News Article

Preview: Mario Kart 8

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

The green light is nearly on

When it comes down to major, triple-A retail releases on the way that will — Nintendo hopes — lift the Wii U's sales and boost the public's perception of the system, there's currently only one show in town. While there are a number of exciting titles on the way from Nintendo and its partners, Mario Kart 8 has a firm release date and the means to start building excitement among current and prospective Wii U owners. It has a lot of weight on its diminutive and multiple suspensions, and no small amount of pressure.

There are still plenty of unknowns around its features, too, and a lot of hands-on experiences up until now — including our own — have been restricted to a three-track build first unleashed at E3 2013. We've had the opportunity, however, to recently play an updated preview build that includes four cups and sixteen tracks — it's been confirmed the final game will have 32 courses — giving us a stronger sense of how tweaks to the design and core racing are reflected in the courses themselves.

First up is the Mushroom Cup, which includes Mario Kart Stadium, Water Park, Sweet Sweet Canyon and Thwomp Ruins. Unsurprisingly for an opening cup the tracks are relatively easy to navigate, with the Stadium opener being a suitably impressive spectacle of enormous spectator stands and some early exposure to the anti-gravity mechanic. Driving over a blue marker at key points activates this new feature, and early on it's used sparingly, not in its frequency but in terms of the actual impact of the change in angle to be sideways or upside down. Water Park brings back the underwater driving of Mario Kart 7 with some neat visual tricks, Sweet Sweet Canyon is full of colour and Thwomp Ruins predictably throws down the gauntlet of dodging the locals that are all too keen to crush your kart. Flying is also back from Mario Kart 7 in these early stages, and the confectionary-themed canyon does also have a high-speed area where you're propelled through the air to the next section. Overall its a solid and familiar start, with enough tricks to remind you that this is indeed a fresh entry in the franchise.

Next is Flower Cup, with Mario Circuit, Toad Harbour, Twisted Mansion and Shy Guy Falls. It feels as if the track design is hitting its stride a little more at this stage, as is the norm with modern Mario Kart titles once they loosen the training wheels. Mario Circuit ramps up the difficulty in cramping the track at key moments and begins to show a little more boldness in playing with perspective. Like that track, Toad Harbour and Twisted Mