LittleBigPlanet 2 Review

LBP2
Platform: PS3
Release Date: January 18, 2011

I was trying to figure out the age group for LittleBigPlanet 2. With it’s cute appearance it is easy to label this game as one for kids. Younger people are part of the audience but this game can really be for anyone, from the hard core crowd to the casual people. No matter your grouping, there is something great to keep you entertained in LittleBigPlanet 2.

Contrasted to original LittleBigPlanet, there is somewhat of a story here. The vile Negativitron has invaded LittleBigPlanet and you have to assemble a team of protectors to defend the planet. The story definitely has a wider scope here as there is voice acting, inventive characters with personality, and framed cutscenes. Together, they stitch together a small tale that is enjoyable, the same way a Pixar movie is. It’s definitely not the deepest tale, but it doesn’t need to be. LBP2 needs to be a lighthearted tale that can be enjoyed by all and it succeeds at that.

LittleBigPlanet 2 shines by being outstandingly creative in just about every department, especially level themes. LBP‘s discards the obvious tropes of “the fire level, the ice level, and the forest level.” Instead the aim is to mix different themes to make something something all new and unique and it works wonderfully. The pastry themed levels are a blast because who doesn’t love a cupcake gun? There’s an insane asylum in the treetops, a cyber world with controllable robot animals, a facility that produces sackbots and all of it feels refreshing.

Another part of what makes these levels so enjoyable is the fact you are doing something different in almost every level. Whether you loved or hate the jumping (which is a bit tweaked), it is back but it plays a smaller role. Sure there are plenty of platforming to be had but new gameplay mechanics have been added for variety and they nailed it. A grappling hook and shooting helmet, called the Creatinator, are implemented quite well. The grappling helmet let’s you live out your Spiderman fantasies, swinging from object to object while the Creatinator let’s you fire just about anything as a projectile. While I love the grappling hook, being able to shoot anything from the helmet really opens up the possibilities. It can be a sticky pastry to activate switches or it can beam out lasers against bad guys. The developers put it to creative uses, as did the online creators, and it tries to throw different scenarios at you every time you find it.

Vehicles are present here and contrasted to LBP1, there isn’t any jerryrigging to create a vehicle. Instead of switches wiring an array of levers and knobs, a simple answer called the Controllinator is the replacement. It makes the process smoother by adding buttons on your Dualshock directly to functions, giving direct control. In single player and user created levels, it just adds more ways to play opening up completely different genres that weren’t possible in LBP1.

LittleBigPlanet 2
‘s quality in the solo campaign is enough to warrant a purchase but the online feature set goes beyond expectations. It’s hard to pick a point to jump off because of the vast amount of modes and options in the multiplayer and online settings. Online and off, four player “co-op” is available to all of the levels, user generated or not. I put “co-op” in quotes because it technically is co-op, but it seems that for every time you you help each other out, you’ve already screwed your fellow Sacks five times over. This sound like a complaint but it works splendidly, as it strikes the competitive/co-op balance so perfectly, as it keeps things exciting. You never know when you’ll get slapped in the spike pit or lava hole.

User generated content was a staple of the first game. I couldn’t see how they could have improved it but it was overhauled in a big way. Finding cool levels is exponentially easier as filtering has been made more useful and the addition of lbp.me helps. This website is incredibly convenient as it allows you to log in through PSN on your PC and check any level and add it to your queue. Given that the tools are better in the sequel (even though all of LBP1’s levels are available too), you’re going to want to play more of the creative levels from the public. Plenty of levels on the servers will have you asking yourself, “how’d they do that?”

You can get your inside video game developer on by traveling to Create mode. Not a misnomer at all, this is where all the magic happens. Even though it is (as with anything else) going to take a long time to make something noteworthy, the tools and tutorials have made it easier to become an LBP2 legend. Many switches have been added to give complexity to your creations along with depth. Knowing you can pretty much do everything is empowering, and if you can figure out gives you all the more power. Creating levels in LBP2 evolves into a puzzle of “how am I going to do that?” and if you bang your head against it long enough, you’ll find some sort of conclusion. Even if you can’t make anything besides star-shaped sponges, you will appreciate all the other gifted creators knowing the immense toolset.

If there ever was an endless game, LittleBigPlanet 2 would at least be a contender. With already more than four million levels, LittleBigPlanet 2 will stay in your system for a long time. Having a lot of choices of what to do is great, but the creative aura that the game emanates will always put a smile on your face, no matter your age or video game knowledge. If you aren’t charmed by LittleBigPlanet 2‘s look, it’s okay, you might just be dead inside. In that case, you have other thing to worry about.

Pros:
+Fun, complex, and improved Create mode
+Endless levels to play
+Great multiplayer
+Inventive levels online and single player
+You might barf from the cuteness
+DLC and on-disc stuff from LBP1 are compatible
+So much variety

Cons:
-Better or worse, jumping hasn’t changed

Final Score: 9.5/10

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