7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Much Better Than Expected,
This review is from: LittleBigPlanet Karting - Playstation 3 (Video Game)
I have been a fan of kart racers, and racing games in general, since I first fired up the family's N64 back in the day. (My family would only purchase multiplayer games for the longest time, to ensure every one of my siblings and I would get a chance to play)
If it's a racing game, you name it and I've played it. Everything from Kirby Air Ride, to F-Zero, Need for Speed, Sonic Riders, Wave Race, Myth Makers Super Kart GP, Crus'n USA - you get the idea. When it comes to kart racers, a few have alway stood out in my mind (besides Mario Kart). The two I look back on with affection would include Diddy Kong Racing and Crash Team Racing.
Which brings us to LittleBigPlanet Karting - a racer brought to us by the team responsible for ModNation Racers. Let me be frank, I'm not a big fan of ModNation. I find the load times grating, and although I respect the creative freedom it allows I feel that, as I've become more of a casual player, those features are just 'timewasters' that hold little value to me. That didn't bode too well for me. I also was concerned since I had read some rather shocking negative reviews on LBPK (namely, IGN's review that rated it a 5/10).
However, I am a fan of LittleBigPlanet (at least what I've played of it), and you already know I love racing games. I saw LBPK on sale this Black Friday, a cool 25 bucks. I figured, eh, what do I have to lose? If I don't like it I can sell it on Craigslist.
Well folks.... I LOVE IT! How on earth could anyone give this game a bad rating? Seriously. First of all, the controls are superb. Very tight. Very natural. Some modern racers make it feel like you're shifting the world around you instead of driving a car (I'm looking at you Sega Rally... and Sonic & All-Stars Racing). That's not the case with LBPK. Secondly, the graphics. Like ModNation, the graphics are gorgeous - and I would wager stylistically the designs and art in LBPK are much more realized and exploited for eye-candy goodness here than they were in ModNation. Also, load times are reasonable.
This racer also brings back a more fluid racing experience, complete with weapons you can use against your competitors a la Mario Kart. The weapon system here is integrated very well. I think a lot of kart racers outside of Mario Kart have a hard time making the weapons feel natural to the game, and striking a balance with weapon usage. The genius thing here is, like Mario Kart, you can choose to use your weapon offensively to attack others, or defensively to protect yourself. Good call. Although, like Mario Kart, you probably will have a few moments of frustration when somebody out of nowhere knocks you from 1st place - but I would argue this is the nature of the kart racer. It's the great equalizer - so if you're playing against your mom or a younger racer they have at least a tiny chance of winning or finishing in a respectable place.
That's not to say you won't be rewarded if you are a more skilled player. Obviously there is some strategy involved, and certain tracks have 'shortcuts' to exploit if you take the time to research the landscape.
Also, unlike ModNation, I felt that the creative aspects of LBPK - like building your own karts, racers, etc - seemed much easier to swallow and less daunting. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying ModNation was rocket science, but LBPK does simplify things which is great if you'd like to experiment but don't have the time to get too crazy. The interface even seemed more streamlined.
I guess the driving point here is that everything feels right with LBPK. No, it's not groundbreaking - but is it supposed to be? It's a kart racer! And a really good one at that.
My only complaint is that the choice of racers is limited unless you've purchased a lot of costumes in previous LBP games. And even then, you're pretty much always playing with a version of Sackboy - so it's not like you can pick and choose your favorite character based off their stats or anything. This sometimes makes the racers feel generic. Then again, you can always create your own. And luckily, Sackboy is a pretty charming character to begin with.
Also, similar to that complaint, is the track selection. Many of them are simply gorgeous. A lot of them are well-designed. But, like some negative reviews have pointed out - they're not as memorable as other racers. They all do the job, but only a few stand out. And it' weird to say that, because while you're playing you probably won't notice it, as the tracks really do look great and it's really fun. It's just probably going to be hard to look back on it later and remember a specific track.
Either way, don't let that scare you. This really is a good purchase. Is it worth $60? Um. No. But I honestly don't think any game is worth $60. If you can wait for it to hit the $40 mark (or lower), it would be a good investment and nice addition to your library. I had too much fun with this to give it anything less than 5 out of 5 stars. Subtract a star or two if you're not a big fan of the genre.
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Initial post: May 20, 2013 11:35:34 AM PDT
haha. "driving point".
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