Let me start off the review of the year’s biggest game by confessing something very unusual. I was not a very big fan of the original LittleBigPlanet, even after a complete and meaty play through; I was just not able to get along with the level making abilities and the online modes. I remember me and my close friend discussing in 2008 on how Media Molecule could possibly improve on the sequel if they ever made one, since the user contribution to LBP was unbelievable with millions of levels published to date. But after playing the sequel for a good chunk of my time, “my oh my” was I wrong. LittleBigPlanet 2 not only surpasses the original in many ways but also goes down in history as one of the greatest, most imaginative games ever made.
So when you pop in the disc into your PlayStation 3, the game starts with the typical introduction of the main character, Sackboy backed up by a very catchy score in the background. Once you finish the initial level, you will be introduced to your pod. Just like the original LittleBigPlanet, the pod is your gateway for all imaginable things. Here you have access to the story mode, the community features, recent activity of your friends and the LittleBigPlanet 2 store where you can get a few things for free as well. The single player is basically a mixture of tutorials and a pretty humorous storyline which follows the events of the first game. You will meet a very dazzling character in Larry Da Vinci, who is the leader of a secret group called as the Alliance. Your mission is to save Craftworld from the deadly claws of The Negativitron, the antagonist in the game. All this may sound a bit serious to some of you, but trust me it’s not, it’s one of the most funniest stories ever told and you will have the time of your life.
Now let’s talk about the thing that matters the most, the gameplay which is absolutely rock solid in the sequel. When you start off the game you will be able to customize your character, dress him up with uber cool clothing and make gestures depending on what combination of analog stick you use. Once again the basis of LittleBigPlanet is to collect objects and gadgets with the help of which you can create your own world. You can use those objects to decorate your own levels and even your own pod! Prize bubbles make a return and bursting them in a row will earn you cool multipliers.
One of the things that made the original such a huge success was the level design in the campaign mode. You will be doing the same things in the sequel like pulling down levers, grabbing hold of objects and pushing them, swing across paths and much more. There is something different about the level design that Media Molecule has implemented that simply can’t be derived via words. You simply need to play or at least see it to understand what I am talking about. Every jump, every swing and every animation is oh so smooth which makes LittleBigPlanet 2 so much better than the first one. There are also internal levels in some of the chapters where you can just pop in alone and some of them will require a buddy to join you. The level ending scenario is same as the one in the original where the player needs to get on that score leader board. In some of the levels you will also come across some of the sweetest brand of groups called as Sackbots. Sackbots are nothing but robotic Sackboys who have been captured by the evil Negativitron. So it’s obvious your mission is to save them as well. Oh, hold on! It can’t be as dumb and bland as this! This is Media Molecule we are talking about. Rescuing these tiny little Sackbots is no easy task. It’s not going to be a “strong Sackboy saving the little tiny sackbots” kind of story. You are going to need the Sackbots in the same way they need you. I will give you a classic example of this. In one of the levels, you have to release a group of Sackbots and when you go ahead you find yourself stuck between two paths. Now you can’t swing across since you don’t have any of your cool gadgets. In such a scenario the game requires you to rescue the Sackbots, in return they will crawl over and join each other and become a swinging rope for you! Now swing across and your path is now clear.
Now let’s talk about some of the cool gadgets that you will find during your journey of LittleBigPlanet 2. One of the first that you will find is the “Grabinator”. As the name suggest by using this you will be able to grab on objects and throw them wherever you want to. For example I can just “grab” a block of cube and then throw it on my enemy. How cool is that? The biggest advantage of this gadget is that it can throw almost anything. Imagine you are throwing an object which mimics a donkey and you want to use that to take your enemies down. But can you really do that? Sure you can. With the “Grabinator”,”nothing” is nothing. The other gadget you will come across is the grapple hook and its usage is pretty basic, attach to any object and swing across obstacles. This gadget can also be used to traverse heights.
My personal favourite throughout the game was the “Splash Cannon” which splashes out water to cool down objects on fire, or enemies which are made of fire. Next up is the “Creatinator” which can be used to fire absolutely anything you can imagine. You want to shoot fire, water, plasma? Creatinator has you covered. You can also customize this gadget via the Gameplay Kits. Gadgets will also come in handy against the various bosses you will meet in the game. In some cases you will need to use a combination of gadgets to take them, meaning unlike the original, LittleBigPlanet 2 features some thoughtful boss fights.
There are also some amazing mechs in the game. Yes, you heard that right- mechs. These will help you traverse faster through a level. One of the first ones that you will meet is Robobunny which is useful for jumping across huge gaps and obstacles. The next one is a bit cooler, Mechapups can jump and also send bark waves. Now imagine- how cool is that? A mech who can bark and send waves which can destroy your enemies. You will come across a plethora of rides in the game like a space ship, caterpillars and flying bees, all of which you can obviously use in your own custom built levels.
You may have understood by now that LittleBigPlanet 2 is clustered with a ton of objects and gadgets. But the real fun starts off when you used them to create something out of your wildest imaginations. To get you started Media Molecule has provided the player with a set of 52 tutorials which will make you an expert in level development. I’d suggest going through these videos and tutorials before you jump in to the create mode. One of the most important things that you should know is the LEVEL KIT. The Level Kit will give you access to all stickers, decorations, goodies that you collected. It also gives the ability the player to join two different levels, which I think is pretty handy to make an epic level, which will go on and on. You can also customize the prize bubbles, place them wherever you want. You can also set individual attributes of the bubbles by setting them to public or private. So a public bubble will be available to all and a private to the one you want to. In the LEVEL Kit you can also set racing poles, which will obviously have a start and an end point. You will also find the bounce pad. Here you can change the distance at which the Sackboy can jump in upwards direction.
