Author Topic: Mario Kart Wii  (Read 4186 times)

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Offline Spinnzilla

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Mario Kart Wii
« on: September 29, 2008, 03:23:26 PM »
The reason as to why this is in the site's review format is because this is what I submitted when I applied for them.  Please excuse typos and errors.  Thank you.

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Mario Kart is an enduring franchise that's been around since the good ol' days of the SNES.  Back then it was Super Mario Kart.  Now it's sixteen years and a couple sequels later Mario Kart has finally made it's way to the Wii.  With new motion controls and the addition of nicely fleshed out online system this is quite possibly the best and most addicting Kart yet.  Blue shells coming your way, look out!

I was pretty giddy when I heard about Mario Kart Wii.  Why was I so giddy? Because most of Nintendo's big franchises only get an entry a console, like Smash Bros. and the main entries in the Super Mario series.  I first became a Mario Kart fan back when the DS version was released in '05 and I've been addicted to ever since.  And online play had me even more excited, not without my salt though (as Brawl's bad online match making and lag was in the back of my mind).  Fortunately, Nintendo pretty much nails it with MKW's online.

For those of your who don't know, Mario Kart is a racing series with Mario related characters and items.  Game makes for a very chaotic and fun time .  In the Wii's game. like the others, you go through a series of Cup Challenges.  There are a total of 8 cups with 4 tracks in each cup, making the grand total tracks 32. When finishing each race you are awarded points depending on your placing.  Placing first give you 15 points, so at the end of each cup challenge how many so points you have out of 60 determines your trophy spot (or lack of).  Trophy's are only given to the top three and you're usually required to finish in the top three in order to unlock the other cups.  50cc (which is restricted to Karts before finishing) is pretty easy and 100cc (restricted to bikes at first) isn't that difficult, as you should be getting A or 1 star ranks pretty easily.  But, 150cc is where the challenge really lies.  The karts are much faster and the A.I. is cheaper than ever.  Good luck on unlocking the 2nd Mii suit.  If you're new to Kart you too will know the anger management worthy blue shell of doom.

The new control scheme with the wii wheel shell actually works pretty well.   I was fearing that it would clunky and unresponsive and it's quite the opposite.  My first impression of it was that of awkwardness, but it quickly became second nature and fun.  It's my personal control scheme of choice.  The other control options that can be used includes the Gamecube Controller, Classic and Wiimote & Nunchuck combo.  All of which works just as fine as the Wii Wheel shell.  Another control related item is for the drifting system for extra speed boost.  The too options are "Manuel" and "Automatic", which both do have their own pros and cons.  Manuel has the ability of extra speed boost but the turning is gimped and you have to use the B button on the wiimote to improve your turning acuracy.  Automatic is the opposite the turning on it is much sharper, but you cannot achieve boosts.  Another new mechanic thrown in is the mid air trick system.  Simply by flicking the wii wheel you character will do tricks while grabbing air or off jumps and will have a speed boost once it hits the ground.

The sound is nothing interesting really.  It has the normal Mario character voices that we have come to love but it's not engaging at all.  The sound track to the game is a little simple and completely forgettable.  The DS version as a whole had better music.

Karts and bikes.  Yes both are in MKW and both are pretty fun to use. Karts act as they have in the past, so no real surprises here.  But when contrasted with bikes, they have their very own pros and cons.  For example, Karts have the wonderful ability of drifting and getting power boosts but bikes do not.  In exchange for no boost the bikes have the ability to pop wheelies which gives them a slight increase in speed as long as they keep in a straight path.  Bikes tend to turn more sharply than Karts, but the Karts can easily knock bikes to side if a collision is to happen (especially if you're using a light character, spells DOOM).  The bikes have cool looks to them as well, they sport bullet bill frames and even Wario's bike is selectable, just to name a few.  Karts have the standard looking ones that have been apart of the series from the get-go, but also some awesome looking ones too.  There's very cool looking blooper Kart and as an easter egg, Capt. Falcon's Blue Falcon is unlockable.  Kind of a shame that Capt. Falcon isn't a character, but we got Mii's that cover for that.  I hope we see more of these easter egg karts in the future (how cool would and Arwing or Landmaster kart be?)

On the character side of things it includes your standard ones (Mario, Peach, DK) and throws in some pretty cool new-comers and some pretty lame ones too.  The coolest additions to Mario Kart would be Dry Bowser and Funky Kong.  Both are very odd ball picks, but nice to them none-the-less.  I personally believe the babies should just go away.  In my opinion it's kind of wasteful to put younger variations of characters in the game when there are tons of other cool and more prominent Nintendo characters that could in the game.  But then again, Mario Kart is not Super Smash Bros.

