Tuesday, September 25, 2012

LittleBigThings: I Beat LPBV's Story

So, technically I beat the story to LittleBigPlanet Vita (I'm cutting the Playstation part of the title because it's extraneous) a couple nights ago, and since have just been going back into them and trying to Ace them, some with far greater success than others, but I think that added experience has done wonders for my ability to appraise it as a full product.  Not in a review sense, since I really don't think that'd be fair since, in all actuality, the real beef of LittleBigPlanet Vita is not -there- yet in a sense.  Which is not a slight at MediaMolecule or, in this case, Tarsier Studios, of course, because the things that they do are magical, but they are probably cheating a little.  You know that every single Community Level you play is drawing from the exact same set of tools that you yourself have available to you and I'm just not quite sure that the developers have those same tools or those same limitations, particularly on space.  And besides, I think I love LBP a bit too much to offer it a fair appraisal (though I said that about the Yakuza series and I think I did alright there) especially as I play more and more Community Levels (and make my own) because I'll just get too attached to things that aren't necessarily of the game itself.

Even now, trying to think of the actual story missions, just in its own, I'm also considering other things like Bound: Prologue, a capable enough little tech demo for something of an actual sword-n-spell combat system that people have only been asking for since the Paintinator, more or less, and Snatch which is a basic little Escape the Room type game that I happen to have something of a fondness for when they're not completely overwrought.  Also, I'm thinking of my own projects, one of which I've started some very basic preliminary work on, where the other is only a concept for now.  When either of them get a little more accomplished, I'll likely be doing up a Behind-the-Scenes type of post here to show off what I've got going and what I'm envisioning for the rest of the level.  Because it's going to be pretty cool, I assure you.  Or at least, I think it will be pretty cool.

But if anything, I think that helps illustrate my point that I was trying to make.  I could go on and on and on and on about LittleBigPlanet in any iteration without mentioning the story whatsoever, and that is simply because that half of LBP as a series is just so big that it could, in fact, be its own game.  I have a secret hope that, with LBP being a thriving series and LBP Karting coming up (as well as the existence of Modnation Racers) that we will see other genres embrace the LBP-style experience and let us get things out there.  Touching on something I went on about the other week, can you imagine if someone took, say, the RPG genre and did up something like LittleBigPlanet for it?  Having a game with it to show you some of the mechanics, and giving you an opportunity to earn the tools, then having an entire community creating and releasing things for others to enjoy.  Or, honestly just about any genre out there, I think anything could be molded in a way that it would work really.

Anyways, yes yes, I really should be getting on with actually talking about what is there in LittleBigPlanet Vita when you pop it into your Vita in some fashion.  I find it particularly funny that just after talking about it the other night, and mentioning that the touch controls had been used quite nicely that I run into a level that uses the rear touch pad in a manner that I am tempted to call abhorrent, but I won't go that far, because it's really not -that- bad, just disappointing since it makes me look like an ass.  As I do, I went ahead and took a screencap of the level I had in mind and provided it above, so that I can sort of explain what's going on.  Now, it's hard to tell specifically, but that is my Sackboy (Detective Penguin~) on something that is basically a lightning bug or something of that sort by way of controllinator.  So you see that screenshot and probably say "Hey, alright, twin-stick shooter type thing" and you are wrong.  And seeing me say that and now remembering that I just brought up the rear touch pad, I'm sure you're very confused.  As well you should be.

You see, your only method of input for that entire level (which is mercifully short) is, indeed, the rear touch pad.  You touch on a spot and your bug moves towards your finger and that is how you get from point A to point B.  Depending on how far your finger is makes it kind of faster, but that's not really a considering factor, really.  It's unwieldy and it's unnecessary and it's just not a very good idea.  I get that they were probably trying to do something to let you know that you can use the rear touch pad for more than just bumping out platforms, but I'm sure that anyone could have thought of something far better to use as a tool to do that with.  With the other touch controls, some of it is stuff that, well you -don't- need it to use it, like the panels you pull down to bounce your Sackboy up with, but it ends up feeling fairly natural anyway.  But there's really just no excusing using the rear touch pad as a navigation device when you have not one, but two control sticks on your device.

In all honesty, however, that's really the only stand-out situation where it is inherently just poorly used.  Other times, I could mention because it forces use at semi-hectic times, but it's not -bad-, and just takes a little skill, much like any other control method.  Control-wise, that's kind of how the game is; for the most part it's fantastic (same as usual) and for that one level and bits and pieces here it's less than stellar.  Similar is the story, which is more or less what you would expect - charming and light, though to its credit, every region has a genuine reason for you being there which could have been something that would get muddled up more than not.  I was fairly impressed with it, and it was pretty much what you would want.  Perhaps I'll get around to getting into that more eventually since the story isn't quite as spoiler-ruined as most, but there's not really much expansion to do without telling the whole of it, which I don't plan on doing tonight.  No, what I plan on doing is purely getting a little more acing done, and then sleep.

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