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LittleBigPlanet Review

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The Sack is back

★★★★★

As the original LittleBigPlanet gave players all the tools to build exquisite platforming challenges and share them with the world, it feels strange that a sequel is necessary at all. But in refining every aspect of LBP’s single-player experience, expanding the opportunities for group play and streamlining the tools used to create your own fun, LBP2 is one of the PS3’s deepest, most ambitious and downright important releases to date.

For those gagging to try their hand at game creation, the tools available in LBP2 are more logical and user-friendly than before, with easy-to-follow tutorials that lead you through every aspect of level design and work hard to boost your game-building confidence. The ability to add voice-overs and cut-scenes with ease also allows players to make slick, professional challenges that can be shared with other players at the touch of a button. But what’s most impressive is the coherence and flexibility of the creative tools: they give players the opportunity to ape almost any style of game as long as they’re canny and imaginative.

Even if you don’t have the patience to master the creative side of the game, LBP2 is still essential. It offers a charming single-player romp, with a huge variety of luscious levels that all feel unique and engaging, and old-school 2D action that delivers the best platform-hopping this side of a Mario game. And even when you’ve gorged yourself on the game and cracked all the single-player levels, LBP2 offers a new selection of head-to-head battles that can be enjoyed with multiple players, and an endless parade of user-generated content online that will expand the experience for months and years to come.

The woolly hero’s drifting jumps, which still feel a little ‘floaty’ compared to other established platformers, lets down an otherwise perfect package, as do the single-player end-of-level bosses that don’t match the ingenuity and complexity of the levels themselves. But considering the wealth of platforming joys Sackboy’s latest adventure offers, only the most surly curmudgeon would deny LBP2 that elusive fifth star.

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