Review by kurtangletn
"Close but puzzling changes stall it"
Mario Kart Wii, Good, not Great
Graphics: Graphics are pretty good, tracks look nice and it has a nice style to it. Once and a while some tracks (Mainly Coconut Mall) appear blurry, but it's a small issue. My only major issue with the graphics would be the character models, they suck. It seems like they ripped em right from an early gamecube game, after playing Brawl enough looking at these makes you feel like you just stepped back a generation. Overall, 7/10. It's the best looking Mario Kart ever, but they could have polished it up a bit, Mii integration is great.
Controls: I felt it was important to include a control section considering controls break or make a Wii game most of the time. The first couple of times playing with the Wii Wheel was a disaster, but after awhile you gain control of it and it seems great. I'm not sure if it's as good as a real wheel add on you can get for consoles, but it's still pretty good. 9/10
Gameplay: I've always liked Mario Kart but my only experience with it is Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart DS, both of which I loved. Mario Kart Wii for some reason seems more cheap than any of these two. Blue shells seem to come ever lap if not more in single player and it just turns a good experience to sour when your hit a second from the goal and 3-4 fly by you.
Not to mention to unlock 4-5 characters you are required to get gold stars, which is the highest rank you can get in a cup. This requires you to get first every race and by a hefty portion, this doesn't seem that hard of a challenge in either the 64 and DS versions but it's an absolute hell in the Wii version where Blue Shells, Pow Blocks, Lightning are so common, all of which shave time off you.
The AI is horrible, it seems that they are coming straight from the N64 version. The entire "If your doing good, get a great item" or "if your fast I'll go faster than you no matter your vehicle" is just so outdated and frustrating that it turns unlocking characters into a chore.
To me another huge downgrade is the battle system, the loss of the last man standing feel just sucks. Luckily I have Mario Kart 64 on the WIi so I can play real battles.
Overall gameplay gets a 6/10, it just seems broke. New additions like tricks are nice but nothing that leaves a great impression.
Depth- Like I said previously, unlocking characters is a chore, so if your favorite character is one of them, you may want to invest in a save file or something that unlocks them, but despite that there is a lot of depth in this game and it's anchored by the stellar online play.
Almost anything you can think of is available to do online. Racing ghosts, time trial tourneys, online battles, online racing, it's all there and it's fast and lag free. Amazing job that really keeps this title from sinking, when you get tired of the horrible AI you can go right to online to play real people fast.
Overall- Overall although online is stellar for the Wii, it still lags behind the Playstation and certainly the 360s online capabilities. You still can't talk, you still can't chat, send friend requests after games, but it's still a step in the right direction and deep in Wii standards.
Single player is a bit repetitive and frustrating for me, and unlocking characters tends to be more of a chore, but overall controls and online give this title a 7/10.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 05/23/08
Game Release: Mario Kart Wii (US, 04/27/08)
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