Better than You'd Think
Disney has quietly worked to revamp their gaming division, ending their practice of outsourcing game development to THQ and, instead, hiring gifted developers like Warren Specter to build up an excellent studio.
One of their first, if not their first, movie tie-ins is for the newly released Toy Story 3. And the game has a weak story mode...but a borderline inspired sandbox (well, toy box) mode.
It doesn't seem to follow the movie's plot...I certainly can't claim to have a clue about the plot after playing the game. You play as Woody, Jesse, or Buzz, each with their own special ability to solve puzzles. In the story mode, the story jumps from bit to bit so abruptly that you cannot really follow much. You simply engaged in a rote collectathon with little inspiration. One can almost tell that the developers stopped caring about the story mode early on and focused their energy on the reason to get the game.
The toy box mode, though, is where the game shines. The world is surprisingly large, there is a ton of stuff to do, and the story is... OK, the story is pretty unmemorable. Let's not get insane here. You have to unlock new areas, unlock vehicles, find and unlock character models and outfits, unlock vehicles, etc. There are photo based missions, decorating based missions, races, bandit capturing, etc. Its a rather busy world.
This is the first sandbox game that I can think of that is good and aimed at children. You have tons of stuff to do and the controls are solid. Sadly, the camera isn't nearly as good and you can spend lots of time fighting the game to see what you are doing (it is bad in story mode as well, so it is not a problem with toy box mode).
There is an impressive amount of stuff to do here and you are seldom bored. Its not at the level of top notch open world games, but Toy Story 3 absolutely warrants some consideration as a solid title worth the time to play.