Wednesday, January 19, 2011

LittleBigPlanet 2

The original LittleBigPlanet, developed by Media Molecule, touted the phrase "Play. Create. Share." and really delivered on that promise. Despite the somtimes lacking story mode, the game's creation tools allowed users to publish well over 3 Million levels into the world, and that's quite an accomplishment. However, despite what could be done with those tools, creativity could still be somewhat limited. Still, it was a very addicting title for the PS3.

Enter LittleBigPlanet 2, which improves over the original game in every conceivable way, with more of an emphasis on Create. The tools used in this mode are much better refined than in the first game, eliminating much of the complexity required to make a good level, yet also providing a much greater array of tools at your disposal. In fact, there were so many that I couldn't finish building a level because another idea would continuously spring to life in my head right in the middle.

Thanks to the advancements made in the Create mode, it is possible to create games from multiple genres, meaning you are no longer stuck with just platforming. One particular tool that makes this possible is the new Controllinator, which allows you to control objects remotely by letting you map the control scheme on a circuit board. Object modifiers are also present that can allow you to alter specific aspects (gravity, friction, bounce, etc.) or set things in motion without the complexity required in the first game. For example, the Gyroscope will orient an object a specific way depending on where it (the Gyroscope) is pointing. You can also set up Sackbots (NPCs with programmable behaviors and actions) to inject variety to your levels, such as adding rescue missions or recruiting an army. In fact, it is even possible to link levels together and create your own cinematic cutscenes.

A bit of my time was spent in Story Mode, which I can say has been greatly improved since last time. The pacing is better, there is more of an existing plot, and the new voice acting isn't half bad. The levels are brilliantly designed and even have a variety of genres, from platforming, to 2D shooter, to vertical scrollers. There is an occasional hiccup in the gameplay here and there, but is very easy to overlook them in favor of getting through the level and marveling at the sheer magnitude of the game.

This game impressed me even more than the original LittleBigPlanet, cementing Media Molecule as the masters of user-created content. Once you get the right inspiration, the world is your oyster, and the rising amount of user levels is a sight to behold. This game is an ever-changing experience, an experience I can almost guarantee you will enjoy.

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