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Cars 3: Driven To Win

Posted by GG Goblin On July - 26 - 2017

Boost, boost, boost to win.

With the launch of a Disney movie like Cars 3, it makes sense that there would be a tie-in game, and with the movie being about talking cars, it also makes sense that the game would be about racing. Avalanche Software have stepped in to create Cars 3: Driven To Win, an arcade racer that is faithful to the movie franchise and sure to please all of the Cars fans out there.


Cars 3: Driven to Win is a racing game, and as such is pretty much devoid of any form of story. This is expected from driving games, and to be honest a story is not missed here. Besides, fans of the movies will be more than pleased with the appearances of their favorite characters, all of which look the part and bring with them the personalities that fans will remember. The looks, the styles and even suitable one-liners will have the fans feeling right at home. Even the variety of different environments through which players will be racing fit in perfectly with the whole movie tie-in theme. It really is built for the fans.

However, given that the majority of the Cars fans will be on the younger side, Driven to Win is surprisingly difficult. Things start out quite straight forward with a short tutorial style race where the player is introduced to the basics, such as drifting and jumping. Then the player heads into proper races, and it gets more difficult. On medium difficulty (because I am a grown up who is not new to racing games), I found myself getting quite royally whipped on the first few races.

Firstly, Cars 3: Driven to Win is not a standard racing game. It is more like a Kart racer than anything else, which some of you may have guessed after being introduced to jumping in the tutorial, something which is not commonplace in driving games. The tracks are packed full of short cuts that the average player will have to take advantage of if they want to stay competitive. Of course, it takes a few laps on a new track to learn the short cuts, putting the player at a disadvantage early on.


But even finding the short cuts does not guarantee a win. For this the player will have to make copious use of the boost, which will mean doing all that they can to charge the boost up. This will mean tricks while in the air, drifting, driving on two wheels or even backwards, and making use of the blue markers that appear in places on the track and require a certain trick in order to activate. During any given race, the other racers will be bouncing around all over the place in a chaotic manner, and the player will need to do the same in order to keep charging and using their boost to stay at the front.

Players are also able to nudge other cars, taking out the opposition, which helps. The problem comes from the fact that the opponents are quite aggressive and will happily nudge you back if you get too close. Add to this aggressive behavior some fairly serious rubber banding that means the player will never manage to build a decent gap at the front of the pack, and each race becomes a tense, twitchy affair where one mistake can result in sitting at the back of the pack.

And all this from a game that is surely aimed at children. There is an easy difficulty and an auto-drift option to make life easier. But I just find it strange that the game is so difficult on normal, and difficult in a frustrating way.


That aside, there is plenty of content on hand for the Cars fans to enjoy, including a large selection of characters from the movies, most of which need to be unlocked, and a good selection of different tracks. Progression is fairly fluid, with a table of achievements that unlock as the player goes about their business for the most part. There are some more difficult achievements to unlock, such as driving backwards for a given distance, but they can be worked on and are not completely out of reach.

There are also a nice selection of different modes to play in, aside from the basic races. There are battle races that make the game even more like a kart racer, where the player will pick up weapons as they drive around that can be used on opponents, but can also be used against the player. The stunt showcase puts the emphasis on doing tricks and scoring points, while takedown mode goes all “horde-like” with the player using weapons against opponents that spawn in front of them, trying to take down as many as possible. There is even a playground where the player can practice their skills and explore. All of this is available in both single player and local co-op, although no online mode is available, which is a shame.

Visually, Cars 3: Driven to Win looks bright and colorful, fitting in well with the movie theme. However, some of the textures are not what you would expect from an Xbox One game, and there is noticeable slowdown when things get hectic on screen. I suspect this is at least part due to the game being released on current and older gen consoles, meaning that the bar was set that little bit lower than for a purely current gen machine.


Cars 3: Driven to Win packs a lot of content into a fairly competent arcade racer. The audience will surely be fans of the movie, and for those the surprisingly high difficulty may cause some problems. Still, unlocking the lovable characters and playing locally with friends will still see owners getting plenty of entertainment from this movie tie-in.




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Set to launch for Xbox One, PS4 and PC on March 15th.


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