The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Little Big Planet 2: Build It Yourself

Written by: Corey Bonanno, Special to CC2K

Its been quite a while since I’ve dropped back into the imaginative and quirky realm of Little Big Planet. Media Molecule’s masterful creation of a terrific platform game that gave ultimate freedom to the players and creators is back. Sackboy and a cast of new, even stranger friends, take you on what is certainly the most epic adventure yet. But is Sackboy still the beautiful mecca of gaming creativity and inventiveness, or is he expecting too much from the online community to build the game for him?

Immediately after installing the game I was once again greeted by the wonderful voice stylings of Stephen Fry. Excited, I jumped right into the first world where I was put through the usual tutorials on how to play, but after completing a few chapters it started to feel like they would never end. The whimsy of each level felt a little lost in explanations and demonstrations of the new features like sackbots, grappling hooks and cupcake guns. The new gizmos and gadgets are fun and flashy, but feel forced into the levels, as if all the new additions, especially the sackbots are just new tools for creating your own levels for the community page.

The driving forces in the story mode are the fun characters, humorous dialogue, and quirky voice acting. It’s all wonderfully charming, a tad dark, and well executed. There are some great moments where the scenes playing out around you that feel truly epic, but these moments are brief and far apart. The story starts off slowly but then reaches a fast, abrupt, and underwhelming climax. When the credits rolled, maybe six hours had past since I started. It felt like the training wheels were never taken off throughout the whole experience: the spawn points are mostly infinite until the last few levels, you are constantly reminded of what to do and how to do it, and its just way too easy in comparison to the first title. Frustrated with the dumbed down level designs, lack of difficulty, and mundane additions, I turned to LBP’s gem, the online community. The LBP community is the saving grace, a wonderful pocket of inventive creativity and endless replay value. The creators have provided an amazing set of tools to build, create, and imagine entire games. With the addition of sackbots and being able to direct your own “sackfilms”, the possibilities are endless. Where the main story levels falter, the community rises to the challenge. The only trouble is how insane the learning curve is, with even more tutorials, I believe 40 some videos, you’ll be just hours away from building your own levels and achieving community fame. I try and try to take the time to create, but like most people, I just don’t have the patience and commitment. For those with that drive, I thank you for working so hard on unlocking LBP 2’s true potential. In two to three months, I would love to see what the online community has created. So far, there are some real gems, but it will take time to build up the library of created levels the first LBP had.

Little Big Planet 2, feels more like an expansion pack, with a story line design put on the back burner, as if expecting these new toys to be enough for the community builders to make the game for them. The addition of voiced characters and cutscenes adds a more personal feel to the loss of innocence themed narrative. Though the game is fun, it’s been strongly dumbed down and simplified for the worse. I’m recommending this game to the community creators, this will be an amazing tool for you, as for the straight forward players, its nothing so new as to call it worth the purchasing cost. Give it more than a couple months, and the community will shine with inventive ideas, levels with complex puzzles, and in-depth mechanics worth your time.

+ The sackbots could make for some very interesting creations.
+ With the community levels, and all the pin awards to earn, there are hours
of gameplay

For such a creative game, this sequel felt a bit underdeveloped in the
actual developer’s levels

It could have been so much more, but it felt like it should’ve been an
expansion pack.

7.5 out of 10