It’s hard to find a starting point when the subject you’re discussing is of such vast brilliance as LittleBigPlanet. It’s been broken down into three simple words – Play, Create, Share. And that about sums it up nicely, but at the same time, doesn’t really scratch the surface at all. In short, LittleBigPlanet is like nothing you’ve experience thus far. It’s simple and straight forward one moment, and absurdly complex the next. But all the while, it remains brilliant and fun.
The strange thing about Story mode in LBP, is the sheer lack of story. There’s a hint of a plot, but Story mode essentially exists to get your feet and show you what can be done with the supplied tools. The first play through wraps up in about 6 hours, but each level is packed with 40-80 collectibles which you’ll most definitely have to go back for. Some areas require a sack-buddy as well, so you’ll have to recruite a friend or family member to give you a hand. Thankfully, Media Molecule has done a great job of ensuring every bit of the game can be played co-op, with up to 4 players total. Players on the same PS3 can sign into their respective profiles and collect goodies which are saved to their profile – something that’s not done very often on the PS3.
As you progress through Story mode, the difficulty increases as you might expect. Checkpoints are scattered through-out each level, which aren’t always in the best spot. In most cases, you have a limited amount of lives per checkpoint. Losing all of your lives results in having to replay the level from the beginning, which can be frustrating if you die towards the end. Up until the last level, there was only 2 or 3 that really gave me a run for my money.
Without a doubt, the heart and soul of LBP is Create mode. Everything you experience in Story is forged from the tools and objects you’re given in Create – and there’s a lot of them! Playing through Story will unlock an absolute pile of goodies for use in Create, as will going through the Create tutorials. You’re also awarded creatures, vehicles and other constructed objects through-out Story, which can also be given as rewards in community levels. So, if you’re having a hard time building a working car for example, use one that you acquired from your travels.
Creating a level that’s worthy of sharing requires a serious amount of time and patience. Especially if you’re creating everything from scratch. Create mode can definitely seem daunting initially, but once you’ve completed Story and the tutorials, you have so much at your disposal that it wouldn’t take that long to create something playable. That said, Create isn’t for everyone and I have a feeling many people won’t even touch it. But there’s plenty of content to keep you entertained elsewhere.
There’s a good reason I didn’t slam LBP for it’s short Story mode – the amount of fresh, free content readily available is astounding! During the beta, there was hundreds of user created levels to check out, some of which even more impressive than the packaged levels. I can only imagine how much the community is going to grow in the months to come and am excited knowing I have added another game to my collection that I will be constantly revisiting.
Since the entire launch was botched and no actual release date given, I’ve tried to contain my frustrations with the flaky servers powering LBP. But now that the game is readily available to the masses, I’m more than just a little ticked off that yet another PS3 exclusive is failing huge in the online department during its first week. Every aspect of LBP ties into the online servers, so even while playing Story mode, you experience slow downs, stalls, and even crashes. I had to manually reset my PS3 twice last night during one sitting. It got to the point where I was waiting upwards of 3 minutes for a level to load, at which point I jumped to the system settings and disabled the network all together.
Sure, it’s nice not having to pay $60 a year for each active profile on your console. But it sucks not being able to play new releases online during their first week. This is the second PS3 exclusive title (SOCOM: Confrontation was the first) this month to suffer massive online problems during launch week. And with Resistance 2 (which features 8 player co-op and 64 person multiplayer) around the corner, I can only assume we’re in for more of the same.
Yes, it’s cute. Yes, it was worth the wait. Yes, it’s worth picking up a PS3 for – you won’t find anything like LittleBigPlanet anywhere else.