Go away 2010. You were rubbish. It’s now all about 2011, and the games we can’t wait to play. That’s why throughout the first couple of weeks of January I’m going to be going through some of the games I’m most looking forward to in the coming year. Today's focus is on Media Molecule's LittleBigPlanet 2.
LittleBigPlanet 2 The original LittleBigPlanet reviewed like an absolute beast, but in hindsight we can't help but wonder if its promise of a magical user-generated wonderland of content ended up being a little undercooked in the end.
Media Molecule barely put a foot wrong with the game itself - the toolset was remarkably innovative, and I for one absolutely loved the MM created levels - but had the game launched with a more user friendly, sensible way to find quality user-generated content, it could have been the genuine game changer we hoped it would be. LittleBigPlanet maintained a tight-knit, brilliantly creative community over the last couple of years, but that community might have been broader had Media Molecule launched the game with a more functional way to share content.
Somehow, I don't think they'll make the same mistake twice.
With LittleBigPlanet 2, on the community front, Media Molecule has wisely invested in a brand new website that allows players to monitor the progress of their own levels, and also seek out other people's creations in an incredibly effective manner. In addition to an updated in-game series of search tools that takes note of everything Media Molecule has learned from the original, we reckon this new website will transform the way the LBP community do business, whilst simultaneously helping new users find their feet.
But the real story comes from the massively improved 'create' tools themselves. Media Molecule have torn the proverbial roof off, and the sky is, quite literally, the limit. The beta has shown what the new tools are capable of, with clever reworkings of games like Flower and Wolfenstein 3D, but we're hoping for genuinely new, fresh experiences from LBP 2 - ones that work to the games strengths and push the boundaries of the new tools in ways we couldn't possibly expect.
But at the heart of it, minus all the user-generated apirations, LittleBigPlanet 2 is quite simply a brilliantly crafted platformer, with a dazzling art-style and a plethora of well-crafted, incredibly charming levels. Playing the game over the weekend with some family and a handful of friends, I had almost forgotten the fun that can be derived from the physics driven gameplay of LittleBigPlanet. When you get four players jostling for space, throwing each other into the abyss, trying to solve problems co-operatively without killing one another, you can't supress the smiles.
In short: you can't not fall in love with LittleBigPlanet 2 - it's unpossible.