Andrew Cathie
19 Jul, 2010

Toy Story 3: The Video Game Review

PS3 Review | Is this Woody up to our standards?
After a decade long wait, fans of the Toy Story franchise rejoiced at the release of Toy Story 3. Ever since the release of the first Toy Story film characters like Buzz, Woody and those little green aliens from Pizza Planet have held a special place in the hearts of millions. So when this game was announced and released, most of those fans ran as far as they could, hoping to avoid their love for Toy Story being tarnished by a lackluster movie tie-in. In the end, their fears were unfounded. Toy Story 3: The Video Game is a 3D platformer, with a few little extra bits mixed in, both during the story campaign and an open world sand box mode titled ‘Toy Box’. It’s a fairly competent game, the controls work, the music is great and it carries the aesthetic from the Toy Story films. Sadly the short length and unemotional voice acting negatively impact on the experience.

Something the Toy Story films have always been praised for their music, sound and brilliant voice acting. While the music in Toy Story 3: The Video Game doesn’t reach the lofty heights where Pixar reigns, it is far from bad. Upon reaching the title screen for the first time you’re treated to ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’ by Randy Newman, which is a nice surprise for anyone who is a fan of Toy Story. Each track during the story campaign nicely matches the level you’re playing. An up-tempo orchestral track that fills you as hope as you race to save the orphans on the train, an exuberant track that swings between fast and slow, with a dash of fun and just a little bit of ‘You’ve Got a Friend In Me’ when you’re playing in Andy’s Room and a much darker and ominous song as you make your way through the Junkyard. The music in the game suits the moods of each level and also helps in bringing across the emotion that Avalanche Software wanted.

Buzz Lightyear in his new car.

Buzz Lightyear in his new car.
Sadly the sound effects aren’t quite as good as the music. When you hit someone with a ball you can hear the ball hit them, and it sounds like a ball hitting them, but it doesn’t sound quite right. The same can be said for when you charge into someone; you can hear the thud, but it just doesn’t seem to carry any weight to it and seems off. Worst of all, the voice acting is where the sound is really let down. Tim Allen and Tom Hanks are both absent from their normal voice acting roles of Buzz and Woody and it shows. The voice actors they got to replace them seem to have viewed this game as something they had to do and not something they wanted to do. Their voice acting comes across as lazy and lacking the emotion needed and since you play as these two characters for the majority of the game it can be extremely grating. Luckily the rest of the cast from the movie have all returned to play their respective characters in the game and being able to hear Hamm narrate and Jessie talk during the levels definitely helps make up for the lack of a real Buzz and Woody.

Toy Story 3 contained an extremely emotional story, one that made us and many others cry when watching it, but this story is almost non-existent in the game. The story mode lasts for a maximum of about two to three hours and the story from the movie has been chopped, diced and blatantly changed to fit into four of the eight levels. All of the ‘bad’ characters in the movie have been shoehorned into the one level, are given no back story, never show up again during the campaign and are all shown as nice toys. It really is disappointing to see such a brilliant story ignored and thrown aside.

An incredibly evil bear, but not in the game.

An incredibly evil bear, but not in the game.
Being a platformer you’d expect the same generic gameplay that you get in most games. You’re able to swap between Woody, Buzz and Jessie in most levels of the game and each has their own special ability. Woody can use his pull string like a grappling hook, Buzz can throw objects further than the others and Jessie can jump onto smaller areas, where the others are too big to get onto. Other than the three levels where you are forced to play as a certain character, you will find yourself swapping between them throughout each level to use their specific abilities to continue. You can also play through with a co-op partner if you choose, with your partner taking control of one of the other characters. For most of the game you’ll find yourself running around a 3D landscape, fighting enemies by charging at them with your shoulder, throwing balls at them or at one point by picking them up and throwing them off a moving train, while always being steered towards your destination. Although the camera can be fiddly at points and the controls are a bit too loose for our liking, these sections work well.

On occasion you’ll find yourself doing something a little different during levels. During the game you will be required to race towards the screen, dodging rocks and other obstacles. There can sometimes be issues with the dodging mechanics, but in general the controls work quite well. The game also swaps to a 2.5D viewpoint on occasion. When this happens you will find yourself having to make some extremely fiddly jumps in order to avoid dying. Now while this is fine for older gamers, it would be quite hard for younger gamers who happen to be the main target audience.

Finally we have the best part of the game: the Toy Box. The Toy Box is an open world mission-based game wedged into corner of the level selector. This is where you will get the majority of fun from playing the game. After selecting to play as Buzz, Woody or Jessie, you will find yourself as the Sheriff in Woody’s Roundup, completing missions for the townspeople. You can purchase new buildings for the town and new sections based on various aspects of the films, including a section based off Sid’s House from the first Toy Story. You can customise all the buildings in the town with new colours, textures, windows, doors and other bits and pieces, as well as being able to fully customise the inhabitants of your town. You’re free to complete the missions in whatever order you choose and by buying Toys with the money you accumulate, you can unlock various mini games. You can race on Bullseye or a toy car, you can buy a stunt track and you can also play a mini game as the Toy Soldiers where you attempt to help them parachute to a certain point.

Ride like the wind Bullseye!

Ride like the wind Bullseye!
It becomes quite obvious during the game that Avalanche Software started to develop the game aiming it at kids and then decided to try and make it suited to all ages, just like a Pixar film. The campaign consists of sections that are incredibly easy, then sections that are cheap and frustrating for an adult gamer let alone a child, followed by sections that are extremely vague and don’t really give you any sort of idea of what to do next. With the inclusion of a stealth level during the game, the game really isn’t that friendly for younger children.

Graphically, the game continues the bright and colourful style that has become a trade mark of the Toy Story franchise. Despite all the colour, the graphics in the game aren’t very exciting. The lighting used tends to create some very irregular shadows on characters and some of the environment textures are lacking in detail. Rough edges become quite apparent at times and are more noticeable because of the contrast between the different colours used. Despite low quality textures, the game still has pop in. The pop in normally occurs just after a level has loaded and takes a few seconds, but doesn’t happen again after that. After the initial load for a level, including the Toy Box, the game doesn’t load during levels, with the exception of some of the lengthier levels.

In conclusion, Toy Story 3: The Video Game is rough around the edges, has small amounts of fraying and some of the stuffing has come out. However, it still has that Toy Story charm and is quite a fun game. Despite moments of frustration you will find yourself having fun as you play through the story and the excellent Toy Box modes.
The Score
Toy Story 3 is a fun romp where you can set aside your inhibitions and play like you are a child again. 7
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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3 years ago
I was thinking 6 1/2-7/10
3 years ago
The same can be said for when you charge into someone; you can hear the thud, but it just doesn’t seem to carry any weight to it and seems off.
Really? I actually thought that sound effect was a bit extreme, like a strong punch sound out of a fighting game.

I reckon Jessie doesn't sound right in the game either, really Hamm felt like the only authentic voice in there to me. I wouldn't say they ignored the story of the film, but it's not what I'd call a great recreation either. I guess they figured people wouldn't want to go through the exact same story again after watching the movie, but it is supposed to based on it.

Still, the Toy Box mode certainly impressed me, a lot of work seems to have been put into it and there's heaps to do. icon_smile.gif
3 years ago
Have been playing it a bit over the last few nights, it's alright.... but for a kids game it sure does have its annoying elements (platform jumping grrrr icon_razz.gif - the camera angle doesn't make it easy either). Have spent probably 3 hours all up, and i've only finished 3 levels, and spent a bit of time in the Toy Box mode.
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    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  17/06/2010 (Confirmed)
Year Made:

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