The sequel to Sony and Media Molecule's critcally acclaimed original title, LittleBigPlanet, recently hit stores for its encore. Most gamers who invested any time in the original wouldn't seem to realize why they would need to develop a sequel outside of additional sales but once you play it you'll know why. There are improvements across the board from single player action to a more in depth online community. But is it really worth it? Is LittleBigPlanet 2 enough of a step up? Find out after the jump!
The story of LittleBigPlanet 2 revolves around being essentially abducted by Larry Da Vinci and then he needs your help to save Craftworld from the Negativatron. Yeah. Needless to say you aren't playing LBP 2 for its storyline. There are apparently was some token story in the first one but I had no idea what it was. I was just concentrating on dressing up like Henry VIII or a communist in the original. In the sequel Larry is thrown in your face more and does seem to act more as an omnipitent guide as opposed to the disembodied narrator in the original. That's certainly a step up and helps get more into the game.
The graphics are still stellar, utilizing a 2.5D of sorts landscape that seems to be a 2D platformer but actually allows you to go in front of and behind certain areas. You can clearly see that Sackboy is 3D himself as well. The game doesn't play like a 2D platformer at all though. Sackboy has strangely realistic physics and it will consistently throw you off when you're running around dressed up as who knows what and by the way you can be made of denim but your Sack is supposed to be realisitc. It's not a good or a bad thing; just unexpected even after having to deal with the same misperception in the first LBP.
The single player involves more types of gameplay variants as opposed to the original which just contained different kinds of 2.5D platforming. LBP 2 offers racing levels, as you've seen on the commercials, sort of role playing elements, the aforementioned platforming and puzzle games, which gamers in the online community should have a ball with as said community realizes its potential. The single player "campaign" is essentially a bunch of gameplay variations ranging from the grappling hook as seen in the ads to other kinds of links between seemingly random levels with similar aesthetic themes. But this mode only functions as a showcase for the online portion of the game, which is once again, the star.
LittleBigPlanet became a sensation throughout the online community for levels that were homages to other games or played Guns N Roses but nothing based upon completely original intent for whatever reason. Maybe the engine was too restricing. Maybe people just didn't have the patience way back in 2008. Maybe there weren't enough options. But whatever the reason, the sequel contains all of those elements with the potential for more.
There are levels where the music devices around play Black Eyed Peas songs, levels that mimic other titles like Zelda just as the original reenacted Batman and Bioshock. The link between what the first game accomplished and what the second games hopes to, in my eyes, is seen in the Rock Em Sock Em Robots level. Yeah it's an homage to the plastic game of knocking somebody's head manually off, but it's also something that uses an entirely new gaming mechanic from what's normally seen in LBP. There's no Sackboy. No crafts. Just animated robots punching the bejeezus out of each other.
Now there may not be a way to complete an entire game through LBP 2 that doesn't include the Sacks in some way, shape or form but through mechanics like the new RPG elements, level links and the addition of puzzles, there may be ways for the community, if patient enough, may be able to include whatever elements of games they feel like developers are missing. Maybe ultimately it won't include Sacks or any kind of elements Media Molecule has given. The tools are there for the community to make whatever they desire out the LBP level maker. Sure it's not quite a PS3 developer kit or anything like that, but this is the closest thing any common, Joe Six Pack gamer has had to having the ability to create their own IP. They can mold LBP 2 into whatever they want it to be.
The ultimate potential of LittleBigPlanet 2 therefore rests with the gamers out there in the online community. You can either rest on your laurels and churn out the same kinds of levels that were readily abundant in the original or invest the time to create your own full games potentiallly by using the tools Media Molecule and Sony have gleefully provided. There's no guarantee this will happen and no guarantee there will even be a sequel to this game, so it's up to the gamers to utilize these tools including the addition of basically a cut scene maker and bring LittleBigPlanet 2 to its fullest potential.
This game's ability to be great is through the roof and Media Molecule has done a fantastic job of setting it up however it's up to the community to bring it to this potential and so far they're on the right track. But because of that we won't find out how truly great this game can be for months and that's only if an ample amount of time is invested by the community.