I know not many people have been purchasing the Wii U, and most of that reason is because of the lack of new games for the system upon release. This summer brings with it new versions of Nintendo’s hottest titles, Mario Kart, and Super Smash Brothers. Will these titles be enough to carry Nintendo’s system until its upcoming releases announced at E3, or will the Wii U be Nintendo’s forgotten system?
My fiance and I just bought Mario Kart 8 for our Wii U. The only other game that kept my Wii U warm was Windwaker HD, not even an original title for the game system, so we were very excited to get Mario Kart on the weekend of its release.
If this game does anything for the Wii U, it shows exactly why it is a next gen console and not just another Wii. This is Nintendo’s first HD capable system, and this game truly shows that off. The color vibrancy, the art, the sound; it is all impressive and your eyes and ears will eat it like candy, even after playing only one race. (And your mouth will hear sights and your nose will smell touch! The game is a witch! – EDITOR FRANK)
The gameplay is reason enough for friends and families to want to get together to play, plus there are plenty of extras to entice anyone who has played the other games in the series. I mean, the game has 30 playable characters, 16 brand new courses, 16 re-imagined versions of your favorite classic courses, and over 40 customizable “karts”. Each of the carts/cars/bikes have many different wheels and flying attachments to choose from when creating your ride. There’s even a rumored DLC to come out for the game in the future.
As I said, the courses are beautiful. For the first time I am not sad that the gameplay doesn’t hold up to the fancy E3 trailers – in this case the actual game really looks as good as advertised! The courses have multiple side paths and different ways to get through them. They also now have elements of gliding through the air, going on top of portions of the track, and anti-gravity areas where your cart drives vertically or along walls. This really adds to the dimensions of each track and fixes that linear feeling that most track-based racing games have. Speaking of other racing games, usually at the end of a race you are jabbing the buttons to skip the replay video, but I actually find myself watching it. The cut together videos, which are editable and can be posted online immediately, are very entertaining.
Everyone talks about video and graphics quality when they talk about a system being HD, but HD also does wonders for the audio. The sound in this game is great; from the crowd cheering to the cars revving and of course the fun soundtrack – it all comes together well.
Now, let us address common Nintendo naysayer complaints. Nintendo has never really been all that supportive of online play. Mario Kart presents a great try at it. It is the first time I was excited to add my friends to my Wii U so we could race online together. It is also very easy to join in on games with anyone regionally or worldwide. The game also allows for two players to be playing online from your system. This means my fiance and I can both have a race with other groups online together. This leap from the wonky Pokemon online play seems like a step in the right direction for Nintendo.
Another HUGE complaint about Nintendo is that they do not make games with “real gamers” in mind. Although I hate to define what a real gamer is, and thus make gaming an exclusive thing as opposed to an awesome inclusive thing, I suppose I can understand what these critics might mean. Mario Kart will probably not be a significant test for hardcore gamers. It is no Halo, it is Mario Kart, and I can’t fault it for being that. Unless I have somehow become amazing at this game, the difficulty level seems to have dropped since previous versions, although that might be a result of the improvement in car controls. I just wish there were more options on tweaking the difficulty of gameplay. I have only played a couple games with the hardest NPCs on the fastest speed, so perhaps I have just been lucky those times, but I can’t help thinking that if I don’t spend half my time on Rainbow Road falling off the track then something just feels wrong.
While it is still another game that doesn’t really use the gamepad, I do enjoy playing races on it while my TV can be used for other things.
In the end, this game is FUN, it brings me back to all those times my friends and I spent squished in a dorm screaming at each other as we raced. I suggest everyone go try it somewhere. In fact, come over and have a race with me since I am probably one of the few people you know with a Wii U, but if there was any motivation to get one, this game is it.