Let’s get back to the Sackbots now. Remember them? Yes, you can now control those tiny cute things to your advantage or disadvantage. Media Molecule has provided a host of custom parameters which will make sure that Sackbots behave the way you want them to behave. You can set them as enemies, friends, change costumes, define animations, give commands like follow, define awareness radius. What else you may ask? You can also make Sackbots use power ups the same way you can, record your own actions on them and place microchips to implement specific behaviour.
You will also find access to bolts which can be set to turn objects clockwise or anti clockwise and define the speed as well. Don’t want them to run in the same direction? No problem, change to Wobble Bolts and they will change their direction randomly. Another cool addition is the “Controllinator” where you can map your own controller to the objects in the scene. For example using the “Controllinator” I can map my analog stick to rotate an object in a scene, which obviously gives rise to a whole new level of creativity and imagination. Other tools and customization options include the game play sequencer in the form of batteries and timers, controlling camera angles, zoom in and out functionality and filters like cross fading. Then you have the logic settings and global setting to set your environments, weather and the type of music you want.
All of these customizations will make sure that you create the best of levels in the CREATE mode. There are innumerable things that you can do with the inventory. But trying to list them all out would be a monumental task, and would make this review longer than you can tolerate. It really depends on how a player can think and implements his/her ideas governed by the laws of LittleBigPlanet 2. And when you are done with your first level, it’s time to publish it online for others to play. Just like the original, you can publish your levels as well play on others.
LittleBigPlanet 2 is another name for creativity and imagination. What Media Molecule has created here is a beast in which you can go on and on with your imagination and your creativity to the point that your brain may get tired. But make no mistake- there will still be a lot more in store for you. I was a bit sceptical on how Sony and Media Molecule will improve on the original. I got my answer after playing the thing. LittleBigPlanet 2 is a kind of a game that you should simply experience once in your life. If you don’t have a PlayStation 3, go to your buddy’s home and play with him/her. And if they don’t have a PS3 than buy it for one of the decade’s most innovative game ever. Is it possible to give a game an 11? If yes, then this is the game that will be eligible for that.
2nd Opinion Review of Little Big Planet 2 by Jim Girgenti
We have already posted our official review of Little Big Planet 2, but we love having 2nd and even 3rd opinions on games to give you guys, our readers different perspectives on a game. Little Big Planet is one of the Sony Playstation 3’s most well known hits, winning many awards and being a game that has broken boundaries in the world of gaming that has not been done before. Little Big Planet 2 does the same thing and expands on everything the first game had.
First and foremost Little Big Planet 2 is heavily based on the community, in other words you.. that’s right you, your friends and the many other talented people out there that are game designers, yet they might not even know it. Little Big Planet 2 starts you off with the basics and gives a built in campaign that you can play in which the story picks up where the last game ended. In the story you play the well known, super customizable Sackboy as he continues his battle against what looks like a vacuum cleaner that threatens to suck up the entire world, his name being Negativitron. When I say that Sackboy is super customizable I mean it as you will unlock new costumes, pieces of clothing and props as you play the story collecting bubbles with them inside, not to mention the PS Store has a large assortment of characters you can make you Sackboy look like, whether it’s a scary goblin pack or a more well known one like a Marvel Characters pack featuring X-Men. That is just the start of you creating something. There is even a game on the disc that requires two players, one using a controller while the other uses the Playstation Move wand to move objects for the other player.
Beyond the story mode there are tons and tons of levels and stages that have been created by people just like you as well as the game developers themselves that you can download to play. Little Big Planet 2 offers very friendly, yet detailed tutorials on how to create your own masterpiece. This masterpiece is only limited by your imagination and creativity making the possibilities endless. The game offers a deeper level of level creation than the first, giving you the ability to alter control schemes where you can even add your own menus. From here it is literally endless as you can go from your basic platformer game to creating a shooter, fighting, RPG game and as I can not stress enough it is endless making this more that just a video game. Little Big Planet 2 is a tool for your imagination, a tool for your brain to bring ideas and thoughts to life in a much easier way than in the first game.
The Community menu in the game has been re-vamped as well as the community websitemaking it easier for people to track user created content they desire and let you track who is playing your created content as well as how many people are playing it. As nice as it is to see content with familiar themes like Zelda and Star Wars, the user created content doesn’t stop there, where you might have much more fun playing levels designed that are completely unique to the creator. In the first game we saw a fun community, but mostly were hardcore level designers that spent hours upon hours creating some of the best user created content. In little Big Planet 2 they have made it even easier to create levels, add/tweak objects like vehicles or weapons giving even the causal gamer room for a true masterpiece to be made. As I said before this make Little Big Planet 2 not just a game, but a world of creativity and imagination. A game designing tool that brings the community together while letting people imagination run ramped and make a game developer out of all of us. The possibilities of the game are endless as I am sure we will all be surprised to see what is inside peoples minds when the game is released exclusively for the Playstation 3 on January 18th, 2011.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3.
Superb Artistic Design, Campaign mode is so much better than the previous one, Load Times are faster, Tons of Level Making Tools that will test your imagination levels, Catchy background music, You can import Objects from Little Big Planet making this game almost unlimited in scope, Gadgets that will blow your mind off, Interesting Boss Fights, Best representation of physics in a video game yet, Integration with PlayStation Eye is a neat idea, Possibilities are endless.