22 Dec

Well the Sack is Back, and he is in your pocket this time. Is this game losing its stuffing or did Sony find a way to Sack it to us again?

Well after a very long and painful first week, I was finally able to download LittleBigPlanet PSP onto my PSP Go! The first thing you notice when you start the game is that the opening video really sets the course of wonderment that LBP is known for. Rarely will I discuss a cinematic influencing my experience of a game, but the opening for LBP really makes you feel creative and powerful. With Stephen Fry at the Mic, the game has a sense of completeness and high quality, which other PS2/3 ports just seem to lack. This game at no point feels like a tack on or a cash in effort. Even small things like, Sackboy having custom animations depending on the world he is, really make this game shine.

The graphics have changed a little, but not enough where it is a constant distraction. The great thing about LBP is that the textures and construction paper look for the game translates extremely well to the PSP. I honestly would not be surprised to see a port of this brought to the PS2 in the upcoming year as well, because it looks so good. A few minor complaints I do have is that from time to time Sackboy himself does look a little square and less Sack-like. Also sometimes the color white seems to flicker a little bit and often times the bubble pick-ups throughout the game can be a little hard to see.

Unlike many of the other games that make their way from one of the four major platforms to handhelds (Assassins Creed, GTA: Chinatown Wars), LBP does not lose any of its game play in the transition. The controls are almost entirely the same for the PS3 as the PSP, so going between the two is very natural. For those who were worried that Media Molecules’ second hand involvement in the game was going to inhibit the creative level design, you were wrong…dead wrong. In some of the levels, the game play was so innovative and creative that it made me wonder if Media Molecules programmers had secretly made the pilgrimage from Surry, England and snuck into Cambridge Studios at night, touching their magic wands to the keyboards. Honestly some of the levels are actually superior to the original game, and this is a real testament to Cambridge Studios. This time around, Sackboy only has two plains of 3Dness to work within, and I think this is a substantial improvement over the three-layer model. No longer are you cursed with the disadvantage of jumping and missing platforms because of plain-existence confusion. I think it would be an injustice to gamers to discuss the themes of each world, because they are part of the surprise, but the first two levels are themed around Australia and China. This means you will find yourself crawling up eucalyptus trees with koala bears, and riding in the back of foot propelled rickshaws. There are even some levels that allow you to fly through the entire stage, and I found this to be fresh and invigorating. Overall, the level design is nearly the perfect blend of creativity, classic platforming, with a small spice of hidden items and puzzles.

The create-a-mode has not really lost a step, but is not as comprehensive as some may come to expect. The aspect one must consider is that it still provides infinite possibilities for creative prowess and ingenuity. Most of the more vital and significant tools are back, and I found the uploading process relatively easy. Playing this on the PSP makes the process of making a level an ongoing, and constantly informed and inspired process. If you are walking down the street and suddenly the LittleBigMuse inspires you, the game is right in your pocket and ready to go. I predict in the years to come, we will see levels that overshadow their PS3 counterparts simply due to the greater accessibility of the game.

The overall online functionality is was what really blew me away. Usually just thinking about doing something online on the PSP just gives me a headache. LBP and Cambridge studios have really broke the mold in this effort. There is almost no difference between the PS3 menu and options and the PSP version. The only major difference is that you must download the levels to your PSP’s hard drive/memory stick Duo/M2 card. At first this may sound like a space wasting and annoying idea, but I think its a good system because it allows you to bring those levels to non-wi-fi hot-spots (or cold-spots as I like to call them) and continue to play them. This feature is what puts the final “A” in this AAA title.

This game is simply great. I would rarely use this type of language, but I think it is necessarily in this instance in order to fully comprehend how good this game is; This is the best game on the PSP to date, period. Not because of its game play, graphics, or story, but simply because of the online functionality being such an amazing achievement for Cambridge Studios. The fact that within 3 minutes (I timed it) I can be playing a brand new level that someone across the globe made, that incorporates new unique challenges, stories, pop-culture references, and essentially anything else in the world is what puts this game above the rest. This game is for all intents and purposes endless, and the enjoyment and options you have will only increase exponentially. The final verdict is if you own a PSP you need to own this game.

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