Review by Tifanity
"Fun yet frustrating"
Perhaps one of the most anticipated games on the Wii, Mario Kart Wii as some will call it just MK not to get confused with Mortal Kombat, hits consoles with mix reactions. There are a majority that loves it while others just hate it. Now how can such a game with such high caliber be hated? Read on and found out and see which category you are.
When the very first Mario kart hit the Super Nintendo Entertainment system (SNES) I am sure even without the internet and game sites back then that gamers all over the world was excited and had so much fun with it, they couldn't sleep. I would know I was one of them. As years passed, we got more new and better Mario Kart games and each one left us with a giddy happy feeling inside when we would race and hit each other with turtle shells and bumping off other players just to get to that first place. We never won a prize but it gave us the right to laugh at our friends.
With Mario Kart Wii, we are not only able to play against our friends or siblings, we are able to take on other players around the world. With a little add of a friend code, you can join a match with a friend that is already in progress or make a room and have people you want to join. Now sadly this is the part where the game goes a little south. First, there is absolutely no way to add people without them giving you their friend code. To make matters worse, like other Wi-Fi games on the Wii, each game has their own unique friend code. So even if you have a good amount of friends you game with, you need to add each of them all over again. Now this isn't a big deal but it is annoying, Nintendo really needs to think of another way where people from all over the world can interact with each other.
The second thing that is wrong is the random disconnects while online. While things like this happen to a lot of online console games, if you are waiting for a race, you actually lose points for getting disconnected. That isn't very fair at all! Lastly, are the points you get competing online. They are called VR points. It seems that as your VR points are lower, you get more points for winning and the more VR points you have, the less you get for winning. It also seems that this is what people only care about, let's forget about having fun with the game, let's care about points! If your points are low, you are known as the noob or sucks and if you have high points, which for some reason automatically make people think they are better than everyone else, which isn't the case at all.
Having high VR points just means that you play A LOT and I mean a lot. Remember I said that having high points mean you get less points when winning, so there are two scenarios; First, people are playing others that are new to the game and is just winning every race there is and been doing this for hours and hours a day. Second, they are exploiting the game with another player using the same Wii. What does that mean? Two players are able to get online and race together with others around the world. Since they share the same console, they can use difference profiles which will mostly be guest. Being a guest means you don't gain nor lose points. So the exploit is, first player stays first while the second player being the guest sabotages everyone else while staying in last or second to last place getting all the items and attacking other racers. All of this just to ruin other people's fun for VR points.
Getting the negative stuff out of the way, what is good about MK? Well there are a lot in my opinion since I don't care when I lose or win a race. The main issue it seems people argue over is the graphics for the game. To me it looks perfectly fine. To others, it looks like crap. However, I don't see what the complaining is about. The tracks are colorful, some are very cute detailed and they seem perfectly fine. The characters designs are done well to me too. With the new additions like the adorable Baby Peach and Baby Daisy to the new cool looking Dry Bowser, I seriously don't see anything wrong graphically about them or the game itself. The graphics to me actually feel smoother than the other MK games I played in the past.
Another thing that made players hate this game is the one item that can mess anyone up in the first place. That is the one and only Blue Shell. The blue shell is only avoidable if you have a mushroom and only if you time it right when it is about to hit you. Problem is, being first; you rarely get a mushroom so you have no choice but to get hit. So what is the big deal of getting hit? Well it opens you up to all the other items and all the other players behind you. So you can be first for the whole 3 laps and in the last second getting hit by a blue shell can actually make you lose. While winning means everything to others, I see the blue shell as a chance for the less fortunate people in the high places, especially last. There always needs to be a balance, if today the blue shell never existed, the player that had the game longest will always be better than a person that is new.
Although they are other items in the game, none of them get as much hated reactions as the blue shell. A few new items added to this game are the Storm cloud where it stays on the character for a set amount of time then it zaps you! How to avoid this? You will need to bump another racer to pass it to them. Another is one that turns you into Bullet Bill and it bumps anyone in front of it to the side and you go at high speed. This item is actually one of my favorites but sometimes it ends on a very bad place where it can make you place further behind. There is one more, which turns your racer huge so you can run over everyone is pretty fun too but you are still able to get hit by some items. Now the basics and new additions from other MK are in too. You got the Squid Ink that splashes ink all over your screen; to me it's one of the most useless items, the red shell, the green shell, the lightning bolt, the banana peel, the fake item box, the star man and the mushrooms along with the golden mushroom.
The control for this game is just like Super Smash Bros. Brawls with a plus. While you can use the Wiimote and Nunchuk, you can also use the Game cube controller and the classic controller. But what really is the plus is the wheel you attach the Wiimote to. Although the controls take a longer to get use to, I have a lot of respect for those that got good with it because I certainly can't use it. But then again, I never tried. A game that has so many options in control to satisfy all sorts of gamers is a great addition and I happy that this game offered this feature.
If you read my other reviews, music is very important to me. I can honestly say this game really didn't make me notice any of the music. Although once in awhile I do try to listen to the music on a stage, I find myself concentrating on the track more. I remember on the SNES version of MK, there was the Rainbow road music that I liked a lot but sadly that stage didn't make it into this game. Perhaps one of the low points of the game to me but it isn't important, the game play makes up for the lack of music.
Talking about SNES stages, not only does this game offer retro maps meaning there are stages from all the other MK games that came out, there are retro battle maps as well. From the Gameboy advance to the GameCube maps, there are a few good ones to choose from. Although it makes me ponder on how there are a few maps that made it when there are tons more that should of made it, didn't. Tsk tsk.
One of the best aspects of the game is there is no lag when playing online. It is a lot better than Brawl's online and a lot of people think that is because of the graphics being toned down. Whether it is racing in your region, worldwide or friends, it is smooth racing all the way. This is to me so far the best Wii game to play online but then again there really aren't a lot to compare it to except mainly Brawl.
In closing, if I wasn't detailed enough, please read other reviews and then do a comparison. When reading, try to differentiate what each review talks about. What are the good and what are the bad things about the game. If you like what you read about the good things more than the bad, this game is for you. Also if you are a big fan of Mario Kart or just Mario in general, you will love this game. If you are still unsure, I suggest renting the game first because this is a definite must own game for the Wii system.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 05/06/08, Updated 05/08/08
Game Release: Mario Kart Wii (US, 04/27/08)
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