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Cars

2 Ratings: 3.0
Racing / Driving video game by THQ for the Xbox 360

Race to the finish line as you live all the fun and excitement of the next Walt Disney Pictures presentation of a Pixar Animation Studios film, "Cars." Play as all your favorite characters as you help Lightning McQueen capture the coveted Piston … see full wiki

Release Date: October, 2006
1 review about Cars

Cars for Xbox 360 - Fun game for kids and fans of the movie

  • Dec 3, 2006
Rating:
+2
Pros: Same voice talent as the movie, solid graphic, fun gameplay, lost of exploration

Cons: Can be challenging in places for the kids, fairly short

The Bottom Line: A solid adaptation that doesn't suffer the cheapness that most others do. Worth picking up for the kids.

As I've said before, most games based on movies are pretty bad. They are usually ads for the movies or in this case, the release of the movie Cars on DVD. Just in time for the holidays. Is this game a rehash of tired gameplay, lousy design, and a ploy for marketing the DVD?

Read on, dear reader....

•• Story ••
The story in this game takes place after the events of the movie. For those who haven't seen the movie, you may want to skip to the next section as this has some spoilers. Lightning McQueen #95 (aptly named after the year the first Toy Story came out) is a race car who lost the Piston Cup due to his exemplary sportsmanship. He goes back to the town he visited and begins training for the next Piston Cup.

The whole gang from the movie is there, Sally, Mater, Doc, Ramone, Luigi, and several others your kids will know. While there isn't a linear story per se, there is a sense of time line and course of events that put together some sort narrative flow. No bother, it isn't about a specific story. It's about being able to control your favorite Cars characters in their universe.

•• Gameplay ••
The gameplay of cars is fairly simple. You play mostly as Lightning McQueen, but certain mission allow you to be all of the other characters. What do I mean by missions? As you cruise through the town, you can stop at various places and do training, missions, tasks, etc. If this sounds like a Grand Theft auto style game, then you'd be right. But in theory, most kids don't know Grand Theft Auto, so the experience will be fresh and simple.

The control scheme is similar to every other driving game on the market.You press the right trigger to go and the left to brake and power slide. You can also jump by flicking the right thumbstick up and down quickly. but this is a difficult maneuver and my son was never able to master it.
This control scheme changes most notably when you have a chance to be Mater and go Tractor Tipping. You have to sneak around and the user suddenly has control over the camera. Do yourself a favor and turn off the auto-camera in the UI unless you want to have an extremely frustrating experience. The camera seems to do whatever it wants and this adversely affects the control you have. It is almost unplayable unless you fiddle with the options. Other than this annoyance, the controls are intuitive and kids should be able to pick it up and play.

Most of the missions are driving missions and experienced driving players will have no problem beating them. The game is very forgiving in some regards. For example, if you drive off the road, you'll be placed back in the right position after a few seconds. I even found that if I took a jump and got way off course, the game would put me back on track ahead of my competitors. This is actually great for kids when the game gets a little more difficult. While it never gets truly hard, there are some challenging races where my son had to hand over the controller because he couldn't do it. To his credit, we were playing on the regular difficulty instead of the easier one. Other missions include tailing speeders, collecting postcards, etc. But the races are what the kids will enjoy most.

If you or your child doesn't enjoy doing missions, you can simply drive around the expansive world. Surprisingly large, the landscape is filled with lightning bolt icons that the player can pick up and collect, adding to their score. There is seemingly no benefit to racking up a score, but my son loved to drive around and pick stuff up. Hence the popularity of the Katamari games...

•• Graphics ••
Not quite up the standards of the Pixar movie, the graphics are surprisingly good and match well with the cartoony feel of the film. The cars are all very well detailed and the lip synch is top notch. Kids will absolutely adore seeing their Cars friends on screen and not a single one will complain about the graphic quality. As mentioned above, the world is huge and varied. While most of the terrain is the same (dirt), there are some races that take place in a stadium. The stadium is filled with people and flash bulbs go off. It is quite well done, nicely detailed and colorful. Do the graphics tax the system? No, there is nary a hitch in the steady framerate. But this isn't a game to show off the power of the console. This is a game to engage the kids and the graphics do their job.

•• Sound ••
Filled with the same voice talent as the movie, this game shines with exceptional acting and decent writing. The music is also the same music licensed from the movie, so you'll hear lots of cruising music from the past 30 years all performed by the original artist. Most of the music from the game is from the movie soundtrack. Obviously the license to use the music in the movie extended to the game as well and it's nice to see a game with notably favorites instead of cheap indie music no one has heard of.

Playing in Dolby Digital 5.1, the effects are simple yet deliver as they should. The cars all sound a little different depending on the model and the environment is filled with the sounds of birds, other cars, etc. Drive past someone on the road and they'll have either snarky comment if you got too close, or a congratulatory one, because after all, you are Lightning McQueen, the hero of the Piston Cup!

•• Multiplayer ••
There is no multiplayer in this game.

•• Achievements ••
There are lots of achievements in this game but to earn them you have to play on normal difficulty. You win achievements by completing the more challenging tasks such as Mater's Tractor Tipping or some of the stadium races. Achievement junkies should have a blast, since they are fairly easy and generous.

•• Parents Should Know ••
This game is rated E for Everyone and is suitable for all ages

•• Conclusion ••
A solid adaptation that doesn't suffer the cheapness that most others do. Worth picking up for the kids.



Related reviews:
Xbox 360 Console - The Comprehensive Launch Review

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