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Shockingly Good For a Licensed Game
on August 8, 2010
Being a tie-in game for the movie of the same name, you can expect Toy Story 3 to follow the film's plot pretty much down the stretch. However, the main "campaign" mode leaves huge chunks of the film out, and focuses more on the action sequences. Most of these play out in a platformer-style of control, but there are a few stages that mix things up with stealth or shooting gameplay. All of the story missions are played via flashback with Hamm, the piggy bank, telling the other toys the story of the film. The missions can be picked off of a board-game style board, and you can go back and re-play the missions if you want to find more of the pickups. There is one serious problem though, and that is the size of the game. The main story mode can be beat in probably less than five hours by most people, and I'd bet that serious gamers can do it under four. An aggravating checkpoint and save system extends things a bit, but this game is not a long-term investment. There is the option for some two-player exploration, but that falls apart in most levels when it becomes obvious that the game is really meant for one player.
There is also a free-play mode called Woody's Cowboy Roundup that works very much like an open-world game. In this, you pick from Woody, Buzz, or Jesse, and run around a wild-west themed area mining for gold, purchasing new buildings, and rescuing lost toys. This is fun, but it can get a bit repetitive. Still, this is an all-ages game, so having something that is completely kid friendly that you can do over and over again doesn't hurt.
While the developers could have phoned in another summer movie tie-in game, Avalanche Software made some great choices backed up with some great assets from Pixar. Toy Story 3 might look like a simple platformer on the surface, but there is some hidden depth. The graphics are astounding in action and the sound is wonderfully done, using the voice actors from the films and some very close sound-alikes. Unfortunately, the game is brutally short and the campaign can be finished in an afternoon. Controls are mostly okay, but some loose jumping and a difficulty level that expects you to know what's coming will cause a few headaches. There is a free-play mode that extends the play time a bit, but eventually the grind of playing will cause you to put this one back in the toy chest.