Mario Kart Wii review
Really was another Mario Kart game neccessary? In a word, yes.
Mario Kart Wii
This game is magnificent. Really is probably the best game I've played on the Wii. It features intuitive controls, great gameplay, two good ways to get your competitive gaming in, all in one, family friendly game. It features all of the characters we loved from the Mario series, like Mario, Luigi, Donkey Kong, Peach, Bowser, you get the picture. But it also has a decent amount of spinoff characters, like Funky Kong, the Baby characters. It also even features the little villains that usually aren't portrayed majorly in games, such as Dry Bones and Koopa Troopa. The Mario Kart Channel is awesome, seeing time trials and tournaments really help this game be, in my opinion, the best WiFi Wii game to date. But the main reason the game gets that title from me, is the actual racing online aspect of it. 12 players all over the world with no lag is simply amazing, since Nintendo can't handle a regional game with 4 players in Brawl without it lagging up a storm. Also, this game really is different from the old games, not always necessarily for the better, since they took out most skill required for online to make it fair for everyone. But still, there's a lot of strategy involved in this game, like when to use your items and such. Also, the time trials are still here, with some tough to execute shortcuts to go along, this game is far from boring. With a wide range of ways to play, this game truly does, have something for everybody.
The game comes with plenty characters, as well as plenty unlockable. You have your favorite heroes, Mario and Luigi, you have your princess, who can't stay out of the clutches of evil, Peach, you have your favorite antagonist even, Bowser. You also have some characters that aren't really necessarily well known characters, but they earn their keep in Mario Kart Wii. Some obscure characters are, but not limited to, King Boo, Dry Bones, and Funky Kong.
The characters are important in this game. If competitive time trialers were to just pick their favorites and run with them, we'd probably have less people near the top. But nearly everyone picks Funky Kong. If you've ever wondered why this is, is it basically because each character adds something to their ride's attributes, and Funky adds speed. So if you pair him with a bike or kart with all the other stats decent, he's basically the fastest, and best racer. http://ark42.com/mariokart/mariokartwiicompare.html is a handy tool for this kind of stuff. It shows who would be a better out of two characters, with drop down lists. You also can see the vehicle they are in.
The Grand Prix is basically the closest thing to the story of this game. Most sports games don't really have storylines though, the just usually have a great single player game modes that work as them, and Grand Prix is that for Mario Kart Wii. Basically you choose a character, and go through a series of four races trying to finish as high as possible each time. You are awarded points after each race, highest to lowest from 1st to 12th place. Grand Prix used to be a multiplayer mode as well, basically the only choice for multiplayer games, but that's changed now. It's still a Grand Prix of four races, but the tracks can be any tracks you want them to be, not certain cups, like single player Grand Prix is. The series of four races you choose are called cups, so and each are called things from the Mario series, in example, Mushroom, Flower, Star, and so on. That bad thing is you can't mix and match them in single player. If you pick a mushroom cup track, you have to race them all, not just the ones you like. There are some good things to this as well, seeing as you can unlock the characters a lot easier this way, rather then playing thousands upon thousands of races. And I'm not exaggerating. If you don't beat certain cups, you more then likely will never unlock certain characters, since some take over a thousand races. Also, each cup ranks you on how well you beat the opponents and you're times, things like that. It's nice to see Nintendo is rewarding good performance, not just winning. Basically, you're not trying to beat the opponents, you're trying to crush them. Either way, it makes the Grand Prix a definitely enjoyable experience for everyone.
Graphics and Audio
The graphics in this game aren't really what I'd call spectacular, but they definitely aren't bad. They are some of the best on the Wii though, but the Wii in general, doesn't seem to be living up to it's potential. But this game does a wonderful job on the graphics, especially for a game that's always moving at pretty high speeds. So they fact that they look good, is a good thing. There really isn't much of a focus on the graphics in this game, or on the audio.
The audio isn't anything special, it's actually pretty annoying. It's basically a series of boops and doops trying to make a song. Sometimes, there is loading screens, which are usually just beep beep beep BEEEP!. It gets quite irritating quickly. If you are like me, and don't like annoying game music, you can just shut the sound off of your TV while playing.
