Fortunately, Sony saw fit to get us an advanced copy of the game and after a week of swinging over fire pits, leaping past electrical arcs and endlessly customizing my Sackboy, I can happily say Little Big Planet 2 is better than ever. Read on for a preview of what this genre-breaking game holds in store for you.
On the surface, Little Big Planet 2 isn’t radically different from its predecessor. You still begin exploration from your pod, you can still customize, well, pretty much everything and environments still loudly boast mouthwatering colors and textures you want to reach out and touch. So, it’s very similar, but, at the same time, the game feels bigger and more evolved.
To begin with, Story mode actually has a cohesive narrative and an overall goal this time. As you trot around your globe, you are guided through a story line that boasts incredibly unique territories. For example, early on, a series of levels have a bakery theme. Frosting, cookies, cupcakes, and jam become elements that both aid you and hinder your progress. The Story mode has more than 40 levels, playable by up to four players at once, either online or offline.
There are many new elements – stickers, objects, wallpaper and more – but Sackboy also has some new gadgets at his disposal. The grapple hook is back and you’ll be able to throw objects and characters with power gloves and shoot out darn near any object with a customizable Creatinator.
Creation and customization were a big part of Little Big Planet and an even bigger part of the sequel. In LBP2, you are given an ample toolset to build your own levels (and can win more objects and pieces as you complete the Story mode of the game). Along with all the usual materials, the game gives the user Filters to change overall mood and colors with the flick of a switch, holographic materials to create HUDs and the ability to make more complex logic connections that can be hidden away on circuit boards. Plus, it all looks better. Little Big Planet 2 has a revamped graphics engine that makes all the visual elements look more lush and vibrant than ever before.
The possibilities are literally endless: a Space Invaders game, an 8 bit binary calculator, and a level from the recent Mirror’s Edge game are just a few of the 2.5 million user-generated levels available to download and play. (All user-generated levels from LBP can be played on LBP2, along with any downloaded levels or items.) Or you can upload your own and invite others to play. In the sequel, you can even link downloaded levels together, so you don’t have to return to your pod between levels.
Additionally, a new camera system will allow you to make complete cut scenes. Camera position, movement, transition and timings (as well as voice overs) are all up to you. Look for Sackboy versions of popular movie scenes to hit YouTube soon.
The game has a lot to offer. While we finished the Story mode in around eight hours, we still need to go back and collect quite a few goodies. But even Story mode offers a lot of replay value. While I enjoy trying to attain 100%, my kids like decorating the levels with stickers and aren’t really concerned with reaching the end. (I should mention that any LBP game session is littered with endless amounts of giggling, while everyone sits around watching the others play.)
But even when you’ve found every bubble, sticker and hidden object and you’ve broken every record and set every high score, there is still a virtually endless amount of gameplay. You could spend years playing community generated levels and still never reach the end. These never-ending game options, coupled with the astounding visuals and wonderful opportunities for creativity (and flat-out fun) make Little Big Planet 2 one of the best games you can pick up this year.
Little Big Planet 2 is $59.99 and available exclusively on the PlayStation 3. The game will be released on January 18.
Disclosure: Sony sent GeekDad a review copy of this game.