Review: Toy Story 3

NO TOY GETS LEFT BEHIND

Developers: Avalanche Software
Genre: Platform
Platform(s): PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360
Release Date: June 15, 2010
Compatability (PS3): 512KB Minimum Space | 2 Players | DUALSHOCK 3 Vibration Function | HD 480p / 720p / 1080i / 1080p
Compatability (Xbox 360): 100KB Mininum Space | HDTV 720p | System Link 2
Rating: 8.5

The whole idea of mixing video games and movies has just about never worked, be it a movie of a game or vice-versa. The former is almost always a horrible failure, but once in a while games based on movies manage to hit the spot. It doesn’t surprise me much that Toy Story 3 is actually a lot of fun to play as well as watch on the big screen, as anyone who played the PlayStation 1 games of Toy Story 1 and 2 will know they were great titles too. Instead of lamely re-enacting every scene of the movie, the games diverts off in its own path and put its own spin on the story, thus making a different piece of entertainment altogether.

Before you know what’s hit you, Toy Story 3 throws you straight into a fast-paced mission upon the game’s start-up. It mimics the opening of the movie itself in setting an objective, to save the orphans on the train and defeat the evil Dr.Porkchop, but along the way whilst riding Bullseye at full speed you’ll have to avoid oncoming rocks and collapsing terrain, and upon boarding the locomotive you fight your way through the Pizza Planet aliens to rescue the beleaguered children. After completing this mission, you are put into ‘Woody’s Roundup’, which is a fairly basic sandbox mode, and you are given two choices: to continue with the main story, or go to explore and expand the sandbox.

Toy Story 3 really looks like a solid platformer.

The Roundup is, surprisingly, rife with things to do and friends to help. This is where the bulk of the game’s hours are stacked up, as collecting gold stars and coins for jobs is very satisfying indeed, and discovering the costumes scattered all over is an addictive experience indeed, reminiscent of Crackdown’s orbs. You’ll meet characters from the whole Toy Story trilogy and they offer a huge selection of varied missions, from races on Bullseye to throwing bandits in jail, and as you progress you’ll unlock further areas to explore such as Sid’s Haunted House. The authenticity of these characters is fantastic for any fan of the films as the entire voice cast returns for the game. Working your way through this sandbox mode is a lengthy process, but it is never tiring and even with the lack of depth you’d expect for a children’s game, I enjoyed it more than I have plenty of other free roam games.

The story mode, however, keeps roughly along the lines of the film’s plot. You’ll visit Andy’s Room, Sunnyside Daycare, Bonnie’s house, and other memorable locations from the movie, but usually with an added flair of childish imagination, and always with the brilliant platforming one would expect from a Toy Story game. By slightly deviating from the proper story the game is able to be much more inventive with its level designs and makes many situations opportunities for teamwork instead of the solo scenes they are in the film (such as sneaking through Sunnyside).

The colour-palette used for the game is great. It really brings the toys to life.

This teamwork element is used in almost every mission and switching between characters at certain points is always crucial due to Woody, Buzz and Jesse having different special abilities that the player will need to utilise to reach their goal. Each level will be unique and, with a couple of exceptions, consistently fun, but the story mode faces the biggest problem in most modern games: length. In total a playthrough will take 3 to 4 hours, even for a child, and although a lot of time is made up for in the considerably larger sandbox mode, it’s a shame to see such a great movie cut down to little more than a couple of hours playtime.

I came to Toy Story 3 looking for a break from the norm, something that didn’t take itself seriously and didn’t require the player to either, and that’s definitely what I got. In short, it’s a kids’ game that can be enjoyed by any and all, living up to the expectations of the film and of a solid platformer.

Reviewed by failboatskipper – November 1, 2010

Graphics
Bright, colourful and fun-looking levels are all done well, the art style suits the films and the game has a nice, smooth framerate. No problems here.
 
Sound
The soundtrack of the film is used again and it suits the levels perfectly, though tracks in the sandbox mode are repeated to the point of insanity.
 
Fun
This is the game’s ultimate goal, and it is achieved. Prepare to relive childhood.
 
Final Score

 

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