Toy Story 3: The GameESRB:
Playstation Move Compatible (Future Downloadable Content)
When Toy Story was released fifteen years ago I was just a teenager at the time and a lover of animation. I thoroughly enjoyed the innovative animation style and story -like all Pixar films it was told so well and in great depth. Now as a father who introduced Buzz and Woody to his children, I got to enjoy watching my son fall in love with the series and ask Santa for Buzz Lightyear. Now I get to play the game while he watches on, and of course, he dictates every move I make.
Avalanche has done an amazing job taking the Toy Story universe and creating a familiar setting through Woody’s Roundup, along with quite a few extra play sets to expand the Toy Box. All-in-all the Toy Box looks amazing and brings you back to the toys’ hay day of being played with by Andy, bringing his imagination to life.
In Toy Box mode you can fully customize Woody’s Roundup, from the citizens that wander the streets to all of the buildings throughout the town. Extra buildings can be purchased to expand the city - this will aid you in opening more story portions, making even more customizations available. If you want to decorate all of the buildings with rainbows, fill your front porch with Jack-o’-lanterns or go for a traditional western theme, you have those options available to you. You can even customize the townspeople, changing their hairstyles, hats and outfits.
The playable characters are Buzz, Woody, Jessie and luckily enough as an exclusive for the Playstation 3, Emperor Zurg. These characters have jumped from the big screen directly to the console with identical likenesses, making a seamless transition fans will delight in. The supporting cast of the series makes an appearance as well, such as Rex, Slinky, Hamm and the Army Men, in Toy Box and throughout Story Mode. These characters also come complete with likenesses from the big screen.
The game opens with the familiar melody from Toy Story, “You’ve got a Friend in Me,” and sets the music throughout the rest of the game. Instrumental composition is found throughout the majority of the game and does the perfect job setting the atmosphere, with Toy Story classics and new melodies as well.
Rounding out the sound department are the solid sound effects the toys make. It’s a lot of fun hearing Bullseye gallop, the mini-cars revving their engines, or tennis balls from Zurg’s launcher pinging off townspeople and buildings. The sound effects are truly diverse and brought me back to my toy box days as a child.
If the voice cast for the game is not the actors from the movies, then I am totally impressed with how great the voices are performed. Buzz, Woody, Jessie, Hamm, Slinky, Zurg and the whole gang sound exactly like their movie counterparts and this adds to the already fulfilling charm of this title.
The Game is split up into two playable modes: Toy Box Mode and Story Mode.
Toy Box Mode is the more enjoyable of the two modes, providing hours upon hours of fun that can be had through the story portion, or just playing around in the sandbox setting of Woody’s Round Up. The great thing about Toy Box mode is that you don’t have to complete the tasks at all; you can just go off and play with the toys on hand or start completing some tasks in the order you choose. In Toy Box mode you can only play as Buzz, Woody and Jessie, with none of the characters having special abilities associated with them.
The tasks you perform throughout Toy Box mode vary quite a bit and after accepting a task you can always return to your task list and remind yourself later on. Most of the tasks are simple, like moving some cows into the corral, or finding all of the wells throughout the Toy Box. Some are a bit more challenging, like rescuing Mayor Hamm from the bandits at the dam, or what I felt was the most challenging, Bullseye Races.
As you complete tasks you are rewarded coins that can be used to purchase new toys, new buildings and play sets. New toys are mostly townspeople that take up residence in the Toy Box, but you will also be able to purchase new vehicles, such as Bullseye and Cars, to use on the stunt track. Finally, for a whole lot of coins you can purchase play sets to expand the Toy Box to open up more toys, customizations and tasks for you to perform. Some of the play sets available are Sid’s Haunted House, the Stunt Track and Zurg’s Spaceport.
A special treat for Playstation 3 users is an exclusive play set - a transformation chamber that any of the playable characters can enter to turn into Emperor Zurg. Turning into Emperor Zurg opens up specific tasks for him to perform throughout the Toy Box, adding quite a few more hours of reigning carnage on the Toy Box.
Toy Box mode is really the Toy Story game fans have been waiting for, where all three films have been brought to life in one solid game. All of the main characters make an appearance in Toy Box mode, and even though only three of them are playable, it is still a whole lot of fun.
Story Mode has a prequel story where the toys are trying to obtain the cordless house phone so that they can phone Andy’s cell phone in a last ditch effort to get Andy to play with them before he goes to college. The rest of the story follows the storyline of the movie where you use Woody, Buzz and Jessie interchangeably to progress through the story. Each character has a special ability: Woody can use his pull string and swing to hard-to-reach places; Buzz can use his strength to throw the other characters large distances; Jessie, being the most dextrous, can jump and land on small places.
Throughout each story chapter you will have to use all of the characters’ abilities to solve the puzzles with a bit of creative ingenuity to progress through the story. In Story Mode you can also have a friend play along with you, which makes the game great for families to join in the fun.
Although short, Story Mode does the job of retelling Toy Story 3 in a video game format and offers multiplayer for some decent co-op fun. What makes the gameplay exciting and re-playable for hours-upon-hours is Toy Box mode, with its free-play style gaming and customization features that makes the Toy Box truly your own.
Toy Story 3: The Game is also one of the first games to feature Playstation Move motion controller compatible gameplay. When the new controller is released this fall, Playstation 3 players will be able to download mini-games and take advantage of the new controller, adding even more re-play value to this great title.
Toy Box mode is the Toy Story fan's ultimate dream, letting you play with the beloved characters aside from buying all of the toys themselves, setting up your own personal Toy Box in the living room. With Playstation Move mini-games coming this fall, Toy Story 3: The Game is a real treat, providing fans with something to look forward to when they have exhausted their Toy Boxes.
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