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LittleBigPlanet review

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Summary

Our Score:

10

Platform: PlayStation 3

In the weeks since I started playing LittleBigPlanet I've struggled to come up with a really good way of describing it. Is it the rebirth of the classic 2D platform game? Is it a games construction kit? Is it a social gaming app - a sort of MySpace or Facebook of video games? Somehow, nothing I can come up with really seems to do Media Molecule's game justice. Frankly, the only way you'll really, truly understand it is get out there and play it yourself. I'd recommend you do so right away.

Okay. You probably want a few more details first. Fair enough. Just imagine that somebody has spent hours making the platforms, springs, mechanisms and enemies that you might see in your average Mario game out of spare bits of wood, modelling clay, brick, cloth, stuffing and general bric-a-brac. They've then arranged these bits into levels and somehow given you control of a little sackcloth puppet - a sackboy - who can run around them.

I know it sounds odd, but it's actually as close as I can get to how LittleBigPlanet looks and plays. On the one hand, it all seems weirdly home-made, with an aesthetic that's one-third jumble sale, one-third art class and one-third Bagpuss. On the other hand, the game and its world feel imbued with this wonderful physicality. The gorgeous detailed textures and naturalistic lighting make all this made-up nonsense seem strangely, tangibly real.

It helps that every surface and every object seems to have lifelike physical properties. Get your sackboy to grab and drag a sacking box and it moves and threatens to topple with a convincing impression of weight, friction and momentum. Get hold of a wooden horse, give it a push, then watch as it responds to changes of slope and speed. You might have seen physics at work in driving games or FPS games before, but you've never seen a real-time physics engine employed in a platform game with as much energy and imagination as it is here.

And this is the key to LittleBigPlanet's reinvention of the 2D platformer. The classic run, jump and grab gameplay comes straight from the Mario tradition, but the way the physics works on balloons, bungie cords, skateboards, springs, rope swings, dangling girders and mine trains makes all the old clich├ęs feel fresh once again.

hankb6d

November 4, 2008, 7:06 pm

"I can't say it clearer than this: if I didn't have a PlayStation 3 right now, I would buy one tomorrow just to carry on exploring this LittleBigPlanet."





I cannot agree 𧷤+ would be a STUpid outlay for a childish 2d doll platformer with many skins with dumb game mechanics, however landmarkish critics or phony claim it to be.

kholinar

November 4, 2008, 8:56 pm

"𧷤+ would be a STUpid outlay for a..." insert any video game or list of video games here.





Not really what I think, but a lot of people would think so. Just because you don't like something doesn't make another person's decision stupid.





It's a great game, and is very high on the list for families and individuals who have thought about buying the ps3 before. I would have been hesitant to buy my ps3 if this game hadn't been on the horizon. Instead I used it as an amazing dvd upscaler and blu-ray and multimedia device until launch. That's not to say that there aren't other games that I want, there just hadn't been until this month.






Hugo

November 4, 2008, 8:58 pm

You clearly haven't played the game! Find a demo kiosk NOW!

Luan Bach

November 4, 2008, 9:21 pm

I played it at the Eurogamer Expo last week. Nice and all, however I won't be getting a PS3 just yet. It doesn't have 𧷤 worth of gameplay, not to mention my wife will have strong words about having 3 consoles under the tv :-).

Wilfried

November 4, 2008, 9:41 pm

Hugo is so right, go try it first. I personally have my reserves on this game given what is being described by many as "childish" content. I will have to try to find a demo on PS Store (if available) before comitting to buy this game. But in all and for all, it does sound a lot of fun, aren't we all children at heart after all?


PS: does anyone know when the demo will be available on the UK PS Store?

Andy Vandervell

November 4, 2008, 10:12 pm

FYI chaps, for anyone who noticed the score did change. Our writer gave it a 10 but we made a mistake when we uploaded the article. Apologies, our bad.

Krog2b6

November 5, 2008, 12:18 am

This review is 100% spot-on. For me this is the first truly 'next-gen' game on any platform. Its not about its genre or its literally lifelike graphics. Its the total immersive feeling you get that makes you forget this is just a game and not some interactive 'Aardman-esque' animated short. For the record, I own all of the current generation of consoles and therefore my comments are not those of a PS3 fanboy ................ just thought I'd add that for clarity :)

lume

November 5, 2008, 2:09 am

I think there will be a lot of comments on why this game got 10/10 i have played it and its okay, its not life changing. Its fun and interesting that you can change everything in it, but how long do you think the fun factor will last? . Certainly wouldnt make me buy a PS3 just for one game, think sony need to pull out some more PS3 titles that are amazing. Think I will wait for it to come out on other consoles ;)

basicasic

November 5, 2008, 5:36 am

Another 10/10 review sigh ..... I've lost track of the number of times over the years I've been suckered into buying games based on wonderful reviews only to be very disappointed after playing them. Think I'll wait until Joe Public plays the game and gives its verdict before I waste another pile of money based on a PR puff piece.

