Little Big Planet Update: Metal Gear Solid 4 Pack Impressions

We try out the upcoming content pack for Littlebigplanet featuring Solid Snake.

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Sony and developer Media Molecule hinted at the potential ways Littlebigplanet would evolve in the weeks before the game's launch. There was vague talk of new content in the form of downloads that would keep the title fresh. The weeks that have followed the game's release haven't quite yielded anything that's been all that impressive; there have been new costumes and, most recently, seasonal objects to use in the level creator but nothing too exciting. A penguin costume is fun to look at but doesn't do much to affect the core game experience. However, with the upcoming Metal Gear Solid 4 content pack, Sony and Media Molecule are finally making good on their promises of new content for the game.

While fans may have been expecting the MGS content to consist of just the Solid Snake Sackboy costume, the upcoming MGS4 content pack offers a whole lot more. We had the chance to try out the upcoming pack and were genuinely impressed by what it's going to offer. While the pack will offer players four Metal Gear themed costumes--Old Snake, Meryl, Screaming Mantis and Raiden--you can also expect four levels with new items, stickers, and construction object as well as new trophies. Most significantly, you can expect a new gameplay twist: the Paintinator.

The four levels consist of four themed "acts" that offer a scaled back, tongue in cheek version of key MGS4 moments. The first act is a mildly interactive segment that sets up the MGS4 story and follows a truck, carrying you as Old Snake, across a battlefield with narrative text bubbles. The second act, VR Training, has you racing through a wire frame style VR course, guided by Otacon, in the same vein as the PlayStation One game. The unique hook to the level is the introduction of the Paintinator, a paintball gun you can wield to pelt things with blobs of paint.

This addition to the standard Little Big Planet gameplay becomes a key component through the remaining acts. You'll have to use it to trigger paintball specific switches and take out targets in the rest of the second act, which will get you comfortable with the new accessory. The third act, The Mission, morphs the action into one part shooter, one part stealth platformer, as you'll have to maneuver around moving spotlights to avoid detection, a la classic MGS, and take out enemy weapon emplacements. The fourth act, Level Factory, has you platforming and paintballing your way through a meaty level filled with paintball switches, tricky weapon emplacements, and moving enemies. The level winds down with what feels like the longest, most enemy-filled elevator ride ever. The final act is an alternately cute and challenging battle with Metal Gear Rex, done up in proper LBP style, that requires some careful paintball shooting and dodging.

Overall the levels have a good feel to them and manage to retain the spirit of LBP's story mode while mixing in some great Metal Gear flavor. The sound effects are all straight from the MGS series, from the alarm if you're discovered to the Codec beeps when Otacon chimes in with helpful info. The same is true of the score used for the levels which adds a hilarious bombastic complement to your adventuring. The paintball gun is fun addition to the LBP mix and the assorted items, which include paintball switches, that you can collect and use in the level creator open up a whole new world of possibility for budding creators.

If you're a fan of Little Big Planet you'll most definitely want to consider picking up the Metal Gear Content Pack. Above and beyond the novelty of the MGS character costumes, the new levels, construction materials, and paintball accessory, offer a clever new twist on the game's formula. The new trophies are a nice bonus as well. Fans of LBP and MGS will want to pick up the pack as soon as it hits the PlayStation Store, which we expect will be next week.

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