Review by The_Djoker
"It's a solid Mario Kart title but one that could have achieved and done so much more."
A new handheld gen a new system and another Mario Kart. It's not surprising to see Nintendo release their flagship Kart series on their new handheld, it is after all their money maker and one of Nintendo's biggest franchises. So what can you expect from this game?
I'm going to go through the important and different components/features of MK7 and evaluate them accordingly.
The single player component of MK7 is possibly the most disappointing of all the recent MK games especially compared to the recent Handheld Iteration Mario Kart DS. The main issues are the lack of variety and modes within the single player. There are 4 modes within Single player that includes the Standard Grand Prix, Time trials and the Battle/Coin modes. There isn't much to say about Grand Prix, it's your standard 8 Cups, 4 Races in each and the objective is to win all the Cups. Nothing new, however you unlock 8 different characters with every Gold cup win on 150cc Mode.
The Time trials and battle modes are fairly simple. The interesting feature of time trials is the ability to download ghosts of the tracks through the SpotPass online functionality. Battle modes allows for some custom variation with difficulty, track choice and item choice.
Overall the modes are the staple of the series. The most disappointing aspect is the lack of Vs Mode and the Mission mode from MKDS, which was a fantastic addition. VS Mode allows single player races with own preference of tracks, CPU and items. It's strange why the option to customize Battle mode is in but not the races. Very disappointing for a 2011 Kart racing game. Why can't I play 16 Track Grand Prix with CPU 150cc? Why can't I play races with no items with CPU!?? These decisions make no sense. Despite the 3DS having online capabilities, Nintendo will never allow DLC of that stature either. Disappointing.
The strongest part of MKWii was the online and this game does a solid job. There are a few issues with it such as lack of Leader boards, custom messaging and Voice chat but the new Community feature is a great add on and allows for groups to gather around and race each other and compete. Online races are also mostly lag free and a vastly superior experience compared to Mario Kart DS. Races are 8 player online and you can race as your own Mii online.
Local Multiplayer also works fairly well with cart download player and up to 8-player wireless. You can also customize races something completely missing from the single player component.
MK7 features 16 tracks from older games as well as 16 newer tracks. The Newer tracks are for the most part good but some of them have glitches, which unfortunately will not be patched, and others are just really frustrating to play through. The major new feature of some of these tracks is the underwater areas that allow you to drive underwater with propeller attached to the kart. This can be at times good for variation but slows down the pace and isn't all that fun.
This character roster has generated many complaints from fans. The main problem I have is only 16 characters. Before you ask every MK game has 8-16 characters you have to understand that in this game characters' do not make any difference to the speed/weight value of your carts. You can have any character race with heavy karts or light karts. The other issue is the un-lockable characters are rather underwhelming. Daisy again for some unknown reason makes a return (I don't know anyone who cares about this character!) and instead of household names such as Diddy Kong, Waluigi and King Boo we get Metal Mario which is effectively a Mute Mario clone and Queen Bee, a random character that no one really has any interest in. The additions of Lakitu and Shy Guy are great though as well as your own personal Mii which can be changed through the options. With all the negative points aside, I envy Nintendo for ditching the rubbish Baby characters which add NOTHING to the series. Baby characters should just disappear all together in my opinion and should never appear again. Ever.
The new features of MK7 aside from the online communities and spot pass content are that the Karts themselves can be customized. The parts of the karts include Wheels and attachments such as Gliders. By collecting coins from races you can unlock different wheels and Car bodies that vary in speed, acceleration, weight etc.. The glider is a new addition that allows karts to glide in the air for a certain amount of time.
I had a decent time with MK7 and will continue to have a decent time once all my Friends get the game. I am a bit disappointed with this little however simply because Nintendo didn't make any effort into the single player component of the game. A lot of people don't have 3DS machines yet and not everyone will play online. The lack of Mission and VS mode is staggering considering how much this game is going to sell. It's a solid Mario Kart title but one that could have achieved and done so much more. Overall it lacks ambition and doesn't do anything to evolve the genre. Nintendo put so much effort in making creative games like Mario 3D and the Galaxy games but that level of work and genius just doesn't apply here. You have to wonder how much effort Nintendo puts in the first place. For a series that sells millions you would expect a bit more. Fans will eat it up, unfortunately this is the 7th game and I expected a lot more.
My final thoughts would be to get this only if you have a lot of friends locally or online that love MK.
Final Score 6/10
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 12/05/11
Game Release: Mario Kart 7 (EU, 12/02/11)
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