Game: “Toy Story 3: The Videogame”
Movie to videogame adaptations are simply one of the worst things to happen to videogames, since Hollywood thought it would be a great idea to make movies from videogames. It seems that whenever these two entertainment juggernauts come together, or in a more real world term think that they can con some poor parent out of cash, as their kids loved the film, nothing good can or has ever come of it. There is dozens of failed movie to videogame adaptations on the market from the past few years, Hulk, Iron Man, The Golden Compass, Cars and arguably some of the Harry Potter games. Therefore, the expectation for Toy Story 3: The Videogame is low, very, very low, which happens to be the polar opposite to that of the film.
More often that not, it’s easy to jump straight into playing the actual game itself and ignore the other details. After all, these menu screens and everything else are simply a distraction from what actually needs to be done – game playing. However, with Toy Story 3: The Videogame on the Xbox 360, the title screen to the game will immediately pull the player away from the real world and teleport them back about a decade with the familiar music of “You’ve Got a Friend in me”, and make us all weep about our long-gone childhood. This instantly recognisable music makes the player feel much more at home and although this is a deceiving tactic, it works well for this game.
The menu screens are a breeze and it doesn’t take long before the player is able to select the type of play they want. There are two main modes of play, Story Mode, which takes the player through 8 levels. Each is expansive and is themed around the Toy Story 3 movie; however, it does not follow the same storyline as the film. The majority of these worlds are in a third person format and require the player to run around the world and collect different items, hit certain types of switches and just generally achieve what the story’s goals are set out to be. It’s standard gaming fare, with third party play interjected with the odd “on-the- rails” shooter action. This occasional switch is welcome as it changes the pace of Toy Story 3: The Videogame and although the gameplay isn’t dull, it is always good to see a different element introduced in games. The Story Mode is well thought out, with overarching plots that move between the worlds; however, sometimes they do feel a little stretched and some of the sidequests along the way are a bit stale and linear. Yet for the most part the Story Mode is well considered and actually a little challenging; it is not a walk through the park for a seasoned gamer.
The other mode available in Toy Story 3: The Videogame is ToyBox Mode, which is in its most basic form is a free roaming game. The player is Woody, who is in control of his own little western style town and he has the ability to go wherever he wants and do whatever he likes. There are missions assigned to the player by random characters in the game and you can either fulfil or ignore them. The ability to build in the town is available and the entire game is entirely customisable. It’s a very unique experience from a movie to videogame and it’s a welcome one.
Not to say that it is perfect, there are a few niggles with the display of the world and more importantly the controls are fairly, especially for a child’s game. The movement around the worlds isn’t flawless either, there’s a bit of lag or the controls simply aren’t as finely tuned as one would like. Yet, these niggles can be put aside due to the sheer beauty of the game. It’s been polished incredibly well and the developers at Avalanche Software and Disney Interactive Studios have really put their all into the presentation of Toy Story 3: The Videogame. With well-designed characters, that are bright and distinct against a variety of equally well made levels. Not only that but they move fluidly, there’s no jerky Tomb Raider on the PlayStation style movement, it’s smooth and a pleasure to view. It could easily be mistaken for the film in 2D. They have also managed to secure the majority of the original cast for the films for the voice acting work on the game, which makes a whole world of difference.
Toy Story 3: The Videogame is one of the best movie to videogame adaptations ever. With a well thought out plot, a gameplay that is well developed and a style that mirrors the movie without copying it. It is certainly not perfect, but it’s the closest a movie to videogame adaptation has been in a long, long time.