Ka-chow! Lightning McQueen is back in the third instalment of Cars titled Driven to Win. But can this ageing racer take the trophy once again, or is the competition just too tough to beat?
Cars 3: Driven to Win picks up after the end of Cars 2 and that final race we all truly remember. All of your favourites are back along with a whole new level of competition from the new kids on the block. The new villain on the block or shall I say your rival racer that will get your pistons pumping is Jackson Storm and you begin with a classic takedown of characters when you meet for the first time. It’s washed up old man Lightning McQueen versus Jackson Storm and his bright and shiny new engine and wheels to boot. You are slotted into a race to begin with that you clearly cannot win, and wind up having to prove yourself before getting another shot at the top dog so to speak. This is where the game truly begins and you’re on your way to victory; eventually.
There are six enticing modes for you to experience with Cars 3: Driven to Win as well as a great experience and skill tracker that also helps you reach certain goals and targets along the way. To begin there is Race Mode which is your stock standard race type. Next there is Battle Race which allows players to collect and use power ups to help score that victory. Takedown Mode feels more like Burnout where you collect power ups and weapons and destroy other cars witch bombs, lasers and bullets to boot. The more points you score helps as the highest points wins here. Next there is Best Lap Challenge where you can compete for that best time. In Playground Mode you can perform a host of stunts and tricks whilst trying to complete challenges. Finally Stunt Showcase is all about getting air and performing gnarly tricks to impress your friends, again with the most points winning. There certainly are a host of modes and your progress helps to unlock these events and more as you continue to play.
Depending on whom you like the most; you may already have that favourite character. For me, I enjoy racing with Lightning McQueen, but there are over 20 customisable playable characters to choose from which gives you plenty of freedom to choose. Each car can be customised, from the colour of your turbo flames to neon lights that glow under your vehicle. I found this to be a nice little customisation addition to your ride.
I must admit, initially I had the difficulty setting set to medium however I was failing to reach the chequered flag any better than 8th position. I soon discovered that you cannot drive around and race like a traditional racer in Cars 3: Driven to Win. Very quickly it became apparent that I needed to make use of the various short cuts that were scattered around the tracks, often hiding behind houses or trees and barriers. Plus you need to build up your boost meter by performing stunts and jumps whilst you are racing. For example, driving in reverse or on two wheels consistently builds your boost meter. Also taking advantage of select parts of the track that are illuminated requires you to either drive in reverse or drift around the corner to earn more boost. Once earnt, you can boost away and make up for the lost ground on each race. As I began to take advantage of these things I was able to improve my results dramatically. However, at times I still was unable to win a race as the AI was incredibly hard, especially for a game aimed at a younger audience. My advice is to select the easy difficulty for a much more rounded and fun experience.
In terms of the games controls they are relatively simple to use which is nice to see. Brake, Gas, jump, drift is all easily mapped to triggers and face buttons. Even performing stunts is managed with the right thumbstick, it’s very simple and easy to use. The menus are easily laid out, and it was nice to be able to select your next mode and event via a quick selection screen as opposed to backing out completely to the main menu and continuing from there.
Graphics & Sound
Visually Cars 3: Driven to Win is pleasing on the eyes but it’s no Forza Horizon 3 by any means. However it’s well designed and adequately pleasing on the eyes nonetheless, and again this is probably due to the requirement to have the title ready for release alongside the film. The sound is also ok with nothing out of the ordinary, but the voice work is the key I think with each of the vehicles sharing the same voice actors as the film, this was extremely important.
With Cars 3 playing at theatres it’s a perfect time to watch the movie and of course pick up the game along the way. Sure Cars 3: Driven to Win doesn’t try to crown itself as the best realistic racer in town, but comes across as a fun racing experience with ties to the film it is based on. At the end of the day, the game is fun, easily playable so long as you play it on easy mode and will provide a host of challenges and collectables if you wish. A good solid title that’s worth picking up if you are a fan of the Cars films.