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First Impressions: LittleBigPlanet 2's Cross-Controller Expansion Actually Works

Posted by Sammy Barker

Second screen

LittleBigPlanet 2’s hotly anticipated cross-controller add-on launches later today in North America (tomorrow in Europe), and we’ve already been lucky enough to experience the content's first couple of stages. For those out of the loop, the $4.99/€4.99 expansion adds several new cross-controller levels to the PlayStation 3 game. It also implements all of the tools that you’ll need to construct your own dual screen experiences, which can then be shared with the title’s online community. You won’t need the full expansion pack in order to play the user created stages, but you’ll still need pockets deeper than Simon Cowell in order to get set-up.

The cross-controller levels simply won’t work unless you own a PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, and a copy of LittleBigPlanet 2. While you can pick up the latter for a paltry sum – especially if you’re a PlayStation Plus subscriber – the hardware requirements demand significant financial investment. Still, assuming you already own both components, you may as well stump up the cash for the new content, because this is an exceptional example of one of the Vita’s most promising features.

Admittedly, it does take a while to actually get into the game. In addition to a weighty LittleBigPlanet 2 patch – around 1GB in size – you’re also prompted to download a new application onto the Vita too. This adds a bubble to the system’s start screen, and must be opened before it connects to the console. Considering storage space comes at a premium on the Vita, it’s a bit frustrating having to have an additional 482MB sitting on your memory card – but because the PS3 isn’t designed with lag-free streaming in mind, we assume that some of the game’s data has to be stored locally in order for the solution to work.

Once everything has been fully installed, though, the feature works seamlessly. Controlling the Pod’s familiar menus with the Vita’s face buttons feels as intuitive as you’d expect, and there’s no evident delay between the systems. While you browse the menus on the PS3, a small galactic scene fills the Vita’s five-inch OLED screen. There are some mild interactions for you to participate in here: you can tilt the system to rotate the window, and even flick a touch screen switch to change both the lighting and gravitational properties in the picture. It’s silly, superfluous LittleBigPlanet fluff – but it’s a nice novelty while it lasts.

As with other LittleBigPlanet DLC, the cross-controller add-on boasts a full mini-campaign brimming with neat little gameplay tricks designed to get you thinking. The first stage – which takes place in a kind of space pirate prison – sees you using the Vita’s screen to avoid invisible laser hazards. The handheld displays a map of the room that you’re currently in, and highlights the locations of any obstacles. However, because you can’t look at both screens at once, you'll need to tap the touch screen to bring up a magnifying glass on the television, which uncovers any potential impediments and allows you to successfully avoid them.

A little bit later on, the level introduces some of the ideas from LittleBigPlanet PS Vita. For example, you must block off an unavoidable laser by pushing bricks forward using the rear touch pad, and create a makeshift bridge by loosening panels using the front touch screen. Meanwhile, one area sees the action switch entirely from the television to the Vita’s screen, where you must navigate a simple outdoor platforming section in order to open a locked door.

For all of the first level’s charm, though, the second stage serves as a much stronger showcase of the cross-controller technology. Here, the Vita displays a Space Invaders-esque shooting game, while the television shows the inside of a space craft. Tilting the handheld console not only moves the aircraft in the mini-game, but it also rotates the level on the big-screen. Ultimately, you need to coordinate your movements, as you attempt to shoot down alien space-crafts with the portable, and simultaneously navigate an ever-changing obstacle course on the TV. It’s pretty intense.

There’s plenty more to the expansion pack, which we’ll be uncovering in a deeper feature in the New Year. For now, though, if you own all of the relevant components, and you’re excited by the prospect of some brand new LittleBigPlanet 2 levels to play, then you can’t really go wrong with the platformer’s latest add-on.

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User Comments (39)

irken004

#2

irken004 said:

428mb to add to the Vita memory card is kinda ridiculous, Sony just needs to reduce the prices for the bigger cards.

get2sammybAdmin

#3

get2sammyb said:

@irken004 Yeah, it's probably the worst thing about the expansion so far. Being forced to download additional applications to the Vita could be a serious problem if Sony wants to explore this kind of content more.

get2sammybAdmin

#5

get2sammyb said:

@butcherknife How do you mean? It's a separate application that has to be installed onto the PlayStation Vita. It appears alongside the bubbles for all of your other games.

Azikira

#6

Azikira said:

At last, my creativity can bubble over onto two systems at once~

Would anyone like to see my creations? I'm particularly good at making vehicles :3

SanderEvers

#7

SanderEvers said:

you’re also prompted to download a new application onto the Vita too. This adds a bubble to the system’s start screen

Couldn't they just make it work like Download play on a (3)DS or GBA? Wow.. it's not even like GBA/GC linkup. It's worse.

