|System: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii, DS|
|Dev: Avalanche Software|
|Pub: Disney Interactive Studios|
|Release: June 21, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Cartoon Violence|
When you're ready to hop behind the wheel, you won't find many problems. Anyone familiar with Mario Kart's control scheme shouldn't have a problem here, though it should be noted that there are a few necessary differences. In the default setting, R2/RT is used to accelerate and L2/LT is used to brake and reverse. The X (or "cross" if you prefer)/A button is used to jump. This move is good for accessing many of the many shortcuts that are littered throughout the brightly colored tracks. The triangle/Y button is used to activate any power-ups you have picked up, and the circle/B button can be used to initiate a drift. It's a fairly simple setup.
In addition to the staples of arcade racing, special moves can be performed—either on the ground or in the air—by tilting the right analog stick in one of four directions. Players can drive backwards while on the ground or *ahem* do a barrel roll while in the air. Each of these moves fills up a special turbo meter which can be activated by pressing square/X.
Players will encounter up to six different game modes during the main career: Race, Battle Race, Hunter, Attack, Survival, and Squad. Additionally there are two multiplayer-only modes: Battle Arena and Disruptor. Race mode offers exactly what you'd expect, while Battle Race mode offers that sort of staple arcade racer experience: get around the track as fast as possible while punishing your opponents. Hunter mode is a co-op mode that allows up to four players to combine forces to hunt down waves of "lemons" in special battle arenas. Attack mode takes place on the regular race tracks and players are tasked with eliminating bad guys before time expires. Survival has player collecting batteries to buy time for their shields. Battle Arena should be self-explanatory, while Disrupter plays out like capture the flag. Finally, Squad Series has players go through a series of missions, and the player with the highest score at the end wins.
None of these events are terribly innovative, but they should keep the younger players that comprise the game's target audience occupied long enough. Longtime fans of arcade racing may find the gameplay types begin to feel like a grind after a while, though. Multiplayer modes should ease that feeling a tiny bit, extending the playable life beyond the completion of the career.
All things considered, Cars 2: The Video Game caught me off guard. I hadn't expected it to be as good as it was, but after that initial shock wore off I found myself wanting just a little bit more. Still, for those younger players the developer no doubt had in mind, what's here will certainly provide a lot of entertainment, while more experienced players might want to rent this one to find out if a purchase is ultimately worthwhile.
CCC Contributing Writer