Review – LittleBigPlanet 2

One of the most anticipated PlayStation 3 exclusives of 2011 is set to release and we have been playing it like crazy. Does it measure up to Sackboy’s first installment, or is it all washed up? Read our review after the jump.

Game developer Media Molecule released LittleBigPlanet in 2008 and introduced gamers to a new lovable character by the name of Sackboy. Sony’s world of ‘Play, Create, & Share’ owes its birth to LBP, and several other games have followed in its footsteps (Modnation Racers and Joe Danger to name two). LBP gave console users something PC gamers have had for years. The ability to create their own levels, with tools that were easy to use and imagination friendly. All of these user created levels carry over to the sequel, LittleBigPlanet 2, so it can boast having over 3.5 million levels to play at launch.

LBP2 uses the same basic tools as the original, but adds more depth and size, as well as water and zero gravity. The tools and user interface were kept unchanged, with new tools added in. All of the new features can be experienced by playing through the story mode, so starting out there is a must.

The story is fun and lighthearted and very entertaining. Each level is well designed and has collectibles like stickers, clothing for your little buddy, and useful items for when you jump into create mode. Each level has a final boss battle that can be very challenging as you move farther along. The story isn’t long, and a few hours would be enough to rush through it, but finding and acquiring all of the collectibles will take some time. All of the new features, like new vehicle uses, water, and zero gravity, are shown off in the story mode, so keep in mind that everything you see and do in the story, can be recreated by you in create mode.

Create Mode itself has some new features. You can now produce cut scenes so that you can actually create your very own story mode. Cut scenes allow for different camera angles and special effects for more dramatic scenes. The game has also expanded into a more 3 dimensional realm, and is not just a multi-plane 2D side scroller anymore. You can now set the field of play to be more like a first person shooter, or a dual stick top down shooter, or an old school Galaga style shooter. This aids in the creation of more dynamic puzzles and truly turns LBP into a versatile platformer with endless possibilities. The levels are also larger with LBP2. A new level link has also been added so that levels can now send players from one created level to another by using a link portal. This adds an entirely new dimension to the creation of your own story mode. We are looking forward to the user created story modes that will continue to give LBP2 as much replayability as LBP had (and still has).

The online community features have returned from LBP, and have been enhanced. All of your published levels can be found on your home planet via your online profile. Friends can leave messages for you while you are away, make comments on your levels, and rate them too. If you have a PS Eye, you can use your own image on your profile for a more personal touch. When you are ready to find some user created levels to play, the search feature has been improved so that you can pinpoint exactly what you are looking for. Want a versus only level? Filter your results for that, and there you go. It’s pretty robust and gives you just about every option you can think of.

Co-op is not only available for every level in the story mode, it is also encouraged. If someone else is playing a level that you are about to start, you will be asked if you want to join in with them (this can be disabled). Some story levels actually require multiple players in order to collect everything there, so keep an eye out for big 2X, 3X, and/or 4X signs. Co-op can be played with friends on the same console, and across the globe. You can mix it up by playing with friends on your couch and friends somewhere else. Hint: There is a trophy for creating a chain of players grappling each other, so keep an eye out for that.

The graphics for the game are well defined and very polished. The details on everything are excellent. The water physics truly make the water seem real, and I can’t find a towel for my Sackboy anywhere. While in create mode, you can not only set the water level, but you can also create a wave pool effect with floating objects that rise and fall with the waves. The graphical detail for each item in the game, from little stickers, all the way up to big bosses, is well thought out and flawless.

The audio for the game is pleasant to listen to. The included music selection ranges from up tempo to down right spooky, with a quality that sounds great. The music is fun and light and fits the tempo and style of each level properly. If you want, you can always just play the music on your PS3’s hard drive. The voice acting for the story mode is well done and Stephen Fry’s voice overs add to that quality.

Media Molecule’s LittleBigPlanet 2 should appeal to a wide variety of gamers and have a long playing life. The user created content adds to the over all replayability of the title and the user creation tools should make a PC modder jealous. Everything about the game shows how dedicated and determined Media Molecule was to create a sequel to their first installment that not only lived up to the expectations of the LBP community, but surpassed it with leaps and bounds.

Young, old, hardcore, casual, however you define yourself as a gamer, you owe it to yourself to give this game a try. It belongs in everyone’s PS3 library. With over 3.5 million levels waiting to be played at launch, why wouldn’t you pick this up?