In 2008, LittleBigPlanet delighted gamers across the world by providing unparallel innovation and a tool set with infinite possibilities. I remember the jaw-dropping level where you didn’t even have to play. I remember the amusement that came from the shark survival levels, or leading other players into an unfamiliar level. LittleBigPlanet is the pinnacle of user generated content, and so I was bit skeptical when they announced a sequel to a title that frankly didn’t need one. Does LittleBigPlanet 2 succeed in beating its predecessor?
Those expecting huge leaps in graphics or refinements to the core aspects of the gameplay may be disappointed; but chances are that isn’t what attracted you to the original. That’s not to say there aren’t improvements to the graphics because there is. Everything from the way Sackboy looks to the materials and world he manipulates has received a decent graphical upgrade. Make no mistake about it though; LittleBigPlanet 2 is a feature-rich title.
The most noteworthy addition to LittleBigPlanet 2 is an overall more engaging and amusing narrative. In a nutshell, Sackboy is tasked with ridding Craftworld of the Negativatron across 40+ levels. The single-player is a vast improvement over the original LittleBigPlanet due in part to a bigger emphasis on cinematics and an overall improvement to level design. Like the original the beginning levels also serve as tutorial levels and a place to introduce new tools that appear in create mode. There’s also tons of unlockable mini-games, which can range from top-down racing games to Breakout or Pong. It’s a breathtaking amount of content; however the star of the show is the redesigned community features and create mode.
It’s in the multiplayer where you begin to realize the vast improvements LittleBigPlanet 2 has received. The community features have been completely overhauled and the best way to describe it is: LittleBigPlanet meets Facebook. Players have a more detailed profile than the original, and Media Molecule has made finding specific levels much easier with the use of several filters. Searching by tags and text is much easier and more accurate than before providing users the opportunity to find the level of their dreams. The interface is also much more accessible which is a feat considering the amount of complexity LittleBigPlanet 2 contains.
Many will no-doubt ask if LittleBigPlanet 2 could have realistically been DLC, and the blunt answer is no. There’s a massive amount of slight cosmetic changes and interface upgrades as well as several new features. At E3 I had the opportunity to play a short demo with the jump pads and at the time I didn’t think it was that much of a game-changer; however the jump pads alone offer hundreds of different possibilities for the creative community to utilize. The same goes for the grappling hook, which is surprisingly addictive. Those aren’t the only features that have been added. My personal favorite is the A.I Sackbots. Not only are they effective at creating credible narratives, but they are also just plain fun to mess around with. I love to fabricate my voice with different accents or voices and it was a real treat to see the Sackbots come to life from my comedic side.
They could have stopped there, but Media Molecule also decided to add a Music Sequencer, which allows you to create your own music. LittleBigPlanet 2 also advertises itself as a platform for games, and for the most part that’s true. I wouldn’t call it a platform for games simply, because there’s a limit to how much content you can place in your level; however all the tools are there to create masterpieces. When you also include the option to create cutscenes you essentially have a limitless amount of possibilities. Did I mention everything from the first LittleBigPlanet transfers over? Well, it does. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran to the LittleBigPlanet universe or brand new, LittleBigPlanet 2 ensures an experience for everyone.
I remember when the original LittleBigPlanet landed at my buddy’s house and for fun we decided to calculate how long it would take to complete everything. We figured it would take approximately 90+ years to complete every piece of user generated content. When you combine that with all the content LittleBigPlanet 2 offers you have an entertainment package that will be fresh until the day you die. In terms of content, LittleBigPlanet will outlast every game in the years to come. This type of value is astonishing and an eye-opener for people intent on getting their money’s worth.
No one could really predict the impact LittleBigPlanet would have on the PlayStation 3, or the amazing levels the community would create, but with the release of LittleBigPlanet 2 in just a few days; it’s safe to say PlayStation 3 owners are in for an unbelievable experience. I truly believe that LittleBigPlanet 2 offers something for everyone and it’s the ultimate entertainment package. If you don’t try LittleBigPlanet 2, you’re robbing yourself from one of the most unique experiences in the last 10 years. Do yourself a favor and buy it when it drops January 18th.