Review by Mamsaac
Nice, nice... I thought I would be disappointed of this game but I couldn't expect more than this.
Since the beginning of the Mario Kart series on the SNES, I've played all of them and enjoyed to the max only two, Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart Super Circuit. Even though the games from the N64 and GCN weren't bad, I never got to have an addiction to it so it actually really made me feel far from the series. When I heard they would make a Mario Kart for the DS, I thought they would eventually just make one more, like they have done with the Mario Party's. So, I read the previews from different websites and got even more disappointed about the idea of this game. "Only 4 players online", "No battle mode for online", "You can't play all tracks with one cartridge when trying on multiplayer", etc. My brother was really expecting the game and decided to buy the only one that got to the local popular videogame store. He got it for 50 dollars (mexican videogames are expensive) and asked me if I would pay for it or if I didn't want to play it. (we divide the games /2 so that each has the same rights to play it). I said: let me play it online and then we see. For godsake, I've been "checking if I want to pay for it" for the last 24 hours. Really, I never expected to see such a good Mario Kart for the DS.
So, let's see what I think about each point, I hope this will be helpful to anyone that wants to know if Nintendo did a good job:
Possibly the best you can find on the DS so far. There is not only good designs on almost everything new you will se in the game, but you will also see some nice Visual Effects on the tracks and all those small details that make a normal game big, visually. The characters are very well designed, you will see some details on cars and tracks that you won't notice unless you've played really long time. At the beginning, everyone will be comparing it to the N64 graphics and the difference between these and those are huge. You will see more polygons, effects, detailed designs and big new levels. I loved the new tracks, enjoy them.
This is one of my favorite aspects of the Mario Kart series. The music has always been extremely simple, easy to perform, but at the same time entertaining and really catchy. I like that. I'm sure that if you play this game long enough you will end up humming them at school. The sounds are very nice. You will be listening to screams, happy expressions and of course, the car sounds all the time, but unlike Double Dash, this time it isn't exaggerated. You won't get tired of them as you might have with DD. There are many and you won't be hearing the same sounds over and over which works as it had to be. The old tracks keep the same music (which are classics 'cause they are great), the new ones get new music. I expected bad new songs, but I guess I was wrong.
This is where I expected to be giving it a 6. MK:DD had IMHO a disappointing gameplay. Even when I enjoyed having two characters on the same car, (something that doesn't happen in here) the speed sensation, the way you did turns, the crashes, all those were bad. It just didn't feel right, even when you could do it easily enough to keep playing, you want a little more realistic game. Now, you really have to be careful when it comes to crash into something from the track, since your speed will dramatically fall and you will have to turn immediately or you will lose lots of time. I like that. You have to be more careful, you have to concentrate yourself more on driving than in looking at the nice scenery you have . The game still focuses on using the crazy cool items, which I give thanks since it's the center of the game, but now the driving skills are more important. People who played Need For Speed and Project Gotham Racing series have always complained about this. "You don't need to know how to drive". And even though you had to know something, this time you HAVE to have at least some ability to it.
Looking at other factors, the multiplayer options are nice. You can Race for a Star (which lasts long with 8 players), fight in the already classic Balloon mode or have the obviously existing races. One thing I liked is how you can play with 6 computers and 2 players by only using one cartridge (by now I haven't used 2 cartridges so I don't know how it works). The game never gets lagged which is very important. I played for 2 hours with my brother yesterday and it never disconnected or lagged.
Another thing I wasn't looking for. I was wrong.. again. So, you don't get battle mode, but you will NEVER get lagged.. I've played in the Continental (people from your continent)and Worldwide so far and I haven't had any problems. The max number of racers is 4. Sometimes you only get to be 3 people racing, but I guess that will change with time since more and more people will be buying MK:DS. Each player gets their victories and losses recorded so that you will know who you have to keep an eye on. That's nice. Also, if you want to play with someone you know from GameFAQs or anywhere else you just have to ask for his/her "ID number" and you just have to choose the option to play with friends. You can also design your own logo so that you can get recognized by people when you play. That's a nice touch. Again, what I think is the most important thing on online gaming is that it never has to lag and so far it hasn't.
Replay Value: 10
Online gaming=lots of replay value. Specially when the online gaming is good, and this one is. If you don't have a router as I had before getting this game, there is one specially designed for DS online which seems cheap enough for me. Now, if you are not interested in online gaming (you are wrong if you are like this, but it happens sometimes), you have 32 tracks to play over and over. The CPU is enough hard to make a challenge (I'm playing in the 100cc and it takes a little challenge to win with all the points) and you can get wireless multiplayer with anyone. I don't see anything that could possibly ruin it's replay value, so don't worry about it. I think this game is addicting.
There are some things that couldn't go in other categories. For example, that for the very first time, a Nintendo game is on SPANISH. For us, latinamericans I'm sure that makes some good points. I guess the game could have been a little better, but since it is "early" for the DS, I think it is really really good. Other than that, I recommend this to buy, not rent. I don't see the point in renting this game since it's more important thing is the replay value. Just get it, it is actually very cheap.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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