"Toy Story 3" Revolutionizes the Industry - The Video Game Industry, That Is

Filed under: Toys, Gadgets, Movies, Tween Culture, Video Games

toy story 3

Woody explores a wholly original virtual world in Toy Story 3: The Video Game. Credit: Disney Interactive

In the world of video games, the movie tie-in game is generally the quintessence of mediocrity.

These are often games that developers seem to rush out onto the market with hopes that kids who dig the film are going to snatch the game off the shelf no matter what it looks or plays like. Not that there aren't good movie-based games -- the recent "Shrek Forever After" game is a fun and well-made example -- but even those don't tend to break any new ground. All that changes with the release of "Toy Story 3: The Video Game," which is so good, so unexpectedly original, that it may forever change what we come to expect from a movie tie-in game.

The "Toy Story 3" game ($50, from Disney Interactive, available for Wii, PS3, Xbox 360 and Windows PC) doesn't just try to retell the story of the film that shares its name -- although it does contain several masterfully-designed levels based on scenes from that film. The heart of this game is an open virtual world, in which characters are free to roam, explore and do as they please.

As Woody, Buzz Lightyear, or Jessie the cowgirl (or, exclusively on the PS3, as Emperor Zurg), you can wander from the old Western town of Woody's Roundup to the spooky house of the toy-torturing Sid (from the first "Toy Story") to Zurg's futuristic space station and so on, picking up missions and quests from other toys whenever you want to. It's the same kind of free-roaming, non-linear gameplay that hardcore gamers always praise "Grand Theft Auto" for -- except you hurl rubber balls from atop a plush horsey instead of highjacking police cars at gunpoint.

It's even got an awesome creative element, a la "The Sims," which lets you place and customize the buildings that make up your virtual town, as well as designing (and redesigning) the wardrobes and hairstyles of the little toy people who inhabit that world. "Toy Story 3" is a game that lives up to the powerful imaginations of the Pixar animators that inspired it. But perhaps more importantly, it's a game with enough creative oomph behind it to feed the even more powerful imaginations of Pixar fans.

Related: Never Mind Iron Man: 5 Very Different Superhero Adventures for Kids

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