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Toy Story 3 PS3 captured my wife's imagination as she unusually demanded to take control and compulsively set about collecting all the stars. This Toy Box open world, combined with the Story mode, is an impressive package. If you love to collect' em all, this game has loads to do with only a few rough edges causing occasional frustration.
Toy Story 3 is two games in one, it backs up a standard platform romp with a fully featured sandbox mode that emphasises exploration and fun and will last considerably longer. My interest came from the developer's previous Just Cause games, which match huge open worlds with maximum destruction.
Toy Box mode lets you control Woody, Buzz or Jessie in a Wild West themed toy town and features a variety of things to do. These include adding buildings, rounding up wrong doers and growing prize winning vegetables. Some of these are small individual puzzles, whist others are just arcade style challenges. Almost of all them prove great fun though.
At this point, I can say with hand on heart that I have never written a review of a game that I have played so little of, but this is due to how much of it my wife played, casting me, for the most part, as observer.
After playing for a few minutes, I mentioned to her that she might like it as it featured collecting, easy controls and didn't punish failure. After watching me for a while she started giving me directions, suggesting tasks for me to complete. Eventually though, my slapdash ways were too much and she picked up the controller herself, which was the start of an intense relationship.
Eventually though, my slapdash ways were too much and she picked up the controller herself, which was the start of an intense relationship.
There are 103 stars to complete in Toy Box mode and some of them take a long time. For that level of challenge, a degree of organisation was required and within a few hours my wife had constructed a spreadsheet and was methodically ticking off each star. When I asked her why she couldn't stop, she just said, "to get the little reward", meaning the musical interlude each completion is met with. Even with this prize her dedication to the cause was way beyond my level of compulsion.
By the end of the weekend, we were down to searching for last few collectibles - and as anyone that's played this type of game knows, collecting those last few tokens can take a very long time. She eventually, with the help of the Internet, tracked them all down. I was drafted in only occasionally to control the various fiddly vehicles over ramps - this element of the controls was one of the few real flaws with the game.
If you're not interested in the freedom to explore, Story Mode provides levels inspired by the film. We play through these as well, but found the linear platforming far less enticing than Toy Box mode. It was nice to be able to play through the story together with the local co-op. We could see this addition making the game fun for those sharing the experience with kids as well as just making it easier for all.
For that level of challenge, a degree of organisation was required and within a few hours my wife had constructed a spreadsheet and was methodically ticking off each star.
If either of these two games had been presented on their own, neither would have satisfied, since the Toy Box mode was merely a game set in the Toy Story universe, rather than one reflecting the film. Together though, they are an extremely compelling offering and regardless of how many of the stars you decide to collect it's fun to play on your own or in couch co-op. Kids will love the great presentation of all of the film's assets and there's something there for the adults as well. Just like a Pixar film really.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
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