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"Mario Kart Wii"

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This thread has been linked to the game 'Mario Kart Wii'.
Fri 18/04/08 at 21:30
Regular
"Ghosts Can't Die!"
Posts: 774
This game has concerned gamers from the very beginning. If it wasnít the lacklustre visuals that looked worse than Double Dash it was the wide open tracks, if it werenít the wideness of the tracks it was the reworked and redesigned battle mode. It seem every week up until itís release gamers were finding something else to point out and shake their heads in disappointment. Now that Mario and the crew are here have those worriers out there been put at ease with their concerns?

Mario Kart has always been about one thing. Simple racing around hazardous tracks whilst using odd weapons to your advantage. Not much has changed here. Picking from over twenty Mario characters (including your Mii) you race around thirty two themed tracks aiming for pole position using an assortment of red shells, banana peels and stars. So what separate this from other Mario Kart titles? Well firstly instead of eight racers in a competition there are now twelve. This isnít that big of a difference in single player but when playing online with eleven human opponents it makes a world of difference. Next up is the inclusion of more characters, more weapons, more tracks (both old and new) and finally three of the biggest inclusions, online play, bikes and the option to steer with a wheel attachment. But are these additions enough reason to purchase this?

Firstly the controls. The wheel attachment itself feels pretty sturdy and comfortable to hold and whatís more it works surprisingly well for Mario Kart. You can either tilt the wheel or rotate it like a real wheel. Rather than being problematic with over sensitive controls or unresponsive steering the wheel method is actually very accurate and isnít as tough to learn as once thought. After a days worth of races youíll be pulling drifts and stunts in no time. If however you donít like the wheel then you can use the remote on its own tilting to turn, the nunchuck and remote combined, the classic controller or even a Gamecube control. So thereís bound to be one control method that pleases you.

As for gameplay additions, boosts are rewarded in many different ways. Drifting remains and provides speed jolts, but instead of waggling the analogue back and forth to create boost you simply need to maintain a slide for a certain amount of time. The longer you hold it the more speed youíre awarded. Then there is the new trick system. On ramps you can now perform an over the top stunt that when landed gives you, yes you guessed it more boost. In order to perform a trick you simply need to shake the wheel/ control just as your going up the ramp. Itís a small feature but allows for some tough decisions on which route is quickest. One full of drifting possibilities or one full of ramps. Then there are the bikes. These simply put allow for better handling then the karts and also the ability to wheelie down the track (which again provides a faster speed) all at the expense of lighter weight and a less powerful boosts during drifting. They are a welcome addition and add another layer of strategy making vehicle choice all that more important.

Something that is going to disrupt a lot of Mario Kart fans is the reworked battle system. No longer is it an everyman for himself free for all. Gone is the elimination system where getting hit three times results in you sitting out for the remainder of the match. Now you and eleven other racers are split into the red team and the blue team and it is from then on a point based match where the team with the highest amount of hits after three minutes wins. If you happen to lose all your balloons donít worry as youíll be given a fresh trio if the case should occur. If battling with balloons isnít your thing then a new mode called ďcoin runnersĒ is available which sees two teams again trying to collect the most coins without getting shot and losing them. Both arenít too bad but without the ability to turn off team play it doesnít feel as good as it could do. Whatís more the lack of elimination takes a away a lot of the excitement. On a positive note though there are ten battle fields to choose from, (although sadly a lot are simply big open spaces which takes away a lot of skill and is more about luck) which include five old and five new ones.

The usual suspects appear in the form of Grand Prix (of which you can enter in 50cc, 100cc, 150cc or Mirror mode), time trial and free race and battle. Youíll find eight cups with four tracks on each, half the cups are new tracks and the other tracks from past games. The inclusion of older raceways are great, however some of the choices are either plain stupid or odd. Having a total of four Mario Circuits is far too many seeing as they are the more boring of races to be had. Or better still why have some of the most bland tracks from the series. (Iím looking at you Yoshi Falls) It seems Nintendo havenít really got the cream of the crop here but rather a hit and miss selection. However the new tracks are all mostly excellent offering several new locations ranging from a giant autumn tree to an explosive volcano as well as some returning favourites.

Multiplayer is fairly decent although the action seems a little less smooth than when you're on your own. You can race with other computers, battle and even play in teams during races. It's definately a great group game.

