Sunday, April 27, 2008

Mario Kart Wii Initial Impressions

I picked up Mario Kart Wii last night at midnight, after working a 14.5 hour day.

It was the first time I ever went to one of those GameStop midnight sales, and to my surprise there were about 40 people there, waiting to get their copy of Mario Kart Wii. GameStop, to their credit, handled it like pros and I was on my way home at 12:04.

After a late dinner with Monique, I tried out some 50cc Grand Prix games, to see how the wheel worked. I was able to get the gold the in the first two cups and call it a night, but I could tell that the Wii Wheel was going to take some getting used to.

Today I continued through the last two of the 50cc Grand Prix, seeing all the new tracks, and missing the gold on the last one by one point, thanks to a serious beatdown on the Rainbow Road. I was having some more issues with the Wii Wheel.

There's a track called Maple Treeway, with an autumn motif, and the karts racing along the branches of trees. Without fail, each time I passed a particular point on one of the branches, and attempted to turn left, I simply kept moving forward and went off into the void. There were a few other times when the wheel didn't do what I was trying to do.

So I tried the GameCube controller, and while I found myself getting better control, it seemed that there was a loss of speed, and I fared no better in my scores (again, this is still on 50cc) than I did with the Wheel.

The increase of opponents from 7 to 11 makes a significant difference, and many times I found a first place lead lost to a barrage of overpowered power-ups, of which Mario Kart Wii has more. In one race my approach to the finish line was halted by a POW block, a blue shell, and then a squid ink power-up, and I ended up getting knocked back from first to eighth.

I get the feeling that this Mario Kart will be the most difficult one to master - if I even can. A great online mode awaits, but I need to get a good working knowlege of the tracks and controls before I take the dive and embarass myself with such an endeavor. More reports to follow.

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