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Old 04-28-2008, 07:10 AM
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Default Mario Kart Wii

Picked it up today, put about 2-3 total hours into it, so I thought I would write a quick review of what I have seen so far.

It's a good-looking game, but not really too original...but it doesn't really need to be either. It upgrades and reuses a bunch of the old Mario Kart courses, which is nice in a way because they are familiar, and Nintendo likes to use familiar stuff to connect the players to their favorite characters. Some of the graphics are impressive, but then you look at the characters' faces and the miis in the crowd, and it knocks it down a notch.

Gameplay is good. It comes with a wheel, and we picked up an extra one because we have 2 wii-motes. You do need to take the motes out of the gloves to put them in, which is kind of annoying, but I guess not everyone uses the gloves anyway. The wheel is solid, with one button on the bottom left that triggers the B button on the mote. It is small enough that our 4 year old daughter can manage hitting the '2' button for the accelerator without much effort, but not so small that I cannot use it as well.

Control is very good. The controllers are not overly sensitive as I first expected, but they did react accordingly when she was not holding the wheel up in a normal position. She ended up holding it kinda down in her lap so that her arms didn't get tired. You do have the options of using classic controllers or even just nunchuk and wii-mote. I did not try the other options yet, having decided to keep both wheels.

I've only found a couple of things I do not like so far. One is that it seems you need to play in the single-player mode to unlock new courses and characters. I wish they would unlock as you play cooperatively, because this means I will need to spend time unlocking stuff later at night or when I should be doing something else. Secondly, when you beat one level of the single-player mode, you are forced to sit through the credits. I just reset back to the Wii Menu, which isn't difficult, just annoying. Lastly, some of the levels are just damned hard. Playing at the easiest level, I drove off the 'Rainbow Bridge' course (familiar to those who played Mario Kart 64) about 10 times the first few times I played it...it's sick. Older kids will probably love them, and be much better at them than me, but the little ones need to stick to some easier stuff like the Moo Moo Farm (still one of our favs).

All said, I really like the game. After 4-5 practice runs, my daughter can play it pretty well, yet after 20+ runs I still get pwned on the harder levels. It looks like we will have potential for many hours of play before we get bored with it, so it was well worth the $50 to buy it...and this is from a guy who would rather rent/borrow a game first. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who liked the other Mario Karts.
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