Christmas Ideas
Toy Story 3

By Jorge Figueiredo - December 5th, 2010

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Woody, Buzz, and the whole gang come alive in this Disney Interactive title developed by Avalanche Software; Toy Story 3 is a larger-than-life action/adventure platformer that does far more than tip its cap at the film of the same name. The game focuses on the story of the toys in their latest adventure: Andy has grown up and is going off to college, leaving the toys to try and get him to play with them just one more time. Of course, things are never that easy, and our intrepid little friends ride a veritable roller-coaster of adventure before the tale reaches its conclusion.

Once you are in the game, you are greeted by some old favourites and some new ones, gathered around what appears to be a gameboard (created by Hamm) that shows pivotal moments from the film. Unfortunately, Rex (in his usual clumsy way) knocks over practically everything on the board. It’s up to you to rebuild the board by playing through the Story Campaign.

The main campaign follows the movie (with more than a few shout-outs to the other films in the trilogy); laid out on Hamm’s game board, it’s easy to follow the adventures of your favourite toys on their various adventures. Each stage on the board gives statistics for that particular level (special items found; some of which can be used in Woody’s Roundup). Both reality and the imaginary world of the toys mingle comfortably in this campaign; no matter what character you happen to be playing as (Woody, Buzz, or Jessie), you will really enjoy the experience, even if you aren’t aware of the films. Beign a platformer, there are many obstacles to overcome in the game; each of the main characters has specialties (Woody, for instance, can use his pull-string as a grappling hook) and you use the characters together to finish each level (they can be selected, or you can have a friend play as a character other than the one you have selected).

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Contrary to popular belief, you cannot upgrade Woody with Butt-Lazerz™.

The graphics are stellar; perhaps not exactly on par with the movies (but really, it’s very close), the fun you have playing will offset this, and if you’re watching, you may just forget this is a video game. Character animations are incredible; each individual toy contains the personality of their on-screen counterpart – it’s really well done. The accompanying voice work only adds to this (they did a good job finding folks to sub in for the actors that did not participate in the game). Add a stellar musical score and you have a fun adventure that everyone in the family can enjoy.

Gameplay is very easy to pick up; controls are simple, and there is a fantastic hint system: in some areas, where you are stuck, you will usually find a hint container – opening this little gizmo will display a holographic guide on what you need to do. There is also an extended hint system that is available if you need it (although I never did use it). This is one of those games that children of any age can enjoy. Whether the kids are playing or just watching, it’s not really a stretch to say that everyone will have fun. My daughter loves to play as Jessie in Woody’s Roundup, riding around on Bullseye and bowling things over.

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Advice for visiting Woody’s Roundup: look both ways when you cross the street. Twice.

Woody’s Roundup is the sandbox portion of the game. Basically, it’s a game world modeled around Woody’s old television show; a giant setpiece, Woody’s Roundup is a massive chunk of the old West, complete with several hidden cave systems and tons of goodies to discover. Currency that you earn in the main game carries over to this area, and allows you to buy more toys from Al’s Toy Barn (accessible from several places in the level). You can play as Woody, Buzz, Jessie, and Emperor Zurg (The big Z is only in the PS3 version). There are a huge number of quests to that offer you rewards upon completion. Basically, you get as involved as you want to in this part of the game. There is limitless potential in terms of unlocking buildings and toys, as well as customizations for your town; the number of achievements for this part alone boggles the mind.

If you’re looking for a fun game to play with the family, you can’t beat Toy Story 3. I have no problem with first person shooters, racers, real-time strategies, fighters; but Toy Story 3 is one of those games that you can play (for real) with the whole family. An engaging story, a wonderful cast, fantastic production, and multi-player co-op are just a few reasons why this game should be in someone’s stocking this holiday season (if they don’t have it already).

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