Review by retrosticker903
"A Mario Kart Installment that was able to deliver."
The Mario Kart series has been around for 16 years, and Mario Kart Wii is the eighth installment in the series, two arcade games, two handhelds, and four consoles. You can't always bash the Mario Kart series, they're one of the best in this world, despite a few flaws. I must have to say, it was worth the time and money to play it alone, with friends, or even online. This is one of the best installments in Mario Kart.
There really isn't a story, only that you need to go racing and be the man to reach first place.
Like all the rest of the Mario Kart series and most other racing games, you have to race on courses, use items, and try to take first place in all of the Grand Prix series. There are 32 tracks divided into eight cups, and there are three laps a race. The first sixteen are the new courses meant for the Wii, and the last sixteen are older tracks that were taken from the older Mario Kart games. There are four speed classes, but they also mean difficulty levels: 50cc, 100cc, 150cc, and Mirror Classes.The AI gets more tougher as the levels move up, which means they will let out more items and will go through more means to stop you from getting first place. The scoring system tallies up your points depending on your position (the math has been tweaked to fit twelve players), so you don't always have to get first place in every race. Instead of the usual eight karts a course, it has now twelve karts a course, and they also added motorbikes (which sometimes has an edge over karts). There are several things in the game that can be unlocked, such as new characters and vehicles, and they're unlocked by getting high ranks in the Grand Prix and beating Staff Ghosts in Time Trials, which can sometimes take an insanely long time to do.
I find it sad that Nintendo didn't bother to add two-player Grand Prix mode as the other console Mario Karts. There are three play modes in split-screen offline multiplayer mode: the regular Versus mode for playing on courses, and Battle mode which consists of two modes: The Balloon Battle that most people like, and Coin Runners, which reminds of Shine Runners from Mario Kart DS. There's no free-for-all, which means you get always forced on a team, red or blue. In a full house setting, it's a six on six battle. Without the computers, it's two-on-two. If not for lack of free-for-all, the battle mode would've stood up to and nearly surpassed Mario Kart DS. Still, it's very addicting with four players.
This is where the game really proves it's worth if you're able to play online (if you have wireless equipment with hi-speed internet). Most of the time, you just go online, and all of a sudden, it's an instant connection with other players. Sometimes, while you're in the waiting room, you can watch the live footage of the race, seeing how the other players go. You're paired up with other players that have the same ranking amount, but still, don't judge their skill by their ranking, some can be experts that started online for the first time. And then, the players vote which course to play on, and it's selected by a lottery-style selection. There's little to no lag in this, which means the race or battle is very smooth at best. There are also two online contests a month, and players far and wide race to get to the top.
There are four control modes in Mario Kart Wii. The Wii Remote alone (or fitted in the Wii Wheel, which is nothing more than a durable piece of plastic, but makes you feel like driving), the Remote and Nunchuck, the Classic Controller, and the Nintendo GameCube Controller (for nostalgic reasons and for those who want to have the same control as before). I have to say, I prefer the Remote and Nunchuck since it is the most streamlined control scheme. The Wheel is surprisingly good although it takes time getting used to, the Classic Controller I don't have, and the GameCube controller I didn't want it to feel like Double Dash all over again.
Graphics and Sound:
This game's 3D graphics and the stereo/surround sound are simply excellent. The course graphics were made so well, it would be near-realistic. Even some of the remixed themes of the retro courses were pulled off well. It has been taken to most of the limits of what the Nintendo Wii can handle.
While I have to say this is between the limits of Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart: Double Dash, Mario Kart Wii is still a great game (although not necessarily the best). It's worth the money to get, and most of this game is really great. Whether you're playing alone, with friends near you, or with competitors online around the world, Mario Kart Wii is a guaranteed great and fun game to play with a lot of replay value.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/15/08
Game Release: Mario Kart Wii (US, 04/27/08)
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