When a major movie hits theaters nowadays, most people expect a cheap tie-in video game to get announced in order to cash-in on the movie’s success. Without hesitation, most people write the game off immediately. So lets cut right to the chase: Cars 3: Driven to Win is most certainly not going to win any Game of the Year awards. That being said, it’s far from the worst movie tie-in game I have seen, and can offer a few hours of fun for people that are fans of the kart racer genre.
First off, the actual gameplay itself is definitely one of the game’s stronger aspects. While turning can be a bit odd at first, firing weapons, drifting around corners, jumping over obstacles, and boosting past your rivals all feel incredibly natural. The title features an abundance of game modes; each of which can be enjoyed for hours on end.
First, we have just a normal race. There are no tricks here. Just beat your opponent. Then we have Battle Race, which is essentially the first mode but with weapons that can be picked up when run over, similar to Mario Kart or Modnation Racers. Stunt Race removes the weapons, and replaces them with stunt challenges. Takedown pits you against multiple waves of opponents, who you have to destroy in order to earn points. Finally, there’s Master-Level Events, which is just a challenge against more advanced AI in order to unlock other characters. S
peaking of characters, there are a healthy amount to choose from, although most of them seemed incredibly similar, besides the character of Cruz Ramirez, who is easily the fastest racer in the game.
If racing against others isn’t your thing, you can try the Thomasville Playground. The best way to describe this would be by saying it’s a skate park for cars. It was a ton of fun, and I found my self spending at least an hour in the Playground just trying to find collectibles. It’s honestly a great place to practice your skills for the track.
Another high-point of the game are the tracks themselves. I was honestly impressed by most of the track designs. They feel like true, genuine kart racer tracks while at the same time fitting within the world of Cars perfectly. Some of the tracks do feature similar sections to others, but you’ll find that each one provides enough challenge to keep you entertained.
Then we have the low-points of the title, which are pretty low. First off, the game does not look good at all. It does not take advantage of current-gen hardware whatsoever, leaning on blurry textures and designs. This may be due to the fact that the game was also released on previous-gen consoles, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that it simply looks bad. Even current-gen launch titles look a million times better than this.
Another huge hiccup is the game’s story. It’s so bland that at one point I completely forgot there was a story at all. Aside from the introduction, the only story found in the game is told through a couple of cutscenes interspersed between some races. The good part is that it doesn’t detract from the gameplay, meaning you can still have fun throughout your time with the game — unlike the next component that actively worked to ruin the experience.
I almost feel bad for complaining about this, especially since I can tell that the actors did their best, but the voice acting just plain sucks. Not only do you come across the problem of bad writing, but also the fact that it seems like the developer didn’t record enough lines for the characters. There are only two or three different lines that each character will say throughout the races themselves. I found myself getting annoyed with the amount of times characters repeat their lines, especially the irritating “beep, beep, beep” that a certain ambulance character makes.
All in all, Cars 3: Driven to Win is one of the better titles in a sea of movie tie-ins. You won’t find any groundbreaking stuff here, but the game is definitively above average for what it is, and an easy kart racing recommendation for families. I don’t know if I could necessarily recommend it right now with it’s $60 price tag, but if you see this game discounted even by $10, it’s definitely worth picking up.