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Avatar ImageLittleBigPlanet Review
By: | December 15th, 2008
Review

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LittleBigPlanet (LBP hereafter) is one of Sony’s biggest blockbuster games for the PS3. Original IP, beautiful graphics, and new ideas all packed into one package. Sounds like a sure winner? Read on to find out…

LBP is broken into two parts. The first part is basically a 2D(ish) platformer ala classic Mario. We’ll talk about this first. You control a character referred to as a Sackboy. Your particular Sackboy is not special in any way…he or she appears to be just one of many. You can also customise your Sackboy in many ways, changing the clothing and colours and facial expression and so on. The amount of customisability is impressive, but it doesn’t have any affect on gameplay. The game has you controlling your customised Sackboy on a 2D plane, in an environment rendered in 3D, generally travelling eternally towards the right.

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This is where the first problem comes in….If they wanted to make a 2D game, that is fine. That is great. I love 2D! I wish there was more 2D games out there! But LBP is not really 2D. There are actually 3 different 2D planes that your character can occupy, foreground, middle ground, and background. You can switch between them manually by pushing up and down on the analogue stick, or sometimes the game will decide to change automatically for you if the choice is obvious.

I really hate this triple plane mechanic. I was constantly changing planes accidentally, never knowing which plane I should be on, falling to my doom if I changed planes on a bridge that only occupied one plane. It becomes even worse when you have multi player; it’s just too confusing. Your always getting stuck behind objects, falling into pits you thought weren’t a hazard. Mario only had one plane, Mario worked fine. Why can’t they just have one plane? Eventually I got used to the triple planes…but I never liked them. They always remained annoying.

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One thing I never got used to, and is a potential game breaker, are the controls. For a platformer that relies on accurate timing and precise jumps, the controls are very unresponsive. Your character feels sluggish, doesn’t really jump how you expect him to jump. It just feels wrong. Another thing that only adds to the control problems are the physics. I’m not sure what they were trying to do with it; is it suppose to be realistic? It doesn’t feel realistic. The speed at which objects move around seems wrong, and the forces at work feel exaggerated. It becomes extremely difficult and frustrating to predict how far a jump will take you. Really, for me, the controls and physics ruined this game.

The second part of this game, is of course the tool set provided to create your own levels. The tools are quite good, and very powerful. I can’t really fault this part of the game, except that it’s not really a “game”. I never really got into the whole level creation thing. Just not my thing. But if you enjoy it, you’ll probably have a great time with LBP.

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The whole thing is online, so you can play multiplayer (up 4 people) and download other people’s levels which they have created. Multiplayer worked well, and most levels have parts especially designed for 2 or more players. The user created levels are well…not very good. At least none of the ones I played. The vast majority are quick achievement earning levels. There are also many stories of Sony’s heavy handed moderation, removing levels left and right with no notice. Perhaps in time, some brilliant user created levels will appear, but this is only a hope.

At the end of the day, I cannot honestly recommend LBP. It looked great on paper; a fresh presentation and beautiful graphics, plus a feature packed level creator. I was really looking forward to this game, I was very excited. But, unfortunately, the gameplay doesn’t make the cut.

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Rating Category
9.5 Presentation
Looks gorgeous, can't fault the graphics. Only complaint is load times are a bit long.
How does our scoring system work?
6.0 Gameplay
Problems with controls and game mechanics. Really let this game down.
9.0 Sound
Some nice tunes and overall all aspects well done.
4.0 Longevity
No point playing a game that doesn't stay fun for long.
7.0 Overall
Lots of potential, but unfortunately a let down.

  1. You are almost completely wrong on all accounts, in my opinion. You failed to mention how wonderful and charming the story mode is and the amazing opening sequence. If you did not find any good user made levels, then you clearly didn’t look hard enough, with the first four or five levels I tried, I loved at least half of them. Of course you have to avoid the obvious trophy hoarding levels. To say that this game has no lastablility is to say that a PC game will have no mods worth going back to. I can agree with the frustrating three plane mechanic, but after the first few levels I had no problem with it, same with the floaty jumps. I feel that Littlebigplanet is one of the best games on the PS3 and cannot understand why you feel that way.

