Sony's put together some of the absolute best videogame franchises and in gaming history over the past three years of the PlayStation 3's life. Creating and maintaining that momentum proved to be very pivotal as the PS3's library of games is perceived to be the best of the entire generation, suddenly turning around a tide of hate that once pegged Sony's console at the bottom of the heap. So it only made sense for Sony to take these successful franchises and bring them down to the PSP, a system whose sales have been on the upward streak since 2008, but with software sales unusually poor. Games like Final Fantasy and God of War proved that there is potential for the PSP and software sales, and for 2009 Sony has really been trying to exploit the PSP's potential by releasing a ton of quality games, from Gran Turismo, to MotorStorm, and even LittleBigPlanet, which is what I'm here to talk about.
I sat down (well, I actually stood) to play LittleBigPlanet on the PSP this past Tuesday, the 28th of July, and found myself extremely impressed. First, a lot of our first impressions with LBP on the PS3 was how stunning it looked, with its gorgeous textures and lifelike color palette. The same can be said for the PSP version, which does a great job of looking much like its big brother counterpart. That same wonderful color palette remains, albeit with textures that are more suitable to the PSP's standards. The PSP was also connected to a TV, but the image definitely looked more defined and crisp when viewed directly on the PSP's screen.
What I was really happy to see not get dumbed down noticeably are the physics and how every object behaves to the weight of the character. Your characters still have that same floaty and controllable feel to them, which I love, and it helps make the PSP version feel even more like the PS3 game. From a purely technical standpoint, the PSP version of LBP sizes up very well to the PS3 game.
And the same can be said for the gameplay. Because the physics are such a big part of the gameplay, you should know by now that LittleBigPlanet for the PSP plays almost exactly like the PS3 version. You can still pull up your menu and make changes on the fly just as you would on the console game. While Sony has yet to reveal the exact features the PSP game will feature, you can obviously expect the game to be fully accessible to the PlayStation Network and allow people to upload and download user-created content.
Furthermore, Sony has stated that there will be connectivity between the PS3 and PSP game, and we hope that means we'll be able to download content created for the PS3 game and play it on the PSP and vice-versa. Honestly, it's the only form of connectivity that would make sense for the two games, so make it happen, Sony. Speaking of online, multiplayer will be good for up to four people to play cooperatively, so don't worry about being forced to local ad-hoc only.
As far as the development process is concerned, both Media Molecule and Sony Cambridge are working together to bring LBP to the PSP. No release date has been announced just yet, so you'll have to keep your eyes open for that. What I will leave you with is a simple bit of truth: LittleBigPlanet is the ideal game for a unit like the PSP. Endless platforming on the go? Hell yes.
8/1/2009 Arnold Katayev