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Cars 2 (PSP) review

Disney Pixars Cars 2 has been and gone at the cinema so any chance of a decent revenue by brand association has long gone, which is unlucky for Avalanche Software as trying to sell this game on its merits alone is going to be a tough challenge.

Cars 2 boasts that it allows us to take control of a huge roster of characters from the movie, like Lightning McQueen, Finn McMissile, F1 racer Francesco Bernoulli F1and our favourite hill billy pick-up truck Mater and race around the world, hitting the race tracks whilst secretly working for CHROME, hot on the heels of the notorious Professor Z, it all starts off well with a well-produced intro video showing high speed chases and insane jumps, leaving you none the wiser as to what lurks beyond.

Whilst you can’t deny the PSP is getting on a bit, the gameplay choice boggles the mind; we all know it is more than capable of producing a decent racing game so why make an on-rails racer with as much control as a Scalextric set? Don’t be tricked by the screenshots or even the other versions that are more akin to a Mario Kart game, though it looks good and has some occasionally decent animation of the cars , it’s not enough to warrant purchasing this.

The gameplay is extremely restrictive and repetitive, even youngsters will shrug and pass on this terribly boring tie-in. Your chosen car is propelled through a set of courses, to accelerate all you do is hold the R shoulder button, the game will then take you through the twists and turns of each course. You are responsible for putting your car in the right lane, as there are plenty of obstacles strewn on the road to dodge. All this would be passable if it wasn’t for the terrible camera angles, sometimes it’s a side on view, sometimes it’s behind, other times the car is driving into the camera, making it impossible to see oncoming obstacles which results in far too many crashes. Power ups are also scattered around the tracks with fuel cells that can be collected and used to either offer a short burst of speed or a shield or, depending on the mode you can also collect green question marks that offer random weapons like an oil slick, machine guns or rockets.

For those hoping for a game based on the movie, you will be hard pushed to find it, and when you do you really couldn’t care. For a while I didn’t even realise there was a story as the game just went from race to race; it was only when reading one of the many loading screens that I realised there was a plot. Rather than a mini cut scene similar the intro or a talking heads moment the story is told in the most boring of ways, a very brief paragraph of text giving a brief reason or you doing what you are doing as the game loads the next level. Needless to say it is either Professor Z about to do something bad or you need to race.

In an attempt to add some variety to the game there are various modes spread through the CHROME Missions but even they fail to inspire repeat playing; with not one really feeling any different from the last, you just hold R and occasionally go left or right is the jist. The Race mode is just that, a few laps around a course, using boosts and shortcuts to try and get a lead against three other racers. Battle Race is the same but with weapons. Eliminator is the same again but the player in last place each lap is eliminated. Against the clock is a checkpoint race, with each area granting a few more precious seconds of time, with you trying not to crash too much to complete the required laps and finally Attack, in which you have to shoot down a set amount of Professor Z’s goons, again, each destroyed vehicle boosts the timer, giving you more time to get a gold cup, not very difficult as they tend to spawn right in front of you every few seconds offering almost zero challenge.

Boredom really does set in quickly; with the races feeling far too long at five laps you are often wishing they are all over by the second; races often finish with you losing a few positions due to constant smashing into obstacles, that and you can’t avoid the feeling the game cheats a little to keep up. Even though the game takes you around the world as a CHROME agent and has a variety of tracks on offer, somehow they all feel the same, with every step of the way the game just continually manages to sap any element of fun from it.

It’s not often there is a game that deserves the score I am about to give Cars 2, clearly the magic of Disney and Pixar never rubbed off on this poor title.

Rating: PoorReview Policy

Edited On 03 Nov, 2011

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