It's About Time :: Little Big Planet

It's About Time! :: Reviews by a Stranger of Sorts

With a review of...

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Little Big Planet

It's befitting that I start these It's About Time! reviews with a game that I worshipped for months but I feel it has been completely misrepresented to the majority of people. Little Big Planet was set up to be the flagship game for the PS3, much like Halo is for the Xbox 360 but was met with mediocre sales despite overwhelming positive reviews. It was developed on a budget of only 1 million pounds (mere pocket money) by Media Molecule, a small company based above a bathroom warehouse in Surrey.

Little Big Planet falls under the genre of "puzzle platformer" and places a strong emphasis on user generated content, the idea was that you would play through the story mode and then be inspired by the ideas you see to create your own levels for everyone else to play. Basically, you could play this game and still be playing new and interesting levels forever!

Now I'm somewhat of a Little Big Planet veteran, having gotten the Platinum Trophy for it (one of the hardest ones to get out of all games on the PS3 mind you)and continuing to play through nearly all the DLC that was released and creating dozens of levels even when the community was waning to the point that I could only expect about 20 people to play each one. So I feel I am well qualified to lecture you on the world that is Little Big Planet.

When you first play the game you pop into a sort of interactive credits/ tutorial level which is very bright and colourful but you have no idea what you are doing so just jump around everywhere. Then, who's that to guide you? Well, it's none other than the man who stole God's voice, it's Stephen Fry. Now, being an avid QI viewer I squealed with joy like a school girl meeting Justin Bieber, but on a more serious note Stephen Fry was possibly the best person they could have chosen to narrate this, his deep and terribly English voice really go well with the quirky nature of this game.

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Oh yeh!

The beginning of what can be loosely described as a story level is pretty dull to play with pretty boring scenery and easy jumping sections (for those who don't know as far as movement is concerned you can move forward, backward, left, right, jump and grab. That's it). Luckily though, it is carried a long by a wave of charm which comes from the colourful, simplistic and surprisingly good graphics, the soundtrack and Stephen Fry.

As you progress through this mode things start to change, noticeably the style of the levels as there are eight groups of levels each done by a different 'creator', ranging from a Gothic wedding to a scrapyard and even a military bunker in the Arctic. The difficulty also takes a rather sudden and dramatic turn into challenging, anyone who has played Little Big Planet will remember the infamous "wheel bit" where the level revolves and you have to do the obstacles as fast as possible, if you get stuck you die.

All of the levels in the 'story' mode can be made using the level create mode, which just shows the amount of creativity that has gone into them. The level create mode is surprisingly sophisticated, it is (with a lot of practice) possible to create almost anything you want. When you first enter the create mode you are forced to go through a huge series of tutorials which, however annoying at the time, are vital to showing you exactly what you can do with the tools you are presented with. And there are a lot of tools, dozens of materials, hundreds of decorations, loads of switched, rockets, vehicles, bungee cords... the list goes on. The create mode is relatively easy to use at first but become second nature as you spend more time in it, this helps to explain the millions of user-created levels that there are.

Granted the majority of these user-created levels are nothing special (the most played level is just an oversized skateboard going down a ramp) but some are easily better than any of the story levels. They are so creative and clever that all you can do is gasp and wonder 'How the fuck did they make that?' There are remakes of levels in other games such as Super Mario or even Dead Space, that one even made me a little scared, there are levels where your Sackperson is flung around in a twisted version of Mouse Trap. And then you get to my favourite type of levels, the ones where the user has spent hours just making it look fantastic, one example of this would be a level called Up and Away which had you using balloons to traverse various obstacles in the wonderful world of sky town.

Something that's also worth mention is the soundtrack, which is amazing in this game. It includes everything from light hearted orchestral pieces specifically made for use in Little Big Planet to indie songs like 'My Patch' by Jim Noir. Furthermore the create mode gives you full control of these, allowing you to change the volume for vocals, percussion, melody... whatever you want basically.

But what would Little Big Planet be without Sackboy? This charming little knitted humanoid is fully customisable to be pretty much anything you want. There are dozens of pre made costumes but you can also make your own by mixing these with stickers and saving the outcome. My personal favourites are Jesus and Sackzilla; and if you're stuck for ideas there are 100's of levels that are just tutorials of how to make really cool costumes, usually of people from other games and movies like The Joker and Soap MacTavish.

The multiplayer aspect of this game is also stellar, it's a mix of competition indifference and full fledged messing around as you run havoc in a world that somebody else has kindly built for you. Half the time is spend helping each other accomplish challenges that require one more person and the other half is spent 'slap jousting' where 2 players will run toward each other and see who can slap the other over first. It's truly epic.

By now you will probably have realised where I stand with this game, I absolutely love it and am sadly disappointed by its poor sales and diminishing community. It's a great example of a platformer and it's just plain fun. Everyone with a PS3 should own a copy, don't be off put by it's childish demeanour as underneath is one of the best games I have ever had the privilege of playing.

-Thanks for your time. Any comments are welcome.

I only had one single problem with Little Big Planet.

Stephen Fry never once went "BEEEEEEH!"

Still, I loved this game. It isn't the kind of game that lasts for me, but it's still a damn fun experience.

And this review was great. Top notch. Keep em' coming.

Great review and very informative.

Brilliant Review. Personally, I loved Little Big Planet, but I could never get my levels to be good enough that I was satisfied with them. I often think to myself that using the level editor would best be done with using a piece of paper first.

Still though, despite my crippling lack of creativity for the level creator, I'd still place this as the iconic ps3 exclusive that should be in anyone's collection.

Plus, 4 player local multiplayer is the best multiplayer fun I've ever had on a game.

