Review by cbt711
"Simply Epic Adventure, on a Little Big Planet"
So you're not a kid anymore. And you haven't played a side scroller since Super Mario Brother's World 2: Yoshi's Island. What could possibly draw you to a side scrolling platformer made for the high definition era of gaming? This review will tell you exactly what will bring you back to the genre that started the gaming revolution decades ago. And just in case you are one of the younger people out there who are thinking about asking for this game, this review will help you decide on picking up your first ever side scroller.
Little Big Planet starts with a very real video of people dreaming. Their dreams and creativity represent the basis for Little Big Planet's existence. In the game, you are a tiny creature made out of a burlap sack, loosely stitched together with a single zipper keeping you all together. As your Sack Boy or Sack Girl stands only 2 inches tall, the world around you is very large. Ever since Mario was told "The Princess is in another castle, Story hasn't been the strong point of side scrollers here. This game doesn't hold a candle in that regards to say the likes of Metal Gear Solid 4, or the Halo Trilogy. But it dares you with mind boggling creativity to point out any flaws in a very fluid and well thought out plot line that drags you around the world. You will indeed find yourself on the greatest adventure a 2 inch tall sack creature has ever been on.
We have come a long way from the A and B buttons of the original NES. In today's platformer games, the player is typically expected to commit elaborate game play controls to memory so that the character in the game will do all kinds of real life activities like jump from a cliff on to a rock ledge and hang on with his or her fingertips - because we all do this every day in real life. Sarcasm aside, Little Big Planet employs a much simpler control scheme reminiscent of the A and B button platformer we call Mario Brothers. If you can remember X jumps, and R1 holds on to stuff, you can play through the entire game with ease. Don't get your hopes too high. It's not like the game's difficulty will put you at ease, because towards the end of the story line, the levels will truly test your timing, and understanding of physics. Speaking of physics, the physics engine in this game is nearly flawless. Watching your sackboy or girl fling around a spinning pin cushion based on speed and trajectory will have you in awe of the powerful math that went into making this simplistic game relate on such a real world level. Another button you will have to memorize is square. This is the key to game's very deep level of sack boy and sack girl customization. And in create mode, the Directional Pad can be thought of as a DVD remote with pause, rewind, and fast forward all of which feel natural under your finger tips. Now just because this is a side scroller don't think there is no depth. There are three levels of depth your character can either step into or out of, the foreground mid ground and background. You will not believe the complex level design that Media Molecule has put together with just these three depths alone. And eventually you yourself will be exploiting every inch of the world available to you in Create mode. The innovation of a simple control scheme used to manipulate a very complex world of switches, puzzles, creatures, and some vehicles earns the developers big points in the category.
Graphics and Sound
The High definition textures and effects of the world of Little Big Planet are undeniably gorgeous. Some may argue they are the best graphics you will see in this generation. I feel like it falls short of titles like Gears of War, Call of Duty 4, and Metal Gear Solid 4 - but that's really like comparing apples to PC's. Or is it apples to oranges? This is an unbelievable achievement in terms of computer generated graphics on par with CGI movies. In fact early generation CGI movies like Toy Story actually look worse than this game. It is available in 5.1 Dolby digital surround, and the Playstation 3 will output uncompressed sound just like in most every game to deliver crisp clear audio to the player. What puts this game head and shoulders above anything on the market, is it's customization. This actually spills over into sound, since your own personal music collection can be used in game, or shared over the internet in your own personally made levels. Glass, Fire, Electricity, and deadly gas effects are the crowning jewels of this powerful graphics engine. This game is so innovative and original graphics should be a weak point, but surprisingly it's not.
Prepare to lose all of your free time. In fact you might find yourself making more free time so that you can lose that as well. Create mode allows for literally infinite replay value. You will never run out of levels to play, because some one will always be making new ones. And if by some miracle you have played every level in existence, the you will want to take all the creative ideas you have seen in your epic game play adventure and implement them in your own level for the world to fall in love with. You can literally make re-create any movie, or existing game, especially classic side scrollers into your own platformer version levels. There is no limit to what you can create, whether it be vehicles, tricky puzzles, or even evil henchmen and epic boss fights. If you can think it up it is possible in Little Big Planet. This is one of the first titles that is fully compatible with Sony's Trophy system as well. Countless hours will be wasted trying to find every bubble and beat each level without dying. Factor in the depth of customization you can add to your own levels and you could spend dozens of hours creating a single stage. The online interactions between sack folk are amazing as well. You can chat via text or head-set. When using a mic, the sack boy on screen will open his mouth and talk along with you. Friends are easily invited, and followed through out story mode or online exploring your custom levels, or those of the entire world. This game may seriously jeopardize any relationships you are in - so I advise that you try to get your significant other addicted to the game with you.
This is the most creative game available on any platform right now. It also serves as a much needed change of pace from First Person Shooters and action adventure games. Even within its own genre of platformers, this game stands alone. And the best part about it - is that Little Big Planet went back to the grass roots of gaming and re-invented the side scroller. This is a perfect title for men or women, grown up or children. The only thing I can hold against this game, is that I really can't put it down.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/10/08
Game Release: LittleBigPlanet (US, 10/27/08)
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