StuAndrews

November 5, 2008, 6:43 am

Strangely enough, it's actually my honest opinion of a genuinely fantastic game. In nearly four years at TR I've handed out a grand total of three 10/10 reviews, and not one was a 'PR puff piece.'





I hope the rest of you enjoy LBP! It really is that good. Stu.

Riyad

November 5, 2008, 7:51 am

@basicasic - Yep it's another 10/10, but thinking back, this would be the second game to get 10/10 for the entire year, and, if memory serves me, only the fourth since I launched TR. So that's hardly what you might call a glut of perfect scores.

hankb6d

November 5, 2008, 5:10 pm

@krog





Totally disagree, although I must not fit phony's demographic for this game to describe it as the first "truly next gen" game is a stretch on the imagination.





Sure graphically it shines and the user generated content is all web 2.0 but having played the game I had little interest in finishing a level after one play through.





Many have rated this game highly so I am the minority beyond the shine I was playing a 2D platformer with no story built around a creation tool, I asked myself why am I playing with dolls what has my gaming life become?





It's a 2D platformer something which came along light years ago with Mario.





Take away the shine and what has already been told about this game i was left with little reward, similiar to how I feel about youtube.





If this is the future I am happy for the gaming rocket to depart without me.





I would highly recommend this to anyone with kids and already own a PS3 and I don't dispute the score.





But if you have kids 𧷤+ on which could be teletubbies next week is crazy.





Different strokes for different folks.

StuAndrews

November 5, 2008, 5:34 pm

@Hank





As you say, different strokes for different folks, and there are still plenty of what you might call hardcore gaming releases on their way to keep you busy. All the same, the idea that Little Big Planet is 'just' a 2D platformer or 'just for kids' is plain wrong. It's a great game that I think anyone of any age should get a kick out of - the video game equivalent of one of the stronger Pixar films, if you like. And as for your point about Mario, it's like saying that Crysis is just an FPS, and those came along light years ago with Doom. If a game makes an old genre feel new again - and LBP does - then surely that's something we ought to celebrate!

hankb6d

November 5, 2008, 9:59 pm

@Stu





I didn't feel it made the genre feel fresh again, my main grumble especially with THAT jump mechanic, in retrospect maybe my comments can be classed as the musing of a disaffected but Foxes glacier mint cool old fart.





Enjoy the game, I am sure you will not be alone.

Wilfried

November 10, 2008, 10:35 pm

Ok, I bought it and played and somewhat agree with Hank on this one. I was most frustrated by the dodgy controls of sackboy making this charming little platformer a nightmare to play. I truly feel like the 10 out of 10 is really exagerated, sorry Stu but it almost feels like Sony has given you a nice christmas bonus to get their game the top mark. I enjoy your reviews, sometimes disagree on a few things, but this time I strongly disagree with this review and would warn gamers out there to try LBP before they buy it, if they can get used to the controls then fair play to them.

Aloonatic

December 13, 2008, 10:55 pm

This game got 10/10???





Wow, just.... wow





Someone's going to have a nice Christmas. I'm sure everything you watch will look great on the nice big Bravia that the reviewer now has? lol





Seriously though, this is possibly one of the most annoying games I have ever played in my god knows how many years of gaming.





The controls are just poor.





The reason why this is the first game to use as much physics in it as it does is not because the PS3 is the first console/computer capable of it, or the PS3 is awesome to the max and pwns all others, but because it just isn't that good an idea.





You will have to play levels over and over because of the rubbish control system, you just will.





I predict that there will be big spike in controller sales, largely to do with this game, as people destroy them in frustration.





Not only are the controls weak, the levels are often not that well designed. Then just to irritate you more as your sack boy falls off somewhere or doesn't jump when you want him to you will be being forced to listen to a musical score which was designed by evil Axis scientists in the second world was to irritate people as it was seemingly designed to have the ability to resonate with the first harmonic of your central nervous system, then repeated until you are quite happy to tear your own ears off or, yes, you could just turn it off i suppose =D





It can be fun, some things are super neat but seriously, some of the comments like "The first truly next-gen game" and a score of 10/10 are just crazy. lol

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