Before diving in to Cars 2 for Wii - I decided to re-watch the first Cars, and then Cars 2. The main difference between the two was the addition of characters in the second movie – most of them bad guys (or should I saw Chassis?). The main reason for viewing these films before playing was to give myself the change to get familiar with both the characters and the potential idea of what the game would be about. Every scene I saw in the movies had the potential to be translated into the Wii game – the initial car chase on the oil rig; any of the three main races; the chase scenes between the good guys and the Lemons; the escape scene from Big Ben and the subsequent chase; night chases …
When you first start the game you only have one screen to start with for playing – all the others are locked and not available. It is called the Training Facility. Under the Crhome Mission section you first start to learn how to control your vehicle (character) and how to perform various actions and tricks: how to steer; how to drift (navigate a turn without losing speed); turbo driving; jumping; spinning in the air; driving backwards; side bashing. You get as much time as you need to practice each new stunt. As you drive around the circuit you pick up points based on how well you perform. This is important because it is only with points that you can unlock additional screens and get to move on with the game.
There are additional screens you have access to in the beginning but it is not for driving: the Garage which shows you 36 different cars you can choose from for your character but only 10 are unlocked and available at the beginning; the Options which shows credits, allows you to change game controls somewhat and allows you to input codes to help you through various sections faster; Awards – two kinds, Badges (28) and Crests (24). Both are earned in similar fashion, by performing a requisite activity correctly. For example, to earn the Shock Value Badge, hit the turbo at least 15 times during one event; Jet Setter Badge – jump over airplane wings at least 3 times in one event; Tailgater Crest – spend at least 5 minutes drifting your car; and Frequent Flyer Crest – spent at least 20 minutes in the air.
All the other screens allow for different types of racing games, some loosely based on locations taken from the movie: Oil Rig in which you get to hunt down Lemons (the bad guys) while driving around the top of the oil rig. There are question mark signs which, when you drive into them, give you weapons to be able to use for a short time. You go thorough 5 rounds, each 1 minute long, to get as many Lemons as you can. Battle Race – 3 laps of going against other characters; by hitting them and doing various tricks while racing you get more points, not to mention the additional bonus points you get depending on what you place in the race; Gran Prix Race – similar idea as to Battle Race but with a different background. There are many other race screens in the game, all with varying backgrounds.
Overall this is an enjoyable game and fun for the whole family, regardless of ages. The players get to pick and choose which race or activity to participate in at each stop – it does not go from one screen to another automatically. There is no particular set of rules to have to follow beyond understanding how to operate the Wii to drive the car and make it do tricks. In the end its a fun few hours you can spend with your kids enjoying cars before having to lay out cash for the real ones. Cars 2 for Wii retails for $43.99 on Amazon.
The Good: The graphics and colors of the game are bright and cheerful; there are a wide variety of characters to choose from (as the game goes on); although there is mild violence (characters shooting each other and explosions) each character (and villain) reforms and comes back right away – there are no gory details; it can be understood and played by family members of all ages; and it is fun to just race against other players (or the Wii game itself) to get personal bests on times.
The Bad: It can take time to unlock various screens and races, to get more of a variety of screens to play with; there are written comments on the screens after a race or task is accomplished but the writing is very small and doesn’t stay on the screen very long so it’s hard to understand it all; the verbalizings from the main characters during the game are fairly routine and repetitive; and except for the characters being from the movies and various racing scenes having backdrops from the movie, there doesn’t seem to be any strong connection with Cars 2. There is no game to get through or set of tasks needed to be accomplished to win which match the movie outcome.