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Denny Markovic
10 Feb, 2011

LittleBigPlanet 2 Review

PS3 Review | A little world just got a little bigger.
LittleBigPlanet was absolutely a shining gem way back when it was released in 2008. It had the charm, it had the presentation and most off all it presented a new level of interactivity on consoles, namely with creating, sharing and playing. The community and modification aspect was sheer ingenuity and it offset the fact that the gameplay mechanics, while fairly solid, were a tad flimsy. After all, it’s a new kind of platformer; it’ll come with a few flaws but everything else was beautiful. Now that the sequel to the PlayStation 3’s cutest game has been released though, it’s a little difficult to forgive the franchise anymore when it comes to any kind of flaws, because one would assume they’d fix those flaws in the sequel, and while LittleBigPlanet 2 is wonderfully inventive in its creativity aspect, its charm and tools are unable to mask the fact that the gameplay is a little dodgy.

Don’t get us wrong, LittleBigPlanet 2 is a pretty great game. It follows a tongue in cheek but simple narrative, where your Sackboy (and possibly your friends Sackboys) is on a mission to defeat the evil Negativatron, and on this journey you encounter several new amusing and often times interesting characters. Progression is virtually the same as the previous game, where you go to different worlds collecting items and traversing dangerous traps and inventive enemies, then most of the time defeating a boss at the end of each world. LittleBigPlanet 2 however introduces breaks in its traditional platforming gameplay by introducing different genres. One minute you’ll be going through a level as you would in a traditional platformer, then the next you’ll suddenly be flying a Bee and dodging bullets in a mini-bullet hell inspired level. LittleBigPlanet 2 does a good job in breaking the pace and making it feel fresh, but this is severely limited by the fact that the game suffers inconsistent level design. There are moments where the game shines and quite brightly, where everything plays its part and things simply flow. But then LittleBigPlanet 2 will simply hit a brick wall, where its use of physics, platforming and general gameplay mechanics go somewhat haywire. It’s certainly no glitch, it’s simply part of the design, but it’s a frustrating endeavour when your Sackboy simply refuses to jump properly regardless of you doing it many times over in the past.

Hobo's unite and build a cardboard castle.

Hobo's unite and build a cardboard castle.
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This isn’t just in the jumping mechanics either. New additions in LittleBigPlanet 2 such as the grappling hook are more annoying than they are enjoyable much of the time as it’s extremely difficult to control. The physics behind the use of the object is whacky and flat out weird, which can make for some unnecessarily annoying moments in the game. Most items are pretty good though and respond to the action you inputted accordingly, but one can’t help but feel that if LittleBigPlanet 2 ditched some of its clumsiness, it’d be a lot better in its progression. It doesn’t help that some levels are so complex in design now that it requires a fair amount of precision in areas (especially if you’re a completionist) either, so the fundamental mechanics behind the game are inconsistent at best.

Even robots look away from her. She's that ugly.

Even robots look away from her. She's that ugly.
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It’s not all disappointments however. LittleBigPlanet 2 proudly displays its levels of creativity with some amazing tools that are shown off in the Single Player portion, and this ranges from Level Linking (directly accessing another level through a previous one), entire cut-scenes made from the toolset, Manipulation of the camera to essentially make a whole new genre, and much much more. Media Molecule have delivered on their promise to up the ante with LittleBigPlanet 2 in the sense that you can almost literally create anything you wanted, and that in itself is a brilliant addition. The only issue that lies with the tools though is that they are still a little tricky to use just like in the first game, so creating something ambitious and complex can be a task both daunting and tiring. It’s also something of an acquired taste too because not everyone wants to create, so much of the value of LittleBigPlanet 2 is lost if you’re not into the creative side of things. The game still holds a lot of value through its near infinite replayability however with the fact that the community is constantly creating and sharing levels, and better yet all LittleBigPlanet levels can be played too, so there’s a lot to look into once the single player portion is complete.

Presentation has always been one of LittleBigPlanet's strongest areas, so it’s no surprise then that LittleBigPlanet 2 holds true to the originals polish and furthers it through even more refinements. Colours are vivid and used effectively to integrate into the levels, setting moods ranging from mysterious and calm to chaotic and out of control. Light effects are also used to superb effect, with some areas being used for gameplay purposes in that you must use the dynamic lights to aid you in finding your way around the level. There are a lot of improvements both technically and artistically in LittleBigPlanet 2, with the technical side obviously taking techniques from other benchmark titles such as Killzone 2 and Uncharted 2, and the art side simply improving over the cutesy nature of the original. With that said though LittleBigPlanet 2 can sometimes suffer from being a little too colourful at points where backgrounds are almost distracting towards the gameplay. We’re pretty sure it wasn’t intentional for Sackboy to almost blend into the background because there are so many colours flying around. It’s a minor niggle of ours but something to take note, as when we witnessed it, it was incredibly noticeable.

