LittleBigPlanet 2

Don't Worry Even if Things End Up a Bit Too Heavy, We'll All Float On.

LittleBigPlanet 2 may not feature any "Modest Mouse," but it floats to the top. In a good way.
Author: Scott Rodgers
Published: January 20, 2011
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When I was asked to review LittleBigPlanet 2 I was taken aback. It is a large undertaking to review a game that does one thing, but to review a game that shows so many ends of the spectrum is massive, probably even crazy. It didn’t help that from the moment I booted up the game it showed two icons on my XMB (the game itself and an “Extras” option, more on that later). In review of LittleBigPlanet, Sam spoke about hype and how the first game lived up to its lofty expectations. For me, however, the game seemed to almost devolve into run to the right (occasionally back to the left) and jump every once and a while. The sequel does away with this almost immediately in that like a good pitcher it consistently change your eye level (always, always look up). It requires you to think a lot more than its predecessor. LittleBigPlanet 2 is more than a game, and even more-so than the sequel, it is an experience unlike anything else out there.

The core platforming that one would expect from a LittleBigPlanet title is still intact. What Media Molecule has done to keep the experience fresh (yet also familiar) is to build upon what they had. The original game was a winning formula and at that time Media Molecule remained adamant that there would never be a need for a sequel. They supported LBP for years, with things like the Metal Gear Solid and Pirates of the Carribean packs, among others. They introduced water to the original game, which changed the landscape of the user created levels. Sadly, however, when the original game hit almost all of the top levels were “play for five trophies, heart for a heart” and other things of the like. It was frustrating for someone like me to sift through, and thankfully Media Molecule heard my (among others) cries and created the “Media Molecule Picks” category which let the best stuff rise to the top.

For the second game, Media Molecule basically kicked down the door. Most, like myself, will start with the story level which rocketed past the original’s just halfway through. The bosses are more memorable and thankfully there’s nothing as frustrating as the infamous “wheel” in the sequel. To catch things like prize bubbles and to ace levels requires that you constantly look up or at the planes. Since it is three planes wide, what may appear as a wall may only be two deep, meaning you just scoot around the third for an opening. There are new tools at your disposal, including a grapple hook, Sackbots, and even the grabinator. The creatinator, which is just like the first game’s DLC add-on paintinator (without the paint), returns able to shoot delicious cup cakes, water, and anything else you can imagine. Sackboy’s opponents may not be as challenging as the original game (I’m quite sure I didn’t die once on a regular enemy the whole game), but they are more creative and the ways to take them down take a broader scope than “jump on their head.”

The story is engaging, it has much more interesting secondary characters, and the story itself is just leaps and bounds better. It just felt like I was actually doing something instead of just popping in at random places inexplicably. The story, all told, lasted about five hours for me, but that was with a couple of repeats to get prize bubbles I initially missed and after passing I figured out how to get. When I told this to Sam, he summed it up: “the true challenge in the single player comes in acing the levels.” From just playing through I think I aced five or six out of the thirty or so. The other thing that that is quite engaging arethe challenges, which could be as simple as a race to the top of a tower to bouncing off of jump pads and trying to avoid obstacles/certain doom. More often than not, you won’t get a high enough score to unlock all of the prize bubbles (in total there are three ranks, which for example in the jump pad level are unlocked at 5,000, 10,000, and 15,000 respectively). Pins present something to collect besides trophies. You get pins from doing things as simple as beating a world to being one of the first ten people to play a level.
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