Game Review: LittleBigPlanet 3

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Sackboy is back in action and this time he’s bringing some friends to help him out! LittleBigPlanet 3 has finally made an appearance following a nearly 4 year wait since LBP 2. Can Sumo Digital recreate the magic that made the first two games in the series so popular or was Sackboy better off left in the past?

LittleBigPlanet was an enormously ambitious game when it debuted in 2008 to quite a bit of hype. That original game lived up to pretty much everything it promised and provided a TON of content for one game. LBP was a new breed of game where you could not only create pretty much anything you wanted, but you could also take up to 3 friends along for the ride at any time. A few years later, LBP 2 would prove that that formula could be expanded upon and made even better. Where do you go from there though? With thousands of creators making new levels every moment of the day and using all kinds of materials and elements, how much more can a developer do to make a new game that is worth the upgrade? The answer is to introduce new characters and ways to play the game while retaining all the classic elements that have made this series a staple of the PlayStation brand.

LittleBigPlanet 3 is an ambitious game, that much is easy to see from the first few levels of the game where you’re introduced to some of the new gameplay elements. LBP has always been one of my favourite series, but the one complaint I’ve always had is that it gets boring if the levels aren’t inventive enough. LBP 3 takes this problem away by having so many things going on at once that it  continues to capture your interest far beyond the prologue. Stephen Fry returns in this game to give his signature narration which helps LBP 3 retain the charm of the original games. A welcome new addition is that each supporting character in LBP 3 is now voiced. It sounds like a small thing, but it’s so much more engaging to hear what a specific character wants you to do than to read through it for 30 seconds. This game has bit more of a traditional story about the world of Bunkum and how an attack sucked away all of the inhabitants’ creativity. It’s a story that’s worth being cared about while still keeping the wacky world of LBP intact.

The Adventure Mode has been crafted beautifully as was to be expected. There was a great deal of care to make the levels very creative while still being functional. The tone is always set so perfectly with sound effects, music, and visual cues. It’s an interesting new concept for LBP 3 to have included hub worlds with sets of levels set inside them. It all flows together very nicely and makes playthroughs that much quicker and fairly seamless. The levels are beautiful, the characters are quirky, and the story is simple and easy to follow. It’s everything you’d expect from an LBP game. Don’t take it too lightly either, LBP 3 can be extremely difficult and frustrating at times. With all the jumping into the background/foreground and new power-ups, there are a lot more untimely deaths (I died 4 times in 4 seconds on one level and could only stare in disbelief).

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There’s a new cast of characters to utilize. It’s too bad they weren’t used more often.

There were some interesting issues that I ran into while playing the game that were frustrating at times (especially when trying to ace a level). While playing with a friend, we jumped across to another platform and fell through the level landing far below without dying without any way of getting back to where we were without popping. This happened multiple times. The finicky controls also create havoc sometimes while trying to jump precisely as sometimes Sackboy just doesn’t jump as high as your button press has indicated. Neither problem is that prevalent, but they are worth mentioning. There are enough new elements added in that a few little glitches aren’t enough to spoil the game for me. The “Velociporter” transports your character into the background/foreground, “Boost Boots” are as advertised, and the “Blink Ball” gun teleports. These things alone make LBP 3 such a different game than its predecessors. Don’t take anything too lightly either, LBP 3 can be extremely difficult and frustrating at times. With all the jumping into the background/foreground and new power-ups, there are a lot more untimely deaths (I died 4 times in 4 seconds on one level and could only stare in disbelief).

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Example of the effects of the “Velociporter” with one character in the foreground, 2 in the background.

A new cast of characters join Sackboy on his journey. Swoop (who can fly and swoop down to grab), Oddsock (who can run fast and bounce off of walls) and Toggle (who can switch back and forth between being heavy and light) add some great new ways to play if only they were used more often. Even in the cooperative mode players have to use the same character most of the time, so it was really a missed opportunity to add a whole lot more to the game.

Creation mode keeps the LBP 2 toolkit while adding support for 16 layers of creation versus the 3 from LBP 2. While this seems like a monstrous amount of space to create and a very intimidating thing to try, it’s really a pretty simple creation suite as it always has been. “Popit Academy” will help you figure out Creation Mode by attempting to blur the lines between create and play over 12 levels. You use your creation toolkit to solve puzzles in some rather imaginative levels. In addition to this, “Blaster Handle” allows you to be imaginative and create your own power-ups. I see so many things that could come out of that, the potential is endless.

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A sample of the amount of tools available in Create Mode, and that’s just a small part of it!

If all of that isn’t enough, all 9 million plus LBP 1 & 2 user-generated levels have been included on the disc. That’s simply amazing to me that there are that many levels readily available to play in one single game. Not only do you get the levels, but any costume content that you purchased as DLC is available in LBP 3 at no extra charge. This is huge for all the people that have spent money all these years to know that that money hasn’t been wasted and that most of that content can still be utilized. I did have problems downloading some legacy content, however most of it did carry over and I expect anything that hasn’t will eventually carry over as well.

While I encountered a couple very minor bugs in my hours of gameplay, LittleBigPlanet 3 is definitely a must-have on the PS4 if you enjoyed the first two or are new to the series. LBP 3 gives you a more quality content in one package than you can get anywhere else. The general charm of the game hasn’t been lost even after switching developers and the series looks to be in great hands. Whether you like to play, create, or share, LittleBigPlanet 3 excels on every level.

*This game was provided to FYIG by Sony Computer Entertainment Canada for review purposes*

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