[PS4 Review] LittleBigPlanet 3
Good, but could have been great with six more months in development7.5
One of my favorite PS3 franchises has made the jump to PS4 with a new entry thanks to LittleBigPlanet 3. How did the transition to current gen go?
Sackboy® is back − and he’s bringing new friends!
Get ready for an all-new LittleBigPlanet™ experience as Sackboy® teams up with his best friends in his biggest hand-crafted adventure yet!
Three all-new playable heroes will completely change the way you play…
• Bound over walls as the quick and agile Oddsock!
• Glide through the skies as the majestic Swoop!
• Switch the size of Toggle to play as a large, heavy strongman or a small, light speedster!
And what about good old Sackboy®? Well, he does everything else of course!
In LittleBigPlanet™ 3, you can discover a world of endless creative surprises as you explore all corners of the Imagisphere. Meet the inhabitants of the mysterious planet Bunkum and face the nefarious Newton in this rich, vibrant world.
Find out what the online LittleBigPlanet™ Community dreams up for you, from new levels to play, to stickers and power-ups to enjoy. Then if you’re feeling inspired, flex your creative muscles with the powerful and intuitive customization tools.
LittleBigPlanet 3 – Gamescom – Create and Share Trailer | PS4
LittleBigPlanet is one of my favorite platformers of all time. I have invested a ton of time into collecting everything and acing every level in LBP, LBP 2, and LBP Vita. For me, the anticipation for this game was very high, and I couldn’t wait to play it… and then I did and I loved it, and then I really didn’t like it. In the end, I realized it was okay but thought that it could have been way better. Let me take you through the roller coaster that is LittleBigPlanet 3.
So if you haven’t played any LBP title prior to this, you should know that this series stars a cute character called Sackboy. It’s got great platforming nature that takes place in the craft world, and you have a ton of collectibles to get in each world. The big feature for LBP has been the create and share functionality. You can use the things you collect during gameplay and publish them to the game and let people play your levels. It creates infinite possibilities and greatly increases replay value. At last count, I think there were three million different levels for play. The first two games were developed by Media Molecule, and the Vita version was developed by Tarsier Studios. All three of these games for me were really high up there, a nine or a ten out of ten.
Media Molecule handed off the reigns of LBP 3 to Sumo Digital, who did help develop the Cross-Controller Pack for LBP 2 for the Vita and the PS3 to connect. I did play that and thought it was neat when it actually connected. That being said, I really wish that Media Molecule was still developing the series, as it would have made for a better experience.
You start off with the excellent narration of Stephen Fry once again introducing you to the world of LBP. But soon Newton, your new “Friend,” takes over and sucks you to Bunkum in order for to you begin your new adventure. First up, you’ll be taken to a tutorial to learn the ropes and get the hang of things. Something you will notice when you arrive in the second world is the new hub level setup. You’ll start the main level and, as you explore it, you can link to the other levels through it and tackle them in any order. This is a neat twist that helps to make the game not quite as linear as before.
To save the world of Bunkum from the three evil titans you need to find the heroes of ages past. This brings us to our new additions to the series: Oddsock, Toggle, and Swoop. All three are great characters, each one with their own unique ability for platforming. Oddsock is a dog style character on all fours, and he can run up walls and wall jump; Toggle can “toggle” his size from big to small; Swoop is a bird who can fly and “Swoop” down. I was initially fearful of the new characters, but each adds something to the game, keeping things fresh.
This brings us to issue number one for the game, the length. There are only four worlds in total. The original game eight worlds, LBP 2 had six worlds which still felt okay since worlds were generally bigger with more things to complete. However, this game felt downright short. It’s disappointing when you realize that it’s going to be over so quickly. The other problem is how the new characters are only really used for a bit. Each world had one or two major levels designed for the new heroes, and that’s about it.
There are 14 additional levels that act as a tutorial for building and creating. I thought they were interesting, and I felt more comfortable with the creation tools after playing them, but they do not fill the void of the short adventure levels. I do have to say I’m glad to see them finding a more interesting way to teach level creation instead of the same old boring tutorials.
The game also has a major new addition for Sackboy thanks to his new Sack Pocket! This is where you now store your new power-ups and can select them at any time. Other new additions are the Pumpinator (blows or sucks air), the Illuminator (use on special pictures in levels to find more bubbles), the Blink Bomb (throws a ball that will teleport you to portals when hit), the Hook Hat (attaches to a zipline and zooms you through levels) and the Boost Boots (super useful items that gives you an extra boost when you jump so that you can get to hard to reach places). All of these are cool and implemented well, and I also liked how you could pull them out at any point, unlike other LBP games where you had to find them in a specific level.
The game looks great bringing the world of Bunkum alive. All the new characters you interact with have their own unique look and personality. The levels are now designed with 16 layers allowing for some serious depth to be created as well as for some fun platforming. The voice acting is great as well with Hugh Laurie (from House) voicing Newton, and Nolan North voicing Marlon Random as the two standouts. I loved North’s portrayal of Marlon, giving it kind of a 50’s sounding Nathan Drake. The controls are spot on and on par with prior LittleBigPlanet games, but it does control a tad floaty when jumping, but that’s how it’s always been for the series. I do like that as you can now adjust jumps in mid air and make corrections as needed.
One of the huge areas for LBP is the cooperative play which works great when doing couch co-op. However, the online mode is an epic fail. There were several times when I was trying to play with friends, and we were all online with the game running and we couldn’t see each other in order to connect. Once you eventually got it connected, then you suffered a serious amount of lag, ruining the whole experience. This game was released in late November, and the online part hasn’t been fixed in any of the patches received so far.
The trophy list has 32 trophies including the ever important Platinum, along with 6 gold and 9 silver as the big ones. Good news for trophy hunters is that this is an easy platinum that requires little time investment. Most of the trophies come very easily, and in fact I was able to get all of the create trophies in under 5 minutes. I am currently one trophy away from the platinum trophy, and I’ll probably get it before the end of next week. It’s actually a little light on trophies in comparison to the previous games which typically had 50 or more. It was surprising that things like collecting all items were not a requirement for unlocking some trophies.
LittleBigPlanet is one of Sony’s premiere franchises and needs to be treated with respect by the developers. With that being said, for me LittleBigPlanet 3 felt a bit rushed, as if they HAD to have it ready for the crucial holiday 2014 season, thus not receiving the polish it needed. LittleBigPlanet 3 is a good game, but it does not reach the greatness of the prior games. There is a lot to like in the new version of the game with some great improvements on the series, but they just seem like wasted potential. Sumo Digitial needs to fix the online play (the last patch was December 19th and didn’t fix things). I believe they should also be putting in some free story content to make up for the short story mode. It would have been great if Sony delayed it by six months so that it could become the game it needed to be. You should still play it as I have obviously enjoyed it enough to almost obtain the platinum trophy, but maybe you should wait until the online is completely fixed.
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