At a glance...

Previewer Platform Publisher Developer Players Release Date Screenshots
Richard Pilot PlayStation 3 Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Media Molecule 1-4 (Same screen, PSN) 12th November 2010 Here

LittleBigPlanet 2 preview

Within my inner circle of friends, I have always been known to be behind the trends when it comes to technology and gaming. Fans of the podcast will be aware that I recently bought my first PlayStation 3 as well as the PlayStation Plus service (PS+). As a newbie to this world, I was really happy that the reward for signing up to the first year of PS+ was a full copy of LittleBigPlanet (LBP). This charming platformer drew me in with its ridiculous take on level design and theme. Much like the games’s introduction alludes to, LBP is a game that draws from your imagination and it was a fantastic to see some of the levels that people from around the world have come up and are still coming up with. It’s a statement to the game’s success that content is still being produced for this game, both in terms of developer support and the active player base which are still creating levels to this day. I had played this game a few times over the past year with some friends and so I knew what to expect. It was shortly after my rediscovery that I realised that a fully blown sequel was in the works. Would it capture the magic of the first game and more importantly, what new tools were available to budding Creator Curators?

To answer the first question, absolutely. If you’re reading this I urge to stop right now, go pre-order the game and come back. It’s alright, we’ll wait for you here.

We’ll look at this while we wait for you.

We’ll look at this while we wait for you.

Done that? Good. LBP2 picks up from where the first left off. The focus of the first game was clearly on the platformer genre, but once the game was released players started to add their own gameplay types. Media Molecule have picked up on this and have added a bunch of new modes, while still maintaining the core platforming mechanic that the original was so popular for.

The demo at the Sony stand allowed us a tantalising glimpse into some of the levels that had been created by both Media Molecule and some of the community creators that built some of the most popular levels from the original game. Picking up on the latter first, we played on the quick mini-games that were first demoed during E3. Each Sackboy had a list of buttons they had to press in front of them. Pressing the corresponding button on the DualShock 3 gave some points, whilst pressing incorrectly awarded you with a timeout from the game. It was a fast-paced mini-game which we managed to finish within a minute or so. We have a feeling that these sort of mini-games will become more popular in LBP2.

I think you should go left...

I think you should go left...

We then attempted to play some of the levels that will feature in the main campaign. The first level showed off one of the new gadgets that the Sackboy is armed with, the grappling hook. A quick press of the shoulder button will attach the hook to the nearest appropriate surface or, if there is another Sackboy playing, the nearest Sackboy. This led to some interesting situations where I had missed the beam that I was supposed to hook onto but instead of falling to my death I managed to hook onto my co-op player and swung myself to safety. It was an interesting new toy but it had its own set of challenges, and like many things in this game, it can hinder as well as help. There were a few times where I hooked onto another Sackboy, pulling them towards me and causing them to fail the jump they were in the process of making.

Moving onto the next level, we got introduced to a new bunch of friends; the sackbots. These cute little robots look like miniature Sackboys, albeit with a monitor for a head. When you get close enough to them, the eyes change to hearts and they are then yours to command. Like any good underling they followed along with blind obedience. Our mission was to escort them across the map, but in the same way as a normal Sackboy they can be destroyed by traps, forcing us to go back and collect some more. Once we got enough to the end point, the door opened and we were free to continue.

The game can look particularly pretty at times

The game can look particularly pretty at times

Finally, we moved on to the last set of missions, which introduced two more concepts, changing gravity and direct control. These levels were themed over a spaceship level. The ship was struck and began to break apart before our eyes. This meant that sections of the level were exposed to the elements of space, which meant a decrease in the gravity for that section of platforming. Not only were we jumping ridiculously high in these sections, but parts of the level were also affected by the low gravity, bouncing slowly away from us when we collided. Moving back into the ship we were provided with a vehicle each to play with, both powered by LBP2’s new concept for vehicle handling, ‘direct control’. As hinted by the title, this gives players greater precision when controlling creations in the game. These feel like a sensible evolution from the grab-powered vehicles from the original game. By introducing direct control, players have a fantastic amount of power at their hands. In this level, at the press of a button, the vehicle changed its centre of gravity which meant that it was drawn up towards the ceiling. A fantastic series of vehicle-based platforming challenges followed, whereby we had to continuously change our centre of gravity as we progressed in order to avoid the various hazards that laid ahead.

Directly controllable furry creatures.

Directly controllable furry creatures.

While at first it may seem like a simple list of additions, the tools that the developers at Media Molecule have provided are fantastic and are sure to fuel a whole new set of crazy adventures for months, if not years to come. More importantly, they have managed to capture the magic that made the first game so popular and the levels that we played were a blast to play and we look forward to try the rest of the levels that will ship with the game. These factors alone are worth the price of admission and the fact that the game will be compatible with all your old content means that LBP2 already seems a likely must buy for any PlayStation 3 owner.

There's now a wider range of environments

There's now a wider range of environments

Copyright Information

Website design and content (c) 1999-2012 allaboutgames.co.uk.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License, except where otherwise noted.

Smileys taken from Crack's Smilies.