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Little Big Planet 2 Review

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Developer: Media Molecule Publisher: SCEA
Release Date: January 18, 2011 Available On: PS3

I often tell people that it is easy to criticize but much harder to actually do things. That’s true for many things in life: playing professional sports, running a government, even writing. Video games are no different. The developers behind the games clock in thousands of hours on their projects and release them to the critical masses. Few video games, especially on consoles, offer users the opportunity to share their creation with the world.

Little Big Planet does something unique. Aside from having your traditional story mode, it also gives you the tools to create. The create mode in Little Big Planet 2 is extensive. I have seen people try to make short films, original platforming levels, shooters, puzzles, and re-creations of popular games like Resident Evil, Plants vs. Zombies, and Sonic the Hedgehog. Even cooler is that the developers stress community, allowing their users to share assets critical to building good levels.

Stepping back a second, it is important to stress that you do not have to do any creating at all if you do not want to. Little Big Planet 2 has a relatively short story, but it more than makes up for it with the virtually limitless number of user-created content. You are more than free to just enjoy the work of everyone else. However, if you are a creative type, you will probably find yourself spending hours trying to build the perfect level.

The story mode in Little Big Planet 2 is above all else a very simple tale of good versus evil. A giant dragon-like creature known as Negativitron is attempting to overrun your world. As Sackboy, a customizable sack doll, you run around physics-based platforming levels trying to save the day. You will jump, grab, pull, shoot, bounce, grapple, swing, and swim your way towards victory. For a game that relies on only a few main buttons, Little Big Planet 2 has an immense amount of depth.

Of course the platforming is more fun when you play with other players. Some secret areas in the even require you to have more than one person in order to access them. Thankfully, Media Molecule allows for you to play with either four players on one PS3 or with people over the Internet through PSN. You will undoubtedly run into some stupid players, picking your character up and throwing him at hazards, but at least it is an option when a friend is not around.

Aside from cooperative play, Little Big Planet 2 also encourages competition. One way it does this is by keeping a score for each player in the form of a pie chart in the upper part of the screen. Your score increases by collecting items such as stickers, which in turn can be used to create. Everything that is available to you for use is something that you earned through the story mode.

To encourage competition, there are bonus levels in the story that pit players against each other. Some of them there is an over-arching cooperative goal (such as avoiding death), but many of them are simply a matter of racking up the most points. Basketball, pool, racing, and other mini-games are all played competitively against friends or people online.

Little Big Planet 2 is the type of creative game that sets this industry apart from other forms of media. While other games focus on destruction, Little Big Planet 2 is all about creation. Create your own work and then share it with the world. Little Big Planet 2 is a cooperative and competitive affair at the same time. It encourages community, sharing, and uniqueness. If you have to choose one game to start off 2011, Little Big Planet 2 should be the one.

Graphics: 10
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 10
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 9.3 out of 10
Written by Kyle Bell Write a User Review