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First Impressions: LittleBigPlanet 2 on PlayStation 3

Posted by Sammy Barker

Media Molecule are describing LittleBigPlanet 2 as a "hand-made arcade"

But exactly what can players expect from Sackboy's latest foray onto Playstation 3? We've scoured the 'net to bring you this no-nonsense feature list of what to expect from 2010's biggest game.

  • There's a new story tying Sackboy's adventures in previous games into LittleBigPlanet 2. As detailed on LittleBigPlanet 2's official website, here's what's up:
    • "Happy that no more demands are being made to him after his successful adventure to return sharing to LittleBigPlanet, it’s all going swimmingly for Sackboy... That is, until a some kind of inter-dimensional, hyper-spatial, 1800 watt Vacuum Cleaner appears in the skies, causing quite the ruckus and sucking Sackboy up into its musty bowels. All jolly sinister and most inconvenient. Happily, a jolly nice fellow named Larry Da Vinci intervenes and rescues him from what has come to be known as The Sucker. Da Vinci, it turns out, is in charge of “The Alliance”, a semi-secret, semi-organised group devoted to fighting The Sucker before it destroys the whole Cosmos."
  • All original 2 million levels created from the original LittleBigPlanet will be ported across into LittleBigPlanet 2. They will even be up-scaled thanks to Media Molecule's fancy, erm, upscaling technology. This also confirms that LittleBigPlanet 2 will be getting a significant graphics boost. Collected objects, stickers and the like will also find themselves shifted across into the new game. You'll lose nothing.
  • A new webpage launched alongside LittleBigPlanet 2 will give every creator and level a space on the Internet so that content can be efficiently shared online. Any levels you find to take your fancy can be added to a "Play Queue", allowing you to easily access them next time you play the game. It's sounding like this functionality will carry across into other third-party applications too - with Firefox add-ons and iPhone apps all being touted.
  • Navigation within the game will also be easier, thanks to a new Twitter-esque feed stream allowing you to easily dissect the content that's proving most popular within the game. Media Molecule will also be highlighting popular content here, by updating your streams with levels and creations they've found interesting. It'll finally mean there's a platform of "buzz" within the game, making stuff so much easier to find.
  • The game will feature improved lighting and textures, but will maintain a familiar aesthetic.
  • The new grapple hook is designed to be an "extension of the grab mechanic". It is activated with a deft press of one of the PS3's shoulder buttons, and allows Sackboy to grab on to far away platforms and/or swing across hazardous pits.
  • Spring pads are also new, allowing perfect Sonic the Hedgehog recreations, and of course, opening the door for that long wished for LBP pinball simulator.
  • Sackbots solve the problem of NPCs from the original game. Instead of using piles upon piles of mechanical pieces to create animated characters  - which will still be possible - Media Molecule have included Sackbots. These can be assigned AI and animation behaviours, which will come in useful in LittleBigPlanet's new "cinematics" feature. The cinematics feature will allow you to create complete cut-scenes within your levels. Cinematics will be enhanced by improved camera angle tools and new voice acting options.
  • Microchips also make the construction of complex elements a bit simpler. Instead of requiring piles of different magnetic and flip switches, you'll be able to simply place a Microchip including all the logic required to make things in your level operate. The emphasis is on making the game easier for casual players, but providing greater depth for experienced players. Interestingly Microchips can be shared with the community, meaning if you've developed a complex boss routine, you'll be able to share it with the community.
  • Direct control is probably the biggest new feature implemented into LittleBigPlanet 2. It's the fundamental difference between LittleBigPlanet and its sequel: a function which allows players to create games instead of platform levels. A bit similar to the Microchip, the Direct Control Seat allows players to remap the commands of the DualShock controller. It's genius: take the example of a car - in the original LBP you had to program a switch to control acceleration of said vehicle. Now you can map the object's acceleration to the R2 button. Racing game designed.
  • New publishing features will allow creators to string multiple levels together in LittleBigPlanet 2, essentially enabling the creation of an entire game, rather than singular levels.
  • Neon stickers will allow you to attach stick-on HUDs to your levels, increasing the potential for cross-genre creations such as RTS games and old-school shooters.
  • New camera functionality allows you to lock the camera directly behind Sackboy, enabling the creation of arena shooters, pinball games, and much, much more.
  • Sackboy will no longer be floaty - unless you want him to be. The inclusion of new movement control will allow you to tweak all aspects of Sackboy's movement, including the way in which he sticks to his surroundings. Super Mario and MegaMan control mechanics confirmed.
  • LittleBigPlanet 2 will support mouse and keyboard functionality in its Create mode, as well as limited Playstation Move features. Full Playstation Move support will be included later in development.

Sources: Eurogamer, VG247, CVG, LittleBigPlanet 2.

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