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Toy Story 3: The Videogame
Score: 90%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Disney Interactive
Developer: Avalanche Software
Media: Blu-ray/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Action/ Platformer

Graphics & Sound:
Toy Story 3: The Videogame is one of the best examples of movie tie-in games I've seen in a long time. Not only does it do a good job of retelling the movie (and adding a bit more to the story), but it also offers up enough unique elements to make it stand out on its own.

One of the best aspects of the game is how well it translates the classic Pixar characters into playable models. Everyone from Buzz, Woody and Jessie to Ham, Bullseye and Stinky Pete look exactly as they should. Outside of the various character models, the levels and environments really hit the nail on the head as well. I especially loved the look of Woody's Roundup, the open-world location you can explore, expand and customize when you're not advancing the movie's story. This particular location feels like a dusty Old West town, but as you play the game and unlock various characters and items, the location quickly becomes a bustling town with all of our favorite toys.

Sound is also superb. If the cast didn't reprise their roles for this game, then the talent scouts did an awesome job of replacing Tom Hanks (Woody), Tim Allen (Buzz), Joan Cusack (Jessie) and the rest of the gang because everyone sounded dead on.

Toy Story 3: The Videogame is broken up into two main modes. There is the game's Story Mode where you help Ham, Rex and the rest of the gang tell the story of how they came to their new home to their new friends. The other mode is a small open-world, mission-based experience called Toy Box Mode where you play Woody and are working to keep order in the dusty town of Woody's Roundup and help to bring it to the glory it should be.

The story-progressing levels tended towards the action/platformer side of things as you will have to navigate various larger-than-life locations in order to reach some set of goals the game throws at you. These missions let you swap between the three main characters with the click of a button, and you will need to swap characters often in order to use each one's unique abilities. Woody's abilities include using his pull string in order to grapple onto various items, as well as his higher jump, while Jessie can land on smaller platforms, and with the push of a button, reach areas the other two can't. Finally, Buzz's biggest boon is his ability to throw the other two characters far, which means you will often have to switch to him, throw a character, and switch back to the toy you just threw in order to get through the levels.

The Toy Box drops you off in the little town and has you going around and getting missions by talking to the various citizens, most of which are a mix between three-eyed alien toys and Fisher Price people. You will also put a lot of work into customizing this town as you gain the ability to paint buildings, dig for gold and place new storefronts on various lots in the town. Pickups you get both in this mode and in the Story Mode help to improve the town as you gain the ability to buy characters, like Bullseye, or new ways to customize the various storefronts. You will also find costume pieces throughout the game that you can use to dress up the aliens and Fisher Price people (by picking them up and throwing them into the different stores).

Toy Story 3: The Videogame sits pretty middle of the road as far as toughness is concerned. The story-based missions are pretty straightforward and fairly easy to get through, though pretty much every level had me dying and re-spawning at some close-by checkpoint. Where the game presents some replay value and some of its difficulty is the need to pick up all of the various collectibles. In this regard, there are quite a few objects that are tough, but not impossible, to get to and while the overall feel of the game is easy, those completest out there might have a bit of a harder time over it.

Game Mechanics:
Toy Story 3: The Videogame's most interesting aspect is the open-world Toy Box Mode that not only presents a nice distraction from the main story, but also adds a lot of value to the overall package. Quite frankly, if it wasn't for this added feature, I would merely consider Toy Story 3 an adequate, but amusing movie tie-in game. As it is, this extra bit of fun makes the game so much more.

Sticking all of Andy's toys in a sort of role-playing experience where you get to grow and customize your own Old West town is a novel direction, but one that truly fits well in the feel of both the game and the movies. While I could see it as being a bit of a gamble on the developer's side, it's one that really pays off.

Toy Story 3: The Videogame does a great job of not only portraying the movie's story, but adding enough content to make it worth going back to after that story is complete. This is not a game you rent. If you have any interest in Toy Story 3 then buy it, because trust me, you will keep going back to it.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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