Yes, it's finally here! The game all PlayStation 3 owners have been waiting for post-MGS4. It's not Killzone 2, and it's not Resistance 2. It's LittleBigPlanet, Sony's make-your-own-adventure game, a first of its kind, and certainly one of the biggest releases of this generation. Few games have generated the kind of excitement that has surrounded LittleBigPlanet, and with good reason...what other game allows you to create your very own experience? We've got our own copy of LittleBigPlanet, and believe the hype, folks...this is sensational.
If you're not familiar with the concept of LittleBigPlanet here's what you need to know...Basically, you take control of these little rag-dolls called sacks. Your main character's "name" is Sack Boy, a fully customizable doll that'll allow you to change virtually everything about him. You start off with a simple brown Sack Boy, and as you progress through the game's story mode, you'll collect a horde of items. These items will range between anything from decorational tools to customize levels, down to items that you apply on your doll.
I started off with a brown Sack Boy, who, after 20 minutes of playing, somehow formed into a ragdoll incarnation of Jack Sparrow. The creation of Sack Sparrow, as I call him, wasn't really intentional, it just sort of happened randomly while I was toying around with the creator. With my brief time, I've already seen some really wild creations, including some rather solid attempts at Nintendo characters. The customization aspect is superbly deep, and much like the rest of the game, is arguably only limited by your own imagination.
Now, I suppose I should mention that between that paragraph and this paragraph stood about three hours of my time. A "quick" session of LittleBigPlanet instantly turned into a mini-marathon of exploring a chunk of the stages that have been created thus far in the game's world. While some stages are simplistic, even they have a purpose, if only to finish it the fastest and sit at that top spot. At this point, various custom stages exist, and just to show you how detailed you can get...some have gone as far as to make their best replicas of stages from Mario Bros. and even Sonic the Hedgehog. Other brilliantly themed levels include a God of War stage, Indiana Jones, and even Uncharted. Again, because all of this is user generated content, the room for variation here is absolutely infinite.
For those who don't wish to just participate playing random user content, there is a story mode that boasts beautiful and lush creations by the Media Molecule team. Each stage is oozing with style and superb artistic details, making LBP feel more like a carefully crafted fantasy storybook...than just your everyday videogame. And that's what makes LBP such a special product, it's not an everyday experience and it's certainly not an everyday game. And if you link up with a group of buddies online or off, the experience becomes even better co-cooperatively.
Visually, everything you've seen from the screenshots has carried over to the final game. The backgrounds are meticulously detailed with some of the best looking textures in a videogame to date. Some of the details in the game are bordering photo-realism, even the Sack Boys' cloth texture is beautifully done. While the characters you run into are of the simplistic sort, the art direction and the beautiful texture work still makes LittleBigPlanet one of the best looking games of this generation by far. Additionally, there is quite a bit of voice acting in the game, largely from the narrator who guides you through the game's story mode. And the soundtrack is nothing short of perfection; this is easily the best soundtrack I've heard since perhaps Donkey Kong Country and Super Mario 64.
LittleBigPlanet is just around the corner and if you haven't made up your mind on a purchase yet, then allow me to convince you...Simply put, not owning LittleBigPlanet and being a PlayStation 3 owner should be a crime against, well...something. Media Molecule has created a game that'll go down in videogame history as one of the best gaming achievements ever.
10/12/2008 Arnold Katayev