The Story Mode of Toy Story 3 has the player going through a story that's loosely based on the plot of the movie, introducing new (and classic) characters and locations from the Toy Story universe. Players get to control Buzz Lightyear, Sheriff Woody, and Jessie, with each one having their own play-style. There will also be a number of collectibles for the player to find, each of which unlocks something in Toy Box Mode. The game also features Co-Op (both split screen and online).
The Story Mode featured in the game vaguely follows the events of the movie, and during the gameboard scenes some of the characters give away spoilers concerning the motion picture. The story mode is relatively short, completing it would only take an hour or so for the hardened gamer. During the story mode you control three characters and each have their own skills. Woody the Sheriff can use his pullstring to attach to certain background elements and pull himself to positions where others cannot reach. Buzz Lightyear is the strongest of the bunch, and he can throw objects and characters farther while Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl can jump on to surfaces that are too small for any other toy in the player's control. There are scenes in the game where teamwork is crucial but the majority of the Story Mode is so short that the game does not manage to make good use of the somewhat solid and fun mechanics featured in the game. Characters can jump, double jump, run, climb, throw objects, ride Bullseye(Woody's Horse), drive toy cars, charge&hit and do a smashing action by jumping and stomping. The Story Mode features The Buzz Lightyear Video Game featured in the second movie, and is for the most part true to its origin. The background music, sound effects, level design are very similar to the movie. Within the Buzz Lightyear game players can fly, hover, dodge meteors and use the laser mounted on Buzz' right arm. The game also features several "imagination" levels where you play in the non-existing world that either Andy Davis or Bonnie envisioned. These levels include rescuing orphans from a train set to be destroyed by Hamm and escaping Bonnie's room flooded with coffee while avoiding attacks by Dolly.
Toy Box Mode
Toy Box Mode is an open world, sandbox-style environment where players can explore and play with the toys and collectibles any way they like. There are different missions for different toys, racing, character customization, and more. This mode encourages and rewards the player for being creative.
Exclusive to the PlayStation 3, players will also get to control Zurg in Toy Box Mode. Zurg has his own unique missions, weapons, and play-style.
Toy Box Mode allows the player to select one of three characters; Buzz, Woody or Jessie and allows them to create and live the imagination of Andy Davis. Toy Box is essentially a sandbox experience where you can purchase new buildings, zones, vehicles, items and accessories. With each new item comes a quest, with each now zone comes new environments, items, characters and mini-games for the player to invest his gold in. Gold can be earned by completing quests or mining using the pick-axe given to you by Stinky Pete the Prospector. Toy Box gives you the ability to customize, however replay value is nearly non existent as the player is always presented the same challenges with same rewards. Toy Box Mode features different essential Toy Story characters such as Hamm, Rex and Slinky, scattered around different zones.
Toy Story 3 supports the PlayStation Move motion controller in the form downloadable mini-game add-ons. One of them will allow you to fire Zurg's cannon from a first-person perspective using the Move.