And they call this a "Wii U competitor"???! I don't need to download anything to my Wii U game pad to make it work.

get2sammybAdmin

#8

get2sammyb said:

@SanderEvers I'm not an engineer so I can't really comment on why you have to do that. From what I can tell, though, the PS3 isn't streaming any footage to the Vita. The separate application exists because its rendering the images you see on the handheld natively on the device. Which is a bit different to the way the Wii U works.

SanderEvers

#9

SanderEvers said:

The WiiU is streaming, like a dual monitor setup for your PC, the WiiU renders 2 screens and streams one to the controller. Aside from that, the gamepad also acts as a touchscreen (sending coordinates back) and gamepad.

DS / 3DS / GBA download play downloads a bit of the game you want to play multiplayer to the RAM of the device you want to use and boot it from there.

DS / 3DS -> Wii(u) / GBA -> GC multiplayer: the user installs an app (or loads a cardridge) with the game which makes a wired (GBA) / wireless (3DS / DS) connection to your console as if you were playing with 2 (3)DSes or GBAs.

This Vita / PS3 "cross-controller" does the third. They could've added this as a free update to Little Big Planet Vita and then you'll need it and LBP2 to make it work. (At least this is what I would've done)

Sony is pulling us a Nintendo:

  • Game cartridges, have been here since the NES. And even if they (Nintendo) stopped using those in Home Consoles since the GC, the handhelds still use them.
  • Expensive memory cards. Luckily Nintendo went to internal flash / SD from the Wii and DSi onward.
  • Handheld / Console multiplayer (Crosscontroller) Nintendo has been doing this since the GBA and GameCube.
  • Motion controls (Move)
  • A certain love for Kart and 2D Side scrolling platform games. (Like Super Mario, but with terrible controls)

And MS is simply following the leader (Nintendo).

Too bad though that the level pack isn't live yet.

MadchesterManc

#10

MadchesterManc said:

@SanderEvers The problem with the WiiU's set up is that the console is having to render the output for both screens and process the stream to the tablet so it lowers the overall capabilities of the system. Funnily enough you could buy a 360 n a 7" tablet for less than the price of a WiiU's and if you install smartglass, enjoy similar functionality in some games (Map displays etc)

You should step back from tooting Nintendo's trumpet for a moment with regards to the WiiU. The WiiU basically streams video to the gamepad right? Well, I dunno bout you guys but Ive been able to stream video wirelessly for quite a while. Heck I had an Xda Orbit windows PDA about 5 years ago that I could stream movies from my PC on over WiFi. Maybe Nintendo are following M$ lead there lol

It may sound like im bashing the WiiU, but im not. I actually find it intriguing, like the Wii, n will eventually get one. Nintendo's fanbase just need to realise they aren't as innovative as they seem. If you wanna talk true innovation in Console terms, Im sure anyone who remembers will agree that the greatest of all was the Atari2600. Hell it even had a wireless controller.....

KALofKRYPTON

#11

KALofKRYPTON said:

@SanderEvers
I'm not really sure what point you're trying to make.
Saying one copied another is pretty pointless, I'm sure you could get lost on a sea of patent applications looking for who thought of what first.
Regards WiiU streaming, that's surely just a better implementation of Remote Play, Ninty and co probably don't see it that way, but it is.
The extra application for the Vita is pretty much what I expected, what everyone should have expected really.
The good thing is that it works. PS3 was surely never originally envisioned as doing what the WiiU does, it's a six year old system, the added functionality should be seen as a bonus for those fortunate enough to own both systems.

hamispink

#13

hamispink said:

I'm assuming that the ps4 will have a specific streaming ability for the vita(i'm assuming an additional wifi NIC for ad-hoc). It will operate in the same way as the Wii U. Though of course the separate systems and high entry cost will keep this setup from ever being viable for the mass market.. . .

SanderEvers

#14

SanderEvers said:

@MadchesterManc The Wii U gamepad displays more than just a map. ;)
Also the Wii U is designed to stream to up to 2 GamePads this doesn't lower the system's capibilities. This is actually the GPU that's powering the second screen and it can go up to 5 screens technically (only 3 (2 gamepads and a TV) are supported by the system))

@KALofKRYPTON It indeed is remote play. WiiU is like using apps like AirDisplay, iDisplay on an iPad / tablet and PC/Mac/Linux. Technically.
It really is a second screen with it's own controls.

What Sony is doing is something completely different.

get2sammybAdmin

#15

get2sammyb said:

@hamispink Yeah, that really wouldn't surprise me either. If there's a positive response for this stuff on the PS3, then I think that's something they'll definitely implement into their next console.