  2. Look beautiful from what I can see, but it don’t matter to me, I’ll never buy it anyways. Sold my PS3. :(

  3. I have to agree wholeheartedly with David on this one. LittleBigPlanet is one of the best games to come out this year, and all these little complaints are nowhere near bringing the score down to a 7! If Rez HD can get a 10 no way in hell does LBP deserve a 7.

  4. Thanks David and Josh, I thought I was losing my mind for a second there. This game is amazing, its the PS3′s game of the year, and by no means should it be docked down to a 7. Especially when put up with Rez HD. LittleBigPlanet is a refreshing new taste of game. You control everything, you become the developer, and your lack of understanding of the 3 dimensions shouldnt lower its score, but give you an appreciation for all the game developers out there that do this to all games to make them amazing. No offense, but maybe LBP is too complex for you.

  5. I thought this review might receive a few criticisms :) Let me make some things clear…
    1. I am not comparing LBP to Rez. It stands on its own. The only mental comparison I might have made is Super Mario World, which LBP is obviously inspired by.
    2. The game failed to entertain me for the full course of its length. That is the reason for the low(ish) score.

  6. I wasn’t saying you were comparing it to Rez I was simply stating the terrible score difference.

  7. I have to agree with everyone hazmatic, while yes it’s a opinion, it has to be very reasonable, which it is, but there are facts that bring this game to a great game.

  8. It’s funny that every comment thus far has been from staff. Anyways…

    This is the guy’s opinion, so he can only relate it to what his experiences have been thus far.

    Also, this is one of the reasons we need editing.

  9. And from on now we shall indeed get everything edited.

  10. I am simply stating my differences in the review score, if thats the way hazamatic feels about the game thats his opinion. The review is well written I just completely disagree with his opinion.

  11. avatar nobody...

    I dont really know much i havent played it but my hopes are high, regardless of this review

  12. Lets take this to the forums shall we? The comments section is a little cumbersome. I’ve created a new thread in the PS3 section :)

  13. You’re all missing a point aren’t you?You didn’t review it he did, he as the right to state his own opinion.I myself think LBP is pretty awsome, but 7 is what I respect from the author.

  14. avatar Boo Radley

    You make some strange points here…

    “The amount of customisability is impressive, but it doesn’t have any affect on gameplay.”
    Umm… yeah, so? The point is to express yourself and/or customize your character to match the theme of the levels…

    “falling to my doom if I changed planes on a bridge that only occupied one plane”
    … I’ve never really seen this happen – the game will change planes for you if you are about to do something dangerous (like jumping off a cliff) that is avoidable…

    “Really, for me, the controls and physics ruined this game.”
    Really? I thought the physics were dead on.. And as for the controls – I guess you mean the jumping… It’s just physics based too and took me (and the majority or gamers) all of a few minutes to get used to…

    I do agree that it’s hard to find the good levels – and if you’ve made a good level hard to get your level played. I visit some of the review forums websites and look at levels that friends have hearted or even levels that people have hearted who’ve made decent levels. It easier to find good levels this way – the “Cool Levels” planet doesn’t cut it…

    “the gameplay doesn’t make the cut.”
    It’s a funny statement about one of the most original games this season… but I guess it’s not for everyone…

    The tone of the review sounds like you went into it with a negative opinion…

  15. avatar @ boo radley

    you have it right on the spot mate!!!

  16. avatar Renai Kakume

    Wow it doesn’t stay fun for long? Seriously? Building old school lvls like mario, King Kong, Castlevania ect. as well as actual games such as Final Fantasy, Assassins Creed, and Mirror’s Edge, and dont forget about movies such as Batman, and others…you need to look beyond “BEYOND” the small things like the “jump button” bro

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