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All LittleBigPlanet Reviews Out Are Worthless

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Brian Crecente has posted what I have been saying for a long time — there is a fine balance between timely and accurate reviews.

However, LittleBigPlanet has galvanized the point so clearly. It's been three days since LittleBigPlanet's official launch and the servers are still down, meaning we cannot get online, play online or publish levels. In other words, it doesn't work and EVERY LittleBigPlanet review out now is bullshit – not worth the digital pixels they're virtually printed on.

I could have written a review by now; I was lucky enough to nab the game on Oct. 11 and have played it to death by now. I thought of writing an offline-only review, but do not like that idea at all. So I have waited … and waited. I will write a LittleBigPlanet review for Blogcritics eventually, but I sure as hell won't write one review when I cannot even test out the online features. My first steps online in the game were not good.

Brian's article brings up a very important point: often writers review by beta code, or test on limited servers. Of course, the experience on a server that is not in a production environment is going to fair well, as you do not have throngs of people hammering it.

This brings me to a point I would like to make about developers: Few seem to stress test anymore and if they do, they're not doing a good enough job. I felt pretty good about LittleBigPlanet because it had a beta test period. This gives the developer time to see how the game fares with large amounts of people connected to it in a real world setting, not a closed network that has little to no latency. Still, a limited beta is not an accurate test of a production environment and the game has not fared well at launch.

Don't get me wrong, LittleBigPlanet is a wonderful, if not slightly flawed, single player story and level designer, but the game's legs are going to come from the community. Beyond completing the story mode, most players will be spending their time online – that fact alone makes accurate reviews of the online features of LittleBigPlanet paramount.

Currently I still cannot access the game's online functions consistently. I have tried many times to publish a level and every time it tells me there was a problem and to try again later (I would give you a more detailed error, but that is how vague the dialog is). I have one three-player game under my belt and it was a high-def slide show that took more than five minutes to complete, with one of the players getting dropped.

Until Sony and Media Molecule fix their server issues, I cannot honestly write anything definitive. If the servers are this sporadic after a few more days, there is little I can do than to write this off as an offline-only game until serious intervention is taken. I cannot in good conscience write a review and give a score based on online features that should work in the future.

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About Ken Edwards

  • “After the patch update i fail to see anything you’re complaining about. Expect like a 10 second lag when a person is joining your party. You failed to review the game, to us the public.”

    The sheer ignorance in these comments blows my mind. First, it was written before the patch. Second, it’s NOT a review. Thinking it completely misses the point of the article, which obviously a lot of people did.

    This is the reason we still have fanboys prancing around bitching because a game got an 8.7 instead of a 9.0: They didn’t read the damn article.

  • ChrisWanker

    I love it when someone not paid off by Sony steps out and voices their TRUE opinion… Then every Sony Sheep get’s their panties in a bunch about it.

    It’s his opinion and if you don’t like it, fine! But crying about it will only annoy those around you.

    Personally, I think the game is about a 85/100. But my opinion is skewed by the fact that I really don’t like Platform games. This ones nice, but not great!

    So stop crying about it! Good grief!!!

  • MAiKU

    After the patch update i fail to see anything you’re complaining about. Expect like a 10 second lag when a person is joining your party. You failed to review the game, to us the public.

    That or maybe your net connection just sucks.

  • BigPlanet

    I would not wait for my 3rd 360 to return from the repair but I would happily wait weeks if not months for Sony to sort this server lag/Problem. ……. it will give me time to come to grips with what is the closest thing to MAGIC ever conceived in a video game. …………LEVEL EDITOR /.WOW.

    RELAX …………

  • Hello guys, just to remind you all that nothing good comes easy so don’t expect one. In all that is created or designed by a human there is bound to be some kind of hitch. I even posted something on the delay hitch on my blog so let us all be patient. All is good that ends well.

  • dadeisvenm

    Correct me if I’m wrong here but the game does have a single player campaign and multiplayer offline mode. The online is cake. Theoretically one could produce a massive amount of levels, play them with friends and NOT be online. Fable 2 seems to have fallen short of its online promises and no one is making a stink about it. The current reviews also are played in isolated experiances I.E. Reviews are privy to advanced copies with access to internal servers far removed from a real world setting. Thats just the way it is. relax.

  • Toni

    Anyone else have problems with hard freezes when loading a user-created level in multiplayer mode? Happened to me twice so far.

  • Mark Cullison

    Sounds great, will buy it when I get some loot, if I get loot… Christmas looms close and the kids need games for the holiday season. Sounds like I have an idea for another article.

  • Hey Mark. It works now. 3 and 4 player games are still iffy at best, but it works.


  • Mark Cullison

    heh heh you said bullshit. am I allowed to say that? I love it:) Sorry to see you get flamed dude:( but I would have to agree, all us PSN folk were lead to believe that LBP would be all pinnacle of side-scrolling multi-player treats, but we sure as hell can’t test that if we are stuck on offline. thanks for the info bud, now I feel a lil better that I did not get stuck with the game just yet…

  • Travisis, while you may well be a decent fellow and dutiful citizen, it sounds like you aren’t telling the truth or are at least stretching it. Can you prove your statements that contradict what the game publishers have publicly admitted to?

