What a great way to start the new year: Sackboy’s back, and, mostly, better than before!
Little Big Planet 2‘s story levels are packed with new features that take the platforming fun of the first game and, quite literally, stand it on its head. The gameplay is addicting, and the new additions to the game mechanics keep you playing long after beating the main storymode. The tools included to create your own levels and gametypes are deeper, richer and allow so much variety in what you do that it’s mind-boggling.
All that gushing aside, though, there are a few carry-over issues from the first game (yes, the jumps are still “floaty”) that cause some frustration.
The main storymode is only about half as long as in the first game: 30 levels in LBP2 instead of 50 levels in LBP. The levels, however, are much more densely packed with challenges and variety of gameplay than in the first game. The storyline is not very engaging, unfortunately, especially for a main character of such inimitable charm as Sackboy (and why does one of the characters in the game keep calling him “Sack Thing,” Media Molecule?!). I also noticed that every time I loaded a level, or caused my poor Sackboy to perish, that the setting for the L3 button was reset, causing my Sackboy to constantly be looking at the sky or the ground (depending on how I had the controller tilted).
The music that was so prevalent in the first game seems to be toned down in the second. There are tons of classical or orchestral pieces, but the overtly pop pieces that made the first game so memorable (“Atlas” by the Battles, “Get It Together” by the Go! Team, “Cornman” by Kinky, “Song 2″ by DJ Krush and more) are not as pronounced this time around. I distinctly remember “Rock Your Body” by Ferry Corsten, and Ochre’s “Infotain Me,” but I get the feeling that I won’t be going out and buying as much new music because I heard it in LBP2, which is a shame. I picked up lots of new stuff based upon hearing it in the first game. Though, on the bright side, I suppose there won’t be a controversy similar to what Media Molecule experienced with “Tapha Niang” by Toumani Diabate.
Media Molecule has created, quite probably, one of the best games and game-creation platforms all rolled into one. The Create mode is easier to use than in the first game. I was able to create a smallish level and the appropriate cutscenes and voiceover (using a microphone) within a couple days. Just creating a basic level in the first game took me weeks. Granted I am more familiar with the concepts and tool basics this time around, but still …
If you have the first game already installed on your system, LBP2 will recognize that and automatically import all the stickers, costumes, goodies and levels that you collected and created. Not only that, but the vast, vast majority of the three-and-a-half million user-created levels for LBP1 will work seamlessly with LBP2. Now that is what I call supporting your user base and being backwards-compatible; Sony needs to take a cue from Media Molecule.
If you have a PS3 and enjoyed the first game, you shouldn’t be reading this; you should be playing LBP2. If you have a PS3 and didn’t play the first game, you shouldn’t be reading this; you should be playing LBP2. If you don’t have a PS3, what are you waiting for; with Little Big Planet 2, Uncharted 3, Killzone 3 and others coming, now’s the year to get on board!
Little Big Planet 2 score: 9/10