A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the Toy Story 3 video game will certainly appeal to younger kids that fall outside the age recommendation of the ESRB's E10+ rating. Whether or not younger kids can handle the laser fire, explosions, and drop-kicks they'll find in the game is questionable. There's nothing too graphic here, but the action can be loud and frenetic, there are several spooky parts involving a haunted mansion, and seeing Buzz Lightyear get his head blown off -- even if he is a toy, and even if it's only for a nanosecond -- could certainly scare little kids. It's important to know what you're kids would be experiencing before you decide to let them play.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Rather than simply rehash the plot of the movie TOY STORY 3, the video game of the same name offers an entire open world for players to explore, interact with, and customize. Several game levels are based on scenes from the film, but even those (found in the game's \"Story Mode\") are often non-linear in design, offering for loads of exploration in completely interactive environments. They might send you on scavenger hunts, races, or puzzling quests set in film scenes. They game's main draw is the Toy Box mode, which allows free roaming -- as Buzz, Woody, or Jessie -- in a Wild West town (and later, a haunted mansion, space port, and fantasy land), where players can pick up diverse quests from Toy Story characters, customize the town's citizens and buildings in any number of wacky accoutrements, and earn money to buy more toys and games to interact and play with. It's a living world filled with constant action that can draw your attention in a different direction at any moment. The PS3 version will allow you to play as villain, Zurg, as well.
Is it any good?
Toy Story 3 is astonishingly good, and undoubtedly one of the best movie-based games ever. The open world Toy Box mode can be a completley different experience for everybody who plays, and offers so much to do and see that kids can expect to be entertained for a good, long while. The story scenes that retell the plot of the film are crafted in a spectacular, non-linear fashion that reward roaming and exploration almost as much as the Toy Box mode. And, wow, is that Toy Box mode good. It contains a seemingly endless list of missions that will have you scaling mountains, tossing bandits in jail, driving a stunt track, costuming a mariachi band, or performing any number of other crazy tasks. The amount of variety is simply stunning; Toy Story 3 features enough game styles to fill a full library -- racing, platform jumping, first-person shooting, third-person shooting, character customization, world building, puzzles, stealth, strategy, and on and on. All that, and the game looks and sounds terrific, with many of the original actors providing voices for the game. This is an absolute winner.
Talk to your kids about ...
Toy Story 3 is a video game that features some ties to the movie it is named after, but which mostly offers you new and original adventures featuring the movie's characters. Does playing the game make you want to see the movie?
Families can talk about the violence in Toy Story 3. Do the explosions and laser beams scare kids at all? Or can they write it off, since the action takes place among characters who are supposed to be toys? Should a game based on a kids' movie be less violent by nature? Or do we need to accept cartoon violence as an inherent part of a kid's action game?