Mii support? Check. Online? Check. Start the countdown.
Mario Kart Wii is a game of its predecessors. It is a safe and plausible new addition to the Mario Kart universe. The game feels familiar from the beginning, Grand Prix, Time Trial, VS and Battle modes are all there. There are changes, a wheel that comes with the game, dual players of Double Dash are gone motorcycles are in. The control scheme now has four choices, wii wheel, nunchuk and wii remote, GameCube controller and the classic controller.
At the beginning, you’re asked to create a license by selecting your mii of choice. You are then presented with a selection screen. Single Player allows you to play the Grand Prix races, 50cc, 100cc, 150cc. Playing these allows you to unlock many things within the game, including your very own mii. There are thirty two tracks, from a wide range of Mario Kart incarnations, four for every Cup Race. Multiplayer is your local matches with up to two to four people, with four modes of choice. Nintendo WFC is your portal to the online Mario Kart Wii universe, using your wi-fi connection. You can choose one or two players, two players being split screen, after you choose you can play VS or Battle. VS mode allows online racing action with up to twelve people. You can choose worldwide, regional or friends. Battle mode is the same, except its team based for the games of Balloon Battle and Coin Runners. The Mario Kart Channel can be accessed either in the game menu or through the Wii Menu; you will be prompted if you wish to do this. Through the Mario Kart Channel you can access your friends, register friends, race ghosts, download ghosts, check your rankings, and race in tournaments.
The game has a lot to offer the Wii owner just entering the Mario Kart universe and past players from the Super Nintendo days, online being my favorite and most addictive, having not played the Mario Kart DS version, I can’t compare the two. The gameplay has been refined as to become more accessible to many people. I find the wii remote and nunchuk most comfortable, but I have been beat many times online with someone using the wii wheel. I was never a fan of the battle modes; I’ve played a few times on single player to practice and online, but I always return to VS mode in online play. The “one more game” theme plays a prominent role for me. You’re given a VR rating of 5000 at the beginning of your online play, VS or Battle, this will go up or down according to how you play. When you do go online the VR rating somewhat determines whom you play with. I’m usually around 7000 plus, when my VR ranking goes down I find much easier competition, when my VR ranking goes up the competition becomes very stiff. Then there are the zen moments, either you can’t be beat or you respect your opponents to the point that by the fifth race you feel he or she is your friend. Those are the friend codes you would like to have but probably will never have, the only fault in a great experience, as you try to recapture it by playing just one more game.
With graphics that run smooth as silk, addition of new tracks, being online and so many options of play, you can’t go wrong with this one. Could there have been more tracks? Sure. How about voice chat? I don’t know. How about the power- ups? They could have toned them down but, with practice you learn to deal with them. Did they mess with Battle Mode to much? According to my nephew, too much change was a bad thing. The real question is did they improve Mario Kart? Yes. Did they reinvent the wheel? No.