LittleBigPlanet Review: A Planet Just Like Any Other

LittleBigPlanet was heralded as one of the must-have games of the year for 2008 from SCEA and developers Media Molecule. LittleBigPlanet manages to fuse the imagination of the mind and take it to a whole other level in a little, but rather big planet that makes for something truly unique and innovative essentially. The primary gameplay itself is stunning, but like every planet, there are good and bad parts regardless. Even though LittleBigPlanet reaches out to some people, there are a variety of factors that make it for a great experience in the final picture despite being lackluster at some points.

Starting up the game, the primary Story mode is key. The initial levels have your Sackboy running through and through to tutorials to help the rest of the game. As you do this, the controls are introduced in their simplistic form: The X button to jump, R1 to grabs objects, and directional keys for emotions. Jetpack controls are the same thing, but with shaking to remove them. The editor controls are key in the open-level create mode, but we won’t go over those here. You all can find that out for yourself when you have fun with it if you choose to.

The initial levels are simple and are just like the beta. The progression of each of the levels is unique. The art direction takes old assets or new ones, and mixes them up every time. The jungles let you explore the cardboard wilderness and the Metropolis stages make you traverse through sewers, skip between cars and race. Wild West levels are also an addition. Anyone can see what the game constantly strives for: variety and pleasure.

Prize bubbles are the key and only source for unlockable content, which is literally everywhere in the game. Clothing, items, fashion styles, they are all there. As you unlock prize bubbles, new challenges are also unlocked. These challenges are mini-levels that are aimed for a great time like every level. One level has you fighting a boss that has 2 latchkeys throwing fireballs down while you try to bounce them back. Other stages, jump through electrical plates, and all of the stuff to make Indiana Jones special.

The online concept is essentially the same as users play in their own dream world that makes up LittleBigPlanet. Anyone can create a massive level, and the amount of levels they create are garnered by their “create tokens.” Every user can get certain tokens from: Share, Play, and Create and you all get points that guarantee your place in the LittleBigPlanet community. Play more, get the recognition you deserve. Share more; get the deserving increase in levels to award you for all that.

There are some of the things that have come to light in terms of the problems that came out of LittleBigPlanet amidst all the creation and imagination: the imagination of the lackluster controls. The controls are primarily a problem in terms of the physic acceleration. Your Sackboy has to sometimes jump or compete in hard levels that play off of the rate at which Sackboy can jump or run. There is a great difficulty here as it seems Media Molecule wanted to fuse the lack of control response into levels, rather than making a vast majority of levels acceptable in terms of the controls. Kind of like a developer taking their own flaw in a game and using it to a weak gameplay mechanic.

Another big problem with LittleBigPlanet arises with the gameplay itself in terms of PLAY and finally SHARE within the bounds of various discontinuous level schemes.  It is fun, and you can explore an infinite amount of levels while being extremely creative with things, but the storyline gets a hard disapproval from us. There is no real storyline other than the revolving factor of gameplay for online for the sake of online or cooperative play. It is clear that it strongly adds to the mission of cooperative play, but it really sacrifices other components from the other modes of play aside from the numerous graphical glitches that come not only from user-created levels, but general stock graphics as well. Finally, the aspect of levels is a confusing one: they are not linked. Players have to endlessly shift between “Part 1” of a specific level into “Part 2” and “Part 3” with “Part 4,” and you all get the visualization. There needs to be a workflow fluidity for LittleBigPlanet to succeed, and unfortunately it lacks the creative front-end to coalesce various levels from the same creator into one big creation or dream-world.

For everything LittleBigPlanet does, it is most definitely not the sole game or best reason to buy a PlayStation 3. What LittleBigPlanet does manage to do is take the impending daydreams of every person and fuse it into a title worthy of compare to a technological and innovative feat on its own, albeit the problems. There are definitely many problems in LittleBigPlanet that prevent it from being a must-buy game and edge towards a good “borrow” from a friend for a few weeks. LittleBigPlanet is the very example of a game for someone who is in love with the main concept and is a platformer nut. For others, not so much. Eventually the daily consumer will get extremely bored of seeing newer levels pop up and out constantly and the only real partition they have to grasp is hopping and skipping through it in a simplistic gameplay style that is riddled with some problems, and eventually skipping on over in the real world platformer to return their rental of a game that could have achieved so much more.

I'm all about one thing: reviews that are easy to understand and make sense of.

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