Every summer, a slew of CGI animated movies hit the big screen, hoping to capitalize on children’s dreams of adventure and parent’s wallets across the nation. It has become routine that a video game of every CGI animated is to be made, for every system known to man. This summer, Toy Story 3, the end of the series that made CGI animated films a mainstay in the world of films, was released to overwhelming positive reviews. How good was it? I admit, I cried at the end. It was that good. So that means the video game has to be a stinker, right? Not so fast my fellow Woody and Buzz fans!! Avalanche Software was given the largest budget ever for a Disney video game and went to the barn making the best game that they could. Is Toy Story 3 worth you and your children’s time or should it be left on the shelf to collect dust along with those copes of How to train your dragon video games??
The game starts off on the right foot: When the start-up screens appears, Randy Newman’s theme for the series ‘You’ve got a friend in me’, begins to play. How can that not bring a smile to your face!? After that, you’re introduced to the World map, which is actually a board game with new pieces and locations that appear as you progress further into the game. Unlike most CGI animated film games, the game offers you two different campaigns: Story mode and the ‘Toy Box’ world.
The story mode loosely follows the storyline of the movie and throws at you quite a variety of gameplay modes. The first stage has you racing on Bullseye, your trusty horse from the second movie, to save the orphans from the Evil Lord Porkchop on a runaway train. Then next stage has you using all three main characters, Woody, Buzz, and Jessie, to find the phone that they call Andy with from the film. Then things start to differ from the film. The next stage has you playing the Buzz Lightyear video game, which is very similar to the game that Rex played in the beginning of Toy Story 2. As you complete the game, you’ll come across everything from rail grinding, Ratchet and Clank style, to a third-person shooter stage, to even a Metal Gear inspired stealth stage. This helped keep the gameplay really fun and exciting as it feels like you never do the same thing twice.
But that’s when the problem appears. I’m about to turn 27 and the game can be a bit difficult at times. Some of the more complex puzzles at the end of the game could easily frustrate younger gamers, because hell..they even frustrated me at times! So while I would definitely recommend the game to younger gamers, beware my fellow Mother and Fathers, be ready to help your kids from time to time with this game or your going to have some grumpy children.
While the story mode was enjoyable, the Toy Box mode is where the game truly shines. You’re thrown into the world after deciding who you want to play with to create your own version of the wild, wild, Toy Story west! After talking to Mayor Ham, a list of quest are available for you to do, and they take no more than 5-minutes to do at max. Perhaps the Prospector needs you to find his mule? Or the Mayor thinks you need a bank to help keep everyone’s money save from the bandits who recently appeared? Or hey, why not build a jail to throw those annoying baddies in? Money and gold is readily available in vast abundances and in no time you’ll have your very own town, thriving with activity. Even better is how the game ‘rewards’ you for completing each quest. Upon completion, the game’s screen bursts with colorful fireworks as your character begins to dance about. Sure, it’s kiddy, but hey, I enjoyed it and I believe kids will too.
The fun doesn’t stop there though. As you city grows and expands, new events begin to take place, along with new locations and new townsfolks. All o these items and locations are for sale to buy at Al Toy’s Barn locations which are scattered about your town. As you complete quest, some Toy Story favorite locations will appear: Remember Sid from the original Toy Story? You can buy his evil house and explore it! Heck, you can even buy Zurg’s base of operations. This mode is easy to play and offers you hours of gameplay for gamers of any age to enjoy.
Ever since the PlayStation 2 was announced, gamers have been promised graphics that would rival that of a PIXAR CGI animated film. While the graphics aren’t perfect, as slowdown shows its ugly head here and there, they do a good job recreating the wonderful cast from the series. Oh yeah, I’m pretty sure the only voice actors from the movies are the actors that play Ham and Rex. I could be way off, but I doubt Tom Hanks and Tim Allen are ever going to lend their voices to a video game, and you can easily tell it’s not them. Does this hurt the game any shape or form? Nope. And believe me, the replacement voice actors are superstars when compared to some of the voices in Lost: Vio Domus, which features some of the worst voice imitators known in the history of man.
As the Toy Story series comes to a close, the series finally receives the video game treatment it deserves. Avalanche Software took it upon themselves to make one of the best games, if not the best game based off a CGI animated film and it shows clearly. Even though the Story mode can be a bit too difficult at times, the Toy Box mode helps the game rise above the rest. Gamers and fans of the series of any age should take the time to enjoy Toy Story 3 the video game.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
One of the, if not the best game based on a CGI animated film ever
A fun, but difficult, Story mode
Which is redeemed with the Toy Box mode