Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 7

Overall: 7


It could be the shock that the developer took the time to create something other than a generic racer, but Cars is a fantastic video game. It's a rare feat that this is not only a successful movie-based game, but also a game that appeals to gaming's main 18-34 consumer market all the way down to those who are picking up a controller for the first time. It's a strong, surprising, and flat out fun effort.

carswii.jpg (40023 bytes)Taking place is a slightly confined but open-ended world, the player takes on various challenges around town while preparing for the upcoming races. Some of the tasks, like finding X amount of objects within a time limit do occasionally strain the nerves, while others use the game's surprisingly strong racing engine to its fullest. A map provides the necessary information and key story points.

Impressive lip synch somehow manages to equal that of the feature film and makes the story far more immersive than it would have been. Graphics on the Wii remain at the same level as they are on other consoles, complete with some occasionally nasty draw-in. The characters keep their personalities flawlessly (in addition to the full support of the voice actors). As the player travels around town accepting various challenges, they earn trophies. More trophies means quicker access to the key races and plot points.

This causes two problems. One is that it takes away from the open ended-ness. You'll need to complete all the challenges to make any real advancement in the trophy count, so the town ends up as nothing more than a fancy menu with some hidden secrets. Secondly, the challenges usually have multiple levels to complete.

Be prepared to replay some irritating missions often, and the game does get brutally difficult near the finale. In these situations, going off course and having the computer put you back on track will actually result in a first place position. It becomes a somewhat cheap yet effective strategy.

It's saved by a fantastic racing system that maintains the exact pace it needs. It's enough to gain a smooth and steady sense of speed while not being overbearing on the younger set. The addition of a jump mechanic, turbo boosts, and easy to maintain powersliding makes sure the player is always paying attention.

The Wii controller works as it does in Nintendo's own Excite Truck. The device is held sideways, and turning it left to right steers. Jumping requires a fast upward stroke that responds remarkably well. Powersliding brings the d-pad into play while making a turn. Pressing it at the right moment is enough to corner any hazard. The B button provides a needed dose of turbo.

There's a wealth of extras to unlock including clips from the film, new cars, and even some interesting unfinished deleted scenes from the game. Points used to earn these extras are easy to come by so you're always feeling as if you're making progress. The ability to control other characters is wonderful for fans of the film.

Cars is a game that's not only fun for players, it's beneficial to the industry. It's easy to understand mechanics, inviting world, and friendly demeanor makes this a shining example of everything the industry can do right. It's almost a shame the younger set will be the majority playing this one.


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Last updated: Sunday, December 31, 2006 07:44 PM