More orange than Jersey Shore.

More orange than Jersey Shore.
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Sound wise the game takes cues from the original once again with charming and relaxing tunes, all attuned to the mood of the level. Music is also much more dynamic and varied this time round, with Media Molecule creating an entire audio synthesiser in their game which allows for many different types of music, both in creation and play. Voice acting has taken a much bigger role this time round too and it’s done very well, with Stephen Fry making a return as the narrator, and other roles being executed very well on an overall scale. While the sound design is certainly nothing to absolutely go bonkers over, it suits the game well and provides good cues when needed.

LittleBigPlanet 2 feels like a decent game trying to be amazing, but struggles to keep its composure when up on stage. It has moments of glory and success, but is then dragged down by inconsistencies and the curse of its flimsy mechanics. For every brilliant moment you also have your frustrating one, and this is LittleBigPlanet 2’s ultimate downfall. As a tool, the game is absolutely worth your time and money as there’s so much to do, share and see that you can lose yourself in its complex nature. If however you’re simply looking for a good platformer then you might come out disappointed, as LittleBigPlanet 2 is a little short lived in that regard. It has the replay value available which is dictated by the community’s persistence in development, but if the first annoyed you with its mechanics and you were looking for a big jump in that department, then you’ll be sadly disappointed. Wonderful tool, average game.
The Score
LittleBigPlanet 2 throws in an absolutely massive amount of new features but forgets to improve upon its gameplay mechanics and in turn loses some of its groove.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related LittleBigPlanet 2 Content

New LBP 2 trailer arrives
12 Nov, 2010 Check out the Grabinator in action.
LittleBigPlanet 2 delayed
23 Sep, 2010 Rome will have to wait.
Little Big Planet 2 Gamescom trailer
18 Aug, 2010 Little planet, big new adventure.
41 Comments
3 years ago
great review.
totally agree, but still an awesome game.
3 years ago
Sorry, lame review. 7/10? Give me a break.
3 years ago
Show me where the bad review man touched you....denny how could you!
3 years ago
On the Gameplay... I remember reading somewhere that they couldn't tighten up the jumping etc because then they wouldn't be able to put the user levels from LBP1 in. So, it was apparently a choice between tighter controls and all the user content from the first game. They went with the user content, which is understandable, especially from a marketing perspective. Doesn't make it right, though.
3 years ago
djrussell wrote
Sorry, lame review. 7/10? Give me a break.


icon_y1.gif
3 years ago
djrussell wrote
Sorry, lame review. 7/10? Give me a break.
Right on.

When are people going to learn that this is a physics based platformer, hence the controls are the way they are for that reason. But then the reviewer thought the controls in Killzone 2 where really good icon_rolleyes.gif, so go figure.

I'd give this game a solid 9. It improve's on the first game and does what it was designed to do, very well.
3 years ago
When are people going to learn that you don't need to get all butthurt by a review.
3 years ago
ANDYBALLINA wrote
djrussell wrote
Sorry, lame review. 7/10? Give me a break.
Right on.

When are people going to learn that this is a physics based platformer, hence the controls are the way they are for that reason. But then the reviewer thought the controls in Killzone 2 where really good icon_rolleyes.gif, so go figure.

I'd give this game a solid 9. It improve's on the first game and does what it was designed to do, very well.
yes, because it being physics based totally justifies its reasoning for being a flimsy game mechanically. Here's a good one for you Andy; Half life 2 is hugely physics based, as are other games such as Amnesia, Crysis, Crayon Physics Deluxe and Joe Danger, but mechanically they're superb, tight and responsive. Just because LBP2 utilises physics doesn't give it the excuse of having s**t implementation of game design. This applies to all games.

And Killzone 2's controls were fine. There's a lot of people who didn't like it, but there are also many who do like it, SO HEY LOOK SUBJECTIVITY LOLS. It's kind of like how I hate every single thing about Bayonetta's design, but I'm not stopping other people from absolutely adoring it.

PS: Feels good to be back writing reviews again after a few months icon_smile.gif
3 years ago
Fanboys take reviews moar seriously than dev team(s) do, tres hilarion.
3 years ago
honestly I'm amazed that they could get jumping in a 2D platformer so fucking wrong. I just don't understand how it's actually possible?

It's not exactly a new genre or anything.

Quote
. So, it was apparently a choice between tighter controls and all the user content from the first game. They went with the user content
Honestly "Jumping works now!" would have been a bigger selling point to me then "You can play all the old levels!"
3 years ago
All of the sudden 7.5 is a bad score? Hmmm....