  • Michael Prince

    Hear Hear Jason! I am the ultimate Sony fanboy and I completely agree that reviews about a game that is so centered around a play – create – share model cannot be reviewed until all points are possible.

    Media Molecule and Sony dropped the ball when building their server farm and infrastructure. Reviewers should have done the proper thing and waited till the true game is ready OR review it lower as it did not deliver on the lofty promises on Day 1.

    Look to MMO reviews for reference on this….if they look great, play great, have amazing potential and design but online play is lagged or frequently drops…how would they score?

  • Dear Huddled Masses of Fanboys Yearning for Vindication, please read the above article before commenting on it. Then read the other users comments correcting the previous posters who’ve made the same mistake you have.

    Ken is not calling Little Big Planet a bad game nor is he is not calling Sony a bad company. All he is saying is that the journalists or as I like to call them “pigs suckling at the corporate teat” who have reviewed Little Big Planet so far, have done a disservice to their readers. They are not giving you the full picture. Now you may think that Little Big Planet is the greatest thing since sliced bread, we here at Blogcritics tend to agree with you, but we refuse to give any kind of final critique or rating until we can fully experience the entire game. Online is a critical component and needs to be treated as such. Would you like to buy a car based on a review that says how awesome it is, but neglects to mention the one they test drove didn’t have a body and they were taking the company’s word that it would be great?

    Sure Ken does vent some frustration over the failure of the dev team to provide a working online service on day one, but is this an unfair expectation? Surely many people who’ve acquired the game feel the same way.

    So please, lay off. Keep the central issue, the reviewers, in mind and offer constructive criticism on that, not on whether or not LBP is ambrosia from the gods.

    On a final note I’d like to directly address Mr. Travsis. [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor] You claim to have been playing online since Saturday, yet the servers only went live on Monday. You also claim to have experienced no issues and attempt to place the blame on Ken’s incompetence, but both the publisher and the developer acknowledge the problem and have publicly stated the servers have been switched off on several occasions. [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor] So next time defend on points [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor].

  • “1.03 was an update for server stability.” That comes from Sony.

    It looks like it worked. Because I had no problems playing last night.

  • Dusteno

    You have no room to speak your playing on a recalled copy of the game…. First take back that shitty recalled copy, and don’t just judge it because they’ve had a few contained issues. Your just as bad as the dumbass’s that betaed this game, young and unexperienced… Good thing you website is shit and your reviews mean nothing because this game got 9.5 and better on real Review sites…. So grow up and go back to playing your Xbox3shitty opps I mean Xbox3FixMe….

  • travsis

    umm… i picked up the game saturday, i’ve been playing online since then and already published my own level.

    i don’t know what your deal is. did you maybe forget to connect your ps3 to the internet or something? [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • C

    There’s no need to biach about it. Im australian, we still aint got it yet and im waiting patiently. So be bloody grateful that you guys in the US get it first and play it first!

  • Bill C

    Take a deep breath, virtually every game with a significant online component has an awkward birth. It has been 4 days since release and yes I too had server errors while trying to connect. Yet i played dozens of user created levels yesterday without a hitch. If the servers are going down a month from know then you can bitch all you want for know just enjoy one of the best games to come along in quite some time.

  • LBP 1.03 is out, and I can now publish and play games. No one right now to play with mind you, but I would guess that is much better too. Check out my levels, my PSN is Meancode. More to be published soon.

  • That is correct. But a beta test should give them some indication of scaling in a real-world environment. It should be clear what needs to be done to meet the demand placed on such a highly anticipated title.

    And I agree this is hardly something new to LBP or Sony games, but this has happened to *a lot* of Sony games launches. SOCOM Confrontation was unplayable out of the gate, as was Warhawk.

    It is starting to look like they can never meet the demand of their audience with these games. That is something we talked about on our last radio show.

  • Quarter

    Correct me if Im wrong, but majority of Beta tests dont actually stress test anything related to server loads.
    The main reason why servers go down is because of large demand trying to access the servers, while the -hype and excitement- about LBP is still going around, and even more so since it was delayed, people are obviously going to be trying to storm the servers, willingly or unwillingly.
    The beta test of a few thousand wouldnt actually stress test server load at all.

    The same problems happens throughout a lot of games, it isnt just LBP, or sony for that matter.

  • Phillip,

    Here is the Kotaku post about the servers going down shortly after they flipped the big red switch on Monday to allow people access the servers.

  • Hard to believe so many reviews haven’t even been updated to note the online issues. Wow!

  • Stevey, the problem isn’t with Little Big Planet, it’s with people reviewing the game without reviewing the entire game. Online is crucial to LBP, but no one has experienced it. Reviewers are failing you, the public.

  • Stevey

    Chill the f out buddy. The game is practically brand new, is one of a kind, and will be in existence forever. Sony always works these things out, just take it easy. Christ.