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Mario Kart 8 Review


Mario Kart 8 is one of the best looking games ever made for the Wii U, that is a fact. It’s also a whole load of fun, although as with most Nintendo titles, it’s pretty much more of the same made better.

As with most other titles in the series, Mario Kart 8 doesn’t really bring anything new other than a few tweaks here and there, instead it relies on nostalgia to drag you in, before hooking you in once more with its fantastic gameplay and multiplayer fun. It may not innovate much, but as always, Nintendo sure knows how to make an addictive and exciting game.

A perfect example of how things don’t really change comes in the tournament mode, which includes eight cups containing 32 tracks, around half of which make a reappearance from previous games. These tracks certainly pull at your nostalgia strings as they span from the likes of Mario Kart 64 to more modern titles, all remade and presented in HD. It’s fair to say that there is a lot of familiar ground here, after all, who hasn’t sampled the delights of Toad’s Turnpike and Rainbow Road in the past, although that’s not necessarily a bad thing.



As always the single player campaign is split into 50cc, 100cc and 150cc, meaning that you’ll need to win all the cups to unlock the hidden characters. To be honest this gets a little repetitive after a while, so it’s just as well that Mario Kart 8 offers the option to play through all of these cups in a multiplayer Grand Prix mode which supports up to four players on the same screen.

While single-player is more of the same, multiplayer is at last the order of the day. If you’ve played Mario Kart before then you'll know what to expect as you race around the track, picking up power-ups and power sliding your way around ever corner possible. In single player you’ll often pull ahead of the pack and be hit with the occasionally power-up, but it’s in multiplayer where the real fun takes place as the lead constantly switches as you try to best your friends.

There are certainly plenty of options to play with your friends, be it through split-screen, online or both. Four-player split-screen is great fun, although the bigger your TV the better. Online multiplayer is just as fun and runs just as smoothly, although sadly there is only the option to talk to others via the lobby rather than being able to taunt them during the game. I have to say that out of all the multiplayer options, me and my family have been enjoying the four player split-screen the most. During my first weekend with Mario Kart 8 I've just happened to have my nephews down to visit, therefore with four children of similar ages in the house, all of whom have never played a Mario Kart title before, it's a joy to see them all playing together and enjoying themselves.

Away from the Single and Multiplayer modes, Nintendo also includes a Battle Mode which allows you to choose from eight modified courses and drive around in circles attacking other players. Having tried this I was surprised to see that there was no on-screen map, making it difficult to find other players, which is both frustrating and a little bit stupid, however it’s still a fun mode to play with friends.



One of the biggest changes in this year’s Mario Kart is the introduction of Mario Kart TV. Basically, what happens here is that the game records your recent races, allowing you to create a highlight reel and upload it to Miiverse or YouTube, it’s hardly anything more than a bonus feature and I’m sure the novelty will probably wear off after a while, however it’s still nice to have this option and I'm sure we'll see plenty of highlights hitting the internet following what is sure to be a very popular launch.

I know this review probably comes across as a little to the point, but for me Mario Kart 8 is hardly breaking any new ground when it comes to innovation. I’ve read others say it is the best game in the series so far and that may very well be the case, however it’s still Mario Kart, so if you have this on pre-order then you probably already know what to expect.

To me Mario Kart is a party title, it’s one to bring out when you have your nieces and nephews around. It’s the sort of game which is only fun when you have more than one player. Saying that though, it both looks and sounds fantastic and is without a doubt the most polished title on Nintendo’s flagship console to date. Will it turn around the fortunes of the Wii U? To that I have my doubts. Will it provide a fun and exciting experience for those who already own a Wii U? The answer is yes.

Words by Joe Anderson
Twitter: @_wotta | PSN/XBLA: wotta

(Version Tested: Wii U)

Pros

+ Looks fantastic
+ Sounds fantastic
+ Very additive gameplay
+ Great multiplayer

