Mariokart 8Unknown - 2014
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I found two great details about this game that show Nintendo is trying to make this a friendly game for everyone. The first is the online mode- where you may race against players around the world. A rating is recorded based on how good of a racer you are. Your rating begins at 1000, and rises and falls depending on whether you place within the top or bottom half of each race's finishers. However, The reward for placing in the top half is much greater than the penalty for placing 7th or below in a race. This makes everyone's overall rating increase over time naturally, giving the game an "everybody wins" feel.
The second detail I found was that there is not a single Mario Kart game within its long series that offers the option to turn off items. This is certainly something that did not slip Nintendo's mind, as another party game of theirs, the Super Smash Bros. series, offers complete control of the items that appear in a battle. Nintendo chose to not allow item disabling in Mario Kart because items can be GAME CHANGING. Aside from adding a fun and exciting layer to each race, they can have drastic effects on the outcome of a match, having the power to put a first place driver behind the whole pack, and bring a driver back from the pits of despair to the forefront of the race- all within seconds. Considering how the more powerful items favour the losing drivers, and that they can be used with the simple push of a button, they really keep the race close between a beginner and veteran player. This is what makes Mario Kart one of the most well known party games out there- besides having Mario as the mascot of course.
Mario Kart 8 doesn't come without its flaws. Although it managed to maintain its entertaining and classic party feel to the gameplay, and had better graphics than ever, it didn't really add anything to the game either. It contained some different characters, and new tracks as always, but the total number of characters has actually decreased since Mario Kart Wii, the Kart stats feature is no longer as intricate as in that game, and even customizable karts and online play were available in its predecessor for the 3DS, Mario Kart 7. Nintendo's compensation for its smaller roster and equal number of stages are with Downloadable content characters and race tracks... That must be paid extra money for on the Nintendo E-Shop. Talk about a major money grab Nintendo. As if all of your special edition, slightly altered DS systems weren't enough. It DID add the brutally difficult 200cc as free DLC however, something series veterans could appreciate for the new challenge.
I give Mario Kart 8 a 7.7/10 rating. The game does what it intends to do as a party game and as a member of the Mario Kart series well- be entertaining and simple fun for everyone. But as a new generation game, it sort of left me underwhelmed with the lack of additional content and changes from previous games that it's predecessors managed to deliver each time. I think Nintendo either played this game a little too safe making it, or this was all part of their plan to suck your wallet dry with DLC content.
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