Reviews

LittleBigPlanet 3 – Review

The original LittleBigPlanet was one of those rare gems that immediately became an instant classic the moment it hit the shelves. With a unique charm all of its own, it took the familiar concept of classic platforming and turned it on its head by offering a simple, yet intuitive, in-game level creator that opened the floodgates to a virtual endless supply of new user-generated content. Since LBP‘s initial launch on the PS3, it has spawned numerous sequels, ports and spinoff titles spanning a range of formats and over 9 million user-generated levels (yes – over 9 million). Now, finally, for the first time, Little Big Planet is here on the next-gen PS4 system.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, LittleBigPlanet is a side scrolling, pseudo 3d/2d, platformer with a puzzle focussed gameplay. The main story campaign is generally composed of levels that challenge you to guide, jump and avoid obstacles in order to deliver your character to the finish line. The series traditionally stars a lovable stuffed creature named Sackboy and it emphasizes user generated content, both in the customization of characters and in the creation of levels and items using the built in creation tools.

The first thing you’ll notice when booting up (besides a rather lengthy update download) is that it’s very much like the first two titles. One of the reasons I wasn’t as big a fan of LittleBigPlanet 2 was that it seemed too similar to the original without bringing any truly groundbreaking new content to the table. Sure, you got rocket packs and some other interesting abilities, and there was a new emphasis to online co-op play, but it was basically at its core the same game with a less appealing story mode. And there’s some of that sameness going on in LittleBigPlanet 3. Even with three new controllable characters, Toggle, OddSock and Swoop and the use of new equipment like a wind gun and a teleportation device, it still feels like more of the same when it boils down to it.

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I don’t really know what I was expecting (that’s not my department), I just know that when I played this third installment, I didn’t experience the same sense of explosive wonderment that I had when I first played the original. I totally agree with the “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” mentality, and while this is certainly as good as the series has ever been, there’s just room for more and I feel like it didn’t meet its own potential. Basically, whether all you’re looking for is more of the same great gameplay you’ve already come to love, or if you’re completely new to the series, you really don’t need to know more – you won’t be disappointed, it’s a solid and fun platformer. I guess I was just personally hoping for some more inventive risk taking from the same franchise that first made an icon out of a stitched, fabric sackboy.

As you probably expected, the graphics on the PS4 are crisper, sharper and brighter than they’ve ever been in LittleBigPlanet. While it’s not as obvious a leap forward as when Mario first went HD, Sackboy is now being presented for the first time (at least on the PS4) in full 1080p resolution. It looks good, and you’ll be certain to notice a difference in any side-by-side comparison; but to be completely honest, I can’t help but feel somewhat underwhelmed by what might have been a beautiful showcase of the PS4’s capabilities. I realize that LBP isn’t a series that’s recognized for its graphical prowess, instead preferring a more innocent and simplistic approach. I just assumed a first party brand exclusive title making a debut on a new console would have more bells and whistles… but maybe that’s just me. As it is, the graphics look nicer than they ever have, but there are definitely better looking PS4 titles out there. I can’t help but wonder if the graphics were intentionally watered down in order to facilitate the game’s tandem PS3 release.

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Okay now that I’ve gotten all that bad news out of the way, I want to stress that there is still plenty to love about LittleBigPlanet 3. Actually, there are more than 9 million things to love about LittleBigPlanet 3. All off the previous player-created levels from LBP and LBP2 are fully available from the moment you start the game, and there is always new content being added. By now there’s a level inspired by just about anything you can imagine; in fact, the last one I played was an authentic recreation of the ill-fated Titanic, and it was amazing.

The same quality of brilliant music and bursting-at-seams creative level design is back and up to the par of excellence expected from the series. But most importantly, the same simplistic and approachable gameplay is still intact. In what is essentially Sony’s answer to Nintendo’s favorite mustached plumber, LittleBigPlanet 3 has a simple enough control scheme that allows even the non-gamers of the house to join in for cooperative play. Which brings me to my most favorite aspect and the real reason LittleBigPlanet remains an enduring title in my videogame library: It’s a game that I can enjoy playing with my girlfriend, something that’s in a very short supply on the PS4.

