Game: LittleBigPlanet 2 – Cross-Controller DLC
Developer: Sumo Digital
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Available on: PlayStation 3 only
You’d be hard pressed to find somebody who has played a game in the LittleBigPlanet series of games and doesn’t like them. They have a certain charm about them that’s difficult to ignore, and even more difficult to dislike. The DLC packs that are released for the title tend to be worth their money, especially the ones that add extra functionality to the game that’s already bursting at the seams with things to do, and they’ve done it again with the Cross-Controller pack, allowing players to use their PlayStation Vita alongside the PlayStation 3 to play LittleBigPlanet 2 and use some really nifty new tricks.
The first thing that needs to be said is that there’s no reason to pay for this new piece of DLC if you don’t own a PlayStation Vita. Everything that the Cross-Controller pack adds to the game is added by the simple fact that you can perform actions using your Vita in conjunction with the PS3. If you don’t have a Vita, then you’re not going to be getting anything from the DLC and you’re just going to be wasting your money. If you do have a PlayStation Vita, however, and you have LittleBigPlanet 2 on the PlayStation 3, you’re going to be getting quite a substantial gameplay change.
One of the major downsides of the Cross-Controller DLC for LittleBitPlanet 2 is how confusing it is to get it working. Firstly you have to make sure that your version of LittleBigPlanet 2 is patched up to version 1.20 (which you should have done anyway, if you’ve availed of the PlayStation Plus service), as this is the version that installs the Cross-Controller features onto your PlayStation 3 ready to be unlocked by the small 100kb file that you’ll download from the PlayStation Store. When the content is unlocked, you’ll notice a new option underneath the “Me” option when looking at the Pod Computer, this new option will say “Cross-Controller” and is where you need to go in order to start the process off. I say “process” because, even when you’ve got this far, it’s still not easy to get things to the point where you can play. Once you’ve selected the ‘Cross-Controller’ option, the player has to start the ‘Cross-Controller’ feature on their PlayStation Vita which is found under the ‘Remote Play’ option. The Vita will then detect the Cross-Controller option on LittleBigPlanet Vita and install the LittleBigPlanet 2 Cross-Controller application, which is another almost 500mb install. Once all this is done, you’re ready to play the DLC. Finally.
The levels that are included with the DLC pack do a good job at showing off the new features to be introduced with the Cross-Controller functionality. Player will be able to play through all of the levels on their own, using the PlayStation Vita as their main controller, but the levels take on a life of their own when they’re played along with at least one other person. While playing through the levels, there are areas outlined in red, these are the hazardous places in the levels that require the player using the PlayStation Vita to tap on the screen in order to X-Ray the hazards and reveal the path through them for all of the other players. Tapping the Vita’s screen will bring up a circular X-Ray screen, which they move around the screen using their finger. It takes some practice to effectively watch both the PS3 and the Vita screen, but once you’ve got it down to an art, it adds something to the experience that the PS3 hasn’t done until now.
The PlayStation Vita player also get to travel through small worm holes in each of the levels, these allow the player to go to the outside of the spaceship that the story takes place on, interacting with objects which change the state of the level for the non-Vita players still on the main screen of the PlayStation 3 while the Vita player is playing their own version of the level on the PlayStation Vita’s screen. It’s a feature which works quite well but can get a little bit boring for the people that aren’t using a PlayStation Vita as they have to just wait around a lot of the time, for the Vita user to let them through to the next part of the level.
While the Sumo Digital created levels are interesting to play, and are put together to a high quality, it’s what the community will be able to put together which most players will be looking forward to. Even with the tools that shipped with LittleBigPlanet 2 on its release, the community was able to create some really special levels which ranged from remakes of popular movies, through action-RPG style levels all the way through to a First Person Shooter, so imagine what they’re going to be able to create when they get their hands on tools such as the Vitanator, which allows them to create interactions between the PlayStation Vita and the PlayStation 3, along with the various tags, warps and the rest which will help to create some truly special levels. The Create Mode can get a little bit confusing, as the player will need to use both the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation Vita to create the different aspects of what will become their linked level separately from each other at first, then linking them together later. There’s no doubt that people will be able wrap their head around this and create some truly special levels later on in the life cycle of the DLC, but I’m not one of those people. I’ll be sitting back and enjoying other people’s levels instead of making them myself.
VERDICT: The Cross-Controller DLC is a no-brainer for anyone with a PlayStation 3 and a PlayStation Vita – as long as you also have a copy of LittleBigPlanet 2, of course – but (of course) it doesn’t give enough of a reason to run out and get a Vita. Numerous problems plague the new features, such as the Vita disconnecting at the end of cutscenes and the Vita player having to have their normal controller on at the same time, even though they’re not using it, but that doesn’t take anything away from how fun it is. Hopefully a future patch will solve any problems and the community will take their new tools and run with it, making the Cross-Controller DLC something really special that sells Vitas and copies of LittleBigPlanet 2.