Cons

- Single player feels repetitive
- Not too much has changed, more of the same


Edited On 25 May, 2014

Comments
( 33 )
Zombieflamingo's avatar
Zombieflamingo 3 years ago
Looking forward to this, it should be good fun with some friends. How many players does it support online?
Joe2120's avatar
Joe2120 3 years ago
12 players.
Zombieflamingo's avatar
Zombieflamingo 3 years ago
Thats a good amount. Happy that you cant hear people during a race though as that would annoy me.
PhilyB's avatar
PhilyB 3 years ago
looking foward to this
Tommz1's avatar
Tommz1 3 years ago
Mario Kart 8 1080P 60fps Take note Sony and Microsoft!!!!!!
Zombieflamingo's avatar
Zombieflamingo 3 years ago
Not to be picky but its not 1080P it's only 720P. Still looks really nice though.
Dead's avatar
Dead 3 years ago
Had someone on my friends list playing this since Friday, so annoying
 TruDarkAssassin's avatar
TruDarkAssassin 3 years ago
Good review making me think to start looking for a wii u at some point i used to love mario cart on the snes
superniceguy's avatar
superniceguy 3 years ago
I have not enjoyed Mario Kart much since the N64, but that is probably because not many people I know want to play this now. Will have to give the online a go. I gave my original Wii version to my nephew for his birthday. He was well pleased
PrometheusFan's avatar
PrometheusFan 3 years ago
" Mario Kart 8 1080P 60fps Take note Sony and Microsoft!!!!!!" - Funny, I was just reading a Digital Foundry technical analysis of the game and it's actually neither of those things. It's 720p and there appears to be some kind of duplicate frame issue with it's overall performance that keeps it from ever hitting full 60fps in performance terms either, with the game staying in the upper 50s instead. Seems it's a relatively minor issue(But still noticeable according to DF), still though, interesting to note.
Dead's avatar
Dead 3 years ago
Fucking nit pickers quibbling over 1FPS difference that nobody would ever notice.
PrometheusFan's avatar
PrometheusFan 3 years ago
The staff at Digital Foundry said it was noticeable. So clearly it isn't a case of 'nobody'.
Zombieflamingo's avatar
Zombieflamingo 3 years ago
To be fair though that's people noticing it when it is there job. Not sure if it would be as noticeable for the average player who doesn't look for these things.
Dead's avatar
Dead 3 years ago
It wouldn't, the human eye isn't capable of noticing the difference, DF only 'noticed' it because they have the tech to count the frames for them. End of the day the game looks and performs better than the majority of games on supposedly superior hardware.
PrometheusFan's avatar
PrometheusFan 3 years ago
A pretty meaningless claim considering there aren't really any equivalent titles to something like this available on the better hardware yet. It'd be interesting to see Sega release another Sonic Racing title so such a claim could actually be measured... because as things currently stand, it can't. At all. Also, suggesting the 'human eye isn't capable' of noticing inconsistencies in performance in a video game is flat out wrong.
SquareSofty's avatar
SquareSofty 3 years ago
The game plays incredibly well, having played it last year and some more yesterday I can say it has come a long way. as for this frame rate issue some people might have, it really doesn't make a difference, I create and edit videos as a hobby and 50 to 60 isn't going to bother anyone unless they sit there at look for the difference but you'll be concentrating too hard in the races to even care, the watcher might notice if their being nit picky. If it is smooth enough to play fully, why care about what frame rate it is? I've been playing MK since the SNES and have never been bothered by it's frame rate. MK8 is incredibly smooth and very enjoyable.
Dead's avatar
Dead 3 years ago
Not sure why you would need such specifically similar gameplay to measure visual performance. Also the human eye is only able to process about 40 something FPS, any more than that are imperceptible.
 TruDarkAssassin's avatar
TruDarkAssassin 3 years ago
Is this argument going to run for ages on every new game 1080p 60 if the game plays well and runs smooth and you are having fun what is the problem graphics are not every thing
SquareSofty's avatar
SquareSofty 3 years ago
I totally agree Dark-Assassin. So many game developers jam that stuff into peoples heads that it makes it seem incredibly important, more so than the game. I'll happily take a well made game any day. I love MK8 and can't wait to own it
Dead's avatar
Dead 3 years ago
Probably DA, to some people graphics are the be all and end all and dicks like kevin would fight to the death over a pixels difference.
 TruDarkAssassin's avatar
TruDarkAssassin 3 years ago
I picked up amazing spiderman 2 after every one was saying it looked like a ps3 game on the ps4 but i enjoyed it a lot and played it through to get the plat trophy for it . it didn't look amazing but i had fun and glad i played it , we are so used to hd gaming now i don't think we will ever see a huge step up like we did from like ps2 - ps3 for a while yet
SquareSofty's avatar
SquareSofty 3 years ago
That's good to know, I might pick it up sometime then. You're right, we wont see a huge difference. Wasn't it a 10 year gap between PS2 to 3? Coz 3 to 4 was only 6 years.. Plus developers are having to put more time and larger teams into visually stunning titles. It's moving too fast for them.
 TruDarkAssassin's avatar
TruDarkAssassin 3 years ago
I think the last gap was about 8 years not sure though so don't quote me lol
Light Heavensword's avatar
Light Heavensword 3 years ago
I'm not really that bothered about this, i borrowed Mario Kart 7, played some of the cups and got bored of it pretty quickly so the repetitive thing might be right. I personally would much rather play Crash Team Racing or Jak X instead as they have full single player adventure modes, where as Mario Kart doesn't have it.
Dead's avatar
Dead 3 years ago
I don't think the step up from GC/Xbox/PS2 was even that great, the last really big jump was when everything went 3D nearly 20 years ago, generational leaps since have been exponentially smaller.
Zombieflamingo's avatar
Zombieflamingo 3 years ago
Yeah unfortunately this argument is going to keep going. As long as the game plays well and is fun I am happy.
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
Gloria while you can't see the individual frames you can feel the difference between 30fps-45fps-60fps
PrometheusFan's avatar
PrometheusFan 3 years ago
Groan, looks like we're already at the point of the discussion where Gloria resorts to personal abuse because she has no counterpoints to argue with. There's nothing really left to add anyways, but some to be confused by the nature of the problem with the game's performance. Actually read the DF article, it's not about the game "running 1fps lower than 60 pixelcounterslol", it's about the issues resulting from this, namely the duplicate frames that occur creating a slight judder/pause during gameplay that may be slight, but it's consistent. There have been reports on forums of people noticing the issue, including people who played earlier builds of the game saying it's not something that was present in the game pre-release. Suggests to me it could be a bug of some sort and therefore should be patchable.
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
Didn't they put the issue done to Mario Kart TV or something?
Dead's avatar
Dead 3 years ago
You make it too easy kevin, by being a massive dick.
Anonymous user's avatar
CHRISTINE 3 years ago
@PrometheusFan Yeah its a bug, apparently it only happens when there is AI on the track http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2014-vs-mario-kart-8 second paragraph under the picture slideshow, roughly in the middle or the article, kinda weird that something like this to slip in to the game after going gold... still as stated it may get patched out :)
Akemi no Zero's avatar
Akemi no Zero 3 years ago
Really cant wait & nifty review.
Zombieflamingo's avatar
Zombieflamingo 3 years ago
If its a bug that only happens when AI is on the track then its a pretty big bug. Still looking forward to it.

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