If you’ve been bummed about not being able to buy the PlayStation 5 in Malaysia, fret not as one of its most important and accessible launch titles – Sackboy: A Big Adventure is playable on its more widely available predecessors the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro. Here’s our Sackboy: A Big Adventure PS4 Pro review.
What is Sackboy: A Big Adventure ?
The latest successor to Sony’s charming Little Big Planet series, Sackboy: A Big Adventure is intended as one of the PS5’s most important launch titles, not by dint of stunning cinematics or bullet-strewn explosions galore but because it’s the most accessible title in their current line-up for both wage-earning adults and younger audiences alike on account of its whimsical, fun art-style and carefully tuned, non-violent (well, modestly non-violent) gameplay as enemies disappear into puffs of smoke.
On paper, the game is available for both the PS4 and the PS5. A purchase of the digital edition allows you access to both platform versions so your bases are covered when you upgrade to the PS5. In our case, we’ll be testing this on a PlayStation 4 Pro. But what exactly are the differences between the PS4, PS4 Pro and PS5 versions of Sackboy: A Big Adventure?
The plot isn’t what you’d figure as Tolkien grade material but it suffices to drive the game along. As the eponymous Sackboy, a living sentient doll of sorts made of sackcloth, you’ll have to stop a supernatural, hammy, cartoon villain dressed up like a jester called Vex who is out to take over the Craftworld, the reality that Sackboy lives in.
Vex kicks over the proverbial anthill at the start of the game by kidnapping all of Sackboy’s fellow villagers, conscripting them all to build his bizarre machine to take over Craftworld and from there on in as Sackboy, you’ll naturally have to stop him.
What really makes the game fun though is that Vex himself is voiced by none other than Richard E. Grant. Yes, that Richard – the infamous Old Loki from the Loki series so you can certainly embrace his hammed up voice acting.
Unlike its Little Big Planet predecessors that emphasised a level creation aspect, Sackboy: A Big Adventure is primarily focused on being an isometric view platformer game that can be played solo. On top of the core 47 levels split across five differently themed worlds , you’ll also be able to encounter almost an equal amount of side missions and levels, several of which are co-op levels though they aren’t strictly necessary to finish the game.
What’s the Difference between Sackboy: A Big Adventure for PS4 and PS5?
The versions for Sackboy: A Big Adventure on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 are fundamentally identical with similar levels, unlockables and the like though some accessibility tweaks remain exclusive to the PS5 version.
The PS5 version lets you play the game in 4K with the fastest load times measured in seconds along with enhanced 3D audio when equipped with the right headset. Playing the game on the PS5 also benefits from the upgraded DualSense controller which has context-appropriate haptic feedback resistance depending on what you do in the game.
On account of the less powerful hardware, the PS4 Pro maxes out at 1080P Full HDresolution while the older PS4 runs it in 720P HD.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure PS4 Pro Gameplay
The game is primarily played from a slightly isometric fixed perspective as you guide Sackboy around, over and under a variety of levels across five large themed biomes that range from the mountainous terrain in the Soaring Summit, the jungle themed Colossal Canopy, the underwater Atlantean looking Kingdom of Crablantis, the outer space themed Interstellar Junction and the rather abstract levels near the ending of the game.
These levels are as fun as they are creative, with enemies and parts of the landscape primarily made of household items like felt, cloth, string, paper cut-outs, thimbles and the like.
One level has paper cutout Yeti poking out from the background while another features an extended salvage operation from a moving submarine. On your first run through, you can’t help but take in the scenery as you see how beautifully crafted the levels are and at 1080P, the game looks vibrant and luscious on the PS4 Pro.
Visuals aside, each new level gradually layers on new gameplay mechanics and tools along with the scenarios and enemies to use them so that you’re always encountering something fresh and new all the way until the end of the game. You’ll encounter novel bits of kit like a grappling hook and a boomerang that you can use to poke around a level while some levels constantly push you forward on rails.
Occasionally you’ll encounter boss battles where you need to fling exploding balls at Vex when he appears and free form treasure hunts too to find keys or herd some random fauna to a specific point. This happens organically over the course of the game so that you’re not overwhelmed by too many concepts all at once.
There’s little grinding or levelling needed and the majority of the game requires you to simply complete levels and, if you’re up for it, explore them to find collectibles to unlock new costumes for Sackboy. They don’t alter the gameplay or his hitbox as far as we can tell but they’re whimsical items to hunt for.
There’s some modest gatekeeping to ensure you don’t simply speedrun it to the endgame via the acquisition of Dreamer Orbs with specific amounts needed to unlock access to the later levels and worlds but it’s not an insurmountable challenge.
The difficulty level is finely tuned to something that’s ideal for younger players without it being a cakewalk and just about challenging enough to vex or cause an adult to pay attention. In general, the controls for Sackboy are generally tight for precise maneuvers but their mechanics to grip and fling objects using the R2 shoulder button are imprecise with a slower than expected response.
That quibble aside, there are very few spots where you’d consider it grossly unfair or impossible to complete but they’ve liberally seeded enough respawn points and lives that completing a level isn’t a complete nightmare.
On our playthrough of SackBoy: A Big Adventure on the PS4 Pro, we initially thought it was a children’s game but were pleasantly surprised as there’s a sufficient level of challenge to merit a good ten plus hours of gameplay to go through the core of the game along with a few side levels in the bargain.
Should you buy Sackboy: A Big Adventure?
As it stands, veterans of the series may decry the lack of a level builder but on its own merits Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a highly original platformer with inventive gameplay and a fair amount of replayability on account of a plethora of collectibles in the game. High production values throughout including excellent voice acting and a compelling game loop that’s ideal for players of all ages make it a highly recommended acquisition.
Better yet, getting the digital version for the PS4 also throws in the PS5 digital version on the house so your bases are covered. If you’re looking for a great game for all ages, Sackboy: A Big Adventure PS4 Pro is a worthy investment.
Publisher Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer Sumo Digital
Available for PS4, PS5
Sackboy: A Big Adventure PS4 Pro game review unit courtesy of PlayStation Asia https://www.playstation.com/en-my/games/sackboy-a-big-adventure/
Sackboy: A Big Adventure PS4 Pro
Sackboy: A Big Adventure PS4 Pro
Charming and fun platformer with gorgeous graphics and music with gameplay that’s accessible for all ages along with a ton of collectibles for completionists.
Gorgeous art direction and design
Accessible gameplay for kids and adults
Lots of collectibles for completionists
Some platforming bits are tough even for adults