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Having got my wife the Toy Story blu-ray box set (she hadn't seen the films previously) and getting an amazing reaction from her as she completely fell for the movies I decided it was a good idea to pick up the Toy Story 3 PS3 game for her to be able to play so that she would not get bored with the films by watching them too much but did the game live up to the films?
- Excellent graphics which run smoothly mean that the characters and landscapes are re-created brilliantly clearly in bright and vivid colours which means that this is a game which will keep young and old gamers entertained for ages.
- Well thought out gameplay means that you are offered up little challenges that sit in your menu for you to complete as and when you are ready which means you can play for hours or for a short time without this impacting on your ability to complete tasks you need to. This is a real positive for those getting this game for children as it will means it is easier for you to get them to come off the console thanks to the ability to say once they complete the task they are on they need to save (the tasks are short and so this will not mean you are waiting too long).
- Well voiced characters (not original actors voices) means that you get a true feel of this being a movie tie in rather than just a knock off which is taking advantage of the movies success.
- Not wanting to play seriously then don't thanks to this games great ability to let you just roam around the scenes freely without needing to be doing something to move along in completing the game.
- Characters galore! The game has thankfully not missed out characters from the film and so you will meet Bo Peep, Slinky, Pork Chop, the aliens, etc as you move around the lands in the game. You will have the ability to play as Buzz, Woody or Jessie as you play the part of the sheriff of toyland town and have the oportunity to interact with all the other characters throughout the game.
- Huge depth of gameplay means this will keep you entertained for hours as you work through challenges and tasks, place buildings, purchase new things for the town, roam around to see how everything is looking, stop the thieves from steeling and overall protect your town and its people.
- A good difficulty level means that this game is going to be a challenge for anyone playing it but not impossible and so children and adults alike will not find the game too easy but also want to still play as they know it can be done.
Overall this is a great game which plays smoothly and beatifully with a vivid graphics style to it which will draw you in and keep you entertained for ages. Cleverly thought out challenges and tasks means that this game is very easy to play through without you needing to set aside hours each time you want to play a few levels. Hours of great and fun gameplay for adults and children alike make this game a highly recommended title for your gaming collection.
It's easy to view film tie-ins with a degree of cynicism. Tight development cycles and strictures placed on artistic intent mean the end results are often colourless, by-the-numbers affairs that attain big sales through advertising and brand association. As if this wasn't a big enough impediment on Toy Story 3's prospects, the quality of Disney-licensed video games has been in decline for around fifteen years, dating back to the end of the 16-bit era. Since the halcyon days of Aladdin, World Of Illusion and Quackshot, they too have succumbed to the conveyor-belt culture.
But then, they can get away with it. The justification behind this kind of creative myopia within games-of-films is often that they are "for kids". The early Spyro and Sonic games, the majority of Mario's outings, and the ever-expanding LEGO franchise are all testament to the fact games can be accessible to children without compromising on quality. All of this leads back to why Toy Story 3 is such a pleasant surprise. In itself, it may not quite be a world-beater, but it does continue the series' remarkable propensity to dodge the pitfalls that tend to come attached to such projects.
TS3's main story mode loosely frames itself around the exploits of the movie, following toys Woody, Buzz and Jessie as they attempt to reunite themselves with their beloved owner Andy, who has grown up and left for University. The story mode isn't the game's strongest suit, though still makes for an engaging trek. The characters are pleasantly responsive, even if jumps feel a bit spongy and there are occasions when they won't grab ledges even when clearly within reach of them. There's a good mix of paces and activities incorporated around the 3D platforming, meaning despite a brief flirtation with mini-games, it avoids ever feeling like a genre jumble.
There's certainly no lack of impetus, as the game gets off to a frantic start in the form of a canyon dash on horseback, as Woody rides Bullseye through crumbling rock formations and over debris, eventually leaping onto a moving train with some terrific, explosive effects that include a nod to the memorable train sequence in Uncharted 2. By the next level, which begins in Andy's bedroom, the onus has shifted from action to exploration and problem-solving. The teamwork element could so easily have used the "unique ability" idea as a gimmick, but it's actually employed quite cleverly. There are instances when you're encouraged to use more than one character to overcome a puzzle or obstacle, such as getting Buzz to throw either Jessie or Woody to higher ground. Switching instantly between the three toys is an undeniably cool gameplay mechanic, but perhaps wisely, it isn't leaned upon too heavily.
