i caught up with the mario kart series by playing through mario kart 8 on wii u, although it was definitely more out of the need to be a completionist than any real interest in the game, sad to say. the previous entry in the series, mario kart 7 on 3DS, left me feeling pretty bored and jaded, and my overall experience with mario kart 8 didn’t really leave me feeling much different.
for me the pluses are all fairly minor. i appreciated that like its predecessor this game tones down the relentless onslaught of attacks by CPUs that was present in the wii edition. it’s nice to see the koopalings gain even more prominence by being included, although disappointing that it was at the expense of such long-time favorites as birdo. the game looks great in HD, although graphics have never been the main selling point for any game for me, and the use of jazzy live music is a nice addition. the inclusion of stamps for use in miiverse is a nice motivator to do some more single-player cup racing. the video highlights features are nice to have, although i haven’t been motivated to save any of mine, or view anyone else’s really. (similarly, the nerfed battle mode may have been a deal breaker to many, but i’ve never really been that interested in those modes anyway.) the new anti-gravity sections (which changes collisions such that you get a speed boost from them), “super horn” item (which allows you to destroy the dreaded blue shell), and upcoming unlockable costumes via amiibo are also nice to have, although none of these features are game changers.
basically everything else about the game is the same old story. coin collecting, custom parts, new and retro tracks (very few of which felt that memorable to me), air and water sections, motion controls, it’s all stuff we’ve seen before. the formula has really grown stale for me, and even though the previous entry was released two and a half years ago there wasn’t anything about this edition that excited me. the one thing i wasn’t expecting to enjoy so much was the physics, which make the karts feel like they have real weight, but that’s not enough to make me give the game more than a passing grade. even amongst nintendo series, the mario kart series has never been one that was very focused on innovation. the expansion of the universe to include other nintendo properties via DLC had potential, although i haven’t found the first batch of DLC to be that worthwhile personally. i’ll have to see if the second batch of DLC fares any better, or if i’m going to have to wait for the inevitable next installment to give me something to get excited about.
enjoy these weighty mario kart 8 links:
– entry at mariowiki.com
– review at nintendolife.com
– one of the original “luigi death stare” videos (and here’s the entry about it at knowyourmeme.com)
– official site
– mariokart.tv site