPlanet 2 is undoubtedly fun, and it's got something for just about anyone.

David Gabriel, NoobFeed.

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  • This one is on my wish list, but I'll grab it when a price drop arises. Seems to be an obrigatory title!

    Posted Feb 20, 2011


General Information

Platform(s): PS3
Publisher(s): Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developer(s): Media Molecule
Genres: 3D Platformer
Themes: Puzzle
Release Date: 2011-01-18

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