Thursday, 14 August 2008
LittleBigPlanet - PS3
IT’S been 17 months since Sony and Media Molecule unveiled LittleBigPlanet to the general public. Its blend of ambitious user-based content and sumptuous looks have made this game top of people’s most wanted lists since then...myself included.
So you can imagine how thrilled I was, when last weekend, I was lucky enough to get my hands on the highly-anticipated game at the Edinburgh Interactive Festival, and I haven’t stopped smiling since.
LittleBigPlanet allows players to express their creativity by creating new levels in real-time, build objects such as cars and rockets from scratch, shape objects and landscapes and decorate your own levels in any way you want and then share them with the PS3 community.
I was first taken through a couple of pre-made levels that will ship with the game this October by one of Sony's reps. The graphics, as you can see, are stunning, with the game’s lead characters - Sackboys - exuding charm and personality with every move.
Swinging on windmill sails, leaping over fire, dodging scary ghosts, flying around with the aid of jetpacks and using teamwork to reach new areas, were just some of the things we experienced during my 45 minutes hands-on.
Then it was time to check out the creative side of LittleBigPlanet. The first thing you’ll notice is how well laid out and easy to use the menu system is. A simple press of a button calls up the menus. Then it’s just a case of highlighting your chosen object and you are instantly able to place it into the world, scaling and rotating to suit your needs.
The first thing I did was give my Sackboy a cowboy hat, a goofy smile and a rather fetching moustache and then we got down to business building a car from scratch.
First we took some wooden blocks, sculpted them into a rough car shape, and added wheels. Next, we fixed a rocket to the back and added a grip point - which acted as the car's accelerator. While it was all very basic, the scope is there to create something truly spectacular with a little time and effort.
Once we were happy with the final look - not forgetting to add a classy tiger skin pattern to the chassis - we jumped on board and held on for dear life, as the tiger car lurched forward at some speed.
Of course, we had failed to attach the rocket properly and as a result, the car was forced off the ground and somersaulted a few times, sending our Sackboys flying through the air.
Next we created a towering statue, complete with moving fiery arms. A picture was then taken of my face using the Eyetoy camera and slapped on to the statue’s head for a neat finishing touch.
We were able to create these objects in just a matter of minutes and LittleBigPlanet is as involved or as simple as you want it to be.
If you want to recreate your favourite level from a Mario game, you can. If you want to create a sprawling, epic level incorporating hidden exits and objects, you can. If you just want to play through the game's 60 levels and never touch the creative tools, you can. Or if you just want to mess about for 10 minutes creating a mechanical see-saw with your friends, you can do that too.
Everything you create can be shared online and you can be rest-assured that some members of the community will pull out all the stops and deliver some jaw-dropping creations.
The first thing I plan to create is a sprawling rollercoaster/ghost house, complete with terrifying drops and fabulous special effects, while a toppling dominoes-style level is also at the top of my list.
There’s only two months to go before everyone gets the chance to play this PS3 exclusive title, and I’ll be at the front of the queue come launch day.
Here's a video of part of the level I played through: