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Cars 2: The Video Game - 3DS Review

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Cars 2: The Video Game

3DS | Disney Interactive Studios / Firebrand Games | 1-4 Players (local multiplayer) | Out Now | StreetPass Support
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27th December 2011; By KnucklesSonic8

In a way, I was interested in trying Cars 2: The Video Game for the 3DS. Since there was more than a four-month gap between this and the DS release, a part of me was expecting Disney to make necessary changes so the 3DS version would be more functional and fun. So much for wishful thinking, huh? Not 20 seconds into the game, a familiar loading screen was all it took for me to realize Disney took the lazy approach with this "new" release.

    In case you missed the brief-in, here's what this movie adaptation is all about. Essentially you take on the role of multiple characters from the Cars world as you bounce from one phase of the game's adventure to the other. On the one hand, you'll be participating in racing missions as Lightning McQueen, which include elimination rounds as well as one-on-one duels with aspiring champions. The other half of the game involves going on spy missions where you need to grab intel from marked spots on maps, or get to rendezvous points without getting caught. In addition to the game's Story Mode, there's also the C.H.R.O.M.E. Spy Simulator where you can replay individual missions or racing events.

    As I pointed out in my review of the DS game, both gameplay components have their fair share of flaws that take away much of the game's fun factor. Despite the renewed sense of confidence I've had in Disney lately, it's truly upsetting to see that they didn't change anything as far as gameplay or even the mission structure. The missions they've selected for free play for each of the locations is different, but as far as I could tell, you still end up seeing the same missions in Story Mode anyway. To avoid re-stating all the flaws a second time, simply read my review of the DS release and you'll have a near-perfect understanding of what to expect from this version. I say near-perfect because while the gameplay has gone unchanged, the presentation is another story.

I have to admit, first of all, that the game doesn't seem as unstable as it did before. Moreover, I couldn't recall any major framerate drops or anything of that nature during my experience with the game, so I suppose that's one positive. The models, as seen during cutscenes and post-race wrap-up segments, do look better and you can actually see light being reflected off the cars instead of them just having a flat-looking tone. Even still, the backgrounds seen in levels are sub-par, the animations haven't really been improved all that much, and the interface is still in need of a revision. Cutscenes use the images taken from the DS release but they're presented with a below-average resolution. To make matters worse, some of these are actually stretched because of the screen size differences. The fact that I've had to use the same assets for this review should tell you just how little the developers changed.

    Much like this game, the implementation of 3D is pointless. I tried to look for areas where even the slightest use of 3D was evident, but aside from elements of the HUD sticking out, there wasn't anything to find. Then again, even if it might've made sense to have the timer seem more overbearing, why in the world would you want that unattractive font to pop out in 3D anyway? It appears to me that the developers just included 3D support for the sake of saying the game included it, but didn't think to actually use it to improve the already-weak look of the game. In fact, in certain places, even when viewed straight-on, the 3D effects resulted in double versions of canyon rocks and other environmental elements, so for kids that might actually serve as a distraction.

There is one thing that prevents me from saying this game is identical to the DS release, and that is the addition of StreetPass functionality. According to the manual, players who exchange data will unlock bonus content that can only be obtained through this means of communication. Since the World of Cars Online option in the DS release gave you the ability to redeem special codes for in-game content, it appears as though StreetPass is serving the same role in the 3DS version.

    Consider this: With Cars 2 now appearing on the 3DS, you have racers like Ridge Racer 3D, Asphalt 3D and even the new Mario Kart 7 to compare this to. And regardless of what the age is of the person you might be thinking of getting this game for, you would simply be wasting your money. Why? Because each of the games I just mentioned (yes, even Asphalt) offer more content for the price, and more importantly, they're not boring to play. While I wouldn't describe this as the 3DS' worst racing game (no, that belongs to another game), there's honestly no merit to this that would make someone want to buy this shameless port.

    I honestly thought Disney was better than this. They willingly released a flawed DS game disguised as a "new" and revised 3DS game and did not use the time they had in between releases to touch up anything important. For all its intents and purposes, the 3DS version of Cars 2: The Video Game is just a port of the DS release. It's already been established that the game itself is flawed, and not making any changes on that front is bad enough. But you know what, I actually find their brazenly lazy approach much more offensive.

12/30 - Very Poor

Gameplay 5/10 - Mission structure is still the same as it was before, none of the flaws present in the DS release have been rectified
Presentation 5/10 - Slight improvements over the DS version but many flaws are still present, pointless 3D, cutscene images are stretched, less glitchy
Enjoyment 1/5 - The low-quality nature of the port is a turn-off, still lacking in fun factor, boring to play across the board
Extra Content 1/5 - StreetPass functionality, made even more worthless now that it appears on the 3DS with much superior competition

Equivalent to a score of 40% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System

Review by KnucklesSonic8

Cars 2: The Video Game
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