What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that LittleBigPlanet 2 is both a platform-jumping adventure games (with over 40 levels of its own) and a massive create-your-own video game machine. The built-in game features some cartoony violence, but nothing more worrisome than that. The creative mode is so open and so vast, though, that seemingly anything is possible. What your child does with his or her created worlds depends on his or her imagination. The same can be said of the millions of other users out there who upload their created levels to the game's main server. The amount of variety and ingenuity seen in those created games can be inspirational and exciting. However, there's always the possibility of something off-color slipping past the monitors -- especially since users can records their own voiceovers and slip their own photo snapshots into their games.
What's it about?
The plot behind the story mode of LITTLEBIGPLANET 2 features a destructive force called the Negativitron, which is sucking the fun, color, and life out of Craft World. The hero, Sackboy (who can be turned into a Sackgirl), gets trained by Craft World's "creators" to wage battle against the forces of the Negativitron. But the story mode's 40+ levels are only a small portion of LittleBigPlanet 2. You can also create your own game levels from scratch -- adding every piece of scenery, every character, every obstacle, every sound, and so on. You can even compose your own music for the game! And you can string your levels together to make a full game. Created games can be shared online, and you can download literally millions of other people's created games. It's near-endless entertainment from one small disc.
Is it any good?
It's hard to believe that any video game has ever featured a more vast and detailed creation mode than LittleBigPlanet 2. The depth and scope of what you can do with this game is startling. When creating your own multi-level video game, you can even film animated cinematic scenes to add story arcs to it all. You can control the facial expressions on the faces of your custom-styled characters. It's all truly remarkable. And, thankfully, there are scores of tutorials to help you through it all. All that raving about the creation mode is not meant to discount the story mode either. The plot itself may be meager, but playing through that story provides hours and hours of wonderfully entertaining, challenging, and unique action. Fans of the original LittleBigPlanet will certainly appreciate the new moves, tools, and creation pieces in this equally stellar sequel, but newcomers should have no fear of diving right in, either.
Online interaction: There is a huge online community associated with this game (and its prequel), which revolves around the sharing of user-created game levels (and this time around, full games). While the community is closely monitored, you can never be sure of exactly what you'll see or hear in a user-created game, especially since you can now add your own recorded voiceovers and your own personal photographs into the game. Live voice chat is also an option during online multiplayer games.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about the game-creation process offered by LBP2. What kinds of games would you like to create? Why do you choose the elements that you do? Building a game can take many hours to do: How much time and effort are kids willing to put into such an endeavor? How much is wise to put in?
The game also offers a good opportunity for parents to talk to their kids about proper behavior in an online community (and what to do if they encounter improper behavior on the part of others).