LittleBigPlanet 2 Review

LittleBigPlanet 2 (Available exclusively on PlayStation 3)
ESRB Rating: E
Players: 1-4
Genre: Platformer
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Media Molecule
Release Date: January 18th, 2011

Parent Talk: LBP2 is as adorable as the original.  There’s no offensive language or ultra violence here.  Sure there’s comic mischief, but come on, that’s been around since long before the NES.  The user-generated levels are overseen by the community, so should you find anything inappropriate, simply report it and the level is taken down.  LBP2 can be enjoyed by all.

LittleBigPlanet 2 is a bigger, better LBP.  It’s everything you want in a sequel.  It features better creation tools, a more varied story mode, three million user-generated levels from the original, and a robust online multiplayer that is sure to keep players glued for months.  However, if you disliked LBP, this sequel won’t change your mind.  Quick show of hands: how many of you really hated Sackboy and friends?  Yeah, I didn’t think there were many.

The Great:

Controlinator.  Nuff said.  This feature allows you to leave Sackboy alone.  It sounds intimidating, but I’ll try to explain.  The controlinator enables players to select any object as the “player.”  If you want to design a level where you’re a small piece of cardboard moving around the screen firing a bunch paper, it’s possible.  You can even control gravity.  The most interesting aspect is having full control over the input layout of your “player,” thanks to an on-screen customizable DualShock 3.  Just imagine how crazy people can be with such tools!  There are already underwater adventures, tower defense levels, racing games, space shooters, and so, so much more.  By the end of the month we expect there to be entirely new games created within LBP2.

The Good:

+ A shining story mode.  Before, you knew what to expect after about the fourth level.  Sure, creation tools varied things, but the core story levels played mostly the same.  You navigated from point A to B and cleared the stage.  Flying objects, killer environmental projectiles and nasty green clay creatures waited to cause problems.  This time the variety is incredible.  You go from conquering an underwater adventure to blasting through a Contra-like side-scrolling shooter.  That’s but a mere taste of what lies ahead.  I’ve played more than a few games in my day…and for a platformer, LBP2 offers more gameplay than any other.  Yup.

+ Replay value baby!  The same incentives from LBP are back.  Scour each story-mode level to find all the hidden objects, stickers and more for your user-generated masterpieces later on.  Not only do you achieve a higher score than your friends, but those items are essential for creation mode.  After all, what would you fill your levels with?

+ Create.  I could blab endlessly about the tools, but I shan’t.  I will discuss some new ones though.  The Sackbots, for example, completely change how players create levels.  You can now include intelligent enemies that avoid hazards, follow you around and more.  Power-ups are also a great addition.  There’s a grappling hook, scuba gear and more, but the creatinator helment is easily the most impressive.  This bad boy helps you customize your levels so Sackboy [who has the creatinator] can shoot at anything.  Say you want Sackboy to be a fireman; set up the creatinator with water…and presto.  Doesn’t sound exciting?  How about entering Sackboy’s body to eliminate killer viruses by making the creatinator fire medicated needles?  It’s mind-numbing thinking of what you can create.

+ That’s what I call audio!  Yes, the music is nice and fitting, and there are loads of custom options…but say you want Sackboy to be voiced by…you, well that’s an option.  Record sound clips, import them and enjoy.  The in-game tuner and mixer opens the door to your own music too.  Got the idea?

+ Multiplayer.  Four players online, offline, and hybrid options are available.  Some story-related objectives can only be completed with the help of friends.  The new modes include a variety of sports games, and other mini-game-inspired diversions.  Playing with others is always fun, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to perfection.

+ Reworked rating.  The five-star rating system is out, “good/bad” emoticons are in.  There are also written reviews, how many players completed a  level, how many bookmarked it, etc.  It should sound familiar, but the emoticons offer a quick visual to determine what is and isn’t worth your time.  Want to see what’s really neat?  Hit up http:www.lbp.me and thumb through the user-generated content right now.  You can even queue a level to be waiting upon your next play session.  Impressive, no?

+ From one game to the next.  Everything you accomplished in LBP is transferable to LBP2.  All DLC, user-generated levels and even your hub is exactly as you remember it.  Never have I seen two games matched so perfectly.  It’s new, but familiar at the same time, which should help ease players into all the new creation tools.

The Bad:

– Multiplayer?  The same issues from LBP are hanging around.  If you play with three others locally and move too far from each other, the camera pans out to show all four positions.  This makes movement cumbersome at best, and kills the stragglers at worst.

– Same foreground/background navigation.  If you pulled your hair out trying to move Sackboy between objects in the previous outing, prepare to shave your head well in advance.  The same plane system is back, and it makes moving around the environment feel loose compared to other AAA platformers.

The Ugly:

The physics were wonky a couple years ago, and still are.  They simply exacerbate the difficulty of moving about the levels, even if it eventually feels natural.  Don’t misunderstand; LBP2’s physics are unmatched, but the nature of the design complicates gameplay.  By regularly building levels and interacting with it in every facet, the little errors stick out like a sore thumb.

