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9/27/2011

REVIEW: Little Big Planet 2 (PS3)


Media Molecule’s creation Little Big Planet is, for me, one of the best and most innovative video games in this generation. The first entry’s amazing graphics, jaw-dropping physics, insanely cute sackboys and the user-created content made it a game that everyone wanted to play and try their hands on. The second one takes all that to another level, becoming better and better and adding a huge amount of content, tools and details that I truly never thought were possible with the power of the PlayStation 3

Even after the first LBP added great content in innumerable updates since it first came out, the new things Media Molecule announced and added to LBP2 made it the perfect workhouse for game creation since now LBP does not limit users to create only platforming levels. This time, anything can come up when you start searching for the highest-rated levels in the online modes, from a fighting-game level based on Street Fighter, to a vertical spaceships shooter based on classics like Galaga or Ikaruga, the limits are literally our imagination.

Starting with the graphics, I can say the Little Big Planet 2 is a truly beautiful game, the level of detail in every texture feel truly real. From the cloth the Sackboys are made of to the wood, plastic, metal and all sort of things that make every object in the beautiful levels in both the story and the user-created ones

The visuals are so beautiful that they can fool you to the point where things looks like a real group of toys who look like cute voodoo dolls are walking along a pile of objects trying to get from one point to another. Even the menus are insanely beautiful, making the game look really pretty, as if it were a more child-oriented video game like a Kirby title, but don’t be fooled, Little Big Planet is an extremely hardcore game, especially if you take the content-sharing aspects seriously.

The soundtrack is insane as well, sound similar to the first title’s songs but they now added a lot of curious tunes that fit perfectly with the extremely crazy worlds you’ll visit in the story mode. Another great new feature is that in many of the story videos, the characters have voice-acting that sounds amazing and were needed since this time, the game has a quite interesting story about a dark entity eating up the dreams of everyone on Earth and it’s up to the sack persons to defeat and stop it. Sounds simple, but the game manages to fill this childish plot with huge amounts of humor and crazy things.

There is a very cool and funny narrator who always speaks to you as well, especially in the tutorials which explain how to handle the tools for the user-created content. And it’s very much needed since the content is so vast that having a voice explaining things to you several times makes everything a lot easier.

Which brings me to the gameplay which is definitely the most important aspect of the game, like the first one, you’ll use a Sackboy or Sackgirl at all times, this characters can wear outfits of any kind to look like virtually anything. In the story mode, you’ll travel around incredibly curious 2D platforming levels jumping, avoiding traps, killing enemies and working as teammates or by yourself to finish the levels. At first, it sounds exactly like what we did in the first game but now we have a huge number of cool tools to use.

For example, there is a “Cakeinator” which is basically a cannon the sackboys wear in their heads and use them to shoot cakes to use them as platforms. Yes, cakes. There are also some gloves that allow sack persons to lift their buddies or other objects to reach otherwise unreachable areas or a controller that allows for the creation of objects which can be completely manipulated as if they were vehicles. In the story mode, these “vehicles” will usually be a giant jumping stuffed rabbit or a plastic lobster that can shoot lasers. But in the online modes, the vehicles people create can be anything, from Halo’s warthogs to wooden versions of Epona from Legend of Zelda. The possibilities are endless.

The controls are amazing, sackboys by themselves do the same things they did in the first game and it works just as great but now the “vehicles” and the tools for creation feel easier to use and more comfortable, and this is all in part thanks to a better control scheme made by Media Molecule.

The game features a big number of tutorials that explain everything from how to put a single object on the ground to how change the camera angles and the music. Little Big Planet 2 even allows players to make videos in case they want to give a storyline to their levels, which results in incredible stages that have more life and soul than the usual platforming ones from the first game that were usually either inspired by some other game or movie or just take from the imagination of the creator.

But, like in the first Little Big Planet game, creating good levels takes a lot of time, skill and dedication in the creation mode. It’s definitely not an easy task and will probably require several hours to just go through the tutorials to understand everything. But in LBP2, the creation mode seems easier to get into and again, the tutorials have a big impact at this since they explain everything in an excellent way.

All these things result in an amazing game that is literally infinite, after finishing the story mode, you can try and hunt down all the prize bubbles, costumes, stickers and decorations scattered all around the default stages and after that, you have millions, yes, millions of stages created by the users where you will see what the game (and the players) are really capable of.

 So in short, Little Big Planet 2 is not only one of the best and most innovative games of the generation, but of the industry as a whole. The charm of the characters and music, amazing HD graphics, physics and an endless amount of things to do on the creation mode and user-created levels result in a game that is enjoyable by all the public, from the most casual players to the most hardcore ones. It can be even considered a platform to create your own games by itself. LBP2 is a wonderful work of art that I truly recommend to everyone out there with a PlayStation 3.


Pros:

-          Amazing graphics, music and presentation.
-          Features some of the best physics in a PS3 game.
-          Literally limitless options with the user-created content.
-          Dressing up the sackboys can be a lot of fun by itself.

Cons:

-          Creating a good level requires a lot of skill and patience and it’s really not for everyone.
-          Many of the online levels can feel lame once you get used to play the highest-ranked ones.


Graphics and Visuals………....9
Music and Sound Effects……..9
Gameplay……………………10
Replay Value………………...10

Overall Score………………..9.5 / 10

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