We don’t get many video games inspired by movies nowadays, but Cars 3: Driven to Win focuses less on its movie counterpart and more on being an arcade-inspired racer. Similar to the likes of Mario Kart and Blur, Driven to Win is plenty of fun even if it is way too difficult for children.
Having not seen the movie yet, I’m pleased to say that this doesn’t really get into the story in any notable detail, and so you’re safe to play without spoiling the movie. It begins with Lightning McQueen getting back into professional racing as an “old-timer”, as much of his competition is much younger now, as he proves that he’s still got what it takes to be the fastest car on the track. With your reason for driving in place, you take to the road as various Cars characters in an attempt to become the world’s best racer.
A variety of modes await you including Race, Battle, Elimination, local multiplayer and small tournaments. Battle is similar to a standard race but there are weapon pick-ups for both offence and defence, and Elimination sees you take down various AI cars with your aim being to destroy as many as you can in the given time limit. As mentioned earlier, this is a difficult game — it takes no mercy on you, despite being a game aimed at children. The medium difficulty will make you question how a child could ever come first place and you’ll come to the same answer I did – they cannot. I managed to but it’s a lot of effort! I’m not ashamed to say I played on easy sometimes, which is still relatively difficult all things considered.
The racing itself is simple with the ability to drift, jump, use nitro and weapons to mix things up, and so getting to grips with Driven to Win is easy. It’s arcade-inspired and clearly had a tight budget, but it’s an entertaining game — the lack of online multiplayer makes it clear that this is aimed at children and families though, and older players will likely not find too much to do here. I mean, of course it’s aimed at children! I don’t need to tell you that, but I’ve had a lot of fun with Driven to Win and its decent array of single player content. A patch for that AI difficulty would be nice, though.
Driven to Win is a colourful game that doesn’t look nearly as good as the Pixar film, but its creative maps and characters make it a joy to see in motion. The dirt and water effects come across as pretty bland and lacking detail, but it’s not anything that children will likely worry themselves with, and there are a good few customisation items including lights, horns and trails. The voice-acting is brilliant with some of the voice-actors and actresses reprising their roles, but the soundtrack doesn’t quite have the same impact.
Cars 3: Driven to Win is expensive for what it is, and the AI will frustrate many of those who play it. It’s a simple, fun game that I’ve enjoyed my time with but I doubt I’ll return to it much in future considering it has no online multiplayer. This could’ve been so much more than it is and it does feel like a cheap cash-in based on the success of the movie, and it’s a shame as the Cars games have all been enjoyable. £49.99 is very steep and the physical version is exclusive to Argos at £39.99 which isn’t much better, and with £49.99 being the general asking price that’s way too high for what’s on offer. If you have children who love Cars though, then putting easy mode on and playing with them could be a great time for all.