The big BIG addition however has to be the online mode which allows up to twelve players to race or battle at once. First letís get rid of the bad. Again you must use Friend Codes. That means giving yours to a friend then them giving you theirs. Itís painful but itís there. Next you cannot add people once youíve played them. Once youíve played strangers, thatís it, you move on. Finally and as it stands not really a problem, there arenít any competitions or downloadable missions yet as promised by Nintendo, but itís still early days yet. Other than that though, you have the best online experience on the Wii yet. You choose your Mii as a visual of yourself, select either continental, worldwide or friends to play with and youíre off. Ranking is done so by a point system, you begin with 5000 and if youíre placed in the top half of a race you win points, bottom half and you lose points. Battle is similar in that the winning team gets points split between them depending on how many coins or attacks that person accounted for. A neat feature too is that if your friend is in a random race already you can join in with them rather than having to wait and play them alone like so many other online Wii games.

Then there are the time trials which consist of leader boards and downloadable ghosts. Want to try and beat the number one for Rainbow Road? Then all you need to do is download their ghost and give it a try. Itís really well worked and I canít wait to find out how quickly these times continue to improve over Wi-Fi.

One thing that certainly was an understandable distress was the graphics of the game and honestly saying they are disappointing is really an understatement. After being treated to the likes of Mario Galaxy and if you imported the visually stunning Smash Bros Brawl this is a large step back. But it isnít all bad. Moving at pace itís bright and colourful with your usual assortment of Mario environments in sight. The characters donít look too bad either and the range of odd looking vehicles is also pleasing, not to mention the smile I got on my face seeing Mario Circuit 3 from the Snes in 3D. But it only seems when you get to the final Cup and its four tracks where you finally become really impressed with how the game looks because of veteran track Rainbow Road amongst more showing off some great surroundings for Mario and his cast to race through.

The music is surprisingly good. The Snes and Nintendo 64 versions featured some great tunes but sadly Double Dash fell short. Fortunately however the Wii iteration is back on form with a nice mix of high spirited rhythms and darker beats. The characters also seem to have a nice amount of yelps and catchphrases when youíre racing.

Even without the online this game would still offer a pretty nice package. Along with the single player Grand Prix and multiplayer there are still hidden characters (some funkier than others) and also hidden karts and bikes. Then also staff times to beat in Time Trial. There's plenty here.

Whenever Mario Kart Wii seems to be doing extremely well it throws another wrench in the works preventing what could have been the ultimate Mario Kart game. I know I may sound harsh on a game that is really good but it just pains me that so many changes and mistakes have been made. Battle isnít great, the visuals leave a lot to be desired and the track choice from retro games seems very odd but the online component more than makes up for all of this offering so much replay value and more importantly fun for a long time to come. The included wheel offers what is a great package deal and hope that Nintendo can really deliver when it comes to online in the future.

87%
There have been no replies to this thread yet.
Fri 18/04/08 at 21:30
Regular
"Ghosts Can't Die!"
Posts: 774
This game has concerned gamers from the very beginning. If it wasnít the lacklustre visuals that looked worse than Double Dash it was the wide open tracks, if it werenít the wideness of the tracks it was the reworked and redesigned battle mode. It seem every week up until itís release gamers were finding something else to point out and shake their heads in disappointment. Now that Mario and the crew are here have those worriers out there been put at ease with their concerns?

Mario Kart has always been about one thing. Simple racing around hazardous tracks whilst using odd weapons to your advantage. Not much has changed here. Picking from over twenty Mario characters (including your Mii) you race around thirty two themed tracks aiming for pole position using an assortment of red shells, banana peels and stars. So what separate this from other Mario Kart titles? Well firstly instead of eight racers in a competition there are now twelve. This isnít that big of a difference in single player but when playing online with eleven human opponents it makes a world of difference. Next up is the inclusion of more characters, more weapons, more tracks (both old and new) and finally three of the biggest inclusions, online play, bikes and the option to steer with a wheel attachment. But are these additions enough reason to purchase this?

Firstly the controls. The wheel attachment itself feels pretty sturdy and comfortable to hold and whatís more it works surprisingly well for Mario Kart. You can either tilt the wheel or rotate it like a real wheel. Rather than being problematic with over sensitive controls or unresponsive steering the wheel method is actually very accurate and isnít as tough to learn as once thought. After a days worth of races youíll be pulling drifts and stunts in no time. If however you donít like the wheel then you can use the remote on its own tilting to turn, the nunchuck and remote combined, the classic controller or even a Gamecube control. So thereís bound to be one control method that pleases you.

As for gameplay additions, boosts are rewarded in many different ways. Drifting remains and provides speed jolts, but instead of waggling the analogue back and forth to create boost you simply need to maintain a slide for a certain amount of time. The longer you hold it the more speed youíre awarded. Then there is the new trick system. On ramps you can now perform an over the top stunt that when landed gives you, yes you guessed it more boost. In order to perform a trick you simply need to shake the wheel/ control just as your going up the ramp. Itís a small feature but allows for some tough decisions on which route is quickest. One full of drifting possibilities or one full of ramps. Then there are the bikes. These simply put allow for better handling then the karts and also the ability to wheelie down the track (which again provides a faster speed) all at the expense of lighter weight and a less powerful boosts during drifting. They are a welcome addition and add another layer of strategy making vehicle choice all that more important.

