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E3 2010: LittleBigPlanet 2 makes sense to us now

It’s hard not to be a little intimidated by the idea of LittleBigPlanet 2. If you’ve ever created a level in the first game, you know that just making a 2D platformer level can be demanding enough – but using the same interface to create an RTS, a 3D shooter or any other kind of game you want? That seems impossible. Mind-bogglingly impossible.

Now that we’ve seen LBP2 with our own eyes, however, and had a chance to play through a few of its early user-made levels ourselves, it feels like we’ve got a much better handle on what’s in store. As it turns out, LBP2 is one of those things that seems terribly complicated when you hear about it, but actually looks simple and intuitive close-up.

If you’re just playing through one of LBP2’s more traditional side-scroller levels, there won’t be much of an immediate difference from what you might be used to in LBP1. Customizable protagonist Sackboy still has a floaty jump, and you can control his expressions and arm movements the same way. You can even use any of the old DLC and levels you might have downloaded for the first game. However, he has a few new tricks up his sleeve, most notably a grappling hook that can latch onto any surface that Sackboy can cling to (which also includes other Sackpeople, something that can make multiplayer grapple attempts awkward).

However, there’s one huge improvement in LBP2, which could potentially change everything: the Circuit Board. After attaching a circuit (which can be hidden during Play mode) to an object, a board will open up, enabling you to attach a bunch of things to dictate an object’s behavior. Want an object to fly? Attach a Mover object to the board and turn off gravity for it. Want to control the object directly? Attach a Control Seat to it.

The Control Seat, incidentally, has its own circuit board, where in addition to adding behavior-modifying objects, you’ll see a controller mockup. You can then connect the buttons on the controller to different functions; if you have a rotating motor bolt at the center of a wheel, for example, you can wire it to the X button. When riding in the driver’s seat, pressing X then activates the motor. You can do the same for jet engines, guns or any other mechanical function, enabling total control over whatever vehicles you want to create.

We tried out two of these: a strange, flying bird-thing (with convincingly realistic feathers) that could poop blue pellets whenever we hit X, and an electric shaver that someone had attached wings to, and which then flew horizontally and shot at menacing floaty objects before shifting into a top-down Space Invaders-style sequence. Both were enjoyable, and were certainly a big improvement over the piston-driven workarounds that clever player/creators came up with in the first game.

Then there are the Sackbots, LBP2’s new enemies/player proxies/whatever else you want them to be. They can be shaped and decorated to your liking, and programmed with different behaviors, either as enemies or as friends/sidekicks. Slapping a control seat on them, however, turns them into fully controllable mechs. During a closed-door presentation of the game, reps from developer Media Molecule reinforced an idea shared when LBP2 was first revealed: if you don’t like the jumping, you can create a Sackbot and adjust its jumping abilities until they’re exactly what you want. And while that sounds like an odd copout, it actually makes a kind of sense.

It’s possible, for example, to make a Sackbot that’s programmed to look identical to your Sackboy, and to immediately spawn in its control seat when you start the level. Your control over him/her/it would be exactly to your specifications, and as a player you’d never really see the difference. It’s even possible to control multiple Sackbots at once, which is great if you want to create a level featuring a synchronized dance sequence.

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16 comments

  • SaCKBoii - July 31, 2010 7:47 p.m.

    i want this so much i got the platinum for the original LBP it was sucha beast game i just couldnt make that good levels :( but this looks easy to make levels on :D
  • Snowyjoe - June 20, 2010 6:11 a.m.

    I just hope the community doesn't destroy it again with pointless H4H levels and bomb survival thingies. Play my Space Invaders #456 H4H!
  • ryno - June 18, 2010 11 p.m.

    this game is on my list
  • EnragedTortoise1 - June 18, 2010 4:01 p.m.

    I want this NOW.
  • FunkSoulBrother - June 18, 2010 10:14 a.m.

    Intimidating in deed but I never reallly got around to making levels in LBP I just play others'.
  • Limbo - June 18, 2010 7:31 a.m.

    It's these kind of games that make me want a PS3. If I had the money, I would buy a PS3 just for this game and ModNation Racers.
  • sleepy92ismypsn - June 18, 2010 5:06 a.m.

    i hope there will be a bigger maximum storage capacity for lbp2 levels. i mean i wanna see huge levels that may take an hour to playthrough. i also would like to have the ability to make open-world games and maybe even make our own cutscenes...only sackboys/girls don't talk. then i would definitely have to get this game.
  • CrazyPhish - June 18, 2010 3:59 a.m.

    This is so cool, it's great that you can use the old stuff from the first game in this one too.
  • Gameguy94 - June 18, 2010 3:45 a.m.

    @ shyfonzie Yeah I never play LBP that much either Kinda' makes me sad I really need to get in to more this summer.
  • sleepy92ismypsn - June 18, 2010 2:29 a.m.

    i'm still not sure if i'll will get this gamew. i got the first one and that was too overwhelming for me to handle. and plus there's already too many great looking games that i want more.
  • shyfonzie - June 18, 2010 2:06 a.m.

    I loves the first, but never managed to play it as much as I wanted to. Maybe LBP2 will be different?
  • CandiedJester - June 18, 2010 1:12 a.m.

    I want iiit. Too bad I sold my PS3. ]:
  • Pry0citer - June 18, 2010 12:40 a.m.

    This game looks epic. Too bad I'll have to give up hundreds of hours of my life trying to make my own Game.
  • DustyRooster - June 18, 2010 12:33 a.m.

    This game looks like it could take over my life. I love level editors!!!!! I lost days on just the level editors in the Far Cry games. I wish more games would follow this example of allowing users to create their own content.
  • CurryIsGood - June 18, 2010 12:30 a.m.

    man i could invest like 150+ hours in this
  • Metroidhunter32 - June 18, 2010 12:28 a.m.

    This could render the origninal obsolete.

Showing 1-16 of 16 comments

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