Video Game Review: LittleBigPlanet (PS3)

littlebigplanet cover Video Game Review: LittleBigPlanet (PS3) 

The supposed PS3 system seller that was well received by the critics.  It’s gotten a 95 at metacritic.  When it was revealed last year at E3, all eyes were on this little game.  You play as a sack boy in a 3d side scrolling game that lets you play online with other players.  Certain levels of the game can’t be accomplished without teamwork from your friends. Click on the link for the full review.

In the campaign mode, you go around collecting items and points while trying to beat the story.  There are loads of things to collect, like stickers, clothes, backgrounds, objects, sounds, music and characters.  And when you’re connected with your friends, you can collect items that aren’t available in single player mode.

The world of LittleBigPlanet is created by people’s dreams from all around the world.  That is what gives the game its unique visual style.  You can jump and move left and right.  But you can also cling on certain objects and control rockets and cars by grabbing a lever.  The only problems with the control that I have would be the jump function.  For a side scrolling platformer, your character jumps really low.  They intended for this to happen so that the game can be more challenging.  Such is the case in the arctic level where the platforms spins in circles.

The coolest feature in the game for me is the ability to animate your sack character.  When holding either L2 or R2, you can use the left and right analog stick to move your character’s arms.  You can do all kinds of motion like pointing in different directions, or rocking your arms out like a rock star.  You can even do the Nixon “I’m not a crook” peace sign.  With the D-pad, you can change your character’s face animation.  Press D-pad up for different variations of a smiley face.  The left one controls scared faces, the right controls the mean faces, and the bottom one controls the sad faces.

When playing story mode, you’ll die many times.  Don’t be alarmed though, because you have save points throughout the game that gives you 4 lives.  And if you don’t complete the level or find another save point before your last life, you have to start the level all over again. 

The story is pretty simple.  You go around different countries helping out weird looking puppet-like people.  My personal fave area is South America, where you help this bride named Frida to find her groom.  They used the Day of the Dead theme, so everything has a happy vibrant setting involving skeletons and death.  The most disappointing level was New York City.  For a city to be the epicenter of the world, they sure made it dull and moody.

littlebigplanet top Video Game Review: LittleBigPlanet (PS3)

You can create and share levels you created for the whole world to see.  Prepare for a very long tutorial though.  The witty narrator with the British accent is cute, but it gets old after awhile when you just want to get straight to creation mode.

The soundtrack is a hit and miss.  Some of the music can be really catchy, while others feel like they don’t belong.  My favorite songs from the game are “Volver a Comenzar” by Cafe Tacuba and “Cornman” by Kinky.  Show it to your Spanish speaking friends and you’ll be the talk of the town.  I was really disappointed with the Japanese level.  I was expecting the same type of catchy zany tunes, but it was somber and melodramatic.

Overall, the game was a fun experience, but it didn’t quite live up to the ridiculous hype surrounding it.  The graphics, character design, backgrounds and level creation are cool and unique.  A nice surround sound setup will have your room singing along with the music even though certain songs doesn’t quite cut it.  Those that love to build their collection of items and objects to create and share levels will have tons of fun after the campaign mode.  The teamwork is cool for a short while, until you collect all there is to collect, there’s no incentive to play online with others other than to mess around in the world you created.

Grade: B

Update (Nov 14, 2008): There’s been a discussion going on as to why this game isn’t attracting the casual players. A few of my friends that I talked to thinks the game is really hard. Mind you, these aren’t casual players. With that said, I believe this game won’t catch on as Sony would like and won’t be the system seller that the media is promoting it to be. Prove me wrong guys.

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