Saturday, January 29, 2011

Review: Little Big Planet - The Definition of 'Next Generation Platforming'

* Title: Little Big Planet *
* Platform: PlayStation 3 *
* Release Date: October 28, 2008 *
* Developer: Media Molecule *
* Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment *
* My Rating: 10. Flawless *

   Little Big Planet is one of those games that will be very hard to give an all-inclusive review on. There is so much to it, that I cannot possibly hope to touch on everything I would like to mention. To start, let me say that the game is awesome from beginning to its non-existent end.
   The whole experience is only summed correctly by the tagline that has become associated with Little Big Planet: 'Play. Create. Share.' While the core gameplay in Little Big Planet is classic platformer, there is so much more going on. Much of the story mode of Little Big Planet is based on going through the game's fifty or so levels and collecting different objects for use in decorating both the game and your sack-person. The action is frantically fun, as you will navigate the 2.5D levels by running, jumping, swinging, and driving either by yourself or cooperatively with up to four total players. In addition to all of the objects you collect throughout the levels, you also are rewarded for things like finishing a level and making it through a level without dying. The collecting and decorating alone is enough to keep you coming back well past completion of the last level. Further, there are many side activities, mostly meant to be competitions, that you unlock throughout the course of the story mode. Really, the only way to sum it up is to call it amazing and watch a million trailers or play the game.
   The graphics are stunning. If Sony were to pick a game to be its poster child, I would hope they would pick Little Big Planet. LBP is the very definition of high-definition gaming. Everything is so crisp and clean. There are background objects moving around. Even the smallest objects have their own very visible characteristics.
   The audio only matches the graphics in terms of high-definition. Some of the levels will have you dancing in your seat. Everything has an appropriate bell or whistle attached to it for you listening amusement. Again, words simply cannot describe how amazing the whole experience is.
   The controls are a little awkward at first, but it becomes like second nature in no time. The levels are 2.5D, which means it is basically a side-scroller; however, there are three different planes in which the sack-people can be playing. You may have objects on one plane that you have to go around by hopping to a different plane. It goes without saying that you must look behind every object to collect all of the goodies. Many of the levels require you to grab hold of something to either swing or push or pull to get through to the next area. This is appropriately handled with the R1 button on the controller. When you get bored, you can dance around by waving the controller around; six-axis controls, and using the L2 and R2 shoulder buttons with the analog sticks to move your arms. It is absolutely fantastic.
   The story mode is really just a small part of Little Big Planet. Every person that plays Little Big Planet should really participate in the community. If the levels in the story mode are amazing, the levels in community mode are out of this world. One of my favorites so far is a roller coaster ride, which is fairly light on the gameplay, but just jaw-droppingly beautiful.
   Of course, every member of a community should make contributions. Little Big Planet has an excellent level creation tool. There are tutorials to help you get started, but after that, the only limitations are literally your imagination and the thermometer that gauges how much stuff can be in your level. You can make anything you want with the tools and set it to do practically anything. Make an object you like? You can save it for use in other levels and even share it with the community by including it as a pickup in your level. I do not have a published level yet; however, continue following my blog for an update on this. I have a couple of levels in the works and will definitely write a post about each when they are complete and released for play.
   Really, the only thing that needs to be said about Little Big Planet is I absolutely love it. If you were to purchase a PlayStation 3 but only had enough money to buy one game, you must buy Little Big Planet Game of the Year Edition. At this point, you can probably even pick it up for around twenty bucks. Hands down, this is one you absolutely cannot take a pass on.

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