Review by super_luigi16

"Ridiculous Physics, Ridiculously Fun"

As the sixth installment into the Mario Kart series, Mario Kart Wii takes motion controls to Mario Karting in a manner that has practically defined the Wii's lifespan and redefined gaming as a whole. Mario Kart Wii also seems to have redefined physics for itself, given its complete disregard for it in this game. Nevertheless, Mario Kart Wii is the sixth installment into the widely acclaimed Mario Kart series that has found a home on every Nintendo console since the SNES. And, with each successive release, Mario Kart continues to get larger and more respectable as a videogame. (I'm sorry, but Mario Kart 64 is a disservice to the franchise; Diddy Kong Racing is the proper Nintendo 64 racing game). And now here we are. At the starting line again. However, Nintendo's latest effort at a racing title is a victory lap in certain instances, but a complete spin out in others.

Mario Bike Wii

Mario Kart Wii's gimmick--I hate the overuse of that word, but it's fitting with this franchise--is bikes. Yep, bikes. In addition to the eighteen karts in this game, there are eighteen bikes that drive alongside them. There are a few differences between karts and bikes, the most noticeable being the drift patterns and the kart's ability to get orange miniturbos which is compensated by the bikes getting wheelies, but they still follow many of the same mechanics. Bikes spice up both the online world and the main game itself by allowing players to choose vastly different control options (bikes handle very differently than karts). Furthermore, bikes can be a blast to drive once you know what you're doing.

However, there are some glaring issues when it comes to bikes. At higher levels, it becomes painfully obvious that bikes are hideously overpowered when compared to karts. A competent biker can easily outrun a competent karter, and this is a by-product of poor balancing on Nintendo's part. The bike's wheelie is much speedier than the kart's orange mini-turbo, and bikes tend to have much more versatility with their two wheels; both of these come together to make bikes slightly favored in almost all tracks (the two major exceptions being Rainbow Road and GCN DK Mountain). Basically, if you aren't racing as a bike online, you're either damn good with a kart, or you're struggling to keep up with a kart.

This is a blatantly easy fix. Simply make bike's wheelies slower and the problem is mostly resolved. Or you can even make karts slightly faster. Apparently Nintendo wasn't worried about this problem, and, to be frank, you really shouldn't be either. As long as you keep with bikes, you should be fine both online and offline—it really isn't that big of a deal. However, this notion has basically transformed Mario Kart Wii into Mario Bike Wii. It's not necessarily bad so much as it is disappointing.

The Most Expanisve Mario Kart Thus Far

The aspect that Mario Kart Wii thrives in is the sheer amount of content and unlockables that the game offers. There are twenty-four characters spanning three weight classes, thirty-six vehicles spanning three weight classes, thirty-two tracks spanning eight cups, ten battle tracks, two battle modes, two online modes, two drifting systems, four controls systems, and offline customization that dwarfs those of any other Mario Kart thus far. It is simply amazing the amount of content that Mario Kart Wii has packed into its disc.

And nearly all of these different tracks, vehicles, drift modes, controls systems, and battle modes are well-made. For instance, with the four different ways to play: there's the Wii Wheel (packaged with the system), the GameCube controller, the Classic Controller Pro, and the Wiimote + Nunchuk. Each of these controls systems function smoothly, and I know plenty of people who main each and every one of those controls system. Furthermore, the content within the game itself is also executed brilliantly. The courses are the most engaging thus far (however, there are some major missteps), and they look significantly better than the previous Mario Karts (barring, perhaps, Double Dash!!). Mario Kart Wii looks like a seventh generation racing game.

Quite Possibly Nintendo's Best Attempt at Online

Nintendo has had many failures with online play, ranging from Brawl to Mario Tennis Open, but Mario Kart Wii should be the apple of their eye. Mario Kart Wii excels where other Mario games have fallen short, as the online is both vibrant and maintained. The ranking system is an added plus, as are private rooms. In fact, private friend rooms are probably the best addition in all of Mario Kart Wii as they allow races with only people you know to be decent and/or clean racers. Furthermore, connection problems are few and far between; they are mostly the result of the player's internet speed rather than Nintendo's servers. The online adds countless hours of replayability to an already engaging game; it is simply that good.

The Developers Flunked Intro. to Physics...

What does hold Mario Kart Wii back is the blatant disregard for practically all of Newton's Laws. Many of the collisions, driving problems, and other mishaps on the tracks can be traced back to poor physics and/or the design allowing such terrible physics. I cannot count the number of times I have been rejected by a half-pipe (the game has literally pushed my bike away from the half-pipe) or the number of times I have bounced off of the course riding a bike that likely weighs upwards of 500 pounds (200 kilos). It is frankly unfathomable that such problems are present in a seventh gen racing game.

Some of it is a ridiculous by-product of the course design. For instance, one half-pipe/jump on Rainbow Road just begs for you to screw up one of four ways: hit the wall on the left, hit the wall on the right, fly off to the right on the other side, or get hit midway through. Other physics failures are the result of poor programming; for example, every vehicle now has a “bounciness factor” that determines how much they bounce after jumps. It, in all practicality, kills the pragmatic use of some vehicles (Magikruiser) that might otherwise by usable; even one of the heaviest vehicles in the game--the Jetsetter--suffer from this terrible programming! The outright ignorance of basic physics programming is what really hinders the playability of this game--not the item balance (which is superb), not the bike/kart matchup, not the lack of gameplay options, but the terrible physics.

Still the Best Mario Kart to Date

Despite the failure to utilize even Double Dash!!'s concept of physics--which was exemplary--Mario Kart Wii still stands out among the other Mario Karts. It is the most modern title to-date with upgrades and updates that simply stand out among other Mario Karts and other racing titles in general. The online is a huge plus, as is the sheer content; it goes above and beyond with respect to those elements. Hence, I recommend that you pick up Mario Kart Wii--it is well worth your money.

FINAL SCORE: 8/10

The Content
+ Expansive
+ Engaging tracks and battle courses
+ Coin Runners and Balloon Battle compliment each other well
+ Superb amount of vehicles and characters
+ Inclusion of bikes
- Still haven't moved beyond 32 tracks
- Lack of Mission Mode

The Gameplay
+ Smooth for the most part
+ Decent difficulty
+ Good balance
+ Noticeable skill curve
+ Decent track design
- TERRIBLE PHYSICS
- Bikes are far better than karts

The Music
+ Most songs are good and reflective of the course
- Some poor compositions (Koopa Cape, Shy Guy Beach, etc.)

The Graphics
+ Good graphics for the Wii
- Not very impressive

Replayability
+ Online mode adds infinite replayability
+ Plenty of unlockables to keep it interesting


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/27/12

Game Release: Mario Kart Wii (US, 04/27/08)


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