Little Big Planet 3: Best Sequel Ever? | PS4 Review
For its fifth outing Little Big Planet does so much more to improve usability and player options that a typical comparison to other games that have reached their fifth iterations would seem unfair. Media Molecule has taken a back seat in this sequel and has handed over the reins to Sumo Digital, who had previously developed Sega All Star Racing Transformed. If anything Little Big Planet 3 has given me more actual faith in whatever Media Molecule is brewing up for their latest title because everything they implemented in the series’ earlier entries have now been polished to greater levels and Sumo Digital did a great job in taking the helm.
From its first few minutes of gameplay, Little Big Planet 3 is able to promise the remarkable and actually deliver, newly added to LBP 3 is voice acting for its main characters which provides that extra immersion the other games needed to take itself seriously instead of feeling like a random assortment of created levels that have been thrown together. The story’s soundtrack is also well done, whereas in previous games I felt that some tracks were hit and miss. Almost all the music and effects in Little Big Planet 3 are memorable, that alone elevates this game above its predecessors. As far as length is concerned, the story can be completed in 6-8 hours, but that all depends on your skill.
Sack Boy has returned, and he’s brought some friends, each of which have special abilities that make them worthwhile in their own right and also change gameplay dramatically. Before we get to his friends I want to mention that the second you take control of Sack Boy you will instantly recognize and appreciate that the platforming controls have been greatly refined. No more floaty jumps, it feels like a platformer that we were hoping that the earlier entries would be. I was the type of gamer who loved everything Little Big Planet was doing but couldn’t really get into because the controls made me feel clumsy, not full of the whimsy that its visuals always tried to connote. Now that that obstacle is gone, I welcome the postgame content and can vouch that Little Big Planet is now both a platformer’s and creator’s dream game.
Enough about Sack boy and his fixed controls, let us move onto Odd Sock, who is by far my favorite of the bunch and gives you a bit more to work with, in my opinion, as his abilities include: running up walls, wall jumping, even more precise jumping and moving at a faster speed. All of this gives him a great opportunity for user generated levels resembling more classic games like Shinobi or even Guacamelee. Next up is Toggle, he is a big guy in appearance and is rather useful in Physics-based puzzles and can shrink down in size to jump higher and run faster, while your bigger self can push things out the way that you normally wouldn’t be able to. Last but not least is the only character with full flying abilities. And he is not the most unpredictable choice for a flying character as he is a bird, you tap X to flap your wings and go airborne. All of the characters do have their limitations, but they were made with the notion of creating unique experiences across the board. Combine that with fixes made to the gameplay fundamentals and you have a satisfyingly diverse game that feels less like platforming window dressing for the massive toolbox lurking beneath its surface.
Little Big Planet 3 can be played with up to 4 players and even through Share Play, which is handled very well. Online multiplayer is how I always imagined LBP to be. It’s flawless and presented well enough that I had no problems going online and joining in on someone else’s game or having them join mine. This is quite remarkable coming from the previous entries, where I dreaded going online to play created content because of the interminable loading times or the general glitchiness that I experienced. The online mode has various filters to help you weed out the crap from the gold. One thing you may notice about the levels created online is that everything can be tweaked, don’t always expect the game to be played with the same mechanics as all settings and tweaks can be used to make a huge variety of levels.
Visually, Little Big Planet 3 has a charming art style. Not much has drastically changed besides it being in 1080p and at a steady 30 frames per second. Going from the Playstation 3 to the Playstation 4 you will be able to tell the difference, even though it is not as dramatic a jump as it was for the Infamous series. Since it is a cross-gen title that was to be expected. One difference between the last gen and current gen versions is that because of the exponential jump in memory capacity, you have a lot more room to add more objects to your level. Getting into creating is definitely easier in Little Big Planet 3 as the game teaches you how to use the creation tools by allowing you to play through a few tutorial levels, which are fun diversions from the main story levels, but as I said before it teaches you the functions of the tools and objects being used for you to then create your own levels. Even if you’re not the Michelangelo of Little Big Planet you can still have fun creating and especially with more players.
A few concerns I do have with Little Big Planet’s story missions compared to some that can be created, the lack of actual 4 player level design with an emphasis on the whole levels, not just 4 player mini games to get unlockable materials. Another flaw that is present while playing with 2 players or more is that there are no indicators that pop up to tell the difference between players and that can lead to very confusing platforming, especially when you don’t have the safety net of infinite respawns to rely on.Checkpoints should have a visual indicator representing how many lives you have left besides the light up circle, I have seen it glitch up a few times while playing and it can leave you feeling dumb founded when you hear the noise as if you have no lives but the lights are still fully lit. Besides those bugs and after thoughts LBP 3 is one of the most well improved sequels in gaming history.