LittleBigPlanet 2 Review
Game: LittleBigPlanet 2
Developer: Media Molecule
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Available On: PlayStation 3 only
Released back in October 2008, LittleBigPlanet was title which was loved by almost everyone who got their hands on it. A platformer that allowed you to do pretty much anything you could think of coupled with a loveable lead character, it was almost impossible to hate it. For most it was a game that would’ve been hard to improve on as the possibilities were endless and the level design was almost flawless. However, the fine people at Media Molecule laughed at this statement and have worked hard to bring us a sequel, LittleBigPlanet 2.
The loveable, woolly protagonist, Sackboy, returns with his immense cuteness and charm, but the burning question on everyone’s lips is have Media Molecule done it again or has the imagination of the developers got the better of them? Read on to find out.
STORY: Unlike its predecessor, LittleBigPlanet 2 now has a storyline. We once again return to the LittleBigPlanet to meet Sackboy and join him in an area called the Craft World. However, all is not well. An evil being known as the Negativatron has come to absorb and destroy all the creations in the Craft World. In doing so, our woolly hero almost gets captured, but fortunately he is saved at the last second by a mysterious robotic arm. After the rescue, Sackboy meets two creators know as Larry Da Vinci and Avalon Centrifuge, who want Sackboy to join the Alliance, assist other creators in Craft World, rescue the Sackbots and stop the Negativatron once and for all. It’s safe to say, he’s going to be one busy Sackboy!
The storyline is full of charm and humour and, although short, is great fun. The Creators are helpful as well as funny and if you were a child, you might even find the Negativatron scary. It may not win BAFTA’s for a gripping story, but it serves its purpose well.
GRAPHICS: Rich and colourful, LittleBigPlanet 2 does not disappoint in the graphics department. The developers have definitely upgraded everything and the game now looks even more beautiful than the previous outing. You see many games these days that insist on using dark colours, something which can become rather monotonous and leave you feeling rather bored when playing. It is good to see a game like LittleBigPlanet 2 use a wide range of colourful backdrops to make it visually stimulating and keep you very much enthralled. The detail put into Sackboy’s wide range of costumes, along with the facial expressions, is second to none and both elements will only improve if they are supported by quality DLC.
In the first game, all of the characters/mentors that Sackboy met were usually cardboard cutouts. However, in LittleBigPlanet 2 you will find that most of the characters are now fully rendered. This gives the title a lot more personality as it doesn’t just rely on the cuteness of Sackboy, making it much more charming and giving you the feeling that Sackboy is not alone in the Craft World.
SOUND: The soundtrack to LBP2 is fantastic, it accompanies the levels in story mode perfectly and adds to the overall charm. Mr Stephen Fry, once again, enters the fray to provide his own brand of narration, but only “appears” briefly in the story mode. He is a lot more active in the tutorials and when you initially explore the menus.
The new characters have there own voices as well, but only ever properly speak in the cut-scenes which is a shame, as it would be good to hear them speak when a message bubble appears instead of the garbled mess that comes out. Apart from that, all the characters are well voiced and quite humorous. All the other bangs and crashes are as you would expect them to be.
GAMEPLAY: Although Sackboy’s movement is pretty much the same as the original LittleBigPlanet, there are no major complaints. Some people have criticised the platforming for being” floaty”, but this shouldn’t really be a problem once you get used the basic mechanics. Sure, moving Sackboy can feel a little sluggish at times and the grappling hook is tad awkward to master, but once you get to grips with the controls (something which shouldn’t take too long), you should be able to deal with whatever is thrown at you.
The most impressive thing about the game is the level design, it is nothing short of genius. The sheer ingenuity and thought that has gone into it is a credit to the developers and is an absolute pleasure to play. You will find yourself smiling at some of the features that have been put into the levels. You will also notice that a few of the story mode levels have been influenced by other well known games of the past. For example, the water squirting head cannon Sackboy adopts in certain levels will probably remind you of Super Mario Sunshine. It’s the little additions like this that make LittleBigPlanet 2 such a joy to play.
You can now operate robots that are controllable and great fun to play with. Whether it be a flying bee that shoots honeycomb bullets at enemies in a side scrolling shooter or a rabbit that allows you to hop around and bring pain from a great height down onto your foes, the simple idea of it all will have you jumping for joy from the comfort of your own living room.
Sackboy also has some shiny new toys at his disposal in this sequel. As well as the grappling hook, our hero has access to the grabinator, a tool which allows him to grab items and throw them around with ease. Another toy he has access to is the previously mentioned head cannon, which can fire water or even cakes to enable Sackboy to negotiate certain levels more easily.
With 40 levels to play and a bucket full of mini-games in story mode, at first you might think the game isn’t that long. Well, that’s until you enter the community option on the main menu and then realise that there are currently 3,586,546 levels and counting to play! These consist of levels created by people who played the original along with levels that have been created using LittleBigPlanet 2’s extra items. Still have a level that you created from LBP1? Well, when you load up your saved file from the original game, you will find all of the costumes, stickers and decorations that you collected as well as all the building tools in create mode all available to use and integrate with the new items from the story mode in LittleBigPlanet 2.
The create mode itself is easy to use and the tutorials brilliantly describe how you should about performing certain tasks. If you have trouble and can’t remember what to do, you can access the tutorials by selecting th Me option on the main menu. It would’ve been handy to have the tutorials accessible whilst in create mode to make the building process quicker, but otherwise the size of your imagination is the only thing that would hold you back in creating a great level.
As if that wasn’t enough, there is also a demo called Sackboy’s Prehistoric Moves included on the disc. This demo can only be played with other human players and, interestingly enough, lets you control the gameplay via the PlayStation Move controller. If you’re playing with a friend, one of you will control Sackboy whilst the other will provide assistance by using the Move controller to manipulate surrounding objects highlighted in pink. Playing through this with a friend is an immense amount of fun, mainly thanks to the excellent level design.
LONGEVITY: Thanks to the extraordinary amount of levels and create mode, you could end up playing LittleBigPlanet 2 for years if not decades! There is so much to do! You have the immense amount of collectables in the story mode, the highly enjoyable mini-games and, last but not least, the hilariously addictive multiplayer. At the end of the day, no matter how many times you do it, slapping your friend’s Sackboy in the face never gets old! Come on now, you know you love it.
VERDICT: If you thought LittleBigPlanet was amazing then you are sure to find LittleBigPlanet 2 absolutely, positively, amazingly brilliant. No other game will let you do so much. The return of Sackboy is similar to meeting a very old friend that you haven’t seen for years.
The possibilities are endless and with DLC popping up all the time, the amount of content available is just mind boggling. Each time you play through you will find yourself with a big smile on your face and when you encounter a moment in the level design that you haven’t seen before, you will be close to literally standing up and applauding the sheer genius.
If you love platform games then you NEED LittleBigPlanet 2 in your life. It is truly an outstanding, awe inspiring sequel and credit goes to all the people that have been involved in creating it. If you haven’t invested in it already, then get out there and buy it now.