LittleBigPlanet 2 Review

By on February 2, 2011

Play, create and share like you’ve never quite done before.


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First Impressions
My reaction is

It’s been a little over two years since Media Molecule introduced Sackboy and the Play•create•share concept that not only defined LittleBigPlanet but several other titles since. LittleBigPlanet did not invent the online sharing of created content but surely propelled it to new heights. Amidst the rubbish, the lackluster and the incomplete stood some ingenious user-generated “community” levels that epitomized LittleBigPlanet’s robust and versatile create mode. And if the improvements done for the sequel suggest anything, it is that Media Molecule were highly impressed by what the online community was capable of and, in turn, incorporated many of their ideas. And while buffing up the create mode is sure to keep serial level creators jubilant, it is also bound to appease the  platforming enthusiast who has no interest in creating levels simply because the plethora of new gameplay tools are so brilliantly showcased in the pre-made story levels.

While most fans of the original will tell you that LittleBigPlanet is all about generating content, the story has undeniable charm and this is even more evident in the sequel. The new cast of characters are brilliantly designed and voiced and even the limited dialogue is humorously witty. The story revolves around an “alliance” of eccentric characters working together towards saving Craftworld from the Negativitron, the evil intergalatic vacuum cleaner, sucking up all the ideas and creations that make up the world. I won’t elaborate on the characters you’ll meet to spare you any spoilers because most are really quite funny. The sequel’s story mode is similar in length to the first game, in other words – it’s short. However, it has a lot more variety in terms of content. While the first stuck to basic platforming, the LBP2 builds on the statement made in the very first trailer; it’s not a platform game but a platform for games meaning that it now comes packed with tools capable of creating shooters, racers, puzzles, strategy games and many more. Needless to say, many of these tools are inventively demonstrated in the story levels, so if that is all you plan on doing in the game you’re still in for a treat despite overlooking the bulk of the game that really differentiates it from anything on the market today.

Upon completing the first chapter of the game, you’ll gain access to the much lauded create mode. If you are familiar with this mode from the first game, you’ll immediately notice some substantial additions but if this is your first experience creating, well then sit down, get comfortable and be prepared for a lengthy but albeit necessary tutorial viewing. On the bright side, the tutorial menu has been significantly improved from the first game. You can now browse a list of tutorials quickly and play them in order, or play only selected ones. There are over 50 tutorial videos and alot of them are quite information heavy but, luckily, they can be surprisingly entertaining thanks to Stephen Fry’s humorous voice-over. In general, I found that there are two state of minds you can enter the create mode with: Curiosity and intent, both can consume hours upon hours of experimentation, fiddling and tweaking but neither guarantees results. The game now presents a large variety of control tools with various tweak-able parameters. In the interest of time and space I will take one (my personal favorite) – The controlinator. An ingenious addition that lets you map out various behaviors and gadgets to the PS3 controller (including SixAxis functionality). To quote Stephen Fry’s frequently uttered hyperbole, “just imagine the possibilities!”… Just imagine indeed.

For those of you seeking more visual proof of the possibilities then go to YouTube and search for LittleBigPlanet 2 community levels. Trust me when I say you’ll be amazed at what people have been able to do. Just the other day I played a community level created by a one Bluetonberry, which was a reconstruction of the first dungeon from the original NES Legend of Zelda. To say I was stunned would be a major understatement. It truly demonstrates the vast capabilities of the game’s level creator and while the creator himself is undoubtedly worthy of praise, it counts as a double triumph for the men and women at Media Molecule.

While on the subject of community levels, it is also worth mentioning that LBP2’s restructured menu system makes browsing online levels far more accessible and intuitive. You can now also find and queue up the levels you want to play. A nifty and convenient feature for us community level samplers.

Visually the game is as stunning as ever and features more sophisticated and refined design choices than the original (which also had its fair share of eye-candy). While the first was all about charm and manufactured cuteness, LBP2 is much more stylish in its decisions and experiments with various art-style implementations. This is also evident in the soundtrack as well. The selection of music got a lot of hype last time around (not least due to THAT infamously removed African song) and while LBP2’s musical selection is perhaps less eclectic its still consistently spot on. And in addition to Fry’s fantastic contribution, all voiced story characters are also top notch. At this point, it’s also worth mentioning that LBP2’s create mode feature a music sequencer, giving players the capability of creating tracks to play in their levels. I’m yet to compose a top 10 hit myself but I plan to, pending divine assistance.

There is really so much to say about LittleBigPlanet 2 and, thankfully, so much to do with the game as well. Obviously the game isn’t for everyone, if you abhor creativity and can’t stomach charm you might find life on LittleBigPlanet to be a tad too diabolical for your taste. However, the majority of people are bound to find something to cling to and enjoy in Media Molecule’s ingeniously crafted world. Can’t be bothered to design a level? Create an object. Can’t get the hang of the tools? Make a sticker, decorate your pod or play one of the millions of community levels already available online. The possibilities are truly limitless.


The Scorecard
GAMEPLAY
9
Platforming has all the inherent problems from the first game (such as moving in and out of the 3D space) but this is nitpicking and there is nothing to really complain about.
GRAPHICS
9.5
Brilliant, charming and artistically impressive. Some levels are truly breathtaking.
SOUND
10
Exquisite music selection and flawless narration and voice acting makes this a complete package.
VALUE
10
Whether you enjoy playing or creating, LBP2 can be enjoyed infinitely thanks to the millions of community levels instantly available.
FUN FACTOR
10
The beauty of this game is that it delivers an immense variety of game types that can be played alone or with friends. Many games claim to having something for everyone but few do it the way LBP2 does.
OVERALL
9.5
This hotly anticipated follow-up to a game that arguably catapulted user-generated content in games to new heights, is every bit as charming and ingenious as its predecessor and, what’s even more impressive, it raises the bar for what people should expect from the gaming industry as a whole. Listen to your fans, reward your fans, empower your fans. Kudos Media Molecule.

About

As an opinionated young gamer many years ago, I made three predictions: 1- Sega would dominate the console wars for 50 years. 2- Simon's Quest would be remembered as the definitive NES game. 3- I would be gaming even more as an adult. I suppose one out of three isn't bad.

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Comments
  • Antiro

    The game is freakin’ epic!!!


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