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Cars 2 360 Review

10/08/2011 Family Family Gamer Review
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Cars 2 360

Cars 2



Further reading:
Mario Kart
ModNation Racers

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Other GamePeople columnists have reviewed this from their perspective - huh?:
Family Gamer (Wii)
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Cars 2 courts the success that Blur deserved. 360 and PS3 versions offer sought after Karting action, while on the Wii Cars 2 offers a high octane alternative to Mario.

The success of a game is as much about finding an audience as it is about clever design decisions. Like other media, timing is everything, being in the right place at the right time.

Take Blur for instance. It was a racing game that had plenty going for it. Created by the team behind Project Gotham Racing it was a kart racer with real cars, it had a Modern Warfare style perk system and both online and local multiplayer modes.

Talk to anyone who played it and you'll hear how great a game it was. Commercially however it struggled. Not only was it up against the better looking Split/Second, it also failed to win either core or casual players in any great numbers.

Cars 2 doesn't have the weight of expectation (or brainpower) behind it that Blur had to bear but it does offer a similar experience. Not only that but it has a much better chance of finding a casual racing audience.

By eschewing the temptation to follow the Cars 2 film narrative, it instead creates a split screen racing game in the Mario Kart mould. Like Blur, it injects more realistic cars and ballistic weapons into this formula to give proceedings a more hard core feel.

Unlike Blur however it available on the Wii as well as the 360 and PS3. For my family this means we can enjoy the four player split screen gameplay much easier - we haven't got around to getting four 360 controllers yet.

Wii version of Cars 2 is impressively similar to the more powerful 360 and PS3.

Like Toy Story 3 before it, the Wii version of Cars 2 is impressively similar to the more powerful 360 and PS3 - matching them not only feature for feature, but also with a visual fidelity that makes me question the wisdom of Nintendo's insistent that the Wii U will need more horsepower.

Alongside the Wii, the 360 and PS3 versions do suffer a little. They don't have the online multiplayer features that have become standard. They also don't look quite as visually punchy as they might. But beyond that Cars 2 manages to hit the missing Mario Kart genre on both consoles. Sure, ModNation Racers and the aforementioned Blur offered something similar, but Cars 2 is a much closer fit for families who don't have a Wii.

Got me back into playing Blur after the kids have gone to bed.

As is common for these types of franchises there is also a DS and PSP game that has been handled by a different developer - Firebrand games in this case. These portable versions may be looked down on in some quarters for not delivering the same experience as on a console. However, while Cars 2 DS isn't as close to Mario Kart as the Wii version, there is still a lot of fun to be had here. Crucially for my family is that the younger members can play along on their DS while the rest of us play on the 360 - so they are not excluded from the fun. My three year old has taken to playing Cars 2 DS on the toilet in fact, something that has made for some extended visits to the little boy's room.

While Cars 2 is not hugely new, it could just be that magical right game at the right time on the right platforms. Playing it with the family has actually got me back into playing Blur after the kids have gone to bed, in my book that's a good thing.

Written by Andy Robertson

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Andy Robertson writes the Family Gamer column.

"Videogame reviews for the whole family, not just the kids. I dig out videogame experiences to intrigue and interest grownups and children. This is post-hardcore gaming where accessibility, emotion and storytelling are as important as realism, explosions and bravado."

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