The Lowdown:

There’s no question, if you enjoyed LBP, this is an instant-buy, a cherish it, a whatever you want to call it.  If, however, you never got “into it,” then give it a rent and see if LBP2 changes your mind.  I hope there are more people in the former categories.  Media Molecule made a believer out of me, so they can make one of you.  I never imagined they could improve on LittleBigPlanet, but they have.  LittleBigPlanet2 is not to be missed.

14 thoughts on “LittleBigPlanet 2 Review”

  1. Ahhhh man I want to play this so bad now! I might just give my ps3 a bit of a dust off :)

    1. Yeah it’s wonderful Mal. As I said though, it’s really an evolution of the first game. These new creation tools are simply incredible though. Hands down the best PS3 game on the market right now. Next up, Dead Space 2…

  2. I was somewhat looking forward to this game because i really enjoyed the first one but i felt the concept would be the same and feel repetative so i skipped out on it and got dead space 2 and two worlds 2 and im glad i got dead space 2 because i find it really awesome !!!! It’s got me jumped on some parts really dark then the first one i find!!!! sry if i changed game in my convo!!

  3. No worries Skulltrasher. I’m actually going through Dead Space 2 myself. I plan to get a review out for that one ASAP. I’m just waiting to find out if our resident Dead Space fan I’ll write it, or if it will be me.

    I’m really enjoying it as well right now.

  4. I really don’t know about this one. As much as I admire the idea of user-generated content, I’m not the type that creates levels at all. Played through about half of the campaign of the first LBP and got bored with it. Tried out a few user-generated levels, but nothing really struck me as amazing. The platforming had some pretty good physics, but the concepts and aspects were bare-boned and straight-forward.

    With LBP2, there’s the advantage of having more than one year of existing content from the first LBP, some of which people say are exceptional. On top of that, you have even more ways to make levels now. Seen some of the potential on YouTube, concepts that emulate various games like FPSes and Zeldas.

    That’s the thing though, it’s amazing to know at first…but I’d imagine that nothing will be as good as the original games these levels are based upon. Most of the big ideas are just concepts that are in progress and they’re based on existing copyrighted content, which may be removed from the servers in the long run. I mean it’s nice to play an emulation of the first dungeon of Zelda 1, but it’s still only one dungeon. You know what I mean? Their must be limits on how big a level will be and how much of the code will it take.

    I hate Media Molecule and Sony because of their strict policies, too. With the first LBP, anything that resembled Mario was removed immediately. The great thing about user content is to make levels based on existing franchises, why limit that? Not sure if LBP2 is suffering from the same thing, but I’m noticing a lot of YouTube videos with levels based on franchises and no reports of deletion thus far.

  5. I look at it like Minecraft, where your imagination is the limit. That or you tire of the core concept. Right now I haven’t heard very many complaints from people having their levels removed unless they add sexual content. It’s still really early though as the game was just released last Tuesday. We’ll have to wait it out and see where things go from here. What I have noticed though is that there are way more people online with this one than the original ever had. I’m hoping that’s a good sign of the things to come.

  6. Sry about putting up this post that has nothing to do with the game :s but since i didn’t know where to ask such a question i figured lets try here :)…. I was wondering if you guys ever had or were planning on getting a forums sections where members can talk about games specifics and such to add to each experience too members who access your site !!!

    1. This is something we’ve debated for years Skull. Would you be interested in a message board? See our worry was that we didn’t want it to be a barren wasteland, but at the same time we were worried about moderating the boards. We use our staff boards which have actually had some of the very best discussions ever.

      So let me know what you have to say on the matter.

  7. @Jarrod Nichol: It’ true there is probly alot of thing to put into considerations for making a forums/message board especially if its made and not used. I was just thinking on this matter the other day after looking at things on the site and wondered about it for the website to help members get a feel for each other if they so choose become gaming friendswith members from the site ask help with some games on places they might be stuck …etc to make this community tighter , even just each member having there own message board where people can just go to a person profil and either write a private msg to ask something or even just a plain message board to which anyone can see. even tho i’m sure doing something like that could take time and i’m sure alot of you are also busy with your everyday lives also …if only i knew anything about making website and all lol was just a thought tho that i’m sure you all have thought about before :) btw jarrod do you read superman comic books because i read superman earth one which i found pretty interesting was wondering if you have read it and your thoughts on it!!!!

  8. Pat, I can’t get in touch with the guy who handles our server. Without him I can’t forward anything off to that lovely lady you put me in contact with. I’ve given her this info though so she knows I’m not just hanging on her. I really don’t know what to do at this point because if I can’t grant her server access there’s nothing she can do. I’ve left emails, private messages, the works. I’m kind of stuck here right now and not liking this situation I’m in at all.

    As for Superman: Earth One, yes I read it and really enjoyed what JMS did with the legend. I’m quite excited for the second graphic novel, which should be out later this year.

    As for the boards, once we get everything settled with the boards and the new layout I’m sure the wait will be worth it.

  9. Damn that sucks… Hopefully he decides to contact you cause we got a web designer ready to do some work.

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