I wanted to love LittleBigPlanet 3. As the game loaded for the very first time, I remembered fondly the first installment in the series, the creative challenge it presented. The second game was far too easy and did little to enhance gameplay, so it was up to the third entry to pick up the slack visually, narratively, and most of all, creatively.
My three friends and I co-oped through LBP3 (the only correct way to play a LBP game, in my opinion) on the PS4 which does an astounding job at stepping up the amazing visuals of the LittleBigPlanet universe. The game is almost overwhelming at first with how much is happening at once, and with sixteen layers of elements instead of the traditional three, the game gets pretty crazy. However, I would be remiss to say I didn’t start the game with a smile. “It’s a good kind of crazy,” I thought.
LittleBigPlanet 3 has the most structured narrative to date, and though the game feels short, the story is coherent and fun. The power-up mechanics are simple and easy to use, and the addition of the three new playable characters shakes up the format of the first two games. Swooping, toggling, and sprinting through levels is deeply satisfying when done correctly; it’s a shame that the new characters are only playable in a handful of levels, leaving the player with no choice as to which character to be (if it was an OddSock level, all four of us had to be OddSock).
Unfortunately, I was unable to enjoy large portions of the game due to a frustrating assortment of bugs and glitches, not the least of which was the frequent corruption of player save files. The game would spit back cryptic error messages that could only be resolved by quitting the game, navigating to the account settings, and deleting whatever LBP save files were present. This fixed the error, of course, but also did away with whatever progress was made by that player. Hard-earned costumes and collectibles vanished, just like that, and one particular instance towards the end of the game (after spending hours finding and unlocking new items) I lost everything.
What’s more, the game would occasionally crash completely. Players would fall through the map and respawn incorrectly. NPCs were invisible during cutscenes, and during the final boss battle wouldn’t even load, interfering with our ability to even finish the game (until we restarted the PS4). And don’t get me started on that top-down Yeti level, because if nothing else, the entire game deserves one less point for its very inclusion.
I can’t speak for the level editor, but from what I’ve read, significant improvements have been made to ensure the player knows how to use the plethora of creative tools available. I’ll have to give it a go after I cool off from the frustrating challenge of getting LBP3 to even work.
Favorite Character: Swoop