Friday, June 30, 2017

After the Fact - Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo Switch)

It's now been two months since Mario Kart 8 Deluxe got its initial release on the Nintendo Switch. For another a review I'll be making on it now, despite not reviewing the original copy on the Wii U first off, I shall only really be discussing the newly introduced features it added to the game. Gameplay, graphics, and sound design on the basic game itself I shall discuss in my review for it's original Wii U self, but now, on with my thoughts on it...

There have been plenty of new features throughout each new Mario Kart game, and over the course of them all, they've all been welcome editions even if some weren't necessary for anymore sequels (I'm looking at Double Dash!!'s Co-Op feature). From stunts you can perform for major boosts to gliders and anti-gravity racing, they're all great. The new features here though are more weight classes than in the original throughout the three different primary classes; light, medium, and heavy. It's not necessarily anything new, and doesn't add anything to the game really, but I don't mind it. We also have the smart-steering antenna used to help you not to fall off courses to avoid losing coins, but at a price, it also means you can't do risky stunts, so that's really not much help either other than for any TODDLERS who are playing the game. You also have the Ultra Mini-Turbo boost you get if you keep steering long enough after the orange ones, but only if you turn of the unnecessary Smart Steering. Other features like the fire hopping mechanic (where you jump left and right simultaneously) has been removed, but with 200cc driving in Time Trail mode for a faster drive, then that's where I don't mind this mechanic being scrapped (and besides, I hardly ever find it useful in the first place).

For the most part, there's really not much I can say about these particular features since they really don't feel that new, but this IS a direct report of the original Wii U title after all. But for now, let's discuss the other features the game fixes up.

Now this is the mode the Switch remake has completely improved upon the original. As with every other Mario Kart game, Battle Mode has been handled very simply because instead of battling it out on tracks, with balloons, or collect coins, or holding a shine sprite for the longest time possible, you're in arenas INSTEAD of the game's ordinary race tracks. I don't know exactly what Nintendo was thinking when using race courses in the battle mode at first rather than arenas like stadiums and stuff, but that was what clearly effected the potential perfection for the game's reception. But now that the remake has been made, I can forget the original version's flaws.

There is of course the usual Balloon Battle where you pop as many balloons from your opponents as you can, Coin Runners, where you grab and collect as many coins as you can within a time limit against your opponents, but we're also brought back Bom-omb Blast and Shine Thief (both of which were originally) from Double Dash!!. Although Bom-omb Blast is super fun when you bomb your rivals endlessly, I really would've prefer Shine Runners from DS to be brought back instead of Shine Thief, but it is understandable that Thief was used here instead, considering it would've been just like Coin Runners except if you replace the coins with Shine Sprites of course, but anyway.

So while Shine Thief isn't exactly the most interesting of the mode, the rest (especially Balloon Battle especially win me over in the mode with great passion as to why I prefer the remake over the original.

There have been so many fantastic racers that have been a blast to choose from throughout each Mario Kart game after Super Circuit (since the libraries got bigger and bigger - primarily on the home console games though), but none of them have been quite as attractive of a roster as the 8th game's redux. New ones like the Tanooki Mario and Cat Peach were already introduced in the original game via one of its two DLC packs, not to mention Link and the Animal Crossing characters, but with the Inklings, that's a fantastic new edition of racing characters to come. It's cool that charcters from previous games like Dry Bowser and Bowser Jr. were finally brought back, but the great thing about the roster is that they're all already unlocked bar Gold Mario who is unlocked by completing every single Grand Prix cup on every difficulty level.

My main flaw with this particular character roster though are all the Koopalings (that really seem to cram too much of the roster up) and a lack of newer Mario characters, not to mention a few from Donkey Kong's games, but that's something I'm hoping will be done greater with in every sequel after this; especially the potential 9th game on the Switch sometime later. So no roster in the franchise is perfect by my standards, but what's more important is all the fun you have while playing as them... assuming you're okay with playing as one character or another in the library.

Whether you prefer to buy the remake on the Switch or not if you haven't already for the past two months, you at least shouldn't deny that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has certainly done the original justice with everything I just mentioned here. So while some great throwbacks like items from the previous games coming back is good, along with bringing back Battle Mode's classic perfected roots back, there's a lot of hope to have for the 9th game on the console (possibly), but that's not to say this remake of the originally Wii U outing is bad whatsoever. I didn't have much to discuss with the new controls to the game as that's for me to discuss on the console itself in general, but with everything good I've considered about it, Deluxe is one remake you simply must own at all costs.

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