Review by Ineedcheats7229

"Is this really the "best Mario Kart game yet"?(minor spoilers)"

I was ecstatic when I picked this game up on December 4th. The thought of racing through Land, Air and Sea along with several other neat features such as customizable Karts and fun-looking tracks, maybe the best yet in the MK series, made me more excited for this game than any other in the series. All of the above mentioned(and more) added glorious new elements that may make Mario Kart 7 the best Mario Kart game to date. But there are a few minor/major flaws that make up my sense of doubt.

The graphics are what Nintendo promised for the 3DS: just as powerful as the Wii. Eh, maybe they lied. Honestly the graphics of MK7 easily surpass those of MKW and maybe even Wii games overall. The game runs at a smooth 60 fps, both online and offline. The 3D in this game is just fine as well. Sparks that build up from drifting is what pop out at you the most, almost putting you right in the action. Some of the backgrounds and side structures in tracks are also very nice to look at as well. Notably Music Park and Rosalina's Ice World.

The music is great. The tracks always seem to fit the mood of the environment. Again Music Park is(obviously) the most notable. The way you race in that track actually triggers some of the music. Whenever the moment, it seems to fit with the default track. Another neat bit in the music fits with the new gliding and underwater modes. When gliding, the music fades and transitions into the sound of wind blowing past you. While underwater, the sound of bubbles generating and popping from the propeller from your kart takes place. More and more ways to get the player involved keep popping up here and there.

But of course, where this game REALLY excels is in the gameplay. Oh boy, where do I start?

I guess I'll start with what I just talked about, the new 2 racing modes. They both add great depth and variety to the game. Out of the two, I personally prefer underwater. The way how it alters your drifting and handling, it takes skill to gain mastery of the transition between it and land. But don't get me wrong, gliding throughout the air to get an edge over your opponents is very satisfying. Not only that, but gliding reveals otherwise unseen paths and strategies to open up even more variety to every race. Both underwater and gliding modes are solid and great additions to the game.

The roster of Mario Kart 7 has some great newcomers, but there has been some confusion as to why old need-to-be veterans aren't here. Mario Kart 7 has a small roster with only 16 characters (or 17 if you count Mii). The small roster surprised most, including me, after coming off of MKW which had about 10 more characters. But even with a smaller selection of characters, there was still a chance that MK7 would follow in the legendary Double Dash!!'s footsteps and come off with a small, but very very solid roster. Sad letdown. Old favorites like Birdo, Bowser Jr., Diddy Kong, along with necessary veterans such as Waluigi, were strangely excluded. The thing that made it worse was that highly unworthy characters(namely Honey Queen and Metal Mario, though I like Metal Mario) made it in over them. The best thing MK7 has to make up for it is the highly-awaited Wiggler and Shy Guy along with the surprise of everyone's favorite fisherkoopa, Lakitu. Honestly, it's personally enough for me.

The tracks in Mario Kart 7 are all very lively and full of imagination and polish. The new tracks have taken (apparently successful) risks of including several 1-lap tracks that are broken up into 3 segments. These tracks are Wuhu Loop, Maka Wuhu alias Wuhu Loop 2, and Rainbow Road. But those are subtopics for another time. Every track is carefully and beautifully designed and mapped out to give the player a chance to shine at every track. You can also find many references that are easily seen or hidden within the tracks. For example, DK Jungle is completely based off of Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Wii. Piranha Plant Slide is based off of the underground levels in the old Mario platformers. Every track is a sense of either a new or nostalgic experience, which is a great plus for a game like Mario Kart. The obstacles are also challenging and frustrating enough to have to take skill to get past some of them with ease. The retro tracks are each wonderfully remastered, most including the new gliding and underwater modes.

Now, on some Critic Reviews, you may find the common problem of "little to no customization options." Let me ask you this: has there even BEEN any customization options in any Mario Kart game yet? Exactly. The Coins mechanic had been added to the game. If you nab a Coin while in a race, you get a boost in your acceleration so you can get to your top speed quicker. However, these Coins also stack up to open up new Kart customization options. You can get a maximum of 10 Coins per race. I believe at first, you get a new part every 10 or 25 Coins. But as your number of Coins increases, the intervals for unlocking parts gets larger and larger. The last milestone I've hit is 1000 Coins, and I don't even think I'm close to getting all of the Kart parts. Little to no customization options my ear lobe. Not to mention that there are (keep in mind these are educated guesses) around 20 Kart bodies, 10 sets of wheels, and 5 gliders. Each part affects your stats and the way you race drastically, except maybe gliders. But even the smallest difference and determine a race. Also not to mention that each kart combination is even MORE drastically affected by your character's weight: light, middle, or heavy. So every Kart combination possible multiplied by 3. And from there you have hundreds of different stat totals to work with.

Now with all this praising going on, you may be asking, "why only an 8/10?" Well, I am about to explain that.

Another thing about Mario Kart 7 that still baffles many players today is the fact that single player VS mode was removed. This takes out the ability to play any given track at any given time with the click of a button. With that factored out, this leads players to play either boring Time Trials or online. So those without Internet connections for their 3DS are out in the cold and probably won't go very far with this game at all. However, there is one neat little feature to the game that I really like. You can download the latest Time Trial ghosts for each track via SpotPass, and race against 7 of them simultaneously. Virtually, it's like a normal race. However, this action can only be done if you have your Mario Kart Channel set up, which requires Internet connection anyway.

So what's so bad about using online if you have access to it? A lot. A whole lot my friend. The online play for Mario Kart 7 is without a doubt the worst in the series. It features endless lagging and glitches. Claims have been made of people starting the race before others, thus showing a warping action on the others' screens that gives the early player a huge and unfair advantage. Also, it may show you placing ahead of someone in the race on your screen, but in reality they placed ahead of you. This causes potential confusion and arguments between racers. The syncing is just bad overall. The error communications (though it may just be people ragequitting) are innumerable as well.

That's not all though. As of the MKW generation, I was one of the most serious Balloon Battle players out there. I took it just as seriously as racing. In Mario Kart 7, Battle mode is just horrific. It contains only 6 maps, and each one is either way too crammed or boring. It's slow paced and has just about zero action in it. The thing that pains me the most about about Battle mode in Mario Kart 7 is that Coin Runners.. actually easily surpasses Balloon Battle. *shivers* They're both horrible anyway.

Overall, this game may or may not be truly the best Mario Kart game yet, but it's still well worth my 40 bucks despite these setbacks. An enjoyable game that is a must-buy for any true Mario Kart fan; online or not.

+possibly best graphics yet from Nintendo
+great and catchy music tracks
+2 new exciting ways to play which are the gliding and underwater modes
+possibly the most fun and polished tracks in the MK series
+wonderfully remastered tracks
+multiple customization options making the difference in every race
+racing against 7 ghosts is as fun as a real race
-no singe player VS leaves out those without online connection and leads others to a horrid online play(-1 point)
-meh roster(- .5 points)
-horrible, slow-paced battle modes(-.5 points)

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 12/08/11

Game Release: Mario Kart 7 (US, 12/04/11)

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