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Nostalgia may play some part, but roaring around a track in a cart and firing a red turtle shell at a foe right before they hit the finish line is something that seemingly never gets tiring for video gamers.
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Why should you check out Mario Kart 8 if you've still got past versions you know and love? Because it's the same great fun you've always had, but in a new way.
In previous versions, if you got spun out or got hit with an obstacle, there was still a great chance you could make your way to the front.
The only disappointment for me is the Battle Arena, which used to be a great "extra" way to play, but with no dedicated "battle" courses, just using the regular courses, you end up spending more time searching for other players to bash than actually battling them. It's an afterthought, but with the overall emphasis on the game being racing Basket Heart Puma Black
volume, there are one of two things at play, either a cash cow is being milked to the last drop, or an iconic classic concept has grabbed the cultural consciousness and won't let go.
In the past there was marginal difference between lightweight karts and racers and heavyweights. But now, if you pick a heavier racer like Bowser or DK, and you bash into someone smaller like Toad, you're going to seriously set them off course and spin them out. Likewise though, if that happens to you, you'll take much more time to get back up to speed.
What's right: Great courses, improved physics, fair use of power ups.
Funnily enough, Mario Kart 8 is doing something it hasn't really done before, and something racing games have danced with for years simulation has stepped up over the arcade model.
What's wrong: Battle mode could use some dedicated arenas.
NEWS AND NOTES
The game has a more collectible element than past games and of course Mario being Mario, that's done in the form of coins. Collect coins and cash them in on upgrades to your karts some performance based, some cosmetic, but it adds a little extra to the quest to race through every race.
Numb Thumb: Graphics A; Gameplay A; Value B; Control A. Overall an A on the Numb Puma Basket Heart Browns Thumb.
Racing against the CPU is one way to play, the other is versus friends. Up to four in local split screen online or up to 12 players and the online mode is smooth.
Mario Kart 8 is great
The courses, of course, are still crazy though they've been tweaked to feature loads of speed ramps that will test your control and require more tactful use of power slides as you hit a tight corner. That again keeps the Mario wackiness as a dominant ingredient but requires more driving skill to stay the course.
The courses are probably bigger stars than the characters and you'll find familiar ones, with 16 classic courses, and 16 new ones which offer great variety. Then, of course, there's mirror mode to race those same courses the other way.
Thankfully for video gamers, Mario Kart 8 just released for the Wii U fits into the second category.
Now, there's much less margin. If you get taken out, the ground you lose is going to be almost too much to make up unless you get some breaks of your own.
Now, that doesn't mean you're earning points to increase torque and put in restrictor plates, you're still dropping banana skins and shooting turtle shells, but racing skill plays a bigger part than any Mario Kart game I've ever played before.
The brilliance of Mario games is that while the characters and settings of the world they inhabit are built for the youngest of children, the games themselves have held appeal as those initial fans have grown into adults.
This is a huge week for gaming, as not only does Mario Kart 8 land, but one of the hottest new games, Watch Dogs, for PlayStation 3 and 4 and Xbox One and 360 is coming in on Monday. While we love follow ups to great games, getting a new franchise that works is one of the best things to have come along. Despite a ton of great AAA sequels last year, The Last of Us stood out because it was a new franchise. Watch Dogs follows the story of a super hacker who controls virtually every electronic device in the city of Chicago, a brilliant and fresh concept. Watch Dogs was originally tagged as a launch title for the new consoles but was delayed. But the early word is this should be one of the candidates for Game of the Year. Hats off to Ubisoft, who of course have a Montreal studio, and are consistently producing high quality blockbusters over and over again. I can't wait to get my hands on this one.
You will have to follow racing lines, be more careful in your passes and pay attention to the physics of characters and the karts.
But it's no reach at all to suggest that if you've been a Mario Kart fan in the past, that you must get this game. There's little chance you won't find this to be the best title in the series yet.
skill rather than arcade hi jinx, perhaps that's not too surprising.
This is not only a good direction to take a new version of the game, but it shows off the muscle of the Wii U as it really is the first Mario Kart game where you'll sense the real speed and physics as you pull around a corner.
And while Mario Kart 8 will add some real racing thrill to the games, there's still a gentle learning curve. The three classes, 50, 100 and 150 cc are there, and the first course for each "cup" in each class is quite forgiving. Young kids aren't going to have a problem getting up to speed with how to race.
Up to 30 characters are available, but some are palate swaps and some are the cringeworthy baby characters. OK, I get it, some people like the Baby Mario genre. I don't. If it's your thing though, five of them are in this game.
see anywhere near as many "levellers" like the ever present and almighty blue shell. In Mario Kart 8, you'll get to the front largely by your driving skill, and that's how you'll stay there.
There are still the power up boxes, and they're weighted as usual, but you won't Puma Creepers For Man
Rating: E for Everyone.
As with any episodic game, the natural question is "what's new"?
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