With all of the hype surrounding Media Molecule's LittleBigPlanet 2, it might seem difficult to know if Sackboy's sophomore effort will be able to distinguish itself from its predecessor. Slated to be released next week, it is one of the PlayStation 3's most anticipated games of the year. Will it meet expectations, or create an expansive, creative canvas on which players can doodle their dreams?

Sackboy, the iconic, charismatic lead of the series, is returning for another 30 levels of childish entertainment. In this outing, Negativitron, a monstrous creature, is noming on cities around Craftworld, and it's Sackboy's job to save the world from utter destruction. Though one can expect the campaign to be emotionally uninvolved and absent, it will likely be a charming and enjoyable ride.

Akin to traditional, Mario-esque platformers, the gameplay is simple yet exquisite. Played in three planes (the foreground, middle, and background), players attempt to reach the end-objective, avoiding the many obstacles along the way. The game does allow for local and online cooperative play, though rushing ahead can sometimes become an issue when playing with multiple Sackboys.

Media Molecule's main goal in creating a sequel to LittleBigPlanet was to allow for players to expand creatively. This is particularly evident in the revamped tools of the game's multiplayer mode, giving players a wide variety of new content to use. According to the popular developer, LittleBigPlanet 2 features a game creator, not a level creator. Including a bunch of new tutorials, it will allow new players to jump into an intuitive environment while also providing hardcore players with a one-stop resource for tips on advanced platforming.

The game also boasts robust immersion tools, allowing players to create custom music and cutscenes. Switches and modifiers, notorious in the first installment for their difficult placement interface, have large cone-shaped indicators that give players a definite indication so that players can make connections. There is a cutscene camera that allows users to write up stories, accented by the new ability to add voiceovers via microphones. LBP 2 also features a music sequencer so that players can create catchy tunes to go with their levels.

LBP.me, the portal for all Sackboy-related content, gives players the ability to find the most popular levels in a convenient, intuitive, and charming environment. It appears as if the experience can be as casual or immersive as you want it to be – one of LittleBigPlanet's strengths.

Are you excited for the Sackboy's sophomore effort? Will it be one of the best PlayStation 3 titles of the year? Let us know in the comments below.