Cars 3: Driven to Win (XB1) Review

Driving a hard bargain.

Where did this game come from? That is a question I often muttered while playing the latest Cars licensed title. Releasing during one of the busiest weeks in gaming with little fanfare, this arcade racer feels like it was sent to die. However, for those that took the time to check it out (it is literally on all the consoles) found themselves likely having a great time.

Built by some of the same developers behind so many Disney properties, including the toys-to-life series Infinity, Avalanche Software has once again crafted a surprisingly great licensed game. This is a kart racer with more depth and features than most traditional racing games. It also helps that the racing feels great and frankly, it’s just fun to play. It doesn’t come without some minor issues though.

MSRP: $59.99
Price I’d Pay: $59.99

For starters this game is surprisingly difficult. Sure bumping it down to easy meant I won most of my races, but the default medium setting is nothing to be trifled with. My AI opponents are aggressive and the catch-up AI is ruthless. Rarely did I get out in front of the pack, and earning medals became more and more challenging as I powered through it. Thankfully progression doesn’t require perfection, thus allowing me to see new races and cars without having to repeat circuits over and over.

Driven to Win sets itself apart from other racers by adding more maneuvers to its repertoire. Sure there is a slide mechanic ala Mario Kart, but players can also ride on two wheels, slam other racers, and even drive backwards. All these things generate turbo that can be unleashed for boosts of speed.

My favorite thing about the game though is just how much there is to see and do. There is the normal championship mode, hall of fame races against familiar characters, and even a crash derby mode. Progression is done through challenges that keep players mixing things up. Things like using 15 boosts during a race, or spending so much time driving backwards. Each time a milestone is achieved it is checked off a handy list. It is a nice carrot to dangle in front of players.

The game also supports multiplayer. Up to four racers can join in on the fun. Sadly though, it is only available in local play. Online is not supported, which is not surprising, but definitely disappointing. Especially since players can team up for any of the modes including campaign. It was a blast playing this with my son.

Cars 3: Driven to Win is an excellent title that simply feels underappreciated. Especially for XB1 and PS4 owners who don’t have access to the king of the genre. Even on Switch this is a solid purchase for fans young and old. Avalanche continues to prove they have the chops to make great games, sadly they never seem to get the recognition, or chance to really shine. Don’t skip this game. It is more than worth the price of admission.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Written by
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.