You know before sitting down and playing Toy Story 3, I realized something. I actually have some pretty fond memories of the first two games. I can’t speak for how well they would hold up now, but at least at the time, I remember quite enjoying them. A decade from now will I have fond memories of playing Toy Story 3? Well, fond might be a strong word, but they will at least be reasonably pleasant memories.
Toy Story 3 is one of those rare games that shows movie licensed games can actually be good if the developers are willing to put in the effort. It definitely looks like the developers of Toy Story 3 refused to toss out the same old crap and actually decided to make the game, well, good. I know right? What a strange concept.
There are two primary modes in TS3, Story and Toy Box. We’ll start with Story because I don’t have a whole lot to say about it. It’s primarily a third person platformer where you switch between Woody, Jessie and Buzz in order to traverse the environments and solve puzzles. They do switch things up with a horse chase sequence and a level where you control Buzz as he flies around shooting boulders, but most of the time you are hopping around the stage, gathering collectables and flipping switches.
The story mode is overall not bad. There’s some clever puzzles and everything controls fine but it never escalates too far beyond “well this is all right”. Clearly it’s meant for a younger audience and I think they will definitely enjoy it, but for older gamers this isn’t the section of the game where you will want to draw your attention.
That honour should be for Toy Box which is far more engaging than I ever could have imagined it would be. It really is exactly what the name suggests, a giant Toy Box that you are free to play around in. You can take on missions from other characters, build and add to the town, purchase new items at the Toy store, and so on. It’s actually very robust and even after spending a few hours in this mode I still felt like there was tons to see. It’s strangely addicting running around, doing missions and collecting money in order to purchase more items. Most importantly though is it’s just plain fun.
Voice acting wise the game did all right. It seemed like they landed just about all of the supporting characters and although the Tom Hanks sound-alike wasn’t great, that really did sound like Tim Allen. I can’t confirm whether or not it’s actually him but come on, between debating going outside to buy chips and remembering being on Home Improvement, is he really doing enough right now that he wouldn’t make time for this?
My biggest issue with the sound is that god damn, motherfucking ass piece of shit Friend In Me song. I never cared for it before but holy shiiiiiit does the game ever want to make sure you hate it. It plays at the loading screens, on the title screen, the overworld map, and it starts over every time you arrive at any of these screens! Enjoyment of the game be damned I wanted to stab Randy Newman in the eyes when I was done playing this, although that desire was always kind of there before hand too.
Ear raping music aside, Toy Story 3 manages to find the same balance that makes the movies so great – it can be enjoyed by both children and adults. The game is definitely geared more towards children then perhaps the movie is, but there is enough substance here that I think gamers of any age can walk away pretty damn satisfied.