Cars 3: Driven to Win (PS4, PS3, Switch, Wii U, Xbox One, 360)

Cars 3 is driving around theaters this summer and now you can cruise around with the characters in the Cars 3: Driven to Win racing game.  Play as Lighting McQueen, Jackson Storm, Mater, and many more in a plethora of racing events.  Cars 3: Driven to Win is available on nearly all current game consoles, but reviewed on PS4 here.

The game really doesn’t follow the plot of the recent movie, but takes place after it.  All the cars are now friendly rivals and just want to race each other, win trophies, and have fun.  Races are hosted by Chick Hick’s TV show, and you can choose from dozens of characters.  Most are from the Cars 3 movie.  Race as Lightning, Mater, Jackson Storm, Miss Fritter, Smokey, and other classic competitors.  Heck, you can even be Mack the truck or Guido the forklift!  Some of the racers you may have to unlock first, though.

You’ll use nearly every button on the controller to steer around the tracks.  The L stick and L2 and R2 buttons are for steering, braking, and accelerating.  The face buttons allow you to jump, use weapons or a turbo boost, and drift.  By flicking the R stick in certain directions, you can perform stunts like side bashing other cars, driving backwards, or on two wheels.  Why would you want to do that?  Well, on certain parts of the track, if you do stunts like that, you’ll make your turbo meter go up faster.  When you have a slot of your turbo meter full, you can press a button for a speed boost.  If all four meters are full, you can double tap that button to be ‘In the Zone” which lets you crash into opponents without slowing down, and you get a longer turbo boost as well.  The controls sound complicated, but they’re really not once you get used to them.

One of the best parts about the game are the tons of tracks and game modes you can choose from.  Most of the tracks are new, but there are some from previous Cars games as well.  Game modes include standard races, where the only thing you have to concentrate on is filling your turbo meter to beat the other cars.  Battle Races are similar to standard races, but now weapon pickups are scattered about the track, giving this mode a more “Mario Kart” feel.  In Takedown, you pick up weapons but you’re the only one on the track.  Ahead of you are remote controlled non-living wagon karts for you to blow up, and you must try to get as many as you can within a time limit for points.  In Stunt Showcase, ramps are put on the track for you to jump on and try to pop balloons and perform air tricks for points.  Beat your best lap times on the tracks in Best Lap Challenge.  There are also Master Level Events where you’ll go up against super tough racers in specific events.  This is how you unlock some of the racers in the game.  In the Playground mode, you’ll explore the Thomasville training center at your leisure as you find secrets, complete missions, and collect Mack the truck’s hats (so you can unlock him as well).  And finally is the Hall of Fame, which gives you objectives to complete, and when you do, you can unlock more tracks, modes, characters, and other goodies.  Most of the game modes can also be played competitively or cooperatively in couch multiplayer form in Team Sponsor Mode.

Cars 3’s problems are very minor and hardly worth mentioning, but I’ll do it anyway.   You have to unlock most of the modes first, and while it doesn’t take very long, it may annoy some people slightly that you can jump into multiplayer without unlocking it first.  Some of the controls where you must flick the R stick to do stunts can be tricky to do at first.  And since this game is available on older consoles as well, the graphics don’t look at good as they could’ve been on the newer systems.  And if you haven’t seen the movie yet, the game may have some slight spoilers.  But again, those are very minor problems and this is still a fun racing game for all ages.

Kid Factor:

Cars 3: Driven to Win is rated E-10 with an ESRB descriptor of Cartoon Violence. You can bump into other opponents as well as fire weapons like rockets and rapid fire guns.  But players who get hit or take a tumble will just be tossed around a bit and sent back on the track.  And they may should out “Ouch” or “Whoa” or “OK I’m back” but that’s it.  If you’re OK with your kids watching the movies, they’ll definitely be OK with the game.  Reading skill is helpful for some of the text, and very young gamers may find the controls a little too complex.  There are selectable difficulty levels so players of all ages can enjoy it.  And it’s still a great racing game for the whole family.

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