There’s loads more stuff that I need to explore before I can confidently give you guys a solid ranking for this ever-expanding title. I haven’t even scratched the surface of what sort of new tools are available in the level generator and I really want to spend more time utilizing each of the three newly playable characters before giving you my full impression. But as a first taste review, I would have to say that my feelings towards LBP3 are similar to the feelings I first felt when playing LBP2. It’s a great game that’s only real flaw is that it fails to impress with groundbreaking innovation as much as the original.

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I’d easily recommend this to anyone new to the series who isn’t already coming in with preconceived expectations. I would also recommend LBP3 to anyone who loved the first title and enjoyed the second game despite the criticisms I’ve mentioned here. My only real reluctance is in recommending LBP3 to someone who, like me, fell in love with the first game only to be let down by the second one because it failed to match the first’s achievement. LBP3 is a great game, but to me, it still feels like an echo of a classic.

LittleBigPlanet 3 is a worthy successor to the LBP series and a solid continuation of what made the first and second games such a hit with critics and gamers alike. But even with its new content, including three unique and playable characters, new story missions and updated 1080p graphics, I was left underwhelmed and wishing for more innovation. It’s a great game, but it failed to meet my tremendous expectations first generated from the wildly entertaining and innovative original.

Stefan started gaming the day his dad brought home a shiny, brand new commodore 64. He's been hooked ever since. Whether he's leveling up his ninja in Final Fantasy Tactics, cruising the streets of San Andreas or working on his Terran build order, videogames are never far from his mind. He is currently on the lookout for an appropriate 12 step program to address his electronic addiction.
Reviews

LittleBigPlanet Review

Little Big Planet started as a novel new game idea of two former Lionhead Studios game developers. They wanted to create a 2d console game that had multiplayer and predominately featured player made content (something that is almost unheard of in the console world). A meeting with Sony

Little Big Planet is not about flashy explosions, spectacular lighting and the most realistic graphics. Instead it is a 2d platformer that uses the PS3 hardware to create very detailed environments filled with cartoonish characters and Sackboys. The levels themselves are presented in pseudo 3d. Most objects that you can interact with, like boxes, rocks, etc are 3d models that have been placed on the 2d plane. The levels also have 3 different playable planes that your Sackboy can move around on.


One of the key features of Little Big Planet is the ability for any player to be able to pick up the game and within literally minutes they can learn how to create their own levels. For this reason there are a bunch of different themes to the levels and a player shouldn

The first thing you will notice about Little Big Planet is that the developers took the game

If any criticism can be given to Little Big Planet it will be for the game

On its own Little Big Planet is a very fun 2d platformer with enough humor and charm thrown into its 20 main storyline levels to be a good game. What drives it over simply being a good game and turns it into an incredible game is the fact that Little Big Planet will continue to grow and become even better once all of the player made content and levels start popping up.


As of the end of the game’s beta period there were already a host of unique and fun player made levels. One of the most memorable is a level designed to simulate God of War. The creator of the level had everything necessary to make anyone familiar with God of War instantly recognize the level’s inspiration. There were chests to open with green orbs, huge doors to lift and the Omega symbol was displayed on a lot of the background.


Another player had created a Shadow of the Colossus level that tried to recreate one of the colossus battles. Still another player created a pretty convincing Metal Gear level. Keep in mid that these levels were all created within the limited time that the beta was released and you will be able to see that Little Big Planet truly has a lot of gameplay to offer. It

Little Big Planet is the very definition of replayability. The user created content is going to give this game legs like no other console game has had in the past. I fully expect to see thousands of quality user made levels two or three years down the road. In essence Media Molecule has created a game where you can play an entirely new level every day for as long as the game

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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