Sony’s mantra for the PlayStation 3 generation has consistently been “Play. Create. Share.” By now, those three concepts should be fairly familiar to gamers because Sony has done an impressive job of releasing titles that foster each of those ideas. In 2008, no game demonstrated their philosophy better than Media Molecule’s “LittleBigPlanet.” Just over two years later, “LittleBigPlanet 2″ attempts to take the awesome experience of the original, polish it up, and offer even more creativity to the community, culminating in Sackboy’s definitive title.
“LittleBigPlanet 2″ offers an elaborate single player mode that sends Sackboy on a 2.5D journey through 40 levels that are spread out over six historically themed areas. Sackboy’s world has come under attack by the Negatvitron, which has been using a giant vacuum (known as “The Sucker”) to suck up everything. In the hopes of putting an end to all of the destruction, Sackboy joins “The Alliance” which is helmed by Larry Da Vinci, and is the world’s only hope.
Just like in the original, there are two separate experiences in “LittleBigPlanet 2″; one that focuses on the gameplay, and one that utilizes the creative tools that the game offers. Media Molecule didn’t forget to update the level creation tools that were one of, if not, the biggest selling points of the original, allowing for a new, expansive and virtually never-ending gaming experience.
The Sack Is Back
The original “LittleBigPlanet” was a thing of genius. From beginning to end, the game continually impressed, and yet, somehow, “LittleBigPlanet 2″ manages to improve upon it. The humor, the collectables, the voice-over, and even Sackboy are all pretty much the same, but there is an additional level of polish that two years of dev time offers, results in “LBP2″ actually being a better game. On top of that, Sackboy’s new toys, like the grappling hook, the “Creatinator” and the “Grabinators” allow for more variety in the gameplay, taking it one step further than its predecessor.
The People Have The Power
Media Molecule, yet again, demonstrate that their story mode is merely the beginning of what can be done in “LittleBigPlanet 2.” The tools that are now available to budding game designers have been expanded, making it possible to make Sackboy the star of just about any type of video game you can imagine. Once the floodgates are opened to the general public, it’s quite possible that you’ll never need to swap discs in your PS3 again, as long as you don’t mind Sackboy being the star of every platformer, RPG, FPS and shmup you play.
Offered as a standalone download from the Playstation Network for $6 (or free for Playstation Plus members) “Sackboy’s Prehistoric Moves” demonstrates co-op, Move-centric platforming experience staring Sackboy. Reminiscent of co-op based platformers like the often overlooked PS2 title “Cookies and Cream,” “Prehistoric Moves” is a nice addition to the overall “LBP2″ package for Move owners, even if it doesn’t offer additional unlockable items.
New Game, Same Old Hat
It may be a small addition, but it’s still worth mentioning (even though it should be an industry standard); content downloaded for “LittleBigPlanet” transfers over to “LittleBigPlanet 2.” On top of it being a nice gesture for fans of the original, it makes spending $2 on that Wolverine costume a lot easier to rationalize.
Don’t Move So Quickly
While “Prehistoric Moves” is a nice addition to the overall “LittleBigPlanet 2″ package, it’s still surprisingly misleading to label “LBP2″ as “Move Compatible.” The entire story mode, and user-created levels have zero Move functionality, and even though “Moves” is enjoyable, it comes off as an afterthought just to support Sony latest product.
Game Design School
“LittleBigPlanet 2″ may have the best tools for users to create levels, but along with them comes a very long, and in-depth tutorial process. It’s one of the same problems that the original suffered from, and it’s simply that there’s such a high barrier of entry to get in and fully understand the vast array of tools that “LBP 2″ has to offer. Fortunately for all of the game’s fans, player dedication generally perseveres, and many quality levels boil to the top of the community. Make no mistake though, these aren’t just casual tools, and unless you sit through most of the tutorials, you’re most likely not going to be able to make one of those amazing levels.
With a sequel like “LittleBigPlanet 2″ there’s a fine line between creating a game that’s simply more of its predecessor, and creating a game that improves on its predecessor. “LBP 2″ falls into the later category, by taking a great game, and fine-tuning it in places where players didn’t even realize it was necessary. While the gameplay is still essentially the same, the creative tools that are included now are so fully-featured that the potential for the game is limitless. Other games have attempted to provide players with the tools necessary to create content, but they’re all miles behind the advances that have come from Media Molecule. “LittleBigPlanet 2″ continually proves that it’s not only a game not only for people that like to play, but it’s also a game for people that like to make things.