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Overrated but Better Than Expected
on February 4, 2011
The first thing that fans of the "Toy Story 3" videogame will say to me is, "It wasn't made for you. It's for a different audience." Oddly enough, though, those people would be wrong. I love the movie trilogy. I like action/adventure platformers. I like open-world sandbox games.
So, why not a better score?
Well, it basically comes down to this: The Story Mode is decent but way too short, and the Toy Box Mode (while pretty good) isn't enough to keep me playing.
The 8-level Story Mode has some brilliant stages that step off the beaten path. But a couple of the levels are just lazy, particularly the Sunnyside Day Care levels. Honestly, parts of this Story Mode are so amazing that the weaker parts felt like insults to me. Considering how dramatic these movies are, I was surprised they didn't try to take advantage of those thematic opportunities. At least there are a few surprises in store.
The Toy Box Mode is sure to be the favorite aspect of the "Toy Story 3" videogame, and rightfully so. It takes a while to get going, because there isn't much to do while you're learning to play the game. But then there are all sorts of toys to buy, places to explore, neat missions to accomplish, and it eventually feels like a living breathing world of toys. I think what I missed from this Toy Box Mode, though, was a sense of urgency to continue. Other open-world titles like "InFamous", "Grand Theft Auto IV", and "Fallout: New Vegas" had a narrative that compelled me to keep playing, even if I wasn't sure I really wanted to. But with this game's Toy Box Mode, it starts to feel more like a checklist. An amusing, colorful checklist to be sure, but because there's nothing extraordinary about the gameplay mechanics, it's just not enough.
The best compliment and harshest criticism to give to the "Toy Story 3" videogame is that it makes you feel like you're playing with a whole bunch of toys. When you're in the right mood, the game can be a lot of fun. But after a while, playing with the toys isn't enough. There has to be something more to draw you in. Because the Story Mode doesn't use the film's drama, it's simply 8 action stages that aren't worth playing more than twice. And the Toy Box Mode, for all of the unlockables and customization available, didn't make me feel like I'd accomplished anything.
Don't get me wrong, "Toy Story 3" is one of the better licensed games out there, and it's surprisingly solid. But I still don't think it's worth owning. Just because it's better than most movie-based or TV-based garbage doesn't mean you should fork the cash.