E3 2011 Hands-On: Cars 2: The Video Game - Preview

By Daniel Share-Strom, June 8, 2011
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After the distinct pleasure of playing Disney Universe, it felt nice to play a Disney game that actually entertained me with Cars 2.  I’m not the biggest fan of the Cars franchise, but this kart racing title based on the upcoming sequel has personality and tight enough controls to provide a fun multiplayer experience.

There are several game modes, including a Battle mode and a Capture-the-Flag-style game, but my demo consisted of a more traditional race.  I picked Mater while my opponent played as one of the characters from the new movie.  The first thing I noticed was that the game sports a very similar aesthetic to the movies, which helps you to feel like you’re participating in one of their fast-paced driving scenes.

Gameplaywise, it is very similar to Mario Kart—you can drift and build up speed boosts, there are obstacles all over the track, and there are weapons you can use to mess up your opponents.  Heck, they even have one that seeks out the guy in first and screws him over.  There are worse franchises than Mario Kart to crib from, however, and all that matters is that it plays well.  Each car is balanced similarly to the movies, so Mater has the fastest top speed but takes a while to get there, while Lightning McQueen is more balanced.

As I was playing the Wii version of the game, I naturally chose the Wii Wheel control method for driving.  The controls were responsive, and I always felt like if I did something wrong, it was my own error rather than the controller’s.  Neither the Wheel method or the traditional controller style seemed to have the advantage, as I finished right behind my demoer who was using the latter.

The team is focusing on making this a great game to play at home with friends and family, so there will be no online play.  I can’t imagine there would be a huge community for a game like this anyway, so it probably doesn’t matter much.  With all the different styles of game mode, there should be a fair bit of content to look forward to in Cars 2.  There will, however, be downloadable content for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game.

Cars 2: The Video Game arrives on all major platforms on June 21.

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