What I have always loved about the LittleBigPlanet franchise is the game’s disregard for what the rest of the gaming industry is doing. While almost all other video games fall into genres such as the standard first-person-shooter, the sandbox run-and-gun, or the token annual sports money-grab game, LittleBigPlanet uses truly inventive and addicting elements not seen in many other games. The characters are adorable, and while the games look like they are aimed at young children much like Nintendo’s Mario franchise, the levels are deceptively challenging. They require lots of thought to complete, particularly in the multiplayer mode when lives are always in short supply. LittleBigPlanet is one of the best reasons to own a PlayStation, and the latest entry in the franchise, LittleBigPlanet 3, offers another compelling reason to buy a PlayStation 4 if you’re still on the fence.
The adventures of Sackboy/Sackgirl, the game’s leading fabric-based hero, continue in this installment, but this time he is joined by three more “fabricated” heroes: Oddsock, Toggle, and Swoop, which add further dimension to the game, and make the game even more adorable. Oddsock is a dog-like creature can run faster than Sackboy and parkour up horizontal walls. Toggle can switch back and forth (or “toggle”) between a large, dopey powerhouse and a tiny speedster that can fit in small crevices. Finally, Swoop is a bird-like creature that can fly and pick up objects, unlike the other three. I have to say, I was disappointed that each of these characters can only be used in particular worlds and levels, unlike the the game’s advertisements which led me to believe that you could use any of the four characters at any point in the game. Still, the addition of these characters further enhanced the playability of the game, and I found Toggle to be my personal favorite, as his abilities offered for the most challenging level gameplay and seemed the most inventive since the other two newbies were essentially just based on real-life animals.
LittleBigPlanet 3 offered some of the most complex, beautiful, and challenging levels of any entry in the series, and a stellar soundtrack further made this more than a game, but an experience. Whether it was the catchy “Pink Shoelaces” or “Mr. Sandman” in the ’50s rock and roll level or a serene remix of “I Only Have Eyes For You” in a psychedelic space-themed level, the soundtrack set the mood of each level perfectly, and felt like a character itself due to its strong presence. With one notable exception, every main story level was well-crafted and realized, and offered a more consistently fun experience than past installments. The side missions on the other hand, were hit or miss (mostly misses). They often felt like filler, to give the game more content, but I’m forgiving of their mediocrity since they were not part of the main campaign.
This would not be an honest review if I did not acknowledge the bugs this game contains. Unfortunately, despite the installation of the day one patch, the game still glitches at times, which often hindered progress. When I played in multiplayer mode, the profiles of my friends would often get corrupted and lost, meaning they would lose the collectible items they had found and their custom costumes would be gone. Fortunately, my profile was never corrupted, so I did not lose any items, and more importantly, I did not lose any level progress in the game as a whole. There were also some glitches that involved elements of the levels not spawning, leaving me with no way to progress and forcing me to reload the game so that I could actually complete the level. Its unfortunate that bugs are becoming more and more common recently, as the industry seems to accept that games can ship and be bought without glitches being resolved first. This fall has been bad in particular with Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Halo: Master Chief Collection, and Far Cry 4 all having issues on day one. I can forgive a game having glitches, but the frequency of glitches this season leaves me with a bleak outlook on the future of the industry. Its especially disappointing because I know that all of these games will be fine eventually, but the early adopters are the ones getting punished, when they should be rewarded for supporting new games upon release, especially since they are paying full price.
But the issues with glitches and bugs were not bothersome enough for me to significantly lower my opinion of this game. They were annoying, and therefore cost the game a couple points, but overall, I think its a really solid entry in the franchise, and one of the best games of the next generation. I look forward to further updates to fix the stability of the game, but I also look forward to playing user-created levels as they pop up online, which will add to the replay-ability of the game. It is unfortunate that this game did not come to the market flawless, but the few bugs I encountered were minor and did not take away from how much fun I had playing this game, and I would still recommend picking up this game if you own a PS4 and this genre interests you.
Favorite Character: Toggle