Mario Kart Wii is the Best Racing Game on the Wii so Far
Mario Kart Wii is one of those games that offer both lighthearted fun for casual play, as well as some gaming depth for a more serious type of player. The game has improved vastly over its Gamecube predecesor, gathering more elements from the DS version than the GC format. Yet, this is a pretty good thing since it is a sort of "back to basics" for the franchise, however adds some elements to keep it fresh.
The game has no story or background, however, most racing games don´t have one either so this is not an issue. From a certain point of view, it is actually a good thing because it keeps the racing, stripped to its bare basics, as the focus of the game.
The default control scheme using the wii wheel feels great. The wiimote fits into the wheel sideways, leaving all the buttons easily accesable, and adds an aid to help press the B button with ease. The grip of the wheel feels solid and accurate, and in the game, its behavior is terrific. The A button is used to accelerate, B is the handbrake (sort of), 2 is used to launch items and...well that's pretty much it. Although it sounds rather plain, the wii motion steering adds a lot of depth and fun to the game; it is intuitive and easy to learn, yet needs practice to master.
The game also expands in terms of content, adding more unlockables and new challenges. The tracks i the game, although aren´t vast in number, prove to be very diverse considering that they are gathered from all the previous installments of the franchise adding a sense of nostalgia to the game. There are 32 tracks in total, half of them being completely new to the wii version. This tracks in particular are awesome, since they interact more with the player, and add new "textures" to the game, i comparison to some of the old, rather plain tracks.
In terms of characters, the game has expanded vastly, including the classic lineup pf mario kart games as well as newcomers (there is even a way to unlock playing with your Mii). Although characters within the same weight class feel prett much the same, it adds some aesthetic value to the game, as well as replay value.
One of the best things (if not the best) about this game is the online play. The Nintendo WFC works brilliantly, with an easy to use interface that picks oponents from all over the world very quickly, mainly because there is a lot of people playing this game online. The gameplay itself is almost completely lag free (considering you have a good internet connection) and the opponents selected for you to race with are generally within the same level or skill as you are (based on a points system that can only be earned while playing online).
Concensus: Mario Kart Wii is easy to pick up and play, yet its control scheme, length and progressive difficulty will also give veteran players a rush. Added to the gorgeous tracks, variety of karts and characters, and just plain fun, is one of those games that can be easily recommended to almost anyone who owns a wii.
Replay Value 4/5