I actually got stuck in the 2nd stage demo of LBP2 trying to jump and not being able to do it for over 10 min and then threaten to rage quit and then I did the jump successfully!. Still turned it off because I didn't want to be put through that experience again!. Didn't really convince me to get LBP2 especially when there's many other titles coming out this year (come on Uncharted 3!). Glad the review actually helped me confirm it wasn't only me that had the controls issue.
3 years ago
Haha, nah, it's pretty universal - we had it as Game of the Week (played over a projector, subjected to a room full of industry workers' criticisms and praise) the other week here at work, and it was hilarious watching people trying to get a handle on the controls after picking up the controller. That and grabbing people, dragging 'em off ledges... gooood times.
3 years ago
Karai Pantsu wrote
That and grabbing people, dragging 'em off ledges... gooood times.
I'll give it that, the 2-player co-op is brilliant.

I'm just glad I don't have to pay for it (My girlfriend things Sackboy is adorable and keeps buying all of them)
3 years ago
Grabbing people and dragging em off cliffs is probably my favourite aspect, primarily because I'm an asshole troll.

But the control aspects still suck.
3 years ago
Does it have the whacking move?

I remember a multiplayer with Vervain and Bingles for LBP1, we whack each other to death. That and pushing/dragging people to death!
3 years ago
Island_Wolf wrote
Does it have the whacking move?

I remember a multiplayer with Vervain and Bingles for LBP1, we whack each other to death. That and pushing/dragging people to death!
yep. Whacking is still in, then you have to chase em around with the black circle sticker to try and give them a black eye after you hit them.
3 years ago
ANDYBALLINA wrote
Right on.

When are people going to learn that this is a physics based platformer, hence the controls are the way they are for that reason. But then the reviewer thought the controls in Killzone 2 where really good icon_rolleyes.gif, so go figure.

I'd give this game a solid 9. It improve's on the first game and does what it was designed to do, very well.
You forget that reviews are OPINION based, not the word of God, jesus.

And yeah, the jumping was still floaty and annoying as hell during the last stages where you had to make precise jumps and movements. The grappling hook, to me, was a mess, and didn't work properly half the time.
3 years ago
I THINK THAT THIS REVUEW IS TERRIBLE AND THE GAME IS A 9.5 NOT A 7.

IF U DONT LIKE THE JUMPING MAKE YOUR OWN LEVELS AND MAKE THE GRAVITY HIGHER.

DID THE REVIEWER EVEN PLAY THIS GAME?
3 years ago
^ Should have been preceeded with a 'DEAR ABC, I AM DISGUSTED... !'

Otherwise I give that post a 9.5
3 years ago
I thought the reason for the controls were because of the physics based gameplay? Either way I did find some of the single player campaign frustrating but I'd probably still give it an 8.5. due to the sheer creativity involved in some of the levels.
3 years ago
ZeroX03 wrote
You forget that reviews are OPINION based, not the word of God, jesus..
REALLY...No shit icon_rolleyes.gif Give yourself a big clap for stating the obvious. Just cause its an opinion, doesn't mean people can't comment. I didn't agree with some of the comments, hence my comment.

It's good to see the neg gang is still going strong though icon_wink.gif
3 years ago
Nothing like a little controversy hey kids?!

I thought the controls were a little 'floaty' but not enough to hinder my enjoyment of the game. Denny is entitled to his opinion as we all are and thats why you shouldn't take reviews as gospel.

That said, killzone 2 controls were awful haha (sorry denny!)

Anywho the rating my be a little harsh compared to the scores a few other titles have been receiving lately but shouldn't be enough to put anyone off picking up a copy - the sheer amount of content alone is worth of your $$.

Maybe its time PALGN implements a score breakdown, having scores for each category, say controls, presentation, graphics, gamplay, replay value AND then an overall score. I find it a little hard to see LBP getting the same score with its content than I see NBA JAM of which I was bored after a good 20 minutes and i LOVE Nba.
3 years ago
I still find it weird that out of all the people I've shown LBP, I've NEVER had one person complain about the controls, or struggle with them, even non gamers could play it perfectly, I didn't even pay attention to the floaty controls until I people on the internet started bitching about them. Either way, I want this game so much, and I can't wait until I can buy it icon_biggrin.gif
3 years ago
ANDYBALLINA wrote
It's good to see the neg gang is still going strong though icon_wink.gif
We only strike out when you try to slip in those sneaky comments, i.e. Killzone. Or when you try to make an argument about Half Life 2 not being sci-fi. That was a real classic.

Anyhoo, 7.5 is a good score. Get over it. Most of you have bought the game already so why bicker.
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