Little Big Planet 2: The GAME Review
Little Big Planet was released about two years ago, not that anyone could be able to call it an old game. The creativity of the game's community have kept it from turning into a stale experience, adding ingenious nuances to their levels. With every tool that was designed to further tweak custom-made levels, came a surge in weird and wonderful experiences. These levels continue to live on with the release of Little Big Planet 2.
It's only a matter of days before that creative streak will surge to unprecedented levels.
LBP2 offers an easy to use package to let you turn your ideas into games that can fit into a wide variety of genres and be several levels long. In a new addition, creators can even include cut scenes into their worlds. For those who are less inclined to create their own worlds and are more interested in the playing experience, LBP2 will never grow old. In addition to custom-created worlds which are easily accessible to anyone who owns the game, LBP2 has its own charming Story mode, which is probably the best place to start if you never played the first.
The 30-plus Story mode levels are incredibly varied both in terms of gameplay and visual design. You might find yourself moving between swinging platforms and then the next minute may find you knocking down enemies in a classic shooter. But the levels also act as a medium to showcase what creators can do with the new tools on hand. Story mode also has plenty of replay value for completionists who want to find every last collectible, including outfits, stickers and materials.
There are some items which can only be found if you're playing with a group of friends, whether online or locally. This tends to be a little bit clunky in execution, especially if you're playing with someone who isn't familiar with the mechanics of LBP. Playing co-operative can also get very confusing very quickly, thanks to the somewhat unstable camera. If someone isn't keeping up, the camera zooms out to keep you all on the screen. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to tell who is controlling which character. If a player falls too far behind, the game treats the player as “dead” and can only rejoin at the next checkpoint. However, the versus games are a blast and fantastic party-fare too.
If you're more interested in creating and sharing, it's a good idea to check out the tutorials, even ify you consider yourself an expert because there is a lot of new ground to cover, such as using Sackbots, power-ups, microchips and figuring out what the gameplay sequencer is for and how to use it. All of these can change your game radically. For example, Sackbots are non-player characters that can be customized with different appearances and behaviors; you can carry out escort missions using them, they can act as enemies, or they can appear in cut-scenes to move along your plot. The tutorials will teach you how to use these new gameplay mechanics, and might even give you seem unusual ideas in how they're used in your level.
Even creating the sound and music to go along with your game is an in-depth experience. There are dozens of great licensed songs and original music tracks included, along with loads of sound effects and even a selection of gibberish voices that you can assign to your characters. As with other aspects of creation in LBP2, you're given more than enough professional quality items to work with, but you're also afforded access to the tools and raw materials that you need to make your own. For starters, there are dozens of instrument samples that you can use to create your own tunes using the built-in sequencer, and if you want your characters to be voiced or your game to be narrated in some way, you can record your own samples using a headset or the PlayStation Eye mic.
The opportunity to share and play through other people's designs is one of the main reasons why the first Little Big Planet was so popular. It should be taken for granted that not all of the creations you'll find will be very good. But it's easier to sort through the mess in order to find the diamons in the sand. You can rate levels after playing them, you can see how many players have completed the level you're interested in and how many have gone on to book-mark it as one of their favourite levels to play through.
The Bottom Line: Little Big Planet 2 is quite simply, a game that just keeps on giving. The same can be said for the first game in the series but Little Big Planet 2 has developed and improved on everything that the first game had to offer, and then offers more of a variety on the “types” of games that you can create. Even if you don't like the idea of designing and creating your own games, this game is a must have for all Playstation 3 owners out there.