Cars 2: The Video Game (NDS) Review
In the world of video games, itís always important that the premise or foundation of a title be solid if the developer wants the final product to reach a certain level of quality. Historically, when a gameís foundation is a movie license, the resulting game tends to lean towards the realm of shovelware. Deadlines and storyline constraints typically bound the developerís hands and force them to push out either an unfinished or stripped down game. After seeing what Disney Interactive and Avalanche Software did with Cars 2: The Video Game on Xbox 360 and PS3, weíd had high hopes for the Nintendo DS version. Hopes often tend to get crushed when looking forward to a game.
Cars 2 sees Lightning McQueen, the star of the movie franchise, take on Grand Prix challenges around the world while the rest of the C.H.R.O.M.E. squad are tasked with foiling the evil plans of a car bent on taking over the world. Playing as several of the characters from the movie, youíll participate in stealth missions as well as World Grand Prix races.
The gameplay in the Nintendo DS version of cars is very well done, just like its big brother on the home consoles. The only gripe and major difference is that the controls and difficulty seem to be overly simplified in comparison to the console release. While players will get a lot of challenge in that game, the DS offers little in terms of a real challenge. Anyone with a basic understanding of steering will have no problem winning every race. Because of this, it only takes a short time to get a little bored with Cars 2ís gameplay.
In order to break up the boredom of winning one race after another, there are the stealth missions. These involve getting from point A to point B without detection. Obstacles and alerts in your way include everything from enemy spotlights and opposing vehicles to oil slicks and dead spots. Thankfully, these stealth missions provide the challenge thatís missing in the racing events. The only grip with this portion of the game is that I wish they had included more stealth challenges.
Navigating some of the tracks and environments can be a bit difficult at times. The drifting in this portable version of Cars 2 isnít very solid and sometimes will force you into walls or hazards. This becomes a big problem in the stealth missions that take place in smaller, more confined areas. In these situations, itís best to just drive smoothly and calmly through the course. This is true even for the timed events as youíre provided with plenty of time to complete a mission provided you donít mess up too bad.
The graphics in Cars 2 are nice for a Nintendo DS game. If you can picture the movie crammed onto the DS and slightly pixilated, you have a good idea of what to expect from the character design. Each car is animated well too. Thereís little more you could ask for considering the Nintendoís DS graphical output power. The audio includes voiceovers from most of the cast too. Personally, I found John Turturroís Francesco Bernoulli to be the most amusing despite Larry the Cable Guyís desperate attempts at silly laughs. The sounds were nice, but again were limited due to the dated DS hardware.
Cars 2: The Video Game for the Nintendo DS is a fun little game that has a little something for everyone. Fans of the movie will enjoy spending a little more time with their favorite characters while racing fans get a solid little driving title for portable fun. I would have liked to have seen drifting mechanic get tuned up a little better, but it didnít ruin any of the fun. Thereís even some replay value thanks to the unlockable C.H.R.O.M.E. mode that becomes available after completing the main game. Cars 2 is a hit in theaters and the DS game has turned out to be a nice compliment.