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Little Sack Boys Return with a BIG Heart

  • Jan 24, 2011
Rating:
+5
Just over two years ago, the first LittleBigPlanet came out and blew some of our minds.  It first showed that the platformer wasn't dead.  Mario wasn't the only one who had staying power in the genre.  Turned out a little Sackboy could hold his own as well.  But the real joy of LittleBigPlanet was that it was a game that almost never ended.  It was a game where you could create your own levels and enjoy the creations of others.  As a result there is generally always something new to discover in the first game.  The second one is bigger, better and allows for far more creativity.  The best part about it is that anything you accomplished in the first game isn't lost.  It is carried over.  So fear not fans of the first game, your hard work isn't lost.

The first game had a campaign that more or less showed you what the game was all about.  There was absolutely no story to speak of in that game.  The second one is different.  There's actually something of a narrative here.  The denizens of Craftworld are being attacked by a force only known as the Negavitron who is slowly absorbing everything in Craftworld.  It's up to your Sackperson (because you can also play as a Sackgirl this time around) to stop the Negavitron and save Craftworld. It's not much of a story, but there are actually tons of cutscenes scattered about, complete with voice acting.  And it's really good voice acting, and some of it is really funny stuff.

But much like Mario, you'd have to be crazy to actually be playing LittleBigPlanet 2 because of its actual storyline.  It's all about the platforming and all about the gameplay.  The main campaign to stop the Negavitron isn't very long at all.  You'll go across six worlds, all of which have anywhere from 5 to 7 levels.  In each level you can find several objects that can be used later in create mode while plowing through the levels to see just what Media Molecule has decided to show you.  If anything the campaign here is much like the first one.  Yes, there's actually a story here, but much of what the campaign has here is showing you what you can soon create on your own.  The good news is that there's nothing here that is simply tech demo status.  There is nothing but pure creation here and many of these levels are expertly designed.  Even better is that EVERY level will throw something new at you.  One moment you're running through a basic level... the next your introduced to the grappling hook that allows you to swing across gaps.  But it doesn't end there.  You'll find yourself going into levels where you ride on furry little critters or find yourself in shooter style levels similar to those R-Type game.  No level ever feels like the previous one.

There are also plenty of gadgets.  There are, of course, the grappling hooks, but you'll also find the Grabinator which allows you to pick up heavy blocks (or your allies if you're going about it co-op style) and you'll find the Cakeinator which allows you to shoot cakes that you can step on and use as platforms.  You'll also get water guns to put out burning platforms etc.  Likewise just like the first one there are certain moments in levels where you'll be given the chance to place stickers to reveal new objects you can use later on in levels.  Collecting all the objects is the challenging in LittleBigPlanet 2.  Not only are they important to use in create mode, but it shows true mastery of the game.  And there are hidden goodies in every level, many of which you'll have to play through a second time to find.  And if you want to get all of them you'll have to team up with a friend.

There are, of course, a few things that LittleBigPlanet 2 still stumbles about.  As you play through the levels there are three planes you can stand on.  The background, foreground and inbetween the two.  Shifting between the two can be a pain.  Especially in puzzles that may require such.  It's a pain to lose a life simply because your Sackboy didn't switch planes like he was supposed to.  Luckily there are checkpoints scattered all around and they're most certainly a lot more lenient on the lives than the first game.  The floaty jumpy also returns, a complaint some fans had with the first game.  Personally, I was not bothered by this at all.  Especially when compared to the issue with the different planes.  It's a fun game and you'll find it's totally accessible, but one of the major means of collecting objects is going through a level without dying.  And yes, you'll find that the issue of the planes might ruin that.  You've got be precise with LittleBigPlanet 2.

The other issue actually involves multiplayer.  As much fun as it is to play with friends, four of you running around at once is sure to induce the New Super Mario Bros. feeling.  It's much more tempting to want to screw one another over or turn it into a competition.  This is actually ridiculously fun, especially when you've got all the different gadgets.  You can latch on to other allies with this grappling hooks, pick them up and toss them in pits if you wish etc.  This is all fun stuff, but the downside is that if you want to get through the campaign it's easy to leave one another behind, or for things to get crowded when you want to progress further in some levels.  Multiplayer is fun, but it can also be a pain simply because you and your friends will constantly be getting in one anothers way.  You HAVE to use at least 4 players to get a hold of some of the goodies scattered about... but you'll find that a great deal of them are a lot easier to grab when there's just one player in the mix.  This is actually a minor complaint as it truly depends on who you're working with.  But the point is simple... the more friends you're playing with, the more fun (and frustrating) LittleBigPlanet 2 is apt to be.

