The moment Sackboy was announced by Sony Computer Entertainment at the Game Developers Conference 2007, I knew he held great promise.
- Developer/Publisher: Sumo Digital/Sony Computer Entertainment
- Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3
- PS4 version tested. Copy purchased by the reviewer.
After delivering a title that captured hearts and enthralled the mind, Media Molecule successfully went on to receive praise for one of the best titles on the PlayStation 3 system in 2008 that applauded ‘Play, Create, and Share’ worldwide. Now, nearly six years later, LittleBigPlanet 3 is out and this time Sackboy has a lot of other unique sack-friends that can follow him on an adventure through the world of Bunkum. Sumo Digital and XDev Studios Europe have created a universe that is as creative as ever with ideas floating through the sky, and the amount of freedom in user-generated content and more z-axis depth leaves room for some of the most unimaginable levels of exploration in the Imagisphere.
LittleBigPlanet 3’s storyline follows the formula of the past titles: taking the ingenuity from Craftworld and incorporating the thematic elements that made the previous two games so original all while taking it a step further.
All of the gameplay is now voiced, whereas in the previous games the cutscenes were the only voiced portions. As you play Sackboy, you are introduced to the world of Bunkum and make a run-in with three mythical creatures that you unknowingly release into the wild known as Titans. They are set to tarnish the world by helping the evil and hilariously unskilled antagonist Newton, voiced by Hugh Laurie (House M.D.). To stop Newton and bring the powers of the Titans in check, Sackboy can make use of the ancient heroes of Bunkum: Toggle, Swoop and OddSock. The storyline incorporates the ambiance of LittleBigPlanet terrifically with the vivacity of the stunning and detailed world of Bunkum and its imaginative creatures.
LittleBigPlanet 3 has reached the same levels as the previous two titles in terms of its gameplay, and went a step further into creating something memorable for PlayStation 4 owners. Create, Play, and Share are still the main paradigms of the game. Being one of the few couch cooperative games left on the planet, LittleBigPlanet 3 is filling a large void when it comes to sharing a fun and quirky experience through online cooperative play or offline cooperative play with friends by your side or a mix and match of friends offline and online. With the ancient heroes of Bunkum and Sackboy trying to put a stop to Newton, there is a level of camaraderie that is quite apparent in the storyline and gameplay mechanic when it comes to both ‘Play’ and the flexibility of playing in a variety of ways. Each of the playable characters has their own personality and style, which adds further dimension to the depth of the gameplay. Sackboy now has newer climbing abilities along with his traditional platform jumping style that made him so noticeable. Toggle is a brusque, almost brute-like hero that can change his frame into a smaller version of his former glory, fitting into tight spaces or barely making it through by some user-created contraption that can make use of his shrink-size ability. OddSock is the ever-loveable puppy-like sack-creature that can cling to the walls and make his way up. Swoop flies everywhere and can use talons to pick up objects or even carry friends across obstacles and what not, all while not being too overpowered and taking weight-like qualities into account. All playable sack-things are also accompanied by personally created power-ups that can be kept in the Sack Pocket. The Sack Pocket can store any user-created power-ups for any level or even store the level’s existing power-ups for use at any time in the level. This is a great feature that adds a level of extended playability throughout any level.
Creation allows content creators to create 16-levels of gameplay content per level, which is exciting and something I am sure most content creators have been dying for. One little caveat to this, however, is that the transition to and from these levels still involves the use of Zips/Slides/Launchers for playable characters. While I would have loved to see this actually be something that could be incorporated in the Z-Axis per character in terms of movement, perhaps technical limitations kept this from being a reality. Still, it is quite generous to go from three layers to sixteen layers of possibilities even if dynamic movement for playable characters remains the same as previous titles. My one gripe still remains about the previous titles in terms of Create mode: not having the ability to see how the official levels are created. I feel in terms of a learning curve, this addition/feature would make it dramatically easier for Creators to really understand how levels function and are created, which can help them out quite substantially for themselves. This is a very minor complaint in the bigger picture of the game that does so well overall.
Create also includes the reality to make worlds of adventure, and giving players a version of your own World Map to explore which each world has its own elements, special power-ups, and even characters across this worldspace.
The level creation is no longer fixed to the static Thermometer. Your level can be as big as your PlayStation 4 hard drive allows with the Dynamic Thermometer functionality. In these worlds, LittleBigPlanet 3 provides over 70 new tools to create something that is out of this world and into the world of LittleBigPlanet. With newer tools, there is newer presentation style for anyone trying to explore levels.
No longer is it just a badge with some reviews. Now, players can create their very own 30-second trailers for their levels that can entice more players along with screenshots like previous titles. My particular favorite tool as a player and creator is The Organisertron, a sort of play on Role Playing Game-related quests that can activate certain triggers across user-created levels and make a mini-RPG style level or dare I say even universe with its own world map for a whole game adventure. The possibility is endless, and backwards compatibility with levels from the LittleBigPlanet and LittleBigPlanet 2 user-generated content is exceptional and offers a level of replay value unseen.
LittleBigPlanet 3 is releasing to the PlayStation 3 platform as well, which is something that I feel is definitely endearing and something I am glad to see for the children whose parents will not buy them a brand new PlayStation 4. Regardless, Sumo Digital/XDev created LittleBigPlanet 4 with the PlayStation 4 in mind (with it being the primary lead console). The PlayStation 4 version of LittleBigPlanet 3 has better lighting, high-quality graphics with four times the pattern texture resolution, full HD 1080p, a nice depth of field, while also coming to the SHARE aspect of the PlayStation 4’s system functionality itself. The SHARE button can allow players to share video clips, and even go live on streaming this incredible title. The PlayStation 4’s streaming capability and innovation has supplements and caters to LittleBigPlanet 3’s adventure in a movement where streaming game titles is becoming mainstream. Everything in LittleBigPlanet 3 comes together in a harmony that has far surpassed its predecessors and this is no easy accomplishment.
LittleBigPlanet 3 is probably one of the titles you should definitely be thinking about getting this November. With the excellent attention to detail and actually improving upon a franchise as formidable as LittleBigPlanet, Sumo Digital/XDev Studios Europe have really created something that is definitely worth its price and place in the shelves of gamers everywhere. Die-hard fans of the franchise will love it and newcomers to the franchise will applaud its features and the delectable fun to be had in LittleBigPlanet 3. Imagination is just the beginning.