Cars 2 is a video game adaptation of the Pixar film of the same name. Interestingly for a game consisting completely of cars, the game is a first person puzzle platformer, with some light RPG elements thrown in for good measure. Anyone buying that? No? Ok, fine. Of course it's a racing game! And a surprisingly solid one at that. Lightning McQueen and the C.H.R.O.M.E. agents are out to stop Professor Z from setting off weapons all over the world. The best way to do this, obviously, is to have a bunch of races. But none of this is actually happening, because the entire game takes place inside a simulation. So much for drama!
Don't let the child friendly appearance of the game's subject matter confuse you, Cars 2 is a very well made racing game. All your favorite Cars characters are on display, and while they do have differing stats (the only two stats being speed or power), they all handle fairly similarly. But the similar feel is a solid one as each car handles nicely as you careen around the track. You can gain turbo by pulling off aerial stunts, bashing into other cars, or drifting. A nice touch was added to the drifts, where if you drift into a wall your character will automatically hop up on two wheels to ride the wall and keep the speed and flow of the race in tact. Each raceway has numerous hidden shortcuts to find, and you will need to use them if you want to win some of the races later on in the campaign. Again, don't go into Cars 2 thinking every race will be a walk in the park. You will need to use all your racing skill if you wish to take home every gold.
There's more than just the standard race mode that Cars 2 has to offer. Battle race gives the game a Mario Kart feel as random weapon pickups are available on the track. And like Mario Kart, the further behind the leader you are the better weapon you will obtain. Attack mode has you chasing down Professor Z's minions, cleverly named Lemons, on the race track. You must destroy as many as you can to keep the timer from reaching zero. Survival mode gives you a constantly depleting shield that you can replenish by driving through checkpoints and destroying enemies. Each of these modes switches up the formula of driving around a track just enough to be worth playing.
Cars 2 also boasts local multiplayer, and in addition to every mode listed above being able to play with friends, there are also two multiplayer specific modes. Arena is a pure head to head destruction competition, where the first player to destroy enough cars wins. Disruptor is a capture the flag type game, where players must take a spawned bomb to their opponents base in order to destroy it. These modes are a nice diversion for when you get tired of the more standard racing affairs.
While Cars 2 may not do anything to revolutionize the racing genre, it doesn't do anything wrong either. While many may dismiss it as a kiddy game due to it's subject material, and others may dismiss it for being a movie tie-in, it exceeds both of those labels. If you are a fan of the Cars films, or you simply like racing games, give Cars 2 a chance. You won't regret it.