Mario Kart Wii Review - The Next Level

Game Profile

System:
Nintendo Wii
Release date:
April 27, 2008
Publisher:
Nintendo
Developer:
Nintendo
Players:
1 - 4
1 - 12 (online)
Genre:
Racing
ESRB:
E

Mario Kart Wii

Same great thrills repackaged for the Wii generation.

Review by Chris Bahn (Email)
May 23rd 2008

I was staring at the screen extremely flustered. If things came true with a simple thought, I'd remove every last desire from every gamer to use those accursed blue shells, along with every other power-up item that would impede my well-deserved victories. "That would teach 'em to use some more skill," I shouted at the TV. The unexpected defeat, causing me to end up in dead last, was not the highlight of my night. The loss was a swift kick to my ego, but I'd have to just suck it up and up the ante for the next round!

As many of you have figured out from my past experiences in multiplayer games, my competitive nature can get the best of me. Though I know that Mario Kart Wii isn't a game that should be taken too seriously, it's often difficult to keep that simple fact in check. It doesn't help that lately I've come to one conclusion: this franchise MUST evolve. It never fails. Like a longtime crush, I give in to my impulses with each new MK release, knowing full well the game will end up offering more or less the same experience from previous iterations. Mario Kart: Double Dash was one of the first games to actually deliver something innovative. Yes, that would be the co-op feature that's sadly nowhere to be found in the Wii edition. Odd that we can get the same rehashed levels since the SNES era, but yet the coolest feature to come along in years gets left on the cutting block?

By now, you're probably thinking that I'm a jaded gamer who isn't capable of hanging with the big boys (and girls) online. Far from it. I've dealt with my share of defeat on occasions (DOA4, Bomberman Live, Street Fighter Anniversary Collection, etc.) and it's often assumed that I actually sit around 40 hours a week with nothing better to do than to be virtually bullied by self-proclaimed champions. Some of the assumptions make me want to gag (or do something much worse that I won't express here).


Nintendo should start evaluating the direction of the franchise to take a fresh new approach if they expect to draw in even more casual players (while keeping the hardcore fanbase satisfied).

See, the thing is I've grown tired of the fact this particular Nintendo franchise has failed to evolve like others have done over the years. I'm actually amazed that it's gone this far and the fanfare hasn't fizzled. It remains to be seen if Nintendo's stance is to retain the alleged award-winning formula or on a simpler theory: maybe they're just afraid to afraid to take risks like Criterion did with Burnout: Paradise. If you're fond of the "ain't broke, don't' fix it" credo, Mario Kart Wii will certainly fit the bill. Select stages that encompass all of Nintendo's classic platforms from the SNES right up to the GameCube make their return. I appreciate the throwback nod, but c'mon guys - you should be able to deliver a lot more original levels rather than giving fans a retread.

There are a few new additions to this installment, such as the mini-turbo system which I'm still warming up to. In an effort to level the playing field for amateur players, Nintendo decided to give the drifting system a complete overhaul. In previous releases, drifting was based on controller output, but now to some degree, it's actually tied to how you drift. I am sure this has raised a bit of controversy amongst the hardcore audience, which isn't doing a lot of good for the current reputation of the franchise already accused of being too noob-friendly and incredibly random. Situations like the one expressed in the intro happen WAY too often. I get that Nintendo wants to make the Wii more universally accessible, but does the gameplay need to be dumbed down so much that people who'd normally are reluctant to pick up a controller can be winners too?

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