If you were a fan of LittleBigPlanet , you probably don’t need me to tell you about the LBP2 beta. You’ve already resolved to get it, right? So maybe this entire hands-on piece is fruitless…or maybe I can use it to brag that I played LBP2 before most. But the latter isn’t much fun because it seems a whole lot of people have participated in the public beta trial for the hotly anticipated game. Sadly, it won’t be arriving this year but that’s okay; I have every confidence that when it does arrive it’ll be widely revered and beloved. I know the beta is only a fraction of the size of the final product but even so, just sampling what’s available always makes me smile. Everything about Sackboy and his kooky environments makes me smile. The sheer level of creativity, ingenuity and imagination associated with the levels, along with the mind-numbing design tools, will leave you breathless. No joke.
Again, the tools you have at your disposal in this beta don’t comprise everything you’ll find in the final retail version but that’s okay. Just to see someone create Flower from the beta creation tools alone should be enough for you, but that’s hardly where the examples will end. It’s just incredible what Media Molecule has done: for the first time ever, they’ve given the player a kit that houses a huge number of build-it-from-scratch tools; it’s like saying, “see, this is what we used to make stuff…now you make stuff with it.” The customization is going to blow you away; that much is certain. And of course, the game’s longevity is assured due to this feature because of the LBP community, which will pump out thousands of entirely unique levels in a very short span of time. The accessibility and ease of use – i.e., the great user-friendly interface – will insure such a high number of original productions and one will quite literally be able to play forever .
However, I may have stumbled across the reason for the delay. Even though it’s a beta, it isn’t hard to find some serious glitches and flaws here and there. I’ve no doubt the developers will iron them all out in time but they’re quite noticeable; it’s widely believed that beta feedback prompted the delay. Here are just a few “for instances:” during a tower level, I died and came back…but I didn’t come back. There was no Sackboy on the screen but the camera still followed an invisible something for a little while. He never did return; I had to quit the level. Another time, all collision detection disappeared and Sackboy just kept falling and falling and falling… Then there was one massive freeze that jammed up the entire system, which crashed. But hey, it is a beta, and they are taking the necessary steps to fix the problems. This one really can’t be rushed, you know what I mean?
And besides, the foundation is definitely there. The controls, design, and again, I must reiterate – the imagination – is just so pleasant and very much appreciated. I always have to remember that with Sackboy, it’s more about jump and then direct rather than jumping while running. Once I get that through my head, I get to revel. There’s a really cool low-gravity level they’ve got running in the beta, and it’s extraordinarily well designed from start to finish. The tower level I mentioned before was also very entertaining and after grabbing all the items, I just had to try getting to the top as fast as I could (it’s really the goal). I love the look, the feel, and the customization depth. In short, despite the problems that I’m sure will disappear, LittleBigPlanet 2 looks to be downright amazing. Amazing…with a capital “A.”