Something that is going to disrupt a lot of Mario Kart fans is the reworked battle system. No longer is it an everyman for himself free for all. Gone is the elimination system where getting hit three times results in you sitting out for the remainder of the match. Now you and eleven other racers are split into the red team and the blue team and it is from then on a point based match where the team with the highest amount of hits after three minutes wins. If you happen to lose all your balloons donít worry as youíll be given a fresh trio if the case should occur. If battling with balloons isnít your thing then a new mode called ďcoin runnersĒ is available which sees two teams again trying to collect the most coins without getting shot and losing them. Both arenít too bad but without the ability to turn off team play it doesnít feel as good as it could do. Whatís more the lack of elimination takes a away a lot of the excitement. On a positive note though there are ten battle fields to choose from, (although sadly a lot are simply big open spaces which takes away a lot of skill and is more about luck) which include five old and five new ones.

The usual suspects appear in the form of Grand Prix (of which you can enter in 50cc, 100cc, 150cc or Mirror mode), time trial and free race and battle. Youíll find eight cups with four tracks on each, half the cups are new tracks and the other tracks from past games. The inclusion of older raceways are great, however some of the choices are either plain stupid or odd. Having a total of four Mario Circuits is far too many seeing as they are the more boring of races to be had. Or better still why have some of the most bland tracks from the series. (Iím looking at you Yoshi Falls) It seems Nintendo havenít really got the cream of the crop here but rather a hit and miss selection. However the new tracks are all mostly excellent offering several new locations ranging from a giant autumn tree to an explosive volcano as well as some returning favourites.

Multiplayer is fairly decent although the action seems a little less smooth than when you're on your own. You can race with other computers, battle and even play in teams during races. It's definately a great group game.

The big BIG addition however has to be the online mode which allows up to twelve players to race or battle at once. First letís get rid of the bad. Again you must use Friend Codes. That means giving yours to a friend then them giving you theirs. Itís painful but itís there. Next you cannot add people once youíve played them. Once youíve played strangers, thatís it, you move on. Finally and as it stands not really a problem, there arenít any competitions or downloadable missions yet as promised by Nintendo, but itís still early days yet. Other than that though, you have the best online experience on the Wii yet. You choose your Mii as a visual of yourself, select either continental, worldwide or friends to play with and youíre off. Ranking is done so by a point system, you begin with 5000 and if youíre placed in the top half of a race you win points, bottom half and you lose points. Battle is similar in that the winning team gets points split between them depending on how many coins or attacks that person accounted for. A neat feature too is that if your friend is in a random race already you can join in with them rather than having to wait and play them alone like so many other online Wii games.

Then there are the time trials which consist of leader boards and downloadable ghosts. Want to try and beat the number one for Rainbow Road? Then all you need to do is download their ghost and give it a try. Itís really well worked and I canít wait to find out how quickly these times continue to improve over Wi-Fi.

One thing that certainly was an understandable distress was the graphics of the game and honestly saying they are disappointing is really an understatement. After being treated to the likes of Mario Galaxy and if you imported the visually stunning Smash Bros Brawl this is a large step back. But it isnít all bad. Moving at pace itís bright and colourful with your usual assortment of Mario environments in sight. The characters donít look too bad either and the range of odd looking vehicles is also pleasing, not to mention the smile I got on my face seeing Mario Circuit 3 from the Snes in 3D. But it only seems when you get to the final Cup and its four tracks where you finally become really impressed with how the game looks because of veteran track Rainbow Road amongst more showing off some great surroundings for Mario and his cast to race through.

The music is surprisingly good. The Snes and Nintendo 64 versions featured some great tunes but sadly Double Dash fell short. Fortunately however the Wii iteration is back on form with a nice mix of high spirited rhythms and darker beats. The characters also seem to have a nice amount of yelps and catchphrases when youíre racing.

Even without the online this game would still offer a pretty nice package. Along with the single player Grand Prix and multiplayer there are still hidden characters (some funkier than others) and also hidden karts and bikes. Then also staff times to beat in Time Trial. There's plenty here.

Whenever Mario Kart Wii seems to be doing extremely well it throws another wrench in the works preventing what could have been the ultimate Mario Kart game. I know I may sound harsh on a game that is really good but it just pains me that so many changes and mistakes have been made. Battle isnít great, the visuals leave a lot to be desired and the track choice from retro games seems very odd but the online component more than makes up for all of this offering so much replay value and more importantly fun for a long time to come. The included wheel offers what is a great package deal and hope that Nintendo can really deliver when it comes to online in the future.

87%

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