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Platform

Playstation 3

 

Genre

Platformer

 

Publisher

SCEA

 

Developer

Media Molecule

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

October 28, 2008

 

 

- Very charming and cheery

- Great music

- Being able to play with friends is a great feature

- Strong single-player adventure

- Limitless level possibilities...

 

 

- ... provided you have a lot of patience

- There's a lot of crummy (and possibly, inappropriate) levels out there

 

 

Review: Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty (PS3)

Review: Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3)

Review: Heavenly Sword (PS3)

 

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LittleBigPlanet

Score: 7.5/ 10

 

A big feature of LittleBigPlanet is the chance to create levels of your design.  While this sounds really awesome on paper, it will be an exercise in frustration for all but the most patient or gifted of gamers.  Include me in the group of frustrated gamers because after tooling around with the level creator part of the game for 45 minutes vainly attempting to put a pile of cardboard Sackboy cutouts into a pyramid shape, I simply gave up. There’s very little chance I’ll ever go back to the level creator.

 

littlebigplanet          little big planet

 

This statement is coming from someone who really got into the movie creator that the classic PC game Stunt Island offered, which was far more complicated than LittleBigPlanet.

 

Fortunately for anyone like me, there are plenty of people out there – in all three regions: North America, Asia, Europe – that are patient enough to create (and

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upload) interesting and fun levels that are easily played and explored thanks to the straightforward browsing options (provided you have your Playstation 3 connected to the Internet).  There is also a fair amount of garbage out there – as if an army of people like just got frustrated with the whole level design thing and uploaded the works to the detriment of anyone unlucky enough to play it.  For

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every one really great level, there are at least four that are just a mish-mash of quarter-realized ideas, instant death scenarios everywhere, and crummy color design.  LittleBigPlanet’s user-generated content is mostly patrolled by the players.  Each level can be given a rating (“hearted”) or flagged for inappropriate content like porn or copyrighted material.  The metrics this data creates allows Sony to step in and ultimately remove content that really has no business being there.  Part of the problem, is that Sony’s EyeToy peripheral can be used to take pictures of things then have those pictures utilized as stickers in the game.  You can be running along through the garden then suddenly be confronted with a whole lot of pictures of Jana Defi spilling her breasts all over the place.  Granted, these things are few and far between, and Sony is generally quick to act on complaints, but it just goes to prove the age-old adage, “Online interactions not rated by the ESRB.”

 

little big planet          little big planet

 

LittleBigPlanet’s single player game is rated “E” for Everyone but that doesn’t mean kids will like the game’s, at times, punishing design and instant death scenarios.  Part of this is attributable to LittleBigPlanet’s use of “real world” physics.  I can’t think of any other platformers that use realistic physics so wrapping my own head around really thinking about how I can interact with the objects in the environment – or even jumping properly – actually required effort. (For my 9-year old son, he found a lot to be frustrated with – all our two-player outings somehow turned into Lego Batman.)  Which, is exactly why my review took so long to write.  The game was released right in the middle of the 4th Quarter quagmire and many of levels can be completed in short ten and fifteen minute bursts of play; I would play in-between sessions of Gears of War 2’s Horde mode, Left 4 Dead and, well, Left 4 Dead, it was difficult to dedicate blocks of time to play because I weighed the value between possibly being frustrated and having to re-learn how to jump – though somewhat amused by the cutesy nature of the game and the great soundtrack – against having fun right now with Left 4 Dead.

 

I do sound down on the game overall but I should also note that it hasn’t been removed from my PS3 since I put it in.  The chunky nature of the title has allowed me to play in short bursts, which always makes it a good standby title if I just need some kind of very quick gaming fix.  Having a continuous supply of new levels helps LittleBigPlanet remain fresh – there’s always something new to fool around with, even though there are plenty of half-assed levels out there.

 

- Aaron Simmer

(December 23, 2008)

 

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