By GrantHeaslip 6 Comments
I picked up a PS3 last week, and LittleBigPlanet 2 is among the games I have access to for free through PlayStation Plus. It wasn't the reason I got a PS3, but considering I'm already in the midst of Xenoblade and The World Ends with You (and about to start Mass Effect 2 and 3) I figured something lighter and more ephemeral was in order.
LBP 2 has a lot going for it. It's unlike any game I've played before, and Sony deserves tons of respect for allowing such a permissive and uncensored user-created level community. There's some crazy, mind-blowingly inventive and just plain amazing shit in there that's going to keep me coming back. The art direction is fantastic, the music is great (if, in hindsight, a bit forgettable), the cutesy aesthetic doesn't grate, and it's obvious a ton of care, thought and restraint went into the game.
That said, I just haven't came to terms with the way the game controls. It's extremely loose and physics-based, and I never feel fully in control of my character. Everything feels physics-based, but not in a good way. The character moves just a bit too slowly, and doesn't have enough air control for my tastes.
There's a grappling hook that requires you to move left and right to swing, but they also mapped the extend and retract controls to the same stick, which caused me to constantly mess up my momentum and dread those sequences. They could have avoid this by making holding a button lock the grappling hook length. And yes, I know how to abuse the grappling hook physics to jump high -- it still doesn't feel right.
Lastly, and maybe most egregious of them all, you can move up or down to switch between 1-3 recessed lanes. I get why they did this, but I was often finding myself running into walls, not knowing where to go, and cursing the fact that (unlike the grappling hook) you really need to deliberately push in a direction to switch lanes. There would certainly be trade-offs, but I think the game would have been better off as a pure 2D platformer, especially considering how busy the art style is.
As I said before, I have no doubt the way the game controls and plays is deliberate. I grew up on Mario games, and loved the feel of Super Meat Boy. I'm fully willing to concede that LBP 2 is a great game that's just not my style.
(On an unrelated note, the game has too many goddamn collectibles. I'm growing more and more resentful of games that abuse my uncontrollable need to collect all of the things.)