A triumphant return for Woody and the gang see’s Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story 3 hitting all the right notes.
Make sure that you have the needle and thread close at hand, as ‘stitching of sides’ is required as standard throughout Toy Story 3′s laugh out loud gameplay.
The latest, and in our opinion, greatest of the Toy Story series of titles is upon us, with the re-appearance of Woody, Buzz and the motley crew of assembled plastic playthings putting in the finest computer generated performances of their glittering careers to date. So let’s get this show on the road people, ladies and gentlemen I bring you Toy Story 3 the Review.
Toy Story 3 returned to the gaming fold this week,and as it did so it brought with it all the trademark quality and class that has been the tradition of Disney titles ever since Hyde Park was a plant pot. In this Toy Story-line, (geddit? Ed.), we see the much-loved tales’ human character Andy, turning 17 and preparing to move away to college. To say that’s it for the story would be more than a little unfair as Pixar have really pushed the envelope on this title, and done so with a flair that is sadly lacking throughout other production teams as they have made what is, in essence, an interactive Pixar movie experience. Almost like a fresher and more fun version of Heavy Rain if you will? Bold claims, I’m sure that you will agree, but when you see the game in action you understand fully the sentiment it’s aimed at.
This is no ordinary ‘movie crossover’ game, this is more like you have ‘crossed over into the movie.’ The only thing seperating this title from Heavy Rain is that this game plays faster and with the emphasis firmly on fun. So instead of the highlight of your day being opening your sock drawer, you can take pleasure in enjoying this truly magical universe that Pixar have created for you to explore, and all of the many fun tasks, mission and side quests that are available to you.
The game begin’s with a rip-roaring Western sequence of events that see’s you rescuing a group of orphan’s from a runaway train as Sheriff Woody himself. From there you enter into Pixar‘s realm built with some of the finest CGI platforming gameplay that it has ever been this reviewers pleasure to experience. Don’t be fooled into thinking that Toy Story 3 is a kiddie-game that will have more ‘serious’ gamers reaching for the eject button after twenty short minutes of play, as nothing could be further from the truth. This is a title that prides itself on bridging the generation gap, with plenty of features and humour contained therein to keep gamers from all age groups smiling into their HD TV’s for many an hour to follow. Even the more OCD of the achievement/trophy hunters will be grinning like a manic Cheshire Cat as they get to grip’s with the amount of collectibles on offer that makes for a replay value score that other titles can but dream of reaching.
The great news also is that the level design and the structuring of the gameplay has obviously been well thought out, and by a team of designers and developers who have been given the kind of time and budget most studio’s would kill for. But they have utilised those assets perfectly by creating one of the best platform titles released all year, as well as being the best movie tie-in game by a country mile, of this or any other year. There is the addition of a whole plethora of playable characters from Cowgirl Jessie, Woody‘s trusty steed Bullseye and not to mention the charismatic Buzz Lightyear himself, which gives the gamer the option to revisit area’s to accomplish specific tasks with set characters. It is worth noticing, however, that to progress through certain sections of the game will require that you play as one character or another as they will have the special ability required to successfully complete the task or objective at hand.
After you have managed to rescue the orphan’s of the titles’ opening sequence, this is for all intents and purposes the Tutorial mode, in that it is here where you will learn the control’s and the games functionalities, you then open up what is the games crowning jewel, ‘ Toy Box Mode.’
Here we see ‘Our Hero’ Woody transported to a similar style Western themed area as the games tutorial sequence, during the orphan’s rescue. Here Woody will be given side missions and objectives to do by the familiar characters such as the three-eyed aliens and an army of recognisable faces from the movie. The missions range from the basic collection of a set number of item’s, to rounding up the block headed Outlaw’s that roam the area. As Sheriff, that’s your duty to clap these felon’s in irons and lead them off to jail.
Other side quests and required tasks see Woody beating a frenetic pace in just one of the many races that are scattered throughout the game. There are also the amusing photographic challenges that see you having to take snap’s of certain characters and locations, and even specific characters in specific poses and wearing the required outfits. Be on the look-out also for the ‘Pick Axe’ which will be needed to mine the piles of gold that litter the environment and increase your purchasing power for those all important buildings during the Woody’s Round-Up.
During the sprawling open world section of Woody’s Round-Up you will have some of the greatest fun that this first-rate title has to offer, as you are able to fully customize everything and everyone that you come into contact with. Giving some of the characters ridiculous mullets and pudding-basin haircut’s at the local barber shop was one such chuckle fest, as was the creation of some outrageous costumes and outfits for the characters which would have sent them walking the Path of Shame during daylight hours.
We don’t want to spoil your enjoyment of the game too much by filling the pages with spoiler after spoiler, that’s not how we do things here at GamesMediaPro. We just report on how crisp the title is, and whether or not the overall presentation from graphical content, replay value and actual gameplay are worth you shelling out around £40 of you hard-earned cash. With that thought in mind we can genuinely tell you that if there is only one platformer that you can purchase this entire year, and if you want cracking gameplay with cutting-edge graphics from the best in the business, and then combine that with a value for money that should see other titles hanging their heads in shame then you could be doing a whole lot worse than purchasing Toy Story 3.
Graphics: Considering that this a videogame that has been born from the finest example of CGI work to be found anywhere in the industry, it is hardly surprising then that Toy Story 3 could well be the most interactive and immersive title all year. 9
Gameplay: A fantastic blend of open world action and true platform brilliance, that see’s you almost stepping into the cowboy boots of Woody himself, as the depth of the gameplay makes you feel in control of the movie itself. Stunning. 9
RePlay Value: The sheer weight of content, unlockables, collectibles and characters in Toy Story 3 will have kid’s and grown up’s reaching for the title time and again to enjoy all that this great game has to offer. We loved it, you will love it too. A great game that manages to span the generation gap with considerable ease. 9
Presentation: When we said at the start of the review that this was as immersive as Heavy Rain but with more fun, we could hear the snort’s of derision all the way over here in London. However, once you get your hands on Disney’s masterclass in platform gaming you will understand the statement better, as you have the treat of playing one of the finest looking games to be released so far this or any other year. There is depth and clarity to the title that is seldom found outside of an adults only game and certainly not in a platformer. The graphic’s are complimented by the fantastic gameplay, which is in turn boosted by the content contained within the title that means this will be held in people’s collection and revisited time and again. A truly cracking title. 9