LittleBigPlanet 2 review

LittleBigPlanet2

The first LittleBigPlanet is the most unique game on PS3, and one of my favourite games ever. But since the beta for LBP2 launched, the colossal selection of spaceships, shooters, movies and other brain-fusing creations have made me terrified of playing the finished version of the sequel. Surely it’ll be so mind-blowingly complex that it will take months to unravel and understand, let alone score?

Well, no. Those fears are eased within hours of my first evening with LBP2, at which pointed I’m already blasting out the kind of stuff I could only dream of making first time out. And with ridiculous ease. I create complicated multi-camera cut-scenes, reactive enemy AI, vehicles, puzzles… Suddenly, that beta stuff doesn’t look so daunting.

Turns out those incredi-creations aren’t the result of bedroom developer savants building at a level mortals can’t comprehend: they’re the result of a seriously simple but powerful tool set.

In many ways, you could call this LittleBigPlanet 1.5. That’s not an insult. The original was created with no idea of how people would end up using it, no grasp of how gamers’ brains work or how people with no knowledge or experience of games design would actually build something.

In my case, it usually meant hurling lots of imploring abuse at the telly when a simple tweak made something I didn’t understand go wrong: “But it worked five minutes ago! I only changed the colour.” Cue sobbing, bitter recriminations and an early night.

The core creation elements are unchanged. You can build just about anything by drawing and stretching materials such as wood or sponge and connecting them with switches, pulleys and motors. It could be a platforming game, race or just a really cool robot thing. This is why this sequel feels like Media Molecule has simply had another stab, this time enhancing everything with the benefit of hindsight.

It’s got a better understanding of what people want to do and how they want to do it.

Some simple things make a huge difference, like the ability to ‘hide’ objects. Hold the Popit Cursor (the glowing lasso you use to interact with the world) over something and hit L2 to make it invisible. You can then access anything behind it without having to cut holes through walls or dismantle anything.