Pretty good review, although a tad biased, but fuck it.
Personally I wasn't a fan of the game but it's nice to hear about it from the perspective of a community insider. Props, keep up the good work.

Kaedechtu:
Brilliant Review. Personally, I loved Little Big Planet, but I could never get my levels to be good enough that I was satisfied with them. I often think to myself that using the level editor would best be done with using a piece of paper first.

Still though, despite my crippling lack of creativity for the level creator, I'd still place this as the iconic ps3 exclusive that should be in anyone's collection.

Plus, 4 player local multiplayer is the best multiplayer fun I've ever had on a game.

Haha I once spent an entire 10 hours straight making a level before I was happy with it. Turned out pretty well and I think it's still rated 5 stars after a few hundred plays, all I can remember is that it was about killing yourself to get points... anyway thanks for the feedaback.

SFJ:
although a tad biased,

Just a little bit.

Stranger of Sorts:

SFJ:
although a tad biased,

Just a little bit.

Good review. Very readable, and that's about the highest compliment anyone can pay a writer (except maybe money).

On that note... I am so tired of people complaining about "biased" reviews from unpaid non-journalists. It's obnoxious. People who write reviews, editorials, columns, or articles on an internet forum for free are doing so because they have strong enough thoughts or emotions about something to subject the rest of the voluntary world to their opinions on said subject. No one is forcing people to read the articles and no one is paying the authors to write them. If you want "unbiased" opinions on things, go to the Associated Press and stay away from internet forums. Not everyone who writes a review or article in the forums is trying to become professional, most of us (as in me too) just do it for fun... so come off it.

Ranting aside... again, very good read. I shall pick this game up next month. (Second highest compliment I can pay you)

SavingPrincess:

Stranger of Sorts:

SFJ:
although a tad biased,

Just a little bit.

Good review. Very readable, and that's about the highest compliment anyone can pay a writer (except maybe money).

On that note... I am so tired of people complaining about "biased" reviews from unpaid non-journalists. It's obnoxious. People who write reviews, editorials, columns, or articles on an internet forum for free are doing so because they have strong enough thoughts or emotions about something to subject the rest of the voluntary world to their opinions on said subject. No one is forcing people to read the articles and no one is paying the authors to write them. If you want "unbiased" opinions on things, go to the Associated Press and stay away from internet forums. Not everyone who writes a review or article in the forums is trying to become professional, most of us (as in me too) just do it for fun... so come off it.

Ranting aside... again, very good read. I shall pick this game up next month. (Second highest compliment I can pay you)

I think he meant it as a joke but I assume you're referring to your Halo:CE fiasco right? The amount of 'OMG HALO RULZ' you got on that was pretty funny. I'm glad you like my review.

Stranger of Sorts:
I think he meant it as a joke but I assume you're referring to your Halo:CE fiasco right? The amount of 'OMG HALO RULZ' you got on that was pretty funny. I'm glad you like my review.

Oh lord I wish it were only that thread... I get flamed for any opinion, good or bad... I got serious flack for giving Mirror's Edge a positive review. Go figure... you can't win either way.

SavingPrincess:

Oh lord I wish it were only that thread... I get flamed for any opinion, good or bad... I got serious flack for giving Mirror's Edge a positive review. Go figure... you can't win either way.

But hey, it keeps the masses entertained. You're getting 1000's of views on each one, granted they're the Dragon ones so it's mostly pissed of people.

awesome review, LBP is just an amazing game, probably got 100 hours in it.

Korten12:
awesome review, LBP is just an amazing game, probably got 100 hours in it.

Thanks. I agree, it even managed to keep me away from Cod4 for 3 months and at the time, that was saying something.

You almost rekindled some of the love I had for this game, but, sadly, it is still gone.

I f-ing loved this game when it was released (I even have the version with the uncensored Somalian song) and I spent a disgusting amount of time in creating unique and original levels and making sure that the pacing was good and that it was bug free. But originality gets shunned in the LBP community for the sake of MGS levels or rocket rollercoaster level #umpteen.

By that fact LBP is a carbon copy of the entertainment industry: Sequels and remakes thrive while originality gets booted.

Great review!

I too, am a lover of this game, and constantly boot it up every 2 weeks or so to see what the community has come up with now. Its truely amazing some of the stuff people can create, especialy not they have released real water.

P.S. Slap jousting = win.

Nice review.

Also, Stephen Fry is awesome.

Good review, and props to getting the platinum trophy!

I remember getting this game on it's release date. I was very excited, and finished the game that very day/night. Sadly I couldn't bring myself to sit there and make a decent level, and at the time I didn't have online capability, so I couldn't play all the custom stuff. That mixed with my friends all being FPS junkies sorta stopped me playing it altogether, and so I sold it :(

P.S. I know I have been stalking your reviews, but I like them quite a lot.

irequirefood:
Good review, and props to getting the platinum trophy!

I remember getting this game on it's release date. I was very excited, and finished the game that very day/night. Sadly I couldn't bring myself to sit there and make a decent level, and at the time I didn't have online capability, so I couldn't play all the custom stuff. That mixed with my friends all being FPS junkies sorta stopped me playing it altogether, and so I sold it :(

P.S. I know I have been stalking your reviews, but I like them quite a lot.

Haha no worries, just be careful about replying on the really old ones. "Necroing" is sadly looked down upon as it bumps newer reviews down the page.

I had the initial problem of having no friends to play it with as they were all playing CoD4 at the time. Though after a while they all slowly started playing LBP and for the month or so that they did it was great fun.

I recently went on it again actually, some of the newer levels and ideas are amazing.

 

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