A Fate Sewn into Destiny

The Spectrum

Grade: A-

In 2007, when Media Molecule introduced the world to the future of the platforming genre, no one would have expected the future to be made of burlap. Yet in 2011, the company that sought to change the way content creation worked has done it again and created a game that is more of a revolution than Fable 3 ever was: LittleBigPlanet 2. Sackboy, Sony's beloved family friendly mascot, stormed PS3s and has almost single-handedly moved more consoles than almost any other game on the system. When Media Molecule went back to work in 2009, it found that topping a system that let players create almost anything imaginable would be nearly impossible to develop. Yet persevere they did, and LittleBigPlanet 2 looks to be the most intelligent platformer ever created. This highly acclaimed PS3 exclusive follows the adventures of a young Sack person, who exists in the Craftworld, a physical embodiment of human dreams. Exploring the LittleBigPlanet universe by oneself is a rewarding adventure as players join on with The Alliance, a resistance group led by Larry Da Vinci, to stop the Negativitron from destroying their home. Developers at Media Molecule added in a few new tricks to Sackboy's arsenal, with the grappling hook, water gun, and Robobun, among many others. What makes LBP2 such an impressive game is that developers didn't haphazardly add this equipment; in every level, developers found a way to bring new uses to a seemingly mundane object.

This same philosophy has been applied to the level creation and is now better than ever before. Developers not only made tools to create more platformer levels but also other genres such as role-playing-games, shooters, and racing games that all utilize the same creation system. This remarkable achievement is made even greater as players can now customize the LBP HUD to match their own game's specific niche.

The game, while incredibly innovative, still has a few flaws that can make online play put a frown on Sackboy's face, but they aren't enough to put a tear in the gameplay experience.

Online Cooperative play can be the most frustrating experience in all of LBP2. Player matching is spotty, sporadically choosing party leaders that have the possibility of denying the player entrance into their game. When a player can find a group to enjoy the game with, a problem arises with a shared life system, as one inexperienced player makes the game more challenging for everyone involved.

The gripes about this phenomenal franchise are few and far between. The simplistic fun of the original has paved the way for hardcore and casual gamers alike to partake in LBP2 without feeling out of place.

A fantastic score provides the ideal background music for the Craftworld. Levels each have their own distinct feel to them. As Sackboy traverses lush jungles and futuristic wastelands, the soundtrack to the game elegantly conveys the mood without getting in the way of the action.

Players of the original game will be able to load all of the stickers, costumes, and downloads from the original game into the sequel, a very gratifying addition to any game. As of now, that's an available two million levels right out of the box, and more are being created every day.

The future of the LittleBigPlanet series is bright, as Media Molecule will surely include another PSP release, hopefully around the speculative release date of Sony's next handheld system. While it's still early on in the year, LittleBigPlanet 2 will be a serious "Game of The Year" contender for 2011.

E-mail: arts@ubspectrum.com