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  1. #1

    Default LBPCentral's Early Review of LittleBigPlanet



    LittleBigPlanet
    is a game centered around the idea that everyone has creative talent. All that is needed is a focused, intuitive way to unleash their inner Creator, and they'll make something fantastic. In many ways, this is true: with LittleBigPlanet, anyone can pick up a controller and make something they consider to be utterly wonderful. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder(*wink*), but the fact remains that LittleBigPlanet holds the most robust level creation system I've ever used. Couple that with amazing story levels, beautiful visuals, thousands of options, robust tools, and an online system for sharing your levels, and you have an instant classic that will be played for years to come.

    Although LittleBigPlanet is based around a set of Creation tools, it still comes complete with 24 story levels and 24 minigames. Nearly every level contains at least one "2 player area", which provides a few collectibles(objects, materials, etc) as long as you have 2 or more players. Each area contains a unique puzzle that cannot be solved without the help of a friend, so if you want to collect everything you'll need either an internet connection or another Sixaxis contoller. The storyline wrapped around the 24 story levels is less than fantastic, and much lower in quality than what I would expect from Media Molecule. However, the levels are still very fun to play, and have tons of replay value. With over 1,000 objects, materials, stickers, and costumes for you to collect(most of which are hidden) you will be playing the story levels over and over again and loving every second. Every level looks as good as the next, providing tons of eye-candy for you to ogle at while avoiding traps, enemies, and the occasional fire pit.

    On that note, let's discuss the visuals. LittleBigPlanet is based in a very childish, hand-crafted style, but don't let that fool you: LittleBigPlanet is beautiful. It looks great on an HDTV, and the high-quality textures are marvelously done. There are 9 different 3-D backgrounds you can choose from while creating, all of which are designed around a basic theme. Each of these is interchangable while creating, so you can test which one looks best with your level without any difficult menu navigation. Along with the 9 basic backgrounds, there are many different settings you can tweak to change the atmostphere of a level. You can add fog, change the fog's color, change the time of day(complete with different sun positioning depending on the time), and tweak the brightness(or darkness) of your level. All of these things come together to become the atmosphere which best suits your level, and all can be instantly modified if you change your mind.

    This brings me around to the options LittleBigPlanet offers. There are 12 basic materials, each with their own special properties. As you play through the story levels, you will unlock variations of each material, allowing many more visual styles to be created. You can make enemies complete with AI, or if you are clever, you can use those same pieces to make a friend. You can make races, vehicles, minigames, and more, all with the tools provided in LittleBigPlanet. There are also tons of stickers, all categorized depending on the type of sticker. There are categories for face parts, letters, doodles, and more, and each is labeled by it's name for easy re-discovery if you need a particular sticker. This abundance of options shows itself in the collectable objects and costumes as well, and each is also categorized and labeled to simplify navigation. Overall, everything is as they wanted: approachable, fun to use, and fantastic to play.

    The toolset itself holds endless possibilites, as well. You have tons to choose from, including basic items like pistons, springs, bolts, and motors. There are also more advanced items, like Creature Pieces which allow you to make an enemy(or a friend), placable music so you can control the background music in your level, and tons of sound effects you can apply and set to activate if it's connected with a switch. Switches are the backbone of LittleBigPlanet, as they allow Sackboy to interact with his environment. I would explain each one in detail, but Mark Healey(co-creator of LittleBigPlanet) has already done so in an exclusive interview we had with him, so I'll just quote him:

    Spoiler Spoiler - Switches Described by Mark Healey

    All of these switches stand well on their own, and can help you create your own levels. However, LittleBigPlanet's true possibilities really shine when you learn to use these switches in conjunction with each other, in order to coordinate an event in your level. Don't fear: there are in-depth tutorials for nearly every aspect of Creation, so if you don't understand what something does, it will be explained to you. The tutorials are also very rewarding, as they unlock new creation tools for you to use, along with stickers and materials as well.

    The online in LittleBigPlanet is a bit difficult to judge, seeing as the servers are not active yet. However, judging by the setup of the beta, they got the basic concept down pat. The only place I feel it really failed was it lacked both a ratings system and a robust search feature. A search feature was included, but there was not option to search by author or some other category. Also, search results displayed as a random assortment on the planet, which is a pain to navigate. I would prefer a list-based search system, which allows you to sort the list by level name, by author, by "hearts"(a favorites system built into LittleBigPlanet), and by rating(if that is implemented). The list would allow each set of results to be sorted by relevancy, which eliminates the "hit-and-miss" aspect of searching. However, Media Molecule is dead-set on supporting this game for a long time with updates, patches, and all-new content. I am confident that if enough people want a certain feature, Media Molecule will do their best to integrate it. They've shown tons of support for their community in the past, and they've come right out and said they have the means to add in anything we want, if enough people want it. Based on the support and response I've received from Media Molecule in the past, I have no doubt that they are actively listening to the wants and needs of the community and hard at work at the next big feature in LittleBigPlanet.

    Regarding the issues in the game, it doesn't lack problems. There are some control issues, such as the automatic switching between planes and the slow-to-respond movement(sackboy lacks traction), along with a few glitches I've run into. For example, jump height isn't very predictable. Sometimes you jump as high as you want, while other times you jump just barely lower than the ledge you need to reach, sometimes resulting in your death. Also, when creating, the "Undo" option can be a bit slow(although much better than the beta). Overall, however, these do not hinder the game in the slightest. The odd controls can be learned, as I've slowly improved in my control of sackboy. Plus, the undo tool is still suprisingly useful. It remembers what seems like an unlimited number of steps, as I've never hit an undo limit while creating.

