Cars : Race-O-Rama

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Cars RoR box If you liked the first Cars game from Disney and THQ, then you ought to really, really like this one.  If you didn’t (but did like the movie), then you should still probably give this game a shot.

Cars Race O Rama took the better parts of the original game and made them so much better:

You are Lightning McQueen, with most of the other movie cast, racing around racetracks, offroading and lots of mini-games.  What is not to love about that?

You can customize Lightning!  In the first game, you could paint him.  Now, you can paint him, swap tires, and have lots of upgrades to his hood, spoiler and bumper.

The Arcade two-player mode has a lot more races for you and a friend.  And you are able to unlock a nearly infinite number of additional cars and paintjobs for you and your friend to race with.

The other racers have much better AI that is adaptive.  So, while younger players can still play, experienced players will find the bad guys trying more aggressively to prevent you from winning.

So there is lots that is “better”.  As a sequel, it is also notable what is “different”:

Cars RoR customizationYou aren’t limited to Radiator Springs.  You will start out at a racetrack, go to Radiator Springs and then work your way through several other venues, including a modern city, an offroad area, etc.  Think of it like Cars meets some of the better Hot Wheels titles.

You don’t have to drive around foreeevveerr to get from one place to another.  The venues are much more compact to get from one event to another.

No ‘Find the PostCards’ or other unreasonably painful achievements.  Instead, there are a range of activities in each venue.  Winning (in the top 3) in all of the same activity across venues is an achievement.  Beating each of the bosses is an achievement.  And a few gimmes.

And there are some new activities that are notable:

Cars RoR Lightning jumping in city sunset I mentioned ‘bosses’, there are a few (though Chick Hicks is still the top dog to beat in the end).  In each major venue that you visit, there will be a nemesis for you to work up to racing.  The races themselves aren’t overly tough, but they will challenge the Cars fan.

One of the new activities is a mini-race, where you aren’t a power-packed car like Lightning, but Guido the tiny tire-carrying car.  Those tiny cars have a very different driving dynamic that will challenge the heck out of you.

One of the other activities is a Photo-Op where you get the chance to be a photographer of Lightning after racing him to an undisclosed location.  It is cute the first few times, but then starts to get a little lame.  Maybe that is this games’ token flaw?

If you have a Cars-fan in your family, this is an easy way to get a lot of smiles from your little gamer (age 7-12).  And I must admit, as the kid-at-heart gamer myself, I have clocked more than a few hours in it.  It’s a fun little racer for those of us that don’t want the reality of Need for Speed or Forza.

Update – Cars:ROR does have one significant disappointment for the Xbox Live Achievement junkie.  After scoring 900 of the 1000 achievement points available, the last achievement “Over Achiever” should be awarded, as it’s requirement is “unlock all of the other achievements”.  Very dissappointingly, this is a ‘glitch’ and is well documented across the internet to be broken.  The last achievement is not only worth 100 points, but also means that the game will not show as “complete” in your gamer history.   I have personally hit the 900 and inquired to THQ who responded in January that “It is a known issue and they are working with the developer to resolve it.”   It’s hard to explain a ‘software bug’ or that ‘a patch is coming someday’ to a 9-year old, but then again, perhaps not many 9 year olds are achievement junkies (hence why THQ hasn’t prioritized an obvious flaw in the months since release).  THQ has some other family games that I will be reviewing in the next several weeks, but this definitely counts as “Strike One” against the quality that THQ is committed to in their gaming.  Will update this post if a satisfactory patch is released.

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January 8, 2010 · Jason · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Game Reviews, Games for Dads

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