Like any blockbuster film these days, a computer game cash-in is inevitable, and Disney-Pixar’s Cars 2 is no exception.
Having been sent a review copy for the PS3, it was time to find out whether our cynicism was due deserved…
The first pointer is: the game has little connection with the film storyline. So no need to be worried about spoilers when playing it.
Instead of a direct tie-in we’re instead presented with a generic racing game, associated with the film by way of characters and locations, rather than plot developments.
The game starts by offering a surprisingly wide choice or Cars 2 characters to play.
The player is then taken through various tutorials: steering, drifting, jumping and spinning, driving backwards, etc. In other words, basic racing moves to get the most out of game play.
This is interspersed with short races where you can test out your newest driving skills on the track.
And it quickly becomes apparent that this is aimed squarely at the kids. Gran Turismo hasn’t anything to be worried about here.
However, as a kids game it’s fun: it’s not just racing, it’s also doing somersaults to power up, and picking up weapons to shoot other vehicles on the track.
It therefore includes various features the kids may already be familiar with, not least as using acrobatic moves to power up we remember from an early Ratchett & Clank on the skateboarding in-games.
Picking up weapons to fire at other cars has a taste of Wipeout about it, but without the white-knuckle speed and sometimes precious control handling.
The positives are underlined that it’s a fun, enjoyable, and engaging racing game for kids, with many of the features, but none of the frustrations, of the bigger racing cousins.
It’s simple and easy to play, and so far has shown a surprising shelf life in our household.
On the negative side: there is plenty of choice in terms of cars to play, but while representing characters from the film, we don’t seem to have the original actor voices carried into the game.
While relatively similar in tone, there is a sense of losing a connection to the film here.
Especially as, with any racing game with voice overs, they can get a little repetitive.
That doesn’t seem to put off the kids, though, and other than that, there are no real complaints.
Overall, Cars 2: The Video Games offers an immersive and enjoyable racing game experience for the kids, offering a range of features and options that ensures that they will not be easily bored.