Avalanche Software deliver some great fan service by allowing the player the chance to tackle Buzz Lightyear's video game level, first seen at the beginning of the second film. This introduces some simple but solid shooting bits, as well as some more elaborate and superbly-cinematic action segments that see Buzz running across a snowfield that is being bombarded by explosions, causing it to collapse around him. As the story progresses, they've even incorporated a bit of stealth into proceedings as Jessie and Woody have to escape captivity and free their pals without being spotted. TS3 doesn't forget about the platforming side though, with perhaps the most memorable level being one of the simplest. A room is being drowned in coffee, and as it rises, bits of scenery float to form platforms, giving the impression of a landscape that's changing even as you're navigating it. A frantic few minutes puts to the test the player's climbing, jumping, grabbing and shimmying skills but as with each of the levels, a good part of the fun is in witnessing how everyday items are put to novel use in this blown-up environment. Without overcomplicating matters, Toy Story 3 delivers a diverse, soundly-made and charming trek through the film's universe. It isn't overly long or tough, but the bite-sized challenges gently develop in terms of scale and difficulty, giving younger players in particular a chance to flex their gaming muscles. Help is on hand when new actions and abilities become available, but it rarely feels as though the game is coddling you.
Toy Story 3 doesn't just settle for a decent story mode however. The game's crowning glory is "Woody's Roundup", an open-world setup in which you play as the sheriff of your own town and, whereby through completing missions for the locals and earning gold coins, you can expand it to include all manner of buildings including a barbers, a bank, a hotel, a mill and a jail to house bandits. There's a fantastic sense of expansion; it's very rare to see a game so comprehensive in its rewarding of a player's endeavours, as completion of main missions opens up a glut of secondary tasks from your villagers, new areas to explore and new kit with which to customise the place. Even in the early stages, there's so much to get involved with. The game refers to the mode as a "Toy Box" and this perfectly encapsulates its qualities. You can while away a couple of hours doing any number of activities, such as errands for Sheriff Hamm, mining for gold so as to be able to afford new buildings or vehicles, doing racing challenges either on a dragon, in a car or with Bullseye, explore the caves or catch bandits... the problem of "what's left to do now?" doesn't arise until sometime after you've completed all of the main missions. The volume of additional content and depth of tinkering at your disposal is unlike any platformer outside of LittleBigPlanet.
Photography missions are a particularly marvellous addition. Challenges involve snapping certain scenarios that involve kitting out villagers in specific looks, ranging from wizards to chefs. It's a useful tool and a great deal of fun, and is called upon in different guises, such as when you have to engineer a picture of Mayor Hamm with "supporters" (villagers you've decked out in pro-Hamm t-shirts), or when you're tasked with capturing a shot of a crashed UFO.
And this is just one small facet of a very impressive mode. It's designed in such a way as to ease the player into the hefty range of features lying in wait, such as decorating buildings, uncovering new areas, finding lost items, as well as sampling mini-games. There's an impressively large stunt park to try after buying a car, or an obstacle course to ride around on Bullseye. If this doesn't take your fancy, the farm allow for more leisurely pursuits, like herding cows and protecting crops from moles, whilst the Goo machine, which lets you blow up and shrink stuff, pretty much epitomises the Roundup's charm. As you progress, entire new, themed areas open up; the best being a haunted house with its ghoulish music and misty veneer, an effect you can spread throughout the town should you so choose. There's enough goals to keep completists busy for ages, but even for those who just wish to sample the missions and see the sights, there's weeks worth of play. It's unusual for such a balance to be struck between rewarding casual players with varied bursts of fun and more serious gamers with a raft of bonuses. Thus the "something for everyone" adage is rarely more aptly applied than here. And this leads to another area in which Toy Story 3 surprises - its excellent presentation.
Visually, it's a peach. The cuddly characters look the part, but it's the environments that really bring TS3 to life. They mimic the kind of bright, bubbly, good-enough-to-eat look of the CGI universe in which the film belongs. It's beautifully presented, and areas such as the grotto with its giant, spiralling tree and dazzling rainbow effects bask in a sumptuous array of colours. Usually, it's the little details that distinguish great graphics, but it's the sum-total of Toy Story 3's skin-deep, candy-coated dream world that proves so appealing; it's been a long time since a Disney game has captured the visual spirit of its movie counterpart with such success.
Of course, it also helps to have an Oscar-winning soundtrack spearheading the audio side of things. Randy Newman's "You've Got A Friend" proves a highlight, whilst in-game music is punctuated by rousing action chimes and aided by some otherwise solid melodies. Elsewhere, the standout voice-acting comes from Disney-stalwart John Ratzenberger who puts in a commendable, extended stint as Mayor Hamm thanks to his role in the Toy Box, whilst Jim Hanks deputises for brother Tom in the role of Woody and does a fine job too.
