Ka-Chow! Thats the only word I could use to begin this review because “Cars 2″ came roaring at me with its engines racing. It doesn’t hurt that I’m a fan of the movies, even though I haven’t seen the new one yet but I don’t have too – I like this game. I like it a lot. “Cars 2″ is more than a basic kart racer, it’s a highly polished machine that has all the toys that make games like the superior Mario Kart what it is today. Forget about turtle shells and banana peels – turn it up a notch with machine guns, rockets and oil slicks. Don’t worry mom and dad, this is still a fun family game that you can enjoy with your kids – and I encourage it.
Cars 2 doesn’t follow a movie script but does base its simple story around the second movie with your loving vehicles working along side C.H.R.O.M.E., a group of undercover agents. You can choose your favorite character from a large selection of vehicles and then fire up your engines because the race is about to begin. The character models are done in high detail from what you would expect from a PIXAR movie with all character voices intact so you really get the true feeling of the vehicles coming to life.
Cars 2 supports four player split screen which you would expect from a multiplayer racer. I was disappointed when I learned there wasn’t an online mode because that would have boosted its value even more but I understand why Disney chose not to do so. Any time you bring any game online you take the chance of losing that fun, family atmosphere that you want out of this game.
My first experience with the game was via four player split screen with my daughter, niece and nephew. I cannot tell you the laughter that ensued quickly after the race began. The controls are simple enough for younger kids but still challenging enough not to be able to cross the finish line first every time. You can thank the fun and crazy weapons for that factor as they alter the race quite a bit. Nothing beats having someone on your tail and quickly spinning around to driving in reverse and unloading on them with some heavy machinery sending them crashing into the wall as you spin back around and motor away. Classic. That is only one instance out of many that I could describe from our first official race. Cars jump into the air with amazing animations while performing stunt maneuvers to gain more boost to make it around the track until you cross the finish line.
There are also a good number of tracks that you can unlock which makes each race fresh and leaves open a lot of options when deciding where to race. The game does a great job of mixing up levels, so as you race through Italy, England and Tokyo, new variables are introduced to keep the gameplay new. You’ll also find a handful of modes like your basic race, battle race and even arena where you can feud with your opponents until only one is left standing. With so many options you never have a problem trying to search for something to play. Speaking of playing, “Cars 2″ makes for a great pick up and play title. I have found myself grabbing it off the shelf and tossing it in to do a few races by myself. It’s easy, refreshing and down right fun.
As a dad, I’m always looking for something that I can play with my kids without having to worry about what content is going to pop up along the way. With “Cars 2,” I don’t have to worry and I also have a game that I know I will pick up and play by myself if I’m looking for a quick race. It looks like Avalanche and Disney got it right – a game that satisfies and entertains all age groups. “Cars 2″ may not break the mold of traditional kart racing but it does bring all the aspects that make kart racing a blast whether with friends or even by yourself. If you’re tiring of turtle shells and looking for something a little more “grown up” then take Cars for a test drive. With just about every character from the world of Cars armed with classic weapons straight out of a spy movie, you have the making of a top-notch racer and a high quality title that you’ll be happy to add to your gaming library. See you in the winner’s circle.