Cars 3 is an unpleasant reminder of how poor licensed games tend to be. The recycled driving system is a perfect fit for its boring visuals and brutal voice-overs. While Cars 3 is technically functional, this is one game that’s best left in the junkyard.
Cars 3: Driven to Win
Developer: Avalanche Studios
Platforms: PS3, PS4 (reviewed), Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
MonsterVine was provided with a PS4 copy for review.
When I found Cars 3 in my mailbox, I had no idea what to expect. Disney has made some of the best and worst licensed titles out there, so Driven to Win could have easily gone either way. Unfortunately, Cars 3 leans far more towards the latter, resembling a busted jalopy rather than a glistening ferrari.
In terms of story, Cars 3 seems to take place after the film, as the characters from it are all casually hanging out and racing for kicks. I say this without being able to fully tell, because the story is inconsequential at best, and nonexistent at worst. It’s more or less an excuse to tie together a random assortment of races, and while it serves its purpose, it won’t keep anyone entertained for very long. Even the “challenges” that are more gameplay specific are remarkably easy, meaning the game has no staying power.
Developed by Avalanche Studios, who worked on the late Disney Infinity franchise, Cars 3: Driven to Win is an aptly named adaptation of the latest film in Pixar’s Cars series. I mention this because from the get-go, anyone who’s played Disney Infinity will immediately recognize the controls and physics of Driven to Win. This is because they are seemingly recycled from the driving in the Disney Infinity games, which is a disappointing move to say the least.
Otherwise, Driven to Win is your run-of-the-mill kart racer. There are items like boosts and projectiles, hazards and ramps on the courses, and characters from all across the Cars series. While nothing is inherently broken while racing, the game is bland and uninteresting overall. Nothing stands out from the typical third-rate kart racer, as Driven to Win sticks to the somewhat tired formula to the letter.
In terms of its appearance, Driven to Win is incredibly average, and hampered by lazy visual issues. Admittedly, the settings of each course have decent atmosphere, whether it’s the rural farmlands or the shining beach. The cars themselves are notably less impressive thanks to their odd faces and janky movement animations. The worst visual sin rears its head when a character speaks to you mid-race. While the model appears in the upper left of the screen, it’s subject to the same lighting effects the rest of the screen has. This means if you’re driving in a brightly lit area, the model will be difficult to see, and will likely flicker a great deal. This could be a good thing however, as it means you don’t have to see the lifeless expression on the car’s face while it taunts you.
Driven to Win has a soundtrack made up of forgettable songs that fit the Cars series, ranging from fast-paced tracks to more country-based tunes. The voice acting is an entirely different story unfortunately, thanks to the abysmal voice impressions. None of the actors seemed to return to voice their characters, leading to a litany of poor imitators assuming their roles. Everybody sounds just off enough to be an annoyance, especially since you’ll be yelled at by your opponents for the majority of each race.
The Final Word
Cars 3: Driven to Win is a boring and rushed racer clearly made to push out with the movie it’s based upon. While it’s a functional game for the most part, its reused gameplay and lazy visuals will make you feel like you were left on the side of the road.
MonsterVine Rating: 2 out of 5 – Poor