Written by: J.H. Longman
My name is Jack Longman, avid gamer since the 90’s, so with two decades of gaming under my belt and a background in journalism covering a range of subjects, it was only natural that one day I’d take the leap and write about something close to my heart, so with that, let’s get gaming.
Oh Mario Kart, you have had such a great run. Now at eight titles, your series is as strong as ever, you truly are the King of racing games and Nintendo you know it. You took what was great from the previous games and made this one something else. Although you could have kept the option of being able to wheelie when using a two-wheeled ride, the amount of joy it would give me, playing online and showing off my 3 star prowess, as I’d not just wheelie across the finish line when playing as Daisy, but pretty much spend the entire race popping wheelies.
So just what changes does Mario Kart 8 other that the others don’t, well for starters there is the element of HD, evident throughout the game. The race courses that were considered highly insane and surely the only way the Nintendo staff could have thought them up is if they were off on opium, are no longer insane compared to these newer levels and cups. Gravity swaps, lengthy colourful race courses that feature many things that just want to kill you. But being Mario Kart, you don’t die, you just get really big boo-boos and if you drive off the edge, you are soon returned to the race track and good to resume once more.
Still we’ve yet to even grace just how much this game has to offer, boasting the largest character roaster in a MK game, even if it is mostly baby filled (which includes Bowser’s offspring). Bit of a shame really, the world of Mario boasts so many great characters and yet Baby Rosalina made the grade, still Link made it in to, which is very bizarre. I know motorbikes were considered to be mechanised horses, but Link just looks wrong whizzing round the track on something that isn’t Epona, or a loftwing. (That being said, the Hyrulian shield did look pretty great on the side of his ride). But even then, Link isn’t the only DLC available new character, for Isabelle and Villager, playable as boy and girl, also join him, along with four new cups. Now of course DLC being DLC, you have to purchase both packs to be able to get all the new content, which also includes new rides, but even then there is still more costumes available and how you might ask?
Mario Kart 8 takes full advantage of the use of Amiibos, allowing the gamer to get a range of alternate costumes to wear, when playing as their Mii. Yes that’s right, you now get a range of racing suits you can wear, include a Captain Falcone, but I got to admit I am a little disappointed with his, being a Captain and all, I half expected a flight suit, which would have been great because I feel the need for speed and Nintendo thought so to even they thing 150cc and Mirror aren’t fast enough, so they really outside themselves with 200cc. You know that thing which unless you learn how to drift, you will just never win, this really is a mode for the gamers possessing the truest of skills and sadly that just isn’t me. The hours I’d have to put into it reaching such a level, it’s scary. I may have been a 3 star menace on the Wii, but this Wii U version has me beat.
So don’t fret if you can’t master 200cc you can still play online, hoping to go against racers of a similar level and not Super Saiyan Mario Kart Racers that just win and win, because they are so fast they’ve already finished before you’ve finished your first lap. And if that doesn’t work out, go local and play with friends, or family, whoever you can convince to join you and let’s be honest, it’s not that hard. Everyone plays Mario Kart, everyone, even those who deny it, but just make sure that when you do play against those you love, that you aren’t the only one having fun, Mario Kart is great at bringing the competitive side out in people, forcing some gamers to fulfill the desire of winning every race and spoiling the enjoyment of those playing with. I should know, I do it a lot.
But my Mario Kart time is close to an end and decision time beckons, so let’s bust out a list Pros & Cons:
-HD graphics that are both art in its very beauty and just stunning to bear witness too, without being too much of a distraction.
-The use of Amiibos was thought out and well placed.
-DLC content done right.
-Local and online multiplayer are as strong as ever.
-So many new rides, wheels and kites to play with, making customising your very own special ride a delight.
-Hours and hours of gameplay is guaranteed, long after 100% game completiton.
-Far too many babies. The character roaster feels more like an afterthought as opposed to a carefully thought out decision, as if they were names written on paper and pulled out of a hat and this includes Link, as much as I love him, because I do, he just feels so out of place.
-If you’re a terrible gamer prone to angry outbursts, this may, this will damage your relationship with those you play with.
Well moment of truth time, Mario Kart charges down the track, past the finish line and scores a 8.8 handbrake turn. This really is the best of the best as far as both Mario Kart and all racing games go, but I’m sorry MK8 I had to discredit points for no wheelies, it’s not personal, I just really like my wheelies. If you haven’t brought the game yet and fancy getting frustrated when playing online and possibly failing victim to Mario Kart Rage, whilst also playing a brilliant game, then get this game now! It is money well spent even the DLC and hundreds of gaming hours ensured.
But as always, this is just thoughts on the matter and its encouraged for you to make your own.