“To infinity and beyond!” Everyone of all ages is accustom to the catchphrases used by Woody, Buzz and the gang in the most popular family film of all time: Toy Story. Accompanying the highly-anticipated Toy Story 3 film is the video game which, to meet the demands of the excited children and adults alike, must provide an experience that replicates to a great extent the world of talking toys. Surprisingly, Toy Story 3: The Video Game does just that and more.
On inserting the disc into the console, players are greeted to the ever so eye-pleasing logo, alongside the highlight of the film’s soundtrack: “You’ve Got A Friend In Me.” Even before pressing any buttons, players are sucked into the Toy Story world everyone knows and loves right from the start. This is further helped with a number of the film’s voice actors lending their voices to the game. Graphically, Toy Story 3: The Video Game is very impressive, showing some immense details in the landscapes and environments the game portrays. On top of that, the bright colours used throughout are truly representative of the Toy Story world.
Toy Story 3: The Video Game is split into two main game modes: Story and Woody’s Round-Up, both of which are accessed via an in-game board game within Andy’s bedroom – acting as the game’s menu screen. Like many features of the game, this replication of the film ensures the player’s love for Toy Story is well and truly simulated within the game.
The narrative of the Story mode consists of Andy, a teenage boy who is preparing to move to college, throwing out his old toys, including Buzz, Mr. Potato Head, Rex and more, who sneak into a box to be donated to Sunnyside Daycare – a paradise for the toys, where the gang meet other talking toys. After being innocently abused and tortured by the children at the Daycare centre, they decide to escape. Unlike the majority of the movie-based games available, Toy Story 3: The Video Game strays away from the main story of the film – incorporating recognisable themes and features into each of the game’s eight levels.
It’s hard to tie down Toy Story 3: The Video Game to one specific genre, as a number of the game’s levels are significantly different in terms of gameplay. The majority of the game’s levels are your typical platformer in which players switch between, take control and use the special abilities of Sheriff Woody, Buzz Lightyear and/or Jessie. Woody uses his pull string to cross certain areas, Buzz can throw other characters long distances and Jessie is able to balance on small platforms because of her ability to be agile. Other levels include controlling Woody as he rides Bullseye and controlling Buzz in a shoot-em-up-style level. The variation means repetitiveness isn’t a regular occurrence in the Story mode, unlike the majority of the other movie-based games currently on the market.
Whereas the main story can be completed within a number of hours – lacking in longevity, players also have the option of playing Woody’s Round-Up, also known as Toy Box mode. This game mode is a sandbox adventure in which players venture around Toy Town completing missions for its residents including Hamm, Slinky and Stinky Pete. These often consist of fetching a particular object or objects, dressing up townspeople and buildings in a specific way, using items within the protagonist’s toolbox and expanding the town. The game mode on the whole is quite enjoyable, offering something different to the typical game modes players are used to.
Similarly to other movie-based games, Toy Story 3: The Video Game features a range of collectibles, scattered throughout both the story mode and Toy Box. The collectibles include cards and townspeople (both collected in story mode to be purchased in Toy Box mode), as well as prize capsules (unlocking costumes within Toy Box mode). Surprisingly, there aren’t too many collectibles within the main story mode to collect, though it’s in Toy Box in which they become a nuisance. With prize capsules dotted about all over the town and being required to complete the game’s Pict-O-Matic missions, obtaining them all can be quite a task; made even harder by the lack of help the game provides.
Toy Box mode also introduces multiplayer in the form of co-operative play which, whilst not having many advantages, has been incorporated well. A second player simply needs to press ‘Start’ on their controller to jump into the game as either: Woody, Buzz or Jessie. Once in, players can work together to complete the missions on offer.
Despite its positives, Toy Story 3: The Video Game does have a couple of problems. On 100% completion of the game (which will take players approximately twenty hours to do), the game lacks in replayability. Whilst players are able to play through the story mode’s levels again, there is no reward – especially if you take into account all the game’s achievements are awarded for simply completing the game’s levels and obtaining the collectibles. Another problem gamers will encounter is the occasional camera angle niggle. Whilst it doesn’t make the game unplayable, it does cause the odd problem.
Toy Story 3: The Video Game is, quite simply, one of the best movie-licensed video games to be released. The game truly captures the elements of the film everyone knows and loves – providing enjoyable gameplay for gamers of all ages. Despite the odd hitch, this is one of the surprise hits of the year.
David Wriglesworth is a Northern lad with a passion for gaming, who graduated from the University of Lincoln with a BA (Hons) Journalism degree. If you can drag him away from the consoles, you can probably find him Tweeting or watching Coronation Street.