LittleBigPlanet 2

I was a late adopter of Sony’s hefty console, but when I got it one of the first things I did was track down a copy of LittleBigPlanet for a lovely bargain price. I loved it. I still love it. I loved it so much that, devoid of any shame, I begged and pleaded with the guys from Media Molecule for access to the LittleBigPlanet 2 Beta last year. And now, at the start of 2011, the full game nestles firmly in my PS3’s drive.

LittleBigPlanet 2 is, essentially, more of the same stuff you found in the first LittleBigPlanet. And that is no bad thing. What Media Molecule have done, however, is taken the old addage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and gone “You know what!? We’re fixing this”. Everything is bigger and better. The story levels are bigger, better and more amazingly designed and each area serves as a kind of taster for the new tools you’ll find in creation mode, showing you what is possible with a lot of imagination and some spare time. Not that you’ve got time for noticing that, you’ve got to stop the whole of LittleBigPlanet disappearing into the Negativatron, a kind of intergalactic vacuum cleaner that devours imagination and replaces it with monsters.

Creation mode has had a massive boost this time round. You’ll find yourself with a lot more freedom to do what you want. You’re no longer just creating a LittleBigPlanet level, you can make any type of game you fancy, made up of one or more linked levels. A quick tour of the Community Levels will show you FPS games, strategy games, top-down shooters, platform games and RPGs. There are so many new features of Creation mode that it’s impossible to go into them all here but you’ll find everything from a more sophisticated glueing tool all the way through to the components needed to create complex logic circuits to control your game play. There are 52 tutorials to run through here, and chances are you’ll need to refer to a few them a couple of times until you get to grips with what you’re doing. Once you’ve got it sussed though, you really are only limited by your imagination. Ok, your imagination and the level thermometer, but that’s a lot more accurate this time and you can cram your levels with stuff before it starts to get a major sweat on.

The graphics have had a massive overhaul since the previous game, with the textures coming alive and character models looking amazing. The first time you get to ride the animals in Avalon’s training facility (don’t ask) you’ll spend as much time marvelling at the fur effects as you do wondering why you can’t stop smiling about the fact that you’re riding an attack rabbit. The voice acting is great as well; there’s still the strange vocal sounds in-level, but the cut-scenes are beautifully voiced and, if you so wish, you can provide your own voice overs for your creations as well. Stephen Fry, needless to say, is sublime as the narrator.

You can’t fail to like LittleBigPlanet 2. It’s one of those games that you play for a while and then find that your face hurts afterwards because you’ve been grinning so much. While the story levels will be over-and-done with in a couple of days play, getting all the collectibles (some of them are really well hidden/a complete bitch to get at) and acing the levels will take a little longer. The real longevity, though, comes from the creation mode and the vast number of community designed levels you’ll find online or create yourself.







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