So much of LittleBigPlanet is experimentation that you’ll forever be diving in and out to test whether the rocket ship you’ve just built will support a Sackboy pilot; whether it needs more thrust, or whether it’s an overpowered three-second death ride. And does everything you build need to resemble a level? Why not just build crazy contraptions? Why not build a set of Jurassic Park gates, opened by a complex counterweight pulley system? Why not build a rocket ship which breaks into segments at the touch of a button, going higher and faster with every dumped section like we did? Why not build a pinball table? Why not build something, just to see what happens?
It’s easy to presume that with all of Sony’s hype, LBP is a game solely for closet level-architects and game-builders, but with just the content on the disc, LittleBigPlanet is already a bumper-sized chunk of fun. Once you crack into the online space, LBP becomes a game without end – often one of dubious quality – but an endless game nonetheless. Whether you’re one for building and creating is irrelevant. It’s true that even bad games become good with friends, and there’s a lot to be said for grouping up with three chums and leaping from user-created stage to user-created stage at speed, debating the merits of each before plowing onto the next. As more players enter the fray, creating, building, and rating one another’s work, the best stages will rise to the top. The beta trial already contains tributes to Mario, Shadow of the Colossus and GTA, rated by keywords like ‘fun’, ‘genius’ or ‘boring’. In truth, LBP, for most players, won’t be a game of construction but of experimentation.
The question then is whether to review the game on the disc, the tools you’re given to play with, or the creativity of the community and the potential longevity it offers. It’s a toughie, so let’s instead just say this – nothing like LittleBigPlanet has ever existed before. Even if nobody buys it, the file servers remain empty, and the co-op space stays a barren wasteland, it’s still a rock-solid platformer with enough levels and fun to justify your money. If you loved LEGOs and never lost that love for building and creating, you’ve got a lifetime of experimentation and play ahead of you. And if, as we suspect, the world falls in love with it, LittleBigPlanet is absolutely the best game on the PS3, the best game of 2008 on any console, and the best toybox you’ll ever get to play with.
Oct 15, 2008