FuzzyYellowBalls

#16

FuzzyYellowBalls said:

Oh, how I enjoy my Wii U --- I really wish Sony would stop trying to play catch-up sometimes.
I feel like this will never amount to many games using this due to the price involved. Sony could be using their resources more wisely. But what do I know? It's not like they're having financial issues, are they?

Savino

#18

Savino said:

Not working for me (and a lot of ppl)!

Way go Sony! If wanna copy someone... Do it right!

NathanUC

#19

NathanUC said:

So much pointless hate.... wow.

If you don't like something, just don't buy it? I don't see how adding this feature hurt anyone at all. It's far from mandatory people! I don't know if Nintendo fanboys are threatened or what.. (they shouldn't be?).

This is adding a unique experience for PS3/Vita owners at a small but reasonable cost. LittleBigPlanet is still the most versatile game on the entire market.. why shouldn't they expand on the controls?

And all this Sony copying Wii U... give it a break guys. First, Sony had this patent since 2009... second, it's a very different experience than Wii U. Third, WHO CARES?! You don't have to pick one or the other. You don't have to pick one at all. The only fans that should be mad are the individuals who hate this kind of tech and are loyal Nintendo fanyboys as the Wii U forces this tech (even this is an extremely silly reason to be upset).

It's almost 2013... technologies build off other technologies and ideas build off other ideas. Get used to it and quit getting upset over MINUSCULE things.

NathanUC

#20

NathanUC said:

@Savino What isn't working? I know it took me a few minutes to figure it out. A tutorial would have been nice for something like this

Savino

#21

Savino said:

Nothig is working! I cant get pass from the first step. Me and a bunch of ppl at PS oficial blog!

Trying with my other vita now... Lets see.

NathanUC

#22

NathanUC said:

@Savino Odd. I was able to set it up with both 'my' Vitas without issue once I learned the process. I do wonder if it might have to do with the fact that my PS3 is using a wired connection. When I get home, I'll try connecting to my other PS3 (it's currently using wireless) to see if I can replicate.

KALofKRYPTON

#26

KALofKRYPTON said:

Looks like the general feeling is that you need the Vita firmware update:
"@101

It came up after successfully starting step 2. It’s part of step 2 and still going at the moment. The best I can tell you guys to at least get this far or more or less how I got this far is to get the Vita FW Update, restart ps3, wait on Vita at cross controller connect screen, get on LBP2, click on cross controller and it finally worked.

Though I had did all that repeatedly before getting the Vita FW update and always failed step 2 if I ever even got there so I honestly have no clue. Might need to sell your soul to satan for it to work."

Knux

#29

Knux said:

It's stuff like this that makes it even more apparent that Sony not only needs to make the current memory sticks cheaper, but Sony also needs to introduce bigger memory sticks. 32 GB is just not enough.

SanderEvers

#31

SanderEvers said:

As long as you can't save games in the cloud you are going to need bigger memory cards.

Also it's not working here. I downloaded LBP2 updates, the cross controller pack and when I try to connect from my Vita it doesn't do a thing.
Sorry Sony, but you lost me here...

  • turns on Wii U.

Well, retried. After updating my Vita it finally worked. Still I'm going to give this "cross-controller" feature a 1/10.

Kayoss

#36

Kayoss said:

@SanderEvers
Is it just me or this guy is here to bash Sony?? He bash's Sony Vita and PS3 for copying the Wii U but he own's both the vita and ps3. If you dont like the stuff sony sell then dont buy it!
Let put it this way... I own a Wii U but guess what SanderEvers the Wii U is no where near remote play. What happen when you turn off the Wii U console? your tablet become useless. Therefore you cant play any games at all so the the wii u is not a remote play device but just a dual screen with interactive connection to the tv, Its an oversized 3DS. What happen when you turn off the PS3? your Vita still works and play independantly. What happen when you take the wii u tablet to a different place without the console? its just a paper weight. what happen when you take the vita far away from the PS3? you can still play games and connect to the ps3 and play some games.
Dont come here and bash Sony, there are pros and cons to both consoles. Yes i paid a little more for the ps3 and ps vita combo but i will be enjoying my vita game seperately from my ps3.

Savino

#38

Savino said:

@get2sammyb Nope! I cant pass step one! My two vitas keep looking for the ps3 signal but nothing happens until my vita turns off.
All systens are updated and on the same network... simply doesnt work!

hydeks

#39

hydeks said:

honestly, the wii u hasn't gotten me excited really that much, but as a vita and ps3 owner, I find this looks alot funner! Looks great Sony, get more cross controller games though!

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