Review by DrKlaric
"The title screen will kill you"
When you first put this disk in you will be immediately greeted by Mario and Luigi shouting "Mario Kart Wii". Slightly amusing although a bit childish. Like most Mario and Nintendo games out right now this one seems to be a little too silly, fun but still a little childish. That aside this is still a fun game to play in multiplayer mode and even online mode but not so much single player.
Like Super Smash Bros Brawl this game features four different control schemes to suit your needs. And just like Brawl the Gamecube controller is your best choice. The Wii wheel is cool but practically impossible to use on some levels. With some practice you might be able to win a few races but using it isn't as much fun as you'd think. I haven't tried the nunchuk one yet but using the classic or Gamecube controller is the way to go.
The Wii installment of this series features 32 racing courses and 8 battle courses. Half of both of these are exact remakes of older courses from the previous games. These "retro" tracks as they are called in the game are fun to play even though you'll have played some of them before (I myself have only played the ones for the 64 and Gamecube so the rest are new to me). The "new" tracks are pretty decent too although aren't so much new as they are similar to others (two levels are practically the same except one's in a jungle and the other is in a snowy mountain).
The game starts with only 12 racers but you can unlock around six more characters and eventually use your Mii as a driver. All characters fall into small, medium, or large classes that determines what vehicles you use. Each weight class has three karts and three bikes for you to choose from each vehicle having its own strengths and weaknesses. There are a few to unlock and the color schemes change to match your character (Mario's car would be red, Luigi's would be green, etc.).
Single player mode isn't that great; it isn't entirely bad but it's definitely one of its weak points. The Grand Prix is fun but the AI needs some work on it. Even on easy the computer players are relentless in their attempts to pass you. This wouldn't normally be a problem except for the items. If your in first place then alot of times the person in second will get red homing shells and others will get lightning bolts, POW blocks, and those blue spiky shells that automatically hit the person in first. If your behind a few people the ones in front will often get bombs, banana peels, and fake items. Although not impossible the AI can be a little frustrating at times.
Multiplayer is where this game really shines. You can do either vs mode or battle and both of them can be done either with teams or in a free for all. All tracks, drivers, and vehicles can be used here and some options can be changed such as the difficulty of the AI, how many rounds you need to win, and even turn off some or all items (why you would do that is beyond me). Even with just two human players the computer players don't get the best items as often. It might be a little difficult to see the screen with four players but it won't kill you.
The online feature is just great. You can choose to race or battle strangers or friends through Nintendo Wi-Fi. When going against strangers you can choose almost anything you want except the level which is chosen through voting and is partially random. Although it might take a minute or two to find and set up the race you won't have to wait long. The online races themselves are great with almost no lag whatsoever. I personally have not been able to see how choosing to play with friends is but I assume it is no different. Truly a great feature. There's also thing that lets you see the best records and stuff.
All in all this is a wonderful game. It might not be perfect or the best racing game out right now but is still great fun for friends and family. The only flaw is in single player and considering you have to play single player to unlock everything this might be a little annoying. The graphics aren't bad and like I stated before a bit childish but still good and the sound is pretty decent. In some of the races you might even see a Mii or two that you have created. And just like Brawl a fun game to play especially with a buddy or two.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 05/05/08
Game Release: Mario Kart Wii (US, 04/27/08)
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