    LittleBigPlanet has been compared to Legos, Mario, and plenty of other popular and memorable pastimes. However, do not try to compare LittleBigPlanet to anything else. LittleBigPlanet is unique and memorable in it's own right, and it's the best thing to happen to gaming in the last decade. LittleBigPlanet is as close to perfect as a game has ever been.
    Last edited by ConfusedCartman; 09-10-2009 at 03:55 AM.
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  2. #2

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    i didn even read it but you made me come here. tisk tisk...

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by littlebig prominence View Post
    i didn even read it but you made me come here. tisk tisk...
    Whoops, mistake on my part. I didn't mean to select "All Usergroups", which kind of forced everyone here.
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  4. #4

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    *Claps.* Great job. Excellent flow.

    You might want to dedicate a small paragraph to the reasons and problems you've had to deal with, in order to explain the lack of a solid ten. Also, you may want to take out the time-sensitive areas, such as your current number of stickers, to make it more relevant to the reader. And and overall - dare I say it - make it longer and more in-depth in certain areas, specifically the actual play.

    But then again, this is me, you have to remember. "Red marks do not necessarily represent points off."

    Also, amazing effort in getting it out so quickly after receiving your game copy.

  5. #5

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    That was well written Cartman, especially considering you had to do it 2 days early.

  6. #6
    InterGalactic-Cybot aer0blue's Avatar
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    Good read. It's actually more credible if it's a 9.7 than a solid 10. Well done, considering you only had a couple of days to do this. :]

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark D. Stroyer View Post
    *Claps.* Great job. Excellent flow.

    You might want to dedicate a small paragraph to the reasons and problems you've had to deal with, in order to explain the lack of a solid ten. Also, you may want to take out the time-sensitive areas, such as your current number of stickers, to make it more relevant to the reader. And and overall - dare I say it - make it longer and more in-depth in certain areas, specifically the actual play.

    But then again, this is me, you have to remember. "Red marks do not necessarily represent points off."

    Also, amazing effort in getting it out so quickly after receiving your game copy.
    Alright, I added a paragraph addressing the faults, second paragraph from the bottom. I would go more in depth, but my fingers are killing me. I may add more later if I get the urge to.
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  8. #8

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    Ah, excellent. It just got a lot better. Cartman, I really do have to commend your dedication. ...Again. You're really, really good at what you do. I'd give you rep, but it says I need to give it to some other people, first. *Starts searching around for posts warranting a good rep.*

    Although...please remember that if I critique something (which is pretty much the majority of my posts) it's just a suggestion, something that would be advantageous, and very useful to work on doing at some not-too-distant date...but that doesn't mean I'm demanding it to be immediate. Just want to make that clear.

  9. #9

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    Excellent work as always. While the game isn't perfect, it's probably as close to a 10 as you can get.

    LBP


  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark D. Stroyer View Post
    Ah, excellent. It just got a lot better. Cartman, I really do have to commend your dedication. ...Again. You're really, really good at what you do. I'd give you rep, but it says I need to give it to some other people, first. *Starts searching around for posts warranting a good rep.*

    Although...please remember that if I critique something (which is pretty much the majority of my posts) it's just a suggestion, something that would be advantageous, and very useful to work on doing at some not-too-distant date...but that doesn't mean I'm demanding it to be immediate. Just want to make that clear.
    I know exactly what you mean. I'm the same way; very analytical, very critical. At the same time, I value what you guys have to say, and I take every suggestion and complaint to heart. If I was an admin, but without the suggestions of all of you, I don't think I'd be doing a very good job.
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  11. #11
    The One, The Only OverWork's Avatar
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    Default

    nicely written, you do a great job of summing up the games features and faults great.

  12. #12
    Its my fault, apparently. QuozL's Avatar
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    Great review makes me even more keen to get my copy, now I just have to get Matrigirl interested in playing the game again to help with the two player puzzles as operating two controllers at a time is a bit hard

    Cheers QuozL

    Nil difficile volenti
    Thanks Code!!

  13. #13

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    Great review, very realistic and overall well done!

    Thanks Mike =D


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  14. #14

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    i cant wait 4 this game =)

  15. #15
    has a PHD in Horribleness flakmagnet's Avatar
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    I just read the review, never read the first draft. It's good that you haven't shied away from the bad parts of the game, the weak storyline, the less than stellar search ability and the occasional problems with jumping. Great review.

    "But in the end, good, evil, right or wrong, what we choose is never what we really need. For that is the real cosmic joke. The real gift that God has left behind." - Sylar

  16. #16

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    Hm, seems very professional.

    Anyway, so each level has three levels each? Hm...

    And about the story- what did you expect the story to be? Especially from the beta, I never really got the impression the story would be too great...

    Anyway, great review.

    This statement is true.

  17. #17

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    Really nice job Cartman. I was getting tired of all the negativity going towards the game and the few cases of people here saying their not buying the game at all any more. It's rather refreshing to see some positive response to the game that really, really deserves it.

  18. #18
    Fuzz Ball GangsterGarfield's Avatar
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    Great review. Makes me want to get the game even more ...

    Anyway, you even were great talking about the game's not so great things too.

    Even still, Great review, for a great game..
    ~GG

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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by RockSauron View Post
    Hm, seems very professional.

    Anyway, so each level has three levels each? Hm...

    And about the story- what did you expect the story to be? Especially from the beta, I never really got the impression the story would be too great...

    Anyway, great review.
    Well, coming from the creative brains at Media Molecule, I expected something a bit more...substantial. However, like I said, for those of you excited by the "Create" aspect(95% of us), the storyline is enjoyable enough. It's rather cute, actually, it's just very simplistic.
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  20. #20

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    wow tht was an exellent review!!! Thanks CC

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