There are two ways to play multiplayer in this game, online, and against someone else near you. For online, on the main game screen, it's called Nintendo WFC. WFC stands for WiFi Connection. There are tons of people to play all over the world on WiFi, it's so fun. The moment you start searching, you normally find like 11 others to play with with in a minute or two. Playing on WiFi is awesome. You're playing against 11 people, most of the time, sometimes less. Normally, you don't know the people, unless you are playing Friend modes. Either way, the lag is at an absolute minimum compared to most other Wii games, namely Super Smash Bros. Brawl. This game outshines it online in every way. The other great thing about online is the way the items work. It goes perfectly along with Nintendo's fair concepts for this game. The higher you are ahead, the worse the items you get are. In 12th place, you get things like Stars and Bullet Bills, but in 1st place you get things like Fake Items, Green Shells, and Bananas. It is bad for some people, but really, it isn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. It just adds another strategy element into the game, and these kinds of games can always do with ways to vary in skills. Without it, it would be a tie for first everytime.
The other multiplayer type is what I like to call in house multiplayer. This is good for those who have families to entertain, or want to play a game with company. You can play with all of the features of an online game, against live people right next to you. It's pretty cool, since if you are competitive, you can get up in the face of the person you are beating. Or beg them for mercy when they are whipping you. Either way, it's pretty fun to play alongside someone you know.
Another multiplayer mode is online and in house versions of the Battle mode. I will get into more detail about the battle mode in my next paragraph.
And now the wait is over. I finally get to the long awaited battle mode. Well not really long awaited, I only just mentioned it last paragraph. But anyway, this isn't really the greatest mode there is. Grand Prix and regular multiplayer put it to shame. Basically, you try and knock balloons off of your opponents. You use items...seriously, that's really about all there is to this game mode. It's not extremely fun, and pretty much underdone. There is so much more Nintendo could have done with this game mode, but seriously, it just seems like a half baked idea. And it's been in the game series for a long time, and the first time was interesting, now it's just getting boring and old. The only upside is you can play it online and against people, so they will have to go through the pain with you. I'm kidding, it's slightly better with friends though. More or less because the AI in single player is bad, and easy to beat.
Basically, time trials are doing three laps at a certain track. It doesn't sound interesting, but Time Trials have always been a statement in racing games, especially Mario Kart. It's been one of the most competitive aspects of the Mario Kart games to date. Partially because most so far haven't had online. But some people cling on to the believe that Time Trials show you're true skill, since there aren't any random items, other then the mushrooms you start out with. Really though, there's really not that much competitivity in the latest installment of Mario Kart, so many people will take it where they can get it.
The gameplay is pretty simplistic itself, you're racing characters around in karts or bikes, trying to be the first to get around the track or beat your opponents time. Basicallly the different modes outline most of the gameplay in this game. But the things that complement the gameplay the most are the controller mechanisms. You can use the Wiimote only, shoved an a Wheel, to give off the feel that you are actually driving. You can use the Wiimote and Nunchuk combination, to play as a normal game, just like other Wii games. Or, you can use the Gamecube controller to play as if it were Mario Kart Double Dash. These are just the main controller options though, seeing as there are some smaller, less popular options out there.
A new addition to the Mario Kart series is stunts. Stunts are basically a not so fancy word for tricks. You go off a jump and flick your wrist, and do a trick on screen, land, and get a short boost that's about all. But stunts are the main reason that bikes are chosen more commonly over karts, because on bikes you can do wheelies, and go a little faster by doing them. I say a little, but in the end it really adds up to a pretty big difference.
The reason I didn't include a special section for karts is because karts are the same as always. The bikes are different though. Bikes are normally faster, and better then karts now, because bikes have access to a pretty much instant boost by doing a wheelie. It doesn't make them noticeably faster right of, but it is definitely more pronounced in the long run compared to the karts. The only drawbacks when compared to the karts, is the fact that karts get bigger boosts off of their drifts, but still, that is negated by the wheelies. People try to say a good kart user always would beat a good bike user because of the drifts, when really, it's nearly always the other way around.
Replayability: The ability to play a game over until you get bored of it. That's what replayability is to me. I really think this game has tons of it, since it's aided by unlockables, tons of which I might add, time trials, grand prixes, and online modes, you could easily play this game for a solid 5 or 6 months before slowing down. This game's replay value surpassed decent, and goes all the way to epic, on the scale of games. Really, there isn't one solid drawback to this game.
This is truly one of the best Wii games out to date. The great gameplay, decent graphics, awesome game modes, and amazing online combine for one of the most impressive performances on the Wii yet. I'd definitely recommend this game to anyone. It's great for families to play together, it's great for people who have friends over often, and it's great for people who play the Wii by themselves. Basically, the only people I wouldn't recommend this to are people who don't own Wiis. But hey, if you don't own a Wii, and you want this, I might be a damn good reviewer.
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