Tying in with the release of Cars 2 on the big screen, Avalance Software and Disney Interactive Studios splendidly translates the same excitement of the animated Pixar film into its video game counterpart. Cars 2 features Mario Kart-inspired racing action and is one of the most unique games to date.
In the movie, there was a foul plot afoot as trained international automobile spies Finn McMissile and Holley Shiftwell attempt to track down the nefarious Professor Zündapp and prevent his plans of sabotaging alternative fuel. In the commotion, they accidentally mistake Mater as a fellow spy, and hilarity ensues.
The game doesn’t quite follow this thread. In fact, the storyline is at a bare minimum. In the Wii Cars 2 game, you’re being trained to become a spy at the Command Headquarters for Recon Operations and Motorized Espionage (CHROME for short). This involves accomplishing simulated spy missions on a wide variety of tracks. There are over 40 missions in the main campaign, and multiplayer is available so that you don’t have to go through them solo.
Racing in Cars 2 is one of the most surreal driving experiences in video games. Based on the movie, the cars themselves are alive and have unique personalities. Being autonomous, they are capable of a wide variety of tricks and abilities not present in other racers. All cars are equipped with a jump function to clear ravines and escape incoming projectiles, can perform flips and 360 degree turns in midair, and drive on two wheels. Most notably, they can also race in reverse and shoot opponents who are following close behind.
Doing stunts and driving in reverse are essential in order to acquire boost and perform the turbo skill which can skyrocket players from the back of the pack all the way up to the front. The turbo also ensures that a solid lead doesn’t mean anything until one crosses the finish line. The Cars 2 Wii game also has battle modes where a wide variety of power-ups and weapons are available. These include equipable machine guns, laser beams, oil spills, rockets, and so on. With the many armaments of war and the large number of cars on track, players will soon be scrambling and fighting their way to the finish line. There are rarely ever any problems with the motion sensing, so it is easy to execute any of the tricks and use the weapons.
To top things off, there are numerous special events in Cars 2. Other than the regular race and battle modes, there are Hunter Events wherein you face off against enemies in an enclosed area and Survival Events which require you to collect batteries within a given time period. Finally, the Disruptor Event – a capture the flag / tower defense inspired game – features two players on two teams attempting to deliver an explosive-laden device to the opposite camp. The winner of three successful deliveries wins the game. As each base becomes battered with explosions, it upgrades itself to a more solid fortress that has extra defenses. Disruptor mode is insanely addicting, and the players involved will surely have a great time.
Cars 2 features wide, sprawling tracks based on various locales. There are fictional ones like Radiator Springs, the film’s main setting, as well as world-based venues such as the streets of London. All of them are beautifully rendered in colorful and cartoony graphics, and players will enjoy this nice touch to a top-notch action racer.
The major downside to Cars 2 is the lack of online support. You can only play the game locally with three other people.
There is also no minimap during the race, only a tabulation of who is currently in front and behind. Sometimes, this can get confusing and makes you wonder how long you have to go until you can close the distance between you and the lead racer, or how far behind you is that other car.
Lastly, the cars have very distinct personalities and quips that add a unique touch to the game, but the comments are limited and will start to loop frequently.
Cars 2 can be played on the Wii console with the standard remote. Players can use the Wii Wheel if they choose, but this is strictly optional. Up to four players can enjoy the game simultaneously. There is no online support available.
Cars 2 is a Mario Kart-inspired racer that takes the tried-and-tested elements of the latter and takes it to new grounds. If you want to see a racer that incorporates flips, spins, wheelies, and even backwards driving with real life weaponry and battle tactics, Cars 2 is the game for you. The game has limited flaws and comes packed with a wide range of single and multiplayer modes that will keep you and your friends occupied for weeks. It’s an awesome racer and definitely one you should pick up.