Mario Kart 8 Review

Mario Kart 8 is Racing Into Our Hearts

10/5/2014

Fernando & Kiara Lyons


Mario Kart 8 has been out for some time, but we figured it would be a good game to review, since it is one of the best games on Nintendo's Wii U console.  One of the first things you will notice about this games are the graphics.  This is one of the most visually appealing games on any console.  The Wii U is considered to have last generation graphics when compared with the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, but Mario Kart 8 is able to hold its own in the graphics category against almost any game on those systems.  The characters are presented in Pixar-like detail, and the interactive environments are bright, colorful, and well designed.  The game runs at a smooth 1080p/60fps.  The tracks were designed with a high level of creativity and are laid out very well, with useful item boxes scattered throughout.  Even the more difficult tracks are a joy to race.  We enjoy watching the replays of our matches (in slow motion), just so that we can see the fine environmental details and hidden shortcuts, that we missed during the race.  Some tracks have you racing under water, through the air, and on the walls (antigravity).  Like in the handheld version (Mario Kart 7), your vehicle now transforms to adapt to the changing racing conditions. 


This game also excels in the audio category.  We have a Wii U hooked up to a 7.1 surround sound system, and all of the sound comes across crisply.  You can clearly hear each instrument in each background tune of the orchestral soundtrack, and the subtle sound effects helps further immerse players into the game.  The game has a good roster of familiar Nintendo characters, including Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Bowser, etc., with more including Link (Zelda), to be released as downloadable content, in November and May 2015.  Each character has his or her advantages and  disadvantages, however, some characters are noticeably stronger racers than others.  Up to four players can race locally via split-screen (frame rate drops from 60 fps to 30 fps with three or more players), and up to 12 players can race competitively online in a single race.  The game's online features are basic and a little disappointing.  We occasionally experience some lag when playing in the online mode, and online chat is limited to friends-only lobbies.  There is no in-game chat.  The same level of creativity and attention to detail that the developers applied to the rest of the game should have been applied to the Battle Mode.  Most of the tracks in the Battle Mode are recycled and repurposed tracks from the regular game.        


Overall, this is one of the best and most fun games that you can buy for the Wii U or any gaming system.  No Wii U owner should not have this game in his or her library.   

 

Bottom Line:

+ Amazing Graphics and Overall Aesthetic, Well-Designed Race Tracks, Excellent Audio and Soundtrack,

- Lack of Balance Between Characters, Lackluster Online Features, Battle Mode Lacks Creativity 


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