Cars: Mater-National [360] – First Impressions

Cars:Mater-NationalThere are two things that are a hit in the vice-buttonmashing household: Thomas the Train and Disney’s Cars. Last year’s Cars release for just about every platform was a top ten seller and may be one of the best quality movie tie-ins ever.

I had purchased the game for the 360 earlier in the year used, and my then four year old son and I found it to be a pleasant surprise. It was easy enough for him to do basic races and there is also a pretty good racing engine under the hood for more hardcore gamers. Oh, and there’s achievement points. However, just because you think it might be a kid’s game these points don’t come easy, but they do come in 75 point chunks.

Because of traveling today we opened our family presents. One of the items I purchased for my son was the sequel (yes, sequel) to Cars called Mater-National. THQ did not disappoint in this version as well. They took everything I didn’t like about the first game (the menus and confusing save system) and cleaned it up. Most of the character voices are still there and every car has a ton of new paint jobs (which actually look surprisingly good). Gone are most of the stock type cars and welcomed are the international racers. What’s actually great about the two games is that they are nearly perfect continuations of the movie. They even have decent storylines.

The game is budget priced on all the consoles, so it might be worth a rental or pickup if you’ve got kids. However, I won’t razz you if you get it for yourself. I think they are that good. Generally, I get our two boys games for the Wii, but the achievements put this into the 360 realm for us.

Oh, and from what I understand the “whitewalled” classic McQueen is in this game. I’m there.


  1. Cars looks so good in HD, I can imagine these games would look pretty decent.

    Funny, Cars is slowly overcoming Thomas as the favorite for our kids, along with their cousins.

    Thomas is kind of a sissy anyway.

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