Now we come to Online.  When comparing it to another big party game of Nintendo's, such as brawl, MarioKart not only does what brawl wanted to do, but surpasses it as well.  Barely a months time after brawl's lacking online was released Nintendo has showed that they can improve upon their mistakes quickly and effectively.  MarioKart Wii's match system is one of the fastest that I have ever experienced.  My first experience of online was very surprising.  I had found a match within seconds of logging on and during those matches absolutely no lag at all.  Nintendo had also matured a bit too with actually allowing one's likenesses and name to be displayed online.  While no available voice chat, this feels much less annoymous than any other attempted (and this includes Brawl, Strikers, BWii and Battle Revolution).  As if a smooth running online system wasn't enough, Nintendo has provided much for you to keep comming back to MarioKart. 

First off, the point system will give one incientive to keep logging back online.  It's pretty straight forward, but the addiction will consume you quite sometime.  You begin 5000 points when you start your first race and depending on your placing you will recieve or lose points.  I've come to noticed that the top half of the racers get the points and the latter lose them.  Don't think you can continuelly blast through races and keep getting 100+ points.  As your point total gets higher and you race people with considerbly less points and win you will only garner a small amount of points.  While it may not seem very rewarding it does make sense.  Why give you 100 points for beating someone who's played twice?

There are two main modes in Online, racing and battle mode.  Racing is very enjoyable with now 12 player races and they are crazy.  Crazy enough to become annoying.  With 4 more players, that's just 4 more peeps that could potentially have a blue shell or a bullet bill power up.  The items do take some of the skill out of the game, but that's always pretty much become a stable in the series.  The thunder cloud does win most frustrating item every, though.  Being the only shrunk player in the race makes you resent the world around you. Just a little. 

Battle mode is back and finally online.  And it's gimped, sadly.  You have two options of play, balloon and coin battle which is good, as both are fun.  The bad part is that both are set to only teams and are time limited.  That means no more one-man army stuff when it comes to MarioKart for this version.  Once all of your balloons are popped, you just respawn again.  You are also reward a points system here to, it follows the same rules as races, but is seperate entirely.  One minor annoyance is the stage selecting system.  You select your desired stage, but the majority rules voting system is gone from the DS version.  It just randomly selects the stage from the one's picked.  It kind of defeats the purpose even letting you select the stage. 

The Mario Kart channel can be downloaded on to your Wii Menu.  It's pretty convenient for those who are die hard online addicts.  You can see who on your friend's list is online, what new tournements are availble, see if any events are new and even download ghost.  Ghost are very fun, as your racing against someone else's record on a course tryinig to best it.  Mario Kart also has a Nintendo-fied leaderboard system too.  It doesn't show your rank in numbers, it just sort of places you along your general ranking overal in your region, the world or between your friend's list.  While not traditional or maybe as statifying as some would like, it gets the job done.  Also on a side note, Friend Codes are in this game too, but might as well get use to them.  Even though nintendo has admitted they are a flawed system, I serious doubt they're going away anytime soon. 

As an effort Mario Kart is a great addition to the Wii's library.  Not for any single reason but for multiple ones.  Mario Kart still has the classic gameplay we all have come to know and love, but it now it has Online.  So even if your buddies are over you can still play them or anyone body else in the world at any moment.  While there are minor issues with game, the frantic races and smooth online makes Mario Kart Wii a must for anyone who loves party games.

Graphics: 7.5
While it never pushes the wii to its limits, the style is nice and smooth frame rate holds steady.

Sound: 6.0
Forgettable.  It's Mario Kart, don't expect any epic musical scores here, but it feels less inspired than Mario Kart DS.

Control: 8.0
While the Wii Wheel may not be everyone's cup of tea, there are other control methonds availible, that everyone should find something suitible.

Gameplay: 9.0 
It still has the classic Mario Kart formula, which is fun.  While races can become too hectic for your blood pressure, it's fun none-the-less.

Lastability: 9.0
Smooth running online, fun offline too, not too shabby single player experience, weird leaderboard, points systems, etc.  The list goes on.  This game will keep you entertained for a while.

Overall: 8.5
Mario Kart Wii is not an epic experience, nor does it reinvent it's series, but it's damn fun.  That's what really matters in a game.

Pros:
-Smooth Running Online.
-Still a ton of course to love.
-Bikes are neat.
-Trick System is a cool addition.
-Bunches of control schemes.

Cons:
-Graphics are unimpressive.
-Battle Mode is auto team set and has a time limit.
-Friend Codes are still here.
-Online course selection system is useless.

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