The first time we realized what sorts of things LittleBigPlanet 2 was capable of, it was like staring into the deep end of a pool from a high-dive: thereâ€™s an immense depth to it, but knowing what you have to do to get there can be intimidating. LBP2 introduces tools that make the original LBP look antiquated, introducing potentially complex logic circuits, Sackbots that can serve as secondary characters or gameplay-altering avatars, and even the ability to create and direct your own cutscenes. Making all of that work for you as a creator is a hell of a lot easier than taking a programming course, but still takes hours of learning, experimentation and patience.
But thatâ€™s OK. Whether you want to dive straight in and get lost in the depths of level creation, ease in with the creations of others or just play around with physics, LBP2 can accommodate you. Even better, those who just want to play it as a stand-alone game and ignore all the creator stuff (for whatever reason) can look forward to a surprisingly beefy story mode this time around â€“ one with characters, voice acting, a persistent storyline and everything.
Unlike the first couple LBP games (which didnâ€™t have stories so much as themed collections of levels), LBP2 centers on Craftworld, an imagination-driven paradise under attack from the Negativitron. A gigantic, cosmic dragon-thing, the Negativitron wants to corrupt everything it sees and reduce Craftworld to a demon-infested cinder, leaving it to a Resistance of creator-curators toâ€¦ well, to put all its eggs in one basket and order Sackboy to do everything for them.
The story consists of some 40 levels (including a slew of optional minigame levels, some of which are meant explicitly for multiple players), most (but not all) of which revolve around the same quasi-2D, platform-hopping gameplay from the first game. Up to four players can explore a given level at once, controlling adorably customizable Sackboys that can hop around, grab onto certain substances and solve environmental puzzles. As before, itâ€™s to your advantage to bring friends along, as multiple players can unlock certain paths and pickups that are off-limits to those going solo.
The bad news is that the basic gameplay hasnâ€™t really been retooled; if you thought the first game was floaty, youâ€™ll find LBP2 equally floaty. If you were confused by LBPâ€™s limited 3D â€“ which enables Sackboy to move between three separate 2D layers â€“ youâ€™ll be just as confused here.
The good news is that thereâ€™s so much new stuff to see and do, you probably wonâ€™t care. And aside from being more entertaining overall than the first gameâ€™s relatively static presentation, the storyâ€™s an excellent introduction to what youâ€™ll actually be able to do with all the new stuff it brings to the table.