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13th Apr 2009 | 1,153 views
LittleBigPlanet. You're on this site, so you've heard of it. One of the most hyped PS3 games in history. Does it live up to the hype?
Hell, yes. While it may not have grand and epic adventures on a massive scale, what it attempts, it succeeds at. And that's difficult when your premise is a doll moving left and right, and jumping on things.
That's a very shallow summary of LBP, of course. Though for the most part, while playing a level, you will be using the Left Analog Stick to move, X to Jump and R1 to grab onto fabric or pull levers. It's amazing how, with just three inputs, you can have a game so incredibly deep.
The 40+ level campaign will have you running, skateboarding, driving, and even flying a hot air balloon, amongst other things. You will save a wedding, stop a thief, rescue an old man, and even save LittleBigPlanet itself. The campaign is split into several different areas, each with its own "creator", beginning with The Gardens, and ending with The Temples. Each of these areas is placed on the map (The Gardens is in Europe, The Savannah in Africa, The Temples in India, etc.), and has a different atmosphere and background.
You can play the campaign levels, and indeed, every level in LittleBigPlanet, with 1-4 players, any combination of local multiplayer and online multiplayer. Although it's fun when you're alone, it's a blast with a friend sitting next to you.
The first thing a person thinks when they see LittleBigPlanet (just the cover, even) is along the lines of "Haha, what the hell is this, a game for five year olds?". I tell them to just give it a chance, and they grudgingly agree. It may take them a while to admit this, but they love it. They all do. It's just irresistably enjoyable, even if it's not overly complicated. It shows that simplicity can be used to great effect.
It's actually pretty violent for a game for 5 year olds. You can be killed on spikes, burned, dissolved, electrocuted and squashed. Fun :-D
While Media Molecule's 40 or so levels will keep you busy for several hours - especially if you are aiming to get a high bubble count and collect many objects, stickers and decorations (I'll get to those later) - the majority of your gameplay time will be with the community levels.
Anybody with a PS3 and LittleBigPlanet (and a TV and a controller and electricity, but you know what I mean ;-)) can create a level, and if you have an internet connection (if you don't, how the hell are you reading this?) you can publish these levels online for all 2 million + people who own LittleBigPlanet to play. Once they have played your level, they rate it out of five, and choose a word to describe it: anywhere from "Speedy" to "Braaaaaaaains" to "Multi-Path" to "Annoying" and everything in between. They can also heart it, which achieves something, apparently. I haven't found a way to go back to a level you have hearted quickly, but maybe I'm just being dim.
Levels are not easy to create, I'll be honest. I've tried a couple of times, and gone back to playing, I think I should give it another chance at some point. I'm sure some people find it to be a breeze. But to create a decent level, you'll need to plan first. I'm the wrong person to ask about that, so I'll focus on the "Play" and "Share" parts of the game (The game's tagline is Play, Create, Share, as you probably know).
Now, some of the community levels are terrible, but some are amazing, as good as the ones made by the developers themselves. Little Dead Space is one of my favourites. Unfortunately, the moderators delete anything which violates copyright, so you can base it on a game, but don't make it too similar.
You might think that a 2D game would look quite bad, but LittleBigPlanet does not. Actually, it looks fantastic. All of the characters are in 3D, everything has a proper shadow, the backgrounds are clear and well textured, and despite the fact that half the stuff is drawn on, the graphics are still excellent. In fact, it just adds to the charm of LittleBigPlanet.
It's not technically 2D, anyway. There are three "planes", back, middle and front, which contain different objects, or nothing at all. Most of the time, while jumping, the game will change planes for you, but very occasionally, perhaps once in a thousand times, it won't, and you will die. You can change manually by pressing up or down on the Left Analog Stick.
The controls aren't overly accurate, and this is the main problem with the game. They are not unusable, but they take some getting used to, and even after that, they are still quite difficult at times.
Each time you reach a checkpoint, you get four lives (these are shared between all players). Lose those four lives, you have to restart the level. However, all of your previous lives are ignored. Let me explain.
You have five lives, and die once. You now have four lives and restart at the checkpoint. If you reach the next checkpoint, you have five lives again. You can lose four of them, have 1 life left, and go back to the last checkpoint and ring it, and have three lives. The checkpoint where you lost four lives, however, can now not be activated. It sounds complicated, but it's very simple.
Going back to the "Presentation" aspects, the soundtrack is excellent. It is all licensed, none is made by Media Molecule, but there are many songs, all of which are really great, from Mexican soft rock to classical music, each one fitting the setting.
The only voice acting is done by the narrator and tutorial-giver, Stephen Fry. Stephen Fry is awesome. His voice is awesome, and his jokes are awesome. The sound effects are realistic, getting burned sounds like getting burned, same with getting squashed and electrocuted. They are also adorable. You'll have to listen to them to see what I mean.
There is no story to speak of, but there isn't much to make a story of.
All in all, LittleBigPlanet is a fantastic game, one of the best this generation. I would call it the second best game of 2008, behind only Metal Gear Solid 4. It is undeniably cute, extremely simple, and a lot of fun to play. It may not be the deepest game in the world, but that just goes to show that complicated is not always good.
polo2014 posted 14/03/2014, 04:10
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