There was excitement in the morning air as I joined a group of people waiting for the game shop to open. Inside the sales associates toyed with us by pretending to straighten up and not notice the restless crowd just outside the glass doors. At the last possible second the door was unlocked and the crush began. The next part is kind of a blur, but I am fairly certain a sales clerk may or may not have been trampled. A soccer mom elbowed me in the kidney and someone stepped on my foot. A good stiff arm and a couple of well placed hip-checks later a cashier handed me a bag. I emerged from the store with “the precious”. LittleBigPlanet 2 was finally mine!
The first LittleBigPlanet game by developer Media Molecule was genius. Highly praised by critics and fans, this game is a cornerstone of Sony’s PS3 console. In this sequel we can expect an expanded repertoire of what made the first game great.
This delightful platformer can be played single player or co-op with up to four friends. Sony’s Move and Sixaxis controllers are both supported. LittleBigPlanet 2 really encourages community and some parts in the game cannot be reached without a little help from a friend-or three. The regular campaign is only part of the appeal of this title. LittleBigPlanet 2 has a very deep level creation mode that lets you design a level then upload it to share with others. Rabid fans eventually published over two million (!) user created levels, many that were every bit as good as levels in the actual game. New levels were already being posted within hours of the release. This is basically a game with never ending new content, making the retail price seem like a steal. It is hard to believe so much goodness can be packed on one little Blu-ray.
Besides the fun game play, what really stands out about LittleBigPlanet games is the amazing art direction. A brilliant, original and inspiring world is ready for you to explore. You play as “Sackboy”, an anthropomorphic hacky sack-looking character that you can custom dress in a mind-boggling ensemble that you find throughout the game. After so many outfits the last time through I did not think there could be any untapped ideas left, but I was wrong. A couple of surprises included glowing eyes and a tire tread material to skin your Sackboy in. A large amount of the world is made up of crafting materials. Stitched cloth, foam, cardboard, and wood lend the game its very unique look. This sequel has more electronic pieces like lights, circuit boards and LCD screens to suppliment the arts and crafts look. You would have to be a cyborg to not let this game capture your imagination. Each new area feels entirely fresh and different. Even the soundtrack is eclectic, yet spot-on perfect, with everything from 8-bit games sounds to disco, classical music and rock and music I am not even sure how to classify. Voice narration is done with an English accent and is full of genuinely funny turns of phrase. The first game was not very story driven, but that did not detract from it at all. In this game a bit more effort has been put into a storyline about joining an Alliance to fight the Negativitron, but the story is again, not really the focus of the game.
Do not be fooled by the cute protagonist and game aesthetic, you will find plenty of classic platformer challenges in this game. I normally play ‘M’ rated games but love LittleBigPlanet 2. Some parts can be quite tricky, especially when you are trying to get total completion in a level. The world is inhabited by devious inventions and puzzles, not to mention dangerous elements like fire, electricity and toxic gas.
New features are plentiful in this sequel. So far I have seen many vehicles and tools like the creatinator, grabinator and grappling hook to help Sackboy navigate through the game. The grappling hook is especially useful but takes time to master. It is also really fun to grapple and drag your friends when playing in co-op mode. Much has been added to the already deep level creation toolbox. Instead of mostly platformers, users will now be able to created entirely new games! Racing games, shooters, RTS, and old school brawlers are but a few genres that have been demoed so far. Users are innovative and will come up with things not even conceived of yet. Physics can also be tweaked in this version allowing altered gravity and even more variation. Creators can also program NPCs called “Sackbots” to follow, flee or interact with Sackboy. The playbook is thrown wide open in this one. You are really only limited by your imagination. There are even tutorials built in to teach you and get you started creating. The first game taught me so much about game design that it actually made me have a deeper appreciation for the little details that I had previously overlooked or taken for granted, like camera work and triggering sounds effects.
Now with the full game in hand I will beg your pardon and take my leave. It is time to sequester myself in a room with a fully charged controller and a case of energy drinks. The wait is over and I am ready to have some big fun with LittleBigPlanet 2. I hope you do too. Enjoy.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ky-JUL0SDDs to check out some LittleBigPlanet 2 video
Just an example of how you can create in any genre that you desire!