Unsuprisingly, Mario Kart delivers again!
Review written by
Randolph the Grey
Hopefully everyone here knows Mario Kart. The series is nearly as popular as Super Smash Bros and offers top quality multiplayer action. However, it seems that in the light of Smash Bros Brawl, and even Super Mario Galaxy, that Mario Kart Wii has taken a back seat. However, to ignore this game would be to ignore some of the most fast-paced, frenetic action available on Wii!
Mario Kart has always had some of the best gameplay out there. The controls are intuitive, and there's plenty of variety between levels and characters. Mario Kart Wii increases the intuitiveness exponentially: the intuitive controls can now be assigned to an easy-to-play Wii Wheel. Believe it or not, the Wheel actually works, and is much better than the previous incarnations made by third-parties. Not only does the Wii Wheel work, but it is made with a little "hole" on the side so you can still use your Wii Remotes infrared capabilities.
It doesn't take long before you know the turning angles by heart, and the B button on the back of the wheel makes drifting easy, much easier than say, pressing the trigger if you were using the Wii remote without the shell.
So while the Wii Wheel gets the spotlight, you can still use your Wii Remote/Nunchuk option, your Gamecube controller, or your classic controller. I personally prefer the Wheel or the Classic controller.
Unfortunately, if you weren't a fan of Mario Kart in the past, the Wii installment won't suddenly make you a believer. The extremely random behavior of items and the sometimes frustrating AI of the Grand Prix mode still persist. However, if you're already a fan, you'll love this game perhaps even more than the SNES or N64 versions.
The graphics unfortunately are probably some of the weakest of any first-party efforts we've seen. If you compare Mario Kart Wii to Smash Bros Brawl, it looks terrible. Saying that, compared to most third-party offerings, Mario Kart still looks pretty good.
Definitely the low point of the game, the blocky appearance of the environments and characters is disappointing. However, you won't really be paying that much attention to the graphics during gameplay, so it is forgivable to an extent.
The music in Mario Kart Wii is similar to most previous games: forgettable. Although some are catchy, most just aren't as good as other Nintendo games, but it doesn't detract from the experience too much.
The WFC functionality of Mario Kart Wii makes for undoubtedly the best online multiplayer experience available on Wii, if not some of the best on any console. The connection has never been dropped on me, and the matches are always quick to connect. I really enjoy the fact that while you're waiting for your first match, you can watch you opponents finishing their current match.
The online battle mode is fantastic as well, although the offline battle mode is dumbed down. Online, the battle mode is fast and frantic, and always keeps you on the edge-of-your-seat. It's actually just as much fun as the races, which is a first for the series.
Offline, there is a crazy amount of unlockables, such as nine new karts and nine new bikes, as well as a host of secret characters. You'll be keeping yourself busy for a long time.
Don't let yourself miss out on the best online game for Wii! Super Smash Bros' completely bare online mode is dust compared to Mario Kart. This game should not be overshadowed, it deserves all of the attention it can get, because Nintendo has finally capitalized on its WFC! I was surprised by how many unlockables there were and by the smooth online multiplayer. This is a game that you cannot afford to miss.
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