electricboogaloo's Metal Gear Solid® Premium Level Pack (PlayStation 3) review

LittleBigMetalGear.

This Christmas the nice folks over at Media Molecule - creators of the ridiculously cute LittleBigPlanet - decided to team up with Konami to give us, the fans, a little gift. “What could this be?” You might ask. “Some new character skins?” As is the norm on LittleBigPlanet at the moment. Well… yes, but not only that because they’ve also decided to give us a level pack. Now you must really be intrigued, but it’s all very obvious really. Take two of PlayStation 3’s biggest games and mash them together and what do you get? LittleBigSolid, Metal Gear Sackboy; whatever you what to call it, it’s Metal Gear Solid in LittleBigPlanet.

Put simply, this is a match made in heaven; Cupid’s arrow has struck. If you’ve enter ventured off into the world of LittleBigPlanet you would have seen the community hard at work recreating some of gaming’s biggest icons in this little big world. From Mario and Sonic to Dead Space and Motorstorm, Sackboy has explored everything; and it’s this fun new way to look at some of our favourite titles, combined with all of the original ideas out there that make the LittleBigPlanet community such a brilliant place to be a part of. And now it’s refreshing to see the creators of the game giving it a crack themselves. It might cost, unlike the community levels, but it’s definitely worth every penny.

There are two packs to choose from: the costume kit and the level kit. In the costume kit you’ll find five different outfits to dress your Sackboy up in. All of these are based upon characters from Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, so you have Old Snake, Meryl, Raiden, Screaming Mantis and a guard. All of these look great shrunk down to fit Sackboy, especially the little dolls hanging from Screaming Mantis. If you’re a fan of the Metal Gear Solid series then you can’t help but fall in love with these straight away.

However, the main meat of this downloadable content comes from the level kit. Here you’ll get five new levels and a VR Survival Challenge - although technically it’s only four levels as one is basically a cut scene; fitting, I know. First up is VR Training, a level used to teach you how to use your new weapon. Now, this is still LittleBigPlanet, so don’t expect an arsenal of realistic weaponry like you might find in MGS. Instead it still maintains its charm and puts you in control of a paint gun - named, The Paintinator. This weapon is vital to the whole level pack and transforms LittleBigPlanet from a platformer to a side scrolling shooter much like one of Konami’s other hits, Contra.

The Paintinator presents a completely new and unique way to play, and it’s a refreshing experience. Now you’ll be tackling situations by using cover to avoid enemy fire before popping out and blasting them with paint. And you’ll need to take full advantage of cover in order to succeed, as with a new weapon comes new enemies. Now we have a paint-switch with a health bar that drains when hit by paint. To progress through each level you’ll need to deplete each enemies paint-switch to defeat them; this gets progressively more difficult as the game goes on and you’ll need to figure out new ways to use your Paintinator.

This downloadable pack is a brief yet exciting romp through a bunch of MGS4 themed levels with their own hilarious story. It still maintains its charm and builds on it by adding the tongue-in-cheek nature to an MGS storyline. You can’t help but smilie when your little Sackboy Snake gets angry and you hear his rough little voice. MGS fans will get the most out of it, but it also innovates and changes the gameplay enough for everyone to enjoy it. The price may be a little steep, but once again there’s so much potential. This is LittleBigPlanet after all, so there’s still a plethora of MGS themed stickers and items to unlock - including MGS music - for use in the level creator. With so many levels being deleted from the community for copyright infringement, it’s great that we can now use official content when making MGS style levels, eliminating the chance of deletion.

And the fact that the community can also now implement the Paintinator is brilliant. In the future we can expect a bunch of levels purely focusing on this excellent new weapon. It’s very simple, but LittleBigPlanet is all about simplicity, and the gun adds a whole new dimension to the gameplay that should hopefully make the community levels even better.

This level pack combines two of the PlayStation 3’s best games together in one of the greatest pieces of downloadable content we’ve seen so far. It might not last long but there’s tons of future potential for the community, and it also gives us hope that Media Molecule will continue to team up with other developers to create more packs like this. With copyright infringement affecting the game, giving players the opportunity to create levels with official content is a great way to combat it, even if you have to pay a small sum.

Pick up Snake and his little Sack buddies on the PlayStation Store now.

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