Like this introduction, LittleBigPlanet is about creation. Every time we write an introduction to a review, we have to ask ourselves, “What should I write about?” Often the answer comes in the form of blueberry pie, cookies, history, or occasionally the game itself. The act of creating or molding the perfect introduction is about ingenuity, creativity, and ultimately, a grasp of the written word. LBP is about creating the perfect level within the context of the 2D parameters of the game.
LittleBigPlanet (PlayStation 3)
LittleBigPlanet isn’t a prolific platformer, nor is it a social experience beyond the realm of Second Life. It is a mix of the two, where creation is the key component to the game. LBP is defined by the people who play it and create for it -- which is to say, it is quite an immeasurable property. Yet, what Media Molecule (the game’s developer) constructed around the level creation and social apparatus is form-fitting for the game and fulfilling to the player.
I've never before had to review a game like LittleBigPlanet. In fact, to call this title a "game" doesn't even feel right. It's wrong in the same way calling the Internet a "a number of web pages" or New York City "a series of streets and alleyways" is wrong. I mean, how the hell do you review New York City? It's too huge to assess, too varied to attempt to even partially understand. That's LittleBigPlanet in a nutshell; a city of games, all user-created, all varying in quality, all available online, free of charge.
I couldn't be much more disappointed with offline LittleBigPlanet. The only moments of joy derivable from playing this mode come from looking at it. Despite being the single best-looking polygon-based game I've seen, LittleBigPlanet's story mode is an annoying bore.
The annoying part comes from the game's questionable programming. Here, you can take your pick from any number of irritating flaws; the floaty, imprecise jumping; the glitchy, nearly game-breaking multi-layered play field; or the very buggy collision detection (I found myself trapped inside a inanimate object more than a few times). It's mystifying that the game could be released in this state, especially considering how long it's been in development. Even worse than bugs and bad controls is the fact that the game is boring, the most boring game in the genre I've played since Aero the Acro-bat. Unlike just about every 2D platformer ever, LittleBigPlanet features absolutely no weapons or power-ups. It has only a few enemies (about three every other level) and even fewer bosses, nearly none of whom are memorable. As for the level design (something that saved the power-up and enemy lacking Loco Roco), it ranges from poor to above-average, but it usually settles in somewhere between the two. The game is also far too easy, despite its crappy controls. Most levels will be played once, cleared on the first try, and never played again.
Put bluntly, you can make anything in LittleBigPlanet; the only boundaries are in your own mind. For instance, in my first hour of online play, I had already experienced a level that was nothing more than a musical conveyor belt that played Air Man's theme from Mega Man 2; a 2D version of Metal Gear Solid 4; a remake of the first level of Gradius; and a Batman:The Animated Series-inspired level that featured real illustrations from the TV show (not to mention a kick-ass Batmobile replica). It really felt like the first time I surfed the Internet. Anything and everything was possible in sea of information. I could imagine spending days, even weeks, just sifting through all the content already out there on LittleBigPlanet.
Overall Score: 8.5 (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)
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