GamesCom: LittleBigPlanet 2 Hands-On Preview

By Jamie Feltham on September 6, 2010, 9:38AM EDT
PS3

LittleBigPlanet offered an awesome single player campaign, so awesome in fact that a lot of people declared it to be worth the $60 price tag alone. I was the tiniest bit worried that maybe Media Molecule had maxed out on what they could build with the original, but the new gadgets and objects found in my short time with LittleBigPlanet 2 at Gamescom have helped ease my fears.

I got behind the controller for a quick level that introduced two new devices: the grappling hook and jump pads. Sackboy's journey was straight up, swinging himself from sponges and leaping across platforms. Our hero handles pretty much the same way as last time round, which I'm well aware was an issue for some people that described controlling him as "spongy". While I sort of agree that this doesn't allow for as tight a platforming experience as a Mario adventure, I never really struggled with the controls, or felt it detracted from the fun.

The grappling hook is pretty simple and handy to use; R1 shoots out a grapple that'll attach itself to a nearby surface from which you can then swing Sacky around, reaching higher ledges or flinging him across bigger gaps. It basically works as an extension of his arm, controlling much the same way as grabbing other objects in the last game.

Media Molecule have shown off this tool before, but I was a little surprised the first time I came across a jump pad, a platform that launched Sackboy high into the air. Sure, you could do this in the original game if you messed around with some pistons etc, but things have been simplified here into one object that does the job. At first it didn't exactly appear to be a game changing mechanic, although it does mix things up a bit.

Once both mechanics had been properly established things could get a little inventive, and I saw the Media Molecule machine shine once more. Suddenly I saw the jump pads transform in much more creative ways; springing Sackboy from side to side, bouncing him up the path and then leaving you to quickly grapple onto a surface and swing up to safety.

I only played a short level, but if Media Molecule can carry their ability to mix up standard platforming over to the rest of the campaign, along with the new level set ups that they've demoed in the past, LBP2 won't only match the last game's campaign, it'll knock it out of the park. I can't wait to try out some of the new level types that are really what LBP 2 is all about, as good as the platforming is.

Mix that with the ocean-deep level creation that's aiming to let you create whole games over levels, and Sackboy could be making a much bigger splash come November.

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