LittleBigPlanet 2 is the evolution of what Sony calls its "play, create, share" strategy. It provides more gadgets. It allows for the creation of musical scores and cinematic cut scenes. And it broadens the range of gameplay, letting you build, say, a racing game or a shooter.
Because it's so ambitious, LBP2 is somewhat difficult to evaluate. Its full impact won't be seen until players get their hands on it and start posting their levels to the PlayStation Network. But the elements are first-rate, and easy enough to use that we were able to create a serviceable (if not terribly entertaining) jumping game in just a few hours.
Granted, not every gamer aspires to being a designer. If you're the type of player who just wants to, well, play, LBP2 includes more than 40 professionally built levels. Sackboy, the adorable chunk of fabric from the original, returns to save Craftworld from a giant vacuum cleaner called the Negativitron. No, it's not much of a story, but it sets the foundation for a journey that mixes and matches art styles, from handmade to high-tech.
Most endearing are the computer-controlled Sackbots, who are sometimes helpful, sometimes in need of rescue. There's also a menagerie of animals you can "drive," such as a high-flying bee and a rocket-firing camel.
RATING E for Everyone
PLOT Take 2 of the puzzle-platforming game
DETAILS PlayStation 3, $60
BOTTOM LINE Brave new LittleBigPlanet