Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bigger Planet = More Fun?

If it hasn’t been obvious over the past few months, I have been dying to get my hands on Little Big Planet 2. It was released this week, which is why my posts have been…lackluster. But in their steed, I have a robust review of LBP2. So yeah. It evens out. XD



When Media Molecule set out to make Little Big Planet, they wanted it to be the game of all games and never expected to make a sequel. And of course what happens to any developer when they say that? They make a sequel and a PSP game. Little Big Planet 2 is chock full of all the things you wished were in the first game without making you feel like the first was a waste of your time.

Positives:

Loads of new, shiny things. From Sackbots, to grappling hooks, to bounce pads, and everything in between. Little Big Planet 2 is a plethora of all things LBP. MM listened to the people and gave us so many new tools that there are 52 video tutorials. >.> And they only cover a fraction of what’s possible. The tools allow you to make virtually any game of your dreams. RPG, shooter, action, adventure, even the basic platformer. If you have the stamina, you can make whatever you wish, and MM was more then happy to give us all of the tools we needed.

LBP1 transforms into LBP2. MM kept their promise and allowed all of us who have LBP1 accounts to transfer them to LBP2, including all of our inventory items, levels, and our space pods. All of the items can be used openly in LBP2 as well as all of the creator levels. There is a slight downside, that’s more of a glitch. Some of the older levels have gadgets that have been removed from LBP2 for different ones, and not all of the levels were properly converted over. So some of your favorite of LBP1 levels probably won’t play the same. But at least everything was transferred over. >.>

Graphics got bumped up. I know what you’re thinking, ‘how?” Images, colors, and the 3D space are much more vivid and distinct. Graphics that would look great on an HD or standard television. If you compare the two games side by side, you’ll be able to see the differences off the bat.

Better control over your controls. While not perfect and still sometimes annoying, the control scheme has improved. In particular, jumping, my biggest gripe with the first game. Jumping doesn’t feel as strenuous of an activity now. When you jump, you actually hit the platform you were aiming for. But even little things such as aiming to shoot or flying have become more responsive to your button mashes.

Music/sound editor. Which I’m sure will get MM in trouble soon and they’ll have to remove it/patch it from the game, but for now, it’s a wonderful tool. Now I don’t have to hear the same song in 5 thousand creator levels. The new tools allow you to take any piece of music, or record your own, and twist them into something new. Even reverse the track, if you are so inclined.

Story mode has more emphasis on multi-player. MM really wants you to play with others this time around, and that’s ok. Many of the levels are more multi-player friendly, without being too challenging if you decide to play by yourself. Wandering through, I found many levels required 3 or 4 players in order to get the hidden items.


Negatives:

Shorter story mode. While I enjoyed the story more this time as it had a more cohesive beginning, middle, and end, it was rather short. My first run through, I managed to collect 80% of the items/stickers and completed the story in about half a day. It feels like there is more of an emphasis on going out and creating your own work and less on the story.

Multiple connection issues. Now this may just be that because it’s the first week of release, servers are running slow, but even on the smaller, un-crowded creator levels, I found myself being disconnected a lot. Pretty sure it’s not my end. Fios over here. 

Pins and more pins. As a means of an in-game achievement system, LBP2 offers you pins for hitting certain milestones in the game. I do like that you can keep track of your PS3 trophies from this method, but the pins seem rather pointless. You can attach a set of 3 to your profile to show off, but really, they serve no purpose other then self satisfaction. As much as I enjoy achievements and trophies, I’m not going to spend my time focusing on pins. I’d rather work on my moon levels.

Edit: Forgot to mention one other annoyance I have with the game. Grappling Hook. It sucks. Hardcore. It's as though they took the jumping mechanics from the first game and squished it into this grappling hook, which you need to use for quite a number of the story levels. Difficult to maneuver. Difficult to master. And where are all of the stickers and objects at? The areas with the hook.

Worth a buy? Definitely. If you have any creative inclination in your system, you’ll find enjoyment in this game. If you’ve never played Little Big Planet, 2 will start you off in the right place. It’s great for LBP alumni and newbies alike. Now, I'm off to make my DKC level.

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