One of the big staples of the first game was the ability to create your own levels.  It's the same thing here.  What makes LittleBigPlanet's editor different from nearly every other game editor is that it actually gives you access to everything you saw in the game.  This includes vehicles, tools, landscapes, backgrounds, music, etc.  Many games--even now--that have level editors tend to limit the player somehow.  As with most things in LittleBigPlanet 2 there's an upside and a downside.  The upside, of course, is total freedom.  You can do anything you want with all these objects.  The downside is that it takes a LOT of time to learn if you didn't play the first one.  The editor is fantastic but it has a steep learning curve.  And in order to make good, competent levels you'll have to invest a lot of time, meticulously playtesting them, etc.  For many of us it's the closest we'll get to actually  being in the game design business.  For others it's too much work.  You're not FORCED to create anything, though, and you can easily spend much of your time playing the creations of other players as well as more by Media Molecule themselves.  You'll get lazy levels, of course, but you're sure to find a lot of good ones too.  There were millions of levels already created for the first game, there will surely be millions more for the second.  It'll take a lot of care and devotion just to pop out ONE great level, but I'm sure many players will find the work and the creativity liberating.

As I mentioned at the beginning, your work done on the first LittleBigPlanet doesn't get lost in all this.  The costumes you unlocked in the first one will be back for you to wear and utilize in the second one.  The levels you created in the first one can still be accessed here as well.  So if you played through the first game, totally mastered it and got everything you could (as well as invested in all that downloadable content) you can use it all here.

Production wise, LittleBigPlanet is nothing short of awesome.  The level designs themselves are good but so are the graphics.  The backgrounds are amazing as are some of the decorative environments.  Sure it's a 3D side scroller, but the game makes sure to utilize what it can well.  You'll see objects in the foreground and background that are amazing, you'll see cinematics that are also pretty cool and gorgeous.  It's cartoony to look at, but it's a great style.  More amazing is the sound.  The background music is absolutely fantastic and catchy.  So are some of the sound effects.  Production wise, LittleBigPlanet 2 is a technical masterpiece. 

Those who loved the first LittleBigPlanet are sure to love the second.  It adds a few new gadgets and is definitely bigger and better.  How much bigger is a mystery.  Until you get in there and start creating yourself (or play other creations) there are apt to be some gamers who don't realize how big a step forward the game has really taken.  The campaign, as I said, serves more as a demonstration of what you can do more so than anything.  If the campaign is all you experience I'm sure much of the new stuff you see with LittleBigPlanet 2 will come off as nothing more than bells and whistles.  But when you begin to dive into LittleBigPlanet 2--and I mean really deep--you may discover that LittleBigPlanet 2 outdoes the original in almost every way.  For those who loved the first one, the second one demands your attention.

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August 25, 2012
Excellent review with lots of details!
 
January 26, 2011
boo-yah! I have so many games I need to play....it is NOT even funny!! Thanks for making my list longer, Sean!
 
January 24, 2011
Eeep, this game makes me squeal! Thanks for confirming how awesome this is. I can't wait to check it out :D
 
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More LittleBigPlanet 2 reviews
review by . January 31, 2011
Trev from PS3Blog.net writes: I didn't think there could be anything cuter than Sackboy but then I met the Sackbots… Oh my Media Molecule, how you have outdone yourselves. It doesn't stop there either when you see the animal robots that you ride in particular Hamstertron 2000. The Bee 2.0 also showcases in some memorable levels that take you in new unexpected directions and that is one of the ways LBP 2 justifies its existence. With LBP 1, Media Molecule effectively created a game that needed no …
review by . March 20, 2011
LittleBigPlanet 2 Review
I have been looking forward to the release of LittleBigPlanet 2 since it was first announced halfway through 2010.  The original LittleBigPlanet is one of my favorite PlayStation 3 games with its simple and enjoyable gameplay, the ability to make my own platforming levels and of course the loveable mascot, Sackboy. I had no doubt that a sequel could improve on the original, though new gameplay elements and a better story mode would be absolutely essential requirements. You will be pleased to …
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Sean A. Rhodes ()
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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About this video game

Wiki

LittleBigPlanet 2 (LBP2) is a puzzle-platforming game for PlayStation 3 with new built-in functionality allowing players to create advanced content, including full-fledged games of all sorts, which can be shared with others within the LittleBigPlanet online network. The third game in the LittleBigPlanet franchise, the toolset within LittleBigPlanet 2 provides players with the ability to easily change the mapping of objects in-game, add abilities and non-player AI characters, create cutscenes, link levels and more. Additional features include backwards compatibility with content created with the original LittleBigPlanet game, a 50 level deep Story Mode and all new platforming gadgets.

LittleBigPlanet 2 game logo

A Whole New LittleBigPlanet Adventure

Join Sackboy in a completely new platforming adventure, spread across 50 levels.

Some time has passed since the events of the original game and its PSP sequel and Craftworld is in trouble. An evil device, force, thingy known as "The Negativitron" is threatening to suck up everyone and everything, including Sackboy, into the void. Only an intervention by a rebel organization known as "The Alliance" saves our hero. And with that Sackboy decides to lend his creative platforming powers to the cause. Along the way he'll discover new abilities, gadgets, gameplay rules and innovative tools to get the job done.

Creating a custom SackBot in LittleBigPlanet 2
Play, Create and Share in LittleBigPlanet 2.
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Details

ESRB: E - (Everyone)
Number of Players: Single-player, offline / online multiplayer
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developer: Media Molecule
Console: PlayStation 3
Genre: 3D Platformer
Release Date: 18 January 2011 (USA)
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