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LittleBigPlanet Beta Impressions

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On Monday, I was blessed with a LittleBigPlanet beta code courtesy of 1UP. Since then, I’ve put in approximately 8 hours or so into this beta. It took awhile for me to sit down and write this little piece for you all because of two simple reasons: 1) the beta has so much to offer and 2) I was too busy tinkering with my level.

LittleBigPlanet is the most ambitious game I’ve ever seen on a console. Ambition is one thing, but being able to execute on it is another. LBP manages to achieve both. I’m not going to spend the time going through all the features, but I will touch on each of the three pillars briefly.

Playing the game itself is what you would expect from a 2-D platformer with a very real and involved physics system — it’s incredibly reactive. Jumping inbetween the three planes is a bit cumbersome at first, but once you’ve played a few levels which require such movements, it becomes second nature. I did find myself wishing for one thing: the ability to climb on objects such as ladders and grabbable materials. Other than that, playing the game felt great.

Creating your own level was overwhelming at first, but I never got the feeling that I couldn’t do what I wanted. My problem was trying to find out where to start. To solve that problem, I spent approximately two hours trying to make a rocket powered ice sled and send it down a hill of ice. It didn’t work perfectly and I eventually gave up on it since I found the physics system to be so solid. I couldn’t just make something that looks like a sled and slap rockets on it and expect it to work. I had to design that sled with a lot more care which required more time which I didn’t have. (The beta is over on the 11th of October!)

By now I was getting into the rhythm of reiterating my designs over and over again. The tools themselves were easy to access and use, however I still couldn’t help, but feel that there was more for me to learn. There’s so many combinations of objects, functions and tweaks at my disposal — I must be missing something. I definitely yearned for additional tutorials on top of the already excellent introductory ones. Did you know they were narrated by Stephen Fry, a British comedian?

When it comes to sharing and publishing levels, it couldn’t be easier. Finding levels, on the other hand, was an area of improvement for me. Additional filters and sorting options would have been nice. The option could very well be there, but I don’t know how to sort the levels by “Most favorites” or “most played”. Don’t worry about not being able to identify good levels, though. They have a brilliant level rating system where players can choose tags to best describe their experience. Was it “Brilliant”, “Short” or perhaps “Annoying”?

To be perfectly honest, though. I’ve been keeping myself isolated from the rest of the LBP levels. I’m trying to test the limits of my creativity and explore LittleBigPlanet on my own. I’ve only tried a handful of levels, but from what I’ve seen so far have been very impressive.

So there you have it. LittleBigPlanet. It’s the next big thing. I’m not sure how well the masses will take it, but I do know one thing: everyone must try this game and all its features. From single player to co-operative play, to creating a level and definitely trying out the finest user created content out there. It really is a special game.

For more information on LittleBigPlanet, visit the official website.

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