Racing all over the world never felt so mediocre.
The 3DS port of Cars 2: The Video Game recently raced into stores, but did not exactly race onto my favorites list. The game features two distinct styles of play that seem like a great idea, but when one of these ideas falls completely flat and the other is lacking real creativity, it is hard for the title to truly shine. A few gleaming characteristics tie the whole experience together into something enjoyable, but some of the flaws hold it back from ever really enjoying it.
The game’s story is split into two groups of missions: spy and racing. During races, you get behind the wheel as Lightning McQueen in either standard or knockout races. These are enjoyable at first, but the charm of racing through the Cars universe wears out rather quickly.
Spy missions, on the other hand, are one of the game’s lowest points. These missions follow the general plot line of the Cars 2 movie, and achieve the goal of telling the story in a quick and not so detailed fashion. These more objective-based missions cause a real headache with their repetitive nature. Avoiding spotlights, helicopters, and the view of others cars can be done only so many times before driving you completely insane. Luckily, these missions do not make up the bulk of the story mode and do not have to be revisited after the initial playthrough.
Control-wise, the game does a decent job. Drifting causes some bad handling issues that result in you crashing into walls numerous times, but never hinders your overall race performance. The game gives the various cars unique abilities that aid you in getting around the track easier, and help you in taking shortcuts that almost guarantee a first place finish if used.
You may be able to get around the track with the decent controls, but the tracks themselves are nothing spectacular. Tracks are reused with minor changes and never really provide a real challenge. I felt like the tracks were over simplified, and their repetitive nature only made them feel worse.
Graphically speaking, the game does justice to its source material. The game is not near as detailed as a Pixar creation, but it still feels like you are a part of the Cars universe. The 3D effect is noticeable when turned on, but does not add much to the title. For more Cars immersion, some of the original voice cast is present, providing voices and delivering a strong performance. These voices plus interesting sound clips cement the Cars 2 experience.
After clearing the game's relatively short main story, there is still plenty of content to complete. Bonus cups are fun, using some tracks that were slightly altered versions of those used in the story. The game also has its own achievements system, tracking things like which cups you completed or other small tasks such as winning a race as a certain car. Completing these adds a little bit of extra content to the game, which is just enough for players looking for more than just a story.
The game has a balance of both decent and not-so-great content. Spy missions are just not fun, while the racing is only decent. Being a 3DS title, one would hope that the 3D effect is used more effectively, but it ultimately ends up being an unimportant part of the game. If you are looking for a taste of the Cars universe than by all means go pick up this game, but if you are solely looking for a racing game, it might be best to look elsewhere.