Toy Story 3 has almost all of the things you could dare to wish for from a film tie-in but very rarely get; high-end visuals; imaginative, varied gameplay, and an experience that is rewarding for gamers of all experience levels. Between the absorbing Toy Box and bonus content within the story mode, there's enough to keep fans hooked for some time. The reality is of course, that Toy Story 3 is more likely an anomaly than a trend-setter among Disney's recent licences, but you shouldn't let this dissuade you; it's a really good platformer and very adept, admirable foray into movieland.
Toy story had a nice return in the summer with the eagerly anticipated 3rd film, but as with any kids film there must be the range of merchandise to go with it.
One of the most common types these days in the big money making scheme is, the movie game, there usually poor and have no real sense of hard work put into them and are a obvious cash cow,but could Toy story 3 be different.
Released in June , the title returned to its home in Disney interactive studios. With all previous pixar titles since "a bugs life" on the ps2 being handed over to Activision and THQ, it meant the game would have a refreshing style as well as a better design with the models and creative team being so close.
The game is of course based on the film and takes you through 9 levels, as well as a great prolouge-esque section where you play through the video game section of Toy story 2. For those who have seen the film you will know the games storyline, but for those that haven't heres the outline.
Andy is growing up and heading off to college with the only problem being what happens to his toys, do they go in the attic or go in the bin, or do they go to Sunnyside day care and get the playtime they deserve. Buzz, Woody and Jessie, along with the rest of the gang go on an adventure of realisation, that not everyone can be trusted and that not everything that glitters is gold.
The story is well written and keeps your attention enough to play through, and if it keeps my attention im sure kids playing it will be fine. But the writing doesn't have to stray far from the path and the game does just give the ability to play out multiple sections of the film.
For the main mode there are 10 levels total of solo or co-op fun. These stick to simplicity and action to keep young audiences entertained and I found the difficulty was pleasent but challenging for my young cousing, although I'm a horrible backseat gamer and would happily jump in any time she failed a jump or started a new level.
The game revovles around 3rd person adventuring, as well as some racing sections and time crisis style shooting chucked in for variety. Throughout the levels there are numerous checkpoints and collectables, meaning the chance of a disgruntled player is kept to a minimum.
During the game you control Buzz, Woody and Jessie as well as the evil emperor Zurg (Ps3 exclusive), in order to complete many of the levels you will need to switch between the characters ala Lego indiana style.
Each character has their own style, strengths and weaknesses, which combined will let you defeat any obstacle. Buzz is able to throw the other characters over a fair distance to reach a new section, Woody uses the string on his back to swing across gaps, and Jessie is just generally agile and has better balance.
The co-op multiplayer is nice to see and the "drop in-drop out" variety better still, it means if one the people playing gets bored then the other can continue unhindered.
The AI is ok and can sometimes replicate a small child on the game, it wont always help you as sometimes it just wants to wander off and see what the wall looks like close up.
The other option apart from the story mode is the toy box. This is the plastic jewel in the toy crown, close your eyes and imagine red dead redemption with plastic toys and a lot less glitches and this is what you have. A fully open world environment is yours to create and add hours of fun, mission types resemble Woody's round up , so plenty of riding on bullseye and returning cattle is on the menu.
The ability to customise the area, townspeople and missions are a great treat for the player. You don't always want to be constricted to a linear storyline so the chance to let your imagination run free and become a kid again is something many can't resist.
As you adventure through both modes you can find collectables which include costumes and additions to the toy-box, this means it's always worth investigating that hidden corner of the level just incased you missed something.
Graphically the game is pleasent, it's not ugly but it feels as though it could have had a little more polish. That's not to say the models are unrecognisable as all the environments are bright, colourful and engaging, as well as this the characters look great and are fun to watch.
My personal problem with most games is the camera, I'm happy to say the game copes well with issues only occuring in tight spaces and this happens very little througout the title.
The games voice actors are all the same except for Woody and Buzz, but don't fret as the replacements are pretty much identical and many can't tell the difference between the two.
The game is on Amazon for £35 which seems a little steep, whilst it's a nice game to play I would keep your eye out in the local game stores pre-owned where this could be picked up cheaper.
Overall it's a nice game, its not terrible but it's not spectacular. Considering what film franchises usualy do with games this is a good effort and one for the kids. 4 hours for the story mode and possible unlimited for the toy box, there is a nice amount of game value in it for young gamers.