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dbarry_22's Video Game Reviews (221)

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Kirby's Dream Course 3.5/5
SteamWorld Dig 4/5
Super Mario Odyssey 5/5
Star Fox 2 3/5
Metroid: Samus Returns 4/5
Dragon Quest VI: Realms... 4/5
Super Mario RPG: Legend... 4.5/5
The Legend of Zelda: Br... 5/5
Blaster Master Zero 4/5
Dragon Quest Heroes: Th... 4/5
Super Mario 3D Land 4.5/5
Castlevania: Dawn of So... 4.5/5
Bravely Second: End Lay... 4/5
Inside 4/5
The Legend of Zelda: Tw... 4.5/5
No Man's Sky 3/5
Mighty No. 9 3/5
Mario Golf: World Tour 4/5
Mario Kart 8 4.5/5
NES Remix 2 4/5
R.B.I. Baseball 14 2/5
Bravely Default 4.5/5
NES Remix 4/5
The Legend of Zelda: A ... 5/5
Dr. Luigi 3.5/5

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Mario Kart 8   Wii U 

Same Great Racing and Fun, Now in HD    4.5/5 stars

Mario Kart 8's subtle additions along with excellent graphics and music make this a must own game for those who have purchased a WiiU. Nintendo didn't exactly overhaul the Mario Kart formula in this game. In fact, if you played Mario Kart 7 on the 3DS you'll see a ton of similarities. While I didn't overwhelmingly enjoy the 3DS version of Mario Kart, I found the WiiU version quite fun.

Mario Kart 8 still has the same class system for races. There's 50cc, 100cc, and 150cc along with a mirror mode if you beat the first 3 classes. I still think the 50cc class is almost worthless but it is a good way to introduce you to all the tracks. When you unlock all the characters there are 30 from which you can choose including all the classic characters you'd expect along with all the Koopalings and your Mii. There are also an almost limitless selection of karts, bikes, and ATV's where you can pick your wheels and gliders. By pressing the "+" button during that selection you can see the stats for you customized vehicle. Depending on the weight of your character, in general there are only truly 3 or 4 different stats for each kart, wheel, and glider but it's nice to be able to make your kart look the way you want. A lot of the unlocking of characters and parts comes just from playing and accumulating coins so you don't have to worry much about dominating in order to open up most of the stuff.

There are several different ways you can race. You can play with the Gamepad using the joystick, D-pad, or you can set it up to drive it like a wheel using motion controls. You can use the wii-remote nunchuck combo, the Pro Controller, or the Wii-mote like a wheel like in the Wii version. In Mario Kart Wii I judged anyone who didn't use the wii-mote like a wheel because that's what the game was designed for. But, now I feel in this version it's fine to use whatever you feel comfortable with since there are so many options. Also if you were curious Nintendo took out the broken wheelie system from the Wii version. No longer can you pick a motorbike and cruise to first-place simply by using a wheelie all the time. Thank you Nintendo!

Just like Mario Kart 7 on the 3DS coins are back in the mix during the races. You can accumulate up to 10 coins each race and the higher the coin count the higher the top speed for your kart. One nice thing is that if you start the race in last the game will spot you a few coins to help offset things. This way you can get up to the top of the pack easier and you aren't in so much trouble when trying to get coins that the karts in front of you will likely grab. This might be the best incorporation of coins in a Mario Kart game yet.

The formula hasn't changed when it comes to courses either. There are 32 tracks, 16 of them brand new and 16 taken from previous Mario Kart games. But, the classic tracks have been altered a bit to accommodate the new anti-gravity elements. While I felt Mario Kart 7 lacked in the new track department, I felt Nintendo put together several winners in this game. There's a course where you basically ski down a hill, one at an airport, a haunted mansion and of course a rainbow road. They brought in multiple ways to attack most of the courses too which I like, it lessens the congestion and gives you the chance to take on more or less risk. In general I'd say these aren't shortcuts, for the most part each separate way will take you about the same amount of time. Don't get me wrong, there are a few short cuts but for the most part you need a mushroom to access it in way that will be really beneficial.

At first I questioned the anti-gravity element to the game but as I played it grew on me. When you cross into an anti-gravity area your wheels will shift to a horizontal position. You never have to look at your kart upside-down at all, but your viewing angle does change a bit. When in that mode, whenever you hit another racer or other specific blue ringed outcroppings, you get a speed boost. That was a nice touch.

One annoying aspect to this game is that the only person who can see the map where the other racers are is on the gamepad controller. Not only that, but the map also shows what item each racer has. Worse yet, even if you're using the gamepad it's really difficult to look down and check anything because then you're not looking on the road. Nintendo needs to figure this gamepad screen out because it's hurting games. Why they didn't include a display option that could include the map on the TV screen I don't know.

The HD graphics are top notch. Racing in 1-player mode is incredibly smooth. If you're playing 4-player local mode the frame rate does take a noticeable hit, but nothing like Mario Kart Wii. Nintendo took a bit more of a realistic touch to the courses. The colors are less vibrant and less cartoon-like. You'll notice what I'm talking about if you compare the Moo Moo Meadows to the Wii version. While I have always been a fan of vibrant colors in games like this, I was fine with the change.

One thing I absolutely love about this game is the music. Nintendo brought in an actual orchestral group to record these songs and it's made a difference. The music also ranges from jazzy to rock depending on the course. I'd totally buy a soundtrack to this game if I could.

Nintendo has made an effort to improve the online quality to Mario Kart but in general it hasn't changed a whole much from the Wii version. It's still fun to just join a online group of racers and just compete. You can also set up tournaments but it's not really the tournament you're thinking about. It's basically a group that has specific rule settings and you can accumulate points. It's not a knock out type event. It is a bit easier to find your friends online but when I have only like 3 of them it's hard to get them together to race.

I am a fan of the new items. The boomerang allows you to throw it a few times and it does a pretty good job of hitting the guys in front of you. The Piranha Plant not only gives you some speed boosts but will take out opponents and grab coins which is nice. The fireball is useful because there's no protection from it really and you can shoot like 8 fireballs really quickly. I wish they'd get rid of the ink because I don't like to race with an obstructed view ever and I feel the CPU isn't effected by it. And, I love the speaker box that can take out a blue shell.

There is one thing I want to clear up. The CPU still loves to cheat. I read one review on another website that said it got a lot better in this game but I totally disagree. The frequency of blue shells during a race has decreased I will give you that. But, the CPU wants to target you more than other CPU racers. I don't know how many times I'm following a CPU in 2nd place and instead of launching a red or green shell and taking out 1st place he'll quite impressively shoot it backwards during one of my slides and take me out. Also, blue shells tend to happen right at the end of the race. So, while I've raced well and had a good lead going into the final stretch the dreaded blue shell takes me out. Not only that, but when playing in 1 player mode when you're in first place in a race the percentage of the time you receive coins as an item is astounding. It gets even worse in the last lap of a race. It's really hard to protect yourself from items when you don't have anything to use. And, I've seen the computer get 3 bananas when in first place so many times it drives me nuts. I say this because I have NEVER gotten 3 bananas as an item while in first place. So when I say the CPU cheats, I mean it. They are playing by a different set of rules. They know exactly when to drop stuff to take you out when you're behind and they get items that you'll never get.

The couple complaints aside, I really enjoyed this game. The things that annoyed me in the 3DS version of the game didn't affect me nearly as much in this one. It's great to play with friends, online, or by yourself. I've gotten many hours of entertainment out of this and I will totally come back to it from time to time. If you own a WiiU and have ever enjoyed Mario Kart, this is a must buy.




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