spilledmilkfactory's LittleBigPlanet (PlayStation 3) review

LBP is a great art project accompanied by a decent game.

Littlebigplanet is many things; a video game, an interactive art project, an outlet through which creativity can flourish. But the fact remains that first and foremost, LBP is a platformer video game, and while the artistic and creative aspects of the game outpace all competition, the gameplay that holds these aspects together does not. That's not to suggest that LBP is unplayable; far from it, the simple controls and solid framerate should make for a very playable game. However, something about the ways that Sackboy moves and interacts with the environment feels floaty and imprecise, which can make even simple tasks frustrating. Sackboy can never settle on one solid jump length (sometimes he'll make the jump, sometimes he won't, no matter how long you hold the button down. It's only a problem in a few levels, though) and the physics upon which the game is based are unpredictable. Couple that with the schizophrenic difficulty of the story mode, and a playthrough of LBP's built in levels typically ends in annoyance rather than the intended feeling of inspiration. This is especially vexing given the way that LBP is being marketed as a casual/party game. Casual audiences won't get much from the detailed level-editor (more on that later) and many of the story levels will prove difficult for them, and the buggy online performance makes me want to do anything but party. For all of the flair that the levels have, some of the gameplay is just dull.

Player created levels typically fare better, if only because the community as a whole probably expects less from them. These expectations are often proven ignorant. Sure, you're bound to stumble upon some crap in your search for great levels, but there are some real works of genius out there too. Make no mistake, the level sharing aspect of LBP is the biggest reason to purchase the game.

The "Create" aspect of LBP is startlingly in-depth. This is not the easy experience portrayed in the trailers. Sure, it's easier and more intuitive than most other level editors, but creating even a decent level will take a lot of planning and dedication, not to mention lots of trial and error (especially during your first few hours of editing.) Bear with it, and the rewards are great. Actually completing a level, a task that, if ambitious, could take upwards of ten hours, just feels great. Letting other people play on it and reading their positive comments and suggestions feels even better. Overall, the execution is much more complex than initially portrayed but it is satisfying if you have the time.

The audio/visual package in LBP is much more consistant than the gameplay, in that all of it is amazing. The game sports an art style that is unique and fully realized; each realm of the story mode sports a look that spoofs the feel of different parts of the world, but in a whimsical way that captures the imagination. On a technical level, the graphics are amazing and it truly is impressive how much can really fit into one level. The music in LBP is a mixture of liscensed and original, and every song fits its respective level perfectly.

While LBP can become tedious thanks to the sometimes dull gameplay and the amount of effort that it takes to make a unique level, the reward is worth it. But let's be honest, this isn't really a casual game. The learning curve on the level editor is steep at first and the gameplay can be imprecise. Get past all of that, and LBP is a remarkable art project with a fairly entertaining game attatched.

Graphics: 10/10: Amazing art style complemented by superb detail.
Sound: 10/10: Perfect music for every situation.
Gameplay: 8/10: Create? Share? Great. Play? Not so much.
Entertainment: 8.5/10: Floaty and sometimes dull gameplay coupled with a marketing tactic that portrays the game as being much more simple than it really is (thereby making playing the game a bit disorienting) mar what is otherwise a whimsical and entertaining journey. Oh, and don't expect a story out of the Story mode; there really isn't any.

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