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Has LittleBigPlanet lived up to its promises?

Brandon Erickson's picture
LittleBigPlanet

Having received LittleBigPlanet as a Christmas gift from my dad, I've finally been able to experience the game that many have been touting as the first must-own PS3 title. Now that I've sunk a significant amount of time into Media Molecule's little opus, I thought I'd share some of my impressions.

First and foremost, LittleBigPlanet is a thoroughly charming, feel-good game. It's almost impossible not feel at least somewhat upbeat while jumping around with the cute sack people. The snappy soundtrack, the funny expressions of the sack folk, the playful toy box-style aesthetic, the humorous tutorials, everything comes together to form a remarkably charming package.

The controls leave something to be desired. One of main things I was looking forward to about LittleBigPlanet was playing it with my wife. Unfortunately, she frequently got frustrated (justifiably I believe) with the loose controls, and was often left feeling like it wasn't her fault when her character missed a jump or popped into the wrong plane of depth. The controls need to be tighter and more responsive. Of all the emotions people should have while playing LittleBigPlanet, frustration isn't one of them.

Seeing all the cool levels that other people have created has been the most fascinating aspect of LittleBigPlanet. There's a lot of junk out there, but there's also some excellent stuff at the top of the pile, including a level titled "Sack and the Bean Stalk" and a surprisingly good rendition of ICO. The creation tools seem quite robust to the point where I feel a bit overwhelmed by all the options. Still, it'd be nice to have more freedom with the camera placement, so that the levels wouldn't all have to be stuck in 2D side-scrolling territory.

While I think LittleBigPlanet may have been over-hyped in certain gaming circles, I think it's a very solid game that largely delivers on what it promised in terms of being a vehicle for fun user-generated content. I sincerely hope that the game continues to thrive for a long time to come, and I feel pretty confident that it can, provided that the developers continue to support it with new art assets, features and options. The ultimate importance of LittleBigPlanet remains to be seen, and much will depend on how well it can be sustained by the creativity of its users. So far, I'd say things are off to a promising start.

Category Tags
Platform(s): PS3  
Developer(s): Media Molecule  
Series: LittleBigPlanet  

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LBP deserves a chance...

Only the execs at Sony will really know why LittleBigPlanet got that huge push going into a very crowded holiday release season.

Were they chasing the hardcore gamers who are dying to create levels and games for themselves?

Were they chasing casuals gamers who are dying to create levels and games for themselves?

Did they listen too closely to the early hype from the enthusiast press?

Who knows? Whatever their reason though, releasing LBP at the end of October 2008 was a dumb move. An original IP that can't be marketed clearly to either hardcore or casual gamers is not something you put up against Gears of War 2 and Fable 2.

Luckily, LBP managed to move about 600K in the United States. (I'm not sure about the rest of the world.) So it did respectably. It is really up to Sony now. Does it release DLC ala Burnout Paradise?

And does it release a patch to impliment better controls? This would be particularly dicey given that some users have expressed appreciation for the controls (jumping and moving into and out of the background). If they did impliment change it would have to come with an on/off toggle so that the older levels built around the old controls would still be navigable.

I hope Sony gets it right. LBP is not for me given its shortcomings, but I root for it nonetheless.

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