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Review

Review: LittleBigPlanet 2

You're sacked.

LittleBigPlanet 2, from start to finish, is an absolute joy. Not that the finish is particularly well defined, of course, because anyone familiar with the first game (or indeed, the PSP iteration) will know all too well that more than half of the experience is the ability for the player to dump hours upon hours of time into the Create portion, long after you’ve beaten the story mode. 

And the sequel, despite being mostly similar to Media Molecule’s initial PS3 release, goes above and beyond with regards to opening up the flexible engine to all manner of user-generated content.

You’ll know the basics, naturally, from the recent beta and demo, but the story mode goes well beyond your expectations within just a few levels, the much improved camera and lighting controls meaning that the game now plays host to ‘proper’ game-like cut-scenes and animation sequences that feature close-ups and snappy editing more akin to regular console titles.  It’s actually startling what you (and the developers) can do with the Create mode now and although the current pick of downloadable levels concentrate on playable games (some of which are amazing already) there’s no reason at all why you couldn’t use LBP 2 for machinima of all descriptions.

But back to that story mode which is, thankfully, mostly wonderful.  There might only be a smattering of chapters but each is nicely populated with their own levels (of varying sizes and complexity) and they’re as widely individual as the first game could offer.  More so, perhaps, with the sequel – there’s some real highlights here and because there’s a concurrent plot running through the game it all seems to make a little more sense, especially as you’re now playing through levels that are linked together; the characterisation is top notch, the difficulty curve is nice and smooth and as a single player experience it would win the heart of any platformer fan without breaking a sweat even if some portions throw up the same kind of tricks as the first game did.

Naturally, though, Media Molecule haven’t just built in some new levels and called it a sequel – there’s some brand new gadgets (such as the grappling hook and the ability to grab objects and throw them around) and the introduction of Sackbots is a masterstroke that we’ll leave you to discover for yourselves.  In addition, the slick way the game practically invites multiple players into the fray improves the whole thing even further – entering the action is simply a case of tapping the PS button on a spare controller and whilst there’s still a few sections that only open up with a friend it remains an unrivalled joy to play through LittleBigPlanet 2 with a buddy or two, the interaction between the Sackboys a delight (try attaching your hook to a friend as he attempts to leap over a chasm for an easy giggle).

As with LittleBigPlanet, you’ll collect items, stickers and materials as you progress, the game’s handy percentages next to each level on the world map a compulsive device to ensure that you won’t be leaving any fluffy bit of sponge unturned as you spend far longer than you’d ever think in each area desperately hunting out each and every last trinket.  All of which will mean that your time in the Create mode is more richly rewarded – the more things you have to create your own concoctions with the better, although by the time you’re through the first themed world you’ll be more than ready to start dabbling with whatever you’ve got.

Your milage, as they say, will vary, but this time around Media Molecule have given you the tools to effectively create anything.  Yes, you’ll need time, patience and a huge amount of imagination (unless you’re riffing on another existing game or movie, of course) but those of a creative persuation with adore what LittleBigPlanet 2 allows – it’s literally staggering what’s already out there in terms of content built just from the beta and once those players get their hands on the full version we can only guess at what’s going to be available online.  Cleverly, LBP 2 lets you filter your searches for either or both games, so you can happily flog your first copy and just pick up this one without fear of losing the ability to get the best levels created in LittleBigPlanet.

There’s a bigger emphasis on the player himself, too, with a section dedicated to your online profile which includes a comments area and the ability to adorn your avatar with a small selection of badges, additional commendations achieved during the game that aren’t necessarily Trophies – they’re cool, and hopefully grabbing the most exclusive badges will be a substantial challenge to warrant their inclusion in the available slots.  The idea’s been done before, but not with this amount of charm and interconnectivity – LBP 2′s online portion is considerably more substantial than we’d have imagined and – yes – finding the best levels is now much easier.

Visually it’s a little richer – whether Media Molecule have managed to wrangle more out of the PS3 or whether they’ve discovered new tricks isn’t really relevant, the game again looks wonderful throughout and although there’s a slightly fussy look to the game it’s all in keeping with the character – a few rough edges certainly don’t harm the overall sheen and although some levels don’t feel as perfectly crafted as others, they’re all great fun.  The particle effects are beautiful, though, and the gloopy liquids are nice to play around in. Likewise, aurally it’s superb, with the return of Fry giving the voiceovers some gravitas which are nicely acted from all characters throughout and genuinely funny in places.

We’re impressed. LittleBigPlanet 2 might not be perfect (a few minor bugs surfaced in our build, those that the first game alienated won’t find anything to change their minds and some levels often feel like tutorials for those wanting to dive in and make their own) but it’s pretty much one of the best games this generation for PlayStation 3 owners even if by virtue of its ridiculously expansive Create mode. With that, the developers have built something that, once again, has shown everyone else how to make a videogame that shatters all boundaries and transcends anything else on the market for those willing to invest the time.

Pros:

  • Breathtaking user-creation tools
  • Compelling, inventive story
  • Multiplayer is wonderful
  • Integrates nicely with your LBP content

Cons:

  • Controls are still a little tricky, Sackboy’s jump still occasionally frustrates
  • Won’t entice anyone not a fan of the first
  • Create mode still needs plenty of time to get the most out of it

Reviewing a game that will effectively evolve and grow with the user content (much as the first did) isn’t as tough as you might think – the game comes complete in terms of on-disk content and although the online creation aspect will flourish rapidly, it’ll only ever improve the experience.  There’s a wealth of entertainment to be had with LittleBigPlanet 2 – it’s a game like no other and with no equal in terms of the flexibility it offers to gamers.  It boils down to this: if you liked the first game and want more, get the second – it’s bigger and better in every way and absolutely deserves a place in your PS3.

Score: 9/10


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59 Comments
  1. kevatron400
    Drake, baby.
    Since: Dec 2008

    Cannot wait. Loved the first, loved creating. So excited to get my hands on some new create tools (didn’t get the beta *sadface*).

    Comment posted on 04/01/2011 at 17:09.
  2. bigdon23
    Member
    Since: Jul 2010

    Cant wait to see what people come up with in this game, i like that they kept fry as the voiceover “it just works”

    im looking forward to picking this up

    Comment posted on 04/01/2011 at 17:10.
  3. BIGAL-1992
    Member
    Since: Jan 2009

    Why oh why oh why, does there have to be three games that I like have to be released in the same month?

    Comment posted on 04/01/2011 at 17:14.
  4. ProjectJAY
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    I am jiggling in my chair with excitement at the thought of playing this game. Great review, day one buy for me!

    Comment posted on 04/01/2011 at 17:21.
  5. Tanzil
    Member
    Since: Mar 2010

    It’s a bit of a given that this game would be brilliant. They built on the first and that’s all they really needed to do but they went so much further

    Comment posted on 04/01/2011 at 17:21.
    • Darth Newdar
      Member
      Since: Oct 2010

      I’m trying to Ace that level at the moment (in time for LBP2!). Wish me luck…

      Comment posted on 04/01/2011 at 18:07.
      • Darth Newdar
        Member
        Since: Oct 2010

        Sorry, pressed the wrong button. :(

        Comment posted on 04/01/2011 at 18:08.
  6. moshi
    Member
    Since: Jun 2009

    I shall not be buying this just in case there is another level like the spinning electric wheel thingy, still stuck on it to this day and shall never be returning.

    Comment posted on 04/01/2011 at 17:28.
    • BIGAL-1992
      Member
      Since: Jan 2009

      Argh, that bitch still haunts me to this day!

      Comment posted on 04/01/2011 at 17:38.
      • Rocket_345
        Member
        Since: May 2010

        I actually managed to do that level. Acing the level is a completely different story however.

        Comment posted on 04/01/2011 at 17:42.
    • Darth Newdar
      Member
      Since: Oct 2010

      I’m trying to Ace that level at the moment (in time for LBP2!). Wish me luck…

      Comment posted on 04/01/2011 at 18:08.
    • bunimomike
      Member
      Since: Jul 2009

      Aww… don’t be sad, fella. I can pop in to help you if you fancy. Just ask. I’m an “aceing that effing level” master! Possibly not worth asking how many times I’ve played it. ;-)

      Comment posted on 04/01/2011 at 18:15.
      • Darth Newdar
        Member
        Since: Oct 2010

        I’ve played it 145 times so far!

        Comment posted on 05/01/2011 at 08:04.
    • moshi
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      It was just the breaking point of when a highly enjoyable game becomes infuriating beyond belief.

      Comment posted on 04/01/2011 at 18:34.
    • moshi
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      Maybe you guys could give me a difficulty guide when its out.

      Comment posted on 04/01/2011 at 18:37.
      • bap10
        Member
        Since: Apr 2009

        The Bunker level, oh the pain that level caused still get flashbacks. I dread to think how many times I played that level, had to leave for a few weeks then attacked it with a fresh(repaired) mind.

        Comment posted on 04/01/2011 at 18:54.
      • Boomshanks
        Member
        Since: Dec 2008

        I aced all the levels in LBP a short while ago. Was stuck at the collector for quite a while before trying the Bunker. Got extremely close on the first try and nailed it on the second. As you can imagine I was quite happy after that

        Comment posted on 04/01/2011 at 20:28.
    • BetaGhast
      Member
      Since: Jul 2009

      The Bunker was EEEEAAASY and by far my favourite level in LBP1, Aced it multiple times for the sheer fun of it, you guys sound like big wusses :P

      Comment posted on 04/01/2011 at 22:11.
      • BIGAL-1992
        Member
        Since: Jan 2009

        For you. For me, because I have a neurological condition, it’s damn near impossible.

        Comment posted on 04/01/2011 at 22:38.
      • bunimomike
        Member
        Since: Jul 2009

        I’ve seen countless gamers struggle with it. How’s the weather up there on your high horse. :-p

        Comment posted on 05/01/2011 at 01:00.
      • tonycawley
        Pint! Pint!
        Since: Feb 2009

        Don’t you just love an arrogant big head? :-)

        Comment posted on 05/01/2011 at 01:23.
      • moshi
        Member
        Since: Jun 2009

        Hmmm Jimmy Hill.

        Comment posted on 05/01/2011 at 05:23.
  7. InternationalGamer
    Member
    Since: Dec 2010

    I cant wait to pre-order/buy this game and use create to its fullest!

    Comment posted on 04/01/2011 at 17:53.
  8. UKZ-N3M1515
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    when i was talking to my friend in art about this, saying how its coming out in a few weeks, the 360 fanboys started saying how crap it is, we tell them, how? you can create FPS, Platform, Puzzle, racing games and more.. There response ‘No you cant, there is no game that you can do that on. we keep telling them that you really can, they start saying things like, can you make a guy eat his own head, we say yes, with patience. Can you make a dog have ‘fun’ with a small child (i seriously think that guy is disturbed) so we say yes.

    So i guess this is really a mind blowing game to people who dont know much about it,

    Comment posted on 04/01/2011 at 18:02.
  9. An-dz
    Member
    Since: Oct 2010

    i always loved the creat mode i can spend hours building buildings and creating new crazy ways to get about them, making werid ways to get about them i gets really fun if you have a friend who also like to create stuff

    Comment posted on 04/01/2011 at 18:21.
  10. Charmed_Fanatic
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    Nice review, glad to see its good and not a let down

    Comment posted on 04/01/2011 at 18:21.

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