machofantastico's LittleBigPlanet 2 (PlayStation 3) review



Creation in the hands of talented, skilled game developers can be a beautiful thing, as they weave their magic to create wonders of both sight and sound, developing intense atmospheric third person shooters or high impact racing games, the only limit to their creative imaginings are time, money and technology. Yet if LittleBigPlanet 2 as taught me anything, it's that gamers are as creative when provided with the right set of tools. Creating creations that even they didn't think possible with the tools they developed.
Your Sackperson is still as charming and delightful as ever. 
LittleBigPlanet 2 is the king of creative power, offering gamers a set of tools and tutorials to create whatever they want to create. Be it a Geometry Wars inspired dual stick shooter, a Micro Machines-esque racing game or even a rather charming take on the first person shooter, the possibilities aren't endless, but they are a far distance away. Already you can experience the stunningly addictive dual stick shooter Blast Radius along with a large amount of other levels created when LittleBigPlanet 2 was in beta. Even better is the fact that all three million plus levels created in the original game are playable in the sequel, so there's always something to play. On first loading up LittleBigPlanet 2 your offered the opportunity to transfer all your costumes and content from a save of the original, so all that downloadable content you bought isn't wasted here.   
Developer Media Molecule have carefully knitted together a charming story spanning around fifty levels, which do a great job of showing off some of the new mechanics they've added to the game. This time round it's a full on story, as the ever delightful Sackboy or Sackgirl attempts to rescue Craftworld from the destructive vacuum of 'The Negativitron' with help from the Alliance, an odd bunch of Craftworld inhabitants with various degrees of personality. The story is fleshed out with full on cut-scenes and voice work, it's charming and certainly entertaining as each character's specific district offer up a variety of challenges and gameplay styles. Of course following in the footsteps of the original, the story levels in LittleBigPlanet 2 are suited for multiple playthroughs with friends, can you ace them all?
 A fleshed out 50 level strong story helps Craftworld come alive.
As enjoyable as these levels are, I couldn't help rid of the feeling that Media Molecule decided to play it safe with the level design in LittleBigPlanet 2. While there are some memorable levels, they rarely attempt to move away from Sackperson's platforming roots, it would have been nice to see more levels in the vain of the delightful bumblebee side scrolling shooter experienced later on in the story. Having said that the Media Molecule designed levels provide helpful inspiration when it comes to designing your very own levels. Though I recommend you check out the helpful tutorials narrated by Stephen Fry first, they'll help you get acquainted to create modes new functions, even if your a creation vet.  
LittleBigPlanet 2 feels similar to the original when it comes to controlling your Sackperson, but he/she felt much more responsive on the jump and unlike the first game, I didn't find myself dying due to the slow sluggish controls. A number of power-ups are introduced throughout the story levels which provide even more varied gameplay scenarios for creators to dribble over. While all felt like fantastic additions to the games arsenal, I was a particular fan of the grappling hook and creatinator which allows you to fire anything you can think of as a projectile. It's interesting to note that Media Molecule designed the story levels using the same tools found in create mode using a Playstation controller, so it's clear there are many possibility for anyone with an ounce of creativity and a whole lot of time.  
A game within a game (Bwaah).
Create mode can be overwhelming at first if you've never messed with it before, but the tutorials do a good job of at least helping you settle in. There's a lot of powerful tools to learn and master, and much like the original game it's all about spending the time to find ways around some of create modes odd limitations. If you've experience with LittleBigPlanet's create mode then your challenge will come in the form of the new logic and microchip tools which aren't to well explained in the tutorial videos. Sackbots are another welcomed inclusion, allowing creators to add A.I driven characters to your level. It's even possible to dress them up and act out what you specifically want them to do, there's already some amusing levels using Sackbots in the community.   
There's simply so much to LittleBigPlanet 2 that I can't fit it all in this review, it's stunning what a wonderful job Media Molecule have done to keep it such an approachable game when you take it all into account. It's unfortunate then that there as been some launch issues when it comes to accessing coop play or general usage, and while not anywhere near as bad as the original games launch back in 2008, it's still frustrating. I had issues simply connecting with other players, which caused the game to endlessly load the level, and there were problems loading up the list of community created levels, which simply took way to long. While these are issues that will eventually be fixed, they are frustrating, but certainly doesn't take much away from LittleBigPlanet 2.  
 Bright, colourful and charming. LittleBigPlanet 2 is a visual delight on the eyes.
Media Molecule have also done a fine job of adding search filters which allow you to look for the levels you want, after all when you have three million plus levels to sift through being able to the one you want quickly is important. Their website even allows you to search and queue up the levels you want so when you next load up the game on your Playstation 3 they'll be right there for you to play. I was grateful for the added user feedback function to levels to, while you'll still be able to like or dislike a creation, you can now leave comments or reviews of each level you play, it's great if you want to know if the level is worth checking out. Of course Media Molecule still have their own picks of the best creations the community as to offer.  
Overall LittleBigPlanet 2 builds upon the original in all the right ways, it's more then just an expansion and the changes Media Molecule have made prove that LittleBigPlanet is still the king of user created content. If you weren't a fan of the original then this probably won't change your mind, though I suspect the tighter controls to your Sackperson will please at least a small majority of doubters. But even if your not a fan, you can't deny the power of LittleBigPlanet 2, a creative wonder that deserves your attention for it's sheer guts alone. It'll make you smile, it'll make you chuckle and it will frustrate you from time to time, but one things for certain, Media Molecule have created a must own title for any Playstation 3 owner.  


Thanks for Reading, and Keep Gaming!
Follow me on Twitter: JosephBayliss

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