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Cars 3: Driven to Win is Deeper & More Difficult Than I Anticipated but Still Built for The Kids (Review)

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Cars 3: Driven to Win picks up after the final big race in the upcoming Cars 3, and offers an all-new high-speed competition that is filled with both familiar and new faces.  Players will be able to take the driver’s seat and set out in action-packed adventures as they join Lightning McQueen and Cruz Ramirez in preparation to take on rival racer Jackson Storm. The game is available now on all consoles!

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With over 20 customizable playable characters to choose from, including popular heroes from the Cars franchise and next generation racers, and more than 20 unique tracks across 13 iconic race environments from the film, Cars 3: Driven to Win allows players to customize their racing adventure and discover a variety of possible experiences through its replayability. With six thrilling modes for gamers to train and advance their abilities, the gameplay is designed to encourage players to learn and build experience, earning rewards for each of their improvements along the way.  Race Mode puts players onto the tracks to race against Lightning McQueen and the gang and rev up for the ultimate challenge, while Battle Race allows players to collect and use power-ups, putting their cars to the test in races against family and friends to become the Ultimate Champion. 


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Reviewed on Xbox One

The first time I played Cars 3: Driven to Win, I lost badly and wound up in 10th place during a standard race with medium difficulty settings. Needless to say, although Cars 3: Driven to Win was made for the kids — it spares no mercy for the grown-ups who may (and yes I did) underestimate the learning curve… A lot. There are a ton of complex features buried within this seemingly simplistic children’s racing game. From drifting (which is 100% necessary to even come close to racing at a competitive level here) to the jumps, air tricks, driving backwards in order to gain turbo boosts – you name it – the developers packed in a ton of features into this title.

I personally love the battle races because they take me back to Mario Kart or Diddy Kong Racing, but holy crap…. Be prepared to hit the ditch and be sent to the heavens multiple times via rockets and bombs that will blast you to death repeatedly. If you’re playing this game with the kiddos – I suggest an easy difficulty setting because I was taken back by how competitive the AI was on just ‘medium’.

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As for the driving mechanics themselves – they don’t feel all that generic or ‘real’ but they also shouldn’t be… These cars have big goofy eyeballs and can jump at will (you literally tap A to jump into the air) or you can just flick the joystick and all of a sudden you’ll be on two wheels. It’s a lot of fun, but don’t get too cocky, because as you drive backwards – the controls get flipped. I was being a dick and wound up in 6th place right before the finish line because I thought i’d drive backwards and stare my competitors in their stupid faces as I defeated them. I also happened to be on a turn – so I wound up in the goddamned ditch. Not smart.

The graphics are nice enough – I think the tracks are the real stars here because they all feel different and it will take time to master the timing on all of them. There’s an option for auto-drift as well so I would suggest you let your kids check that off so they don’t always wind up in last place. Tow Mater is a sadistic sociopath….

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For a Disney Pixar racing game, it’s deeper than I expected (you can customise the color of your car’s exhaust fire when you hit the turbo among other things) and although frustrating at times, it’s also way more fun that I had anticipated. Cars 3: Driven to Win was built for the kids, but it managed to hook me in with it’s tremendous variety of racing mechanics and features that I didn’t anticipate would be included in an all-ages family title. PS – I dislike the Cars film franchise with a passion and I still had a great time playing the game. So there’s also that…

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