Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Media Molecule
Review by: Bill Jones
How does a game developer follow up an effort that offered gamers virtually limitless gaming, in which the quantity and quality of ever-increasing community content has seemingly only been limited by the imaginations of the people creating it? That’s the question that faced Media Molecule after the release of the critically-lauded LittleBigPlanet.
On the campaign front, LittleBigPlanet provided gamers with arguably some of the best 2D platforming seen in years, with the addition of depth planes. But it was the custom creations that hooked the hardcore on LittleBigPlanet. For the creative types, the title offered console gamers the most extensive and streamlined set of creation tools ever seen. Better yet was the “Share” model of the game, which allowed gamers to easily publish these creations for others to play.
And so those simply looking to get their money’s worth had nothing to complain about with the amassing content, including developer-created packs. But with all of that content, it’s easy to ask the question – why do we need a sequel to LittleBigPlanet? What makes LittleBigPlanet 2 worthwhile? And the simple answer to that question is that the tools and possibilities have grown, as is the series fame, practically infinitely.
LittleBigPlanet 2’s campaign is focused mostly on the old-school platforming of the first title, and in a way serves as a tutorial to the sequel’s biggest additions. While gamers are mostly platforming, they are introduced to the grappling hook, different –inators (guns used for purposes ranging from shooting rockets to launching giant cakes), and even how what amount to vehicles can be used to completely change the style of gameplay to another genre.
That’s the biggest change to the LittleBigPlanet formula; people are now creating entire games in a variety of genres, not just levels. Whereas the creativity of the first LittleBigPlanet was mostly relegated to variations on platforming, LittleBigPlanet 2 has already seen creators delve into the likes of retro shooters, recreations of titles like Flower, versus matches, puzzlers and more. With a great music creator and the ability to link level portions (essentially allowing for longer levels by breaking them into parts), LittleBigPlanet 2 expands creativity in a big way.
The results are an exponentially-multiplied set of level possibilities, meaning gamers will have more (and a more diverse array of) levels than ever before. LittleBigPlanet 2’s online hub is also streamlined a bit more, and allows gamers to access the original LittleBigPlanet community creations as well. It’s just a shame that the filters are still a little less than desirable, and that Media Molecule doesn’t have a Rock Band-like export in place for the dev levels from the first game. It also would have been nice to see Media Molecule’s creations branch out a little bit more.
Those complaints aside, LittleBigPlanet 2 is an improvement over the first, mostly in the realm of creativity. Its campaign features a story that does little more than increase the wait time between playing (and even feels a little lazy in its generic “Sackthing” voice work), but it is somewhat amusing and inoffensive in the scheme of things. LittleBigPlanet 2 is a great gaming experience on both the creation and player sides of the fence, and once again gamers will be in wonder of the possibilities it offers.
For more info, www.littlebigplanet.com/en-us/2/
Pads & Panels received a copy of the game courtesy of the publisher for review purposes.