Northern Ireland Gaming
comic and game reviews04 Feb 2009 04:54 pm

Or, Why I Hate Hideo Kojima’s Game of the Year.

By Sparky

Personally, I just think that shows the extent of the irrational hype which surrounded this game for so long before its release. Even when gameplay footage showed the world that the whole game revolved around a ridiculously shoddy physics engine, everyone still seemed to be convinced that it was guaranteed to be brilliant.

Just to put things in perspective, LittleBigPlanet is a platformer. It lives or dies based on what running to the right and jumping feels like. Jumping is floaty and unresponsive, and Sackboy doesn’t stop immediately when you stop running. He skids and slides all over the place, as if the whole world was made out of ice. The main result of this is that you can’t land on anything with any degree of precision. You’ll find yourself dying continuously, not because you made mistakes, but because you haven’t enough control over your own movement.

To make this completely clear, play LittleBigPlanet, then go and play a good platformer. The difference is amazing, especially when it’s compared to the likes of Super Mario World, which plays like a dream (admittedly, a very weird dream). This is without even going into the horrify three planes business. If somebody wants to make a 2D platformer, make it 2D. Trying to jump in and out of the screen is frustrating and pointless.

The moral of the story? Don’t expect good gameplay from a unproven developer. Media Molecule hadn’t made any games before LBP, and it shows. The very core of the game is shoddy, which no amount of ‘charm’ can make up for.

Which leads neatly onto my next biggest complaint. Sackboy is sickening. They tried to hard to make him cute, but he isn’t sweet; he’s saccharine (that’s a bad thing, by the way). I can’t understand how everyone feel for their cheap trick. Although, it’s very clever how they managed to persuade people to pay for costumes. I always thought paying for a small graphical effect was money down the drain, but what do I know?

The level creator is nice, but its appeal is diminished by having to play through the whole of the main game to get items to use in it, and the fact that you have to listen to Stephen Fry patronising you as if you’re a two year old. Playing other people’s levels online would be a nice touch if it wasn’t for the fact that you can only do it to make up for the ridiculously small number of built-in levels. Media Molecule’s levels aren’t even particularly inspiring, but are mostly age old platforming cliches. Also, quite a lot of people don’t properly play-test their levels. They get carried away with moving scenery and the like, quite often leading to the player respawning behind bits of the scenery.

Overall, LittleBigPlanet is flawed and a wasted opportunity. It failed to live up to it’s pretty visuals and handcrafted charm. Yet, it is still hailed as one of the most innovative titles of this generation.

Score: 5 out of 10

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