The original LittleBigPlanet was the sole reason for my PS3 purchase. Sure, I’ve enjoyed titles immensely along the way. And, absolutely, I’m psyched to have played through every PlayStation exclusive receiving massive critical acclaim. But, honestly, the one title that sent me running to the store to buy the console was LBP.
I was in love with the look, the concept and the personality that flew off of the property. Hell, ever since that pre-release screenshot of the Sackboys and girls riding the skateboard, I’ve been all about LittleBigPlanet.
It’s no surprise, then, that I was psyched to hear about the follow-up to one of my favorite games from this console generation. Too bad most of that hype was a little spoiled by the announcement trailer. The trailer focused heavily on the user-created side of the sequel, touting new tools and the ability to make full games rather than single levels. I loved the story mode in the original game, every level produced by Media Molecule was spectacular. There are some amazing levels in the community section of the game, yes, but Media Molecule’s work was consistently great.
I had it in my mind that LBP2 would be light on story and heavy on new tools for community creation. I was afraid that the game’s single player mode would be flat, boring and mostly recycled.
I was only half right. This game is packed with new tools for the community.
LittleBigPlanet 2’s storyline is positively charming. Sackboy joins an alliance in order to save a world from the evil Negativatron. You’ll trust the anti-positive beast as he moves from world to world until you finally face him in space.
The mechanics felt a little weak at this adventure’s onset. It felt a lot like more of LittleBigPlanet, except with a new grappling hook. But as the story wore on, new mechanics and new elements were introduced constantly. Vehicles, robots, lifting gloves, water-shooting helmets… The second half of the game gets completely crazy. What a departure from the established norm! You’ll be flying and driving weird stuff constantly, and it’s honestly exhilarating. MM worked hard to create a story line that delivers a charming tale and unique gameplay elements consistently.
One of the biggest complaints surrounding LBP was the poor platform control. Traversing the levels was sort of a pain. Some users found the frustration deafening. Moving between the three planes of depth was abysmal, and making accurate jumps was extremely challenging. All of this got in the way of what was otherwise an exceptional game.
Most of that, however, has been silenced. Jumping works well, transitioning between planes is much better than it was before and movement all around just feels better. The only thing I consistently took issue with was the new grappling hook device. Attach to certain items by holding R1, swing back and forth by pushing the left stick in each direction. You can climb or descend from the object by pushing the left stick up and down. But gaining momentum on the swing is rather challenging, and this renders certain sections of the game a little too difficult. You’ll need to swing left and right while pulling up and down on the grapple. It’s often unresponsive, too responsive or completely annoying.
The creation section of the game is what will most likely absorb the bulk of a die-hard fans time. In it are the tools from the original game, and a host of new goodies and gizmos that will definitely play well for the most creative minds. The story mode of this game serves as a sort of showcase; a display of the potential for the creation portion, or even a tech demo.
So, given the right amount of brain power and that special spark of imagination, players will be able to invent new vehicles, monsters, robots and ways to play. You’ll be able to make puzzle games, shooter games, racing games, arcade games, whatever you want. And, what’s really nifty, is the new level link tool. Players will be able to link their levels so that they can create an entire game. That’s right, community members will be able to build full games in LBP2.
Just as the original set the bar for user created innovation, the new tools present in LittleBigPlanet 2 make it poised to be the greatest playground for creative minds to ever see life on any console. The only thing standing between the launch date and LBP2’s potential glory is the community itself. And if LBP1 is any indication, we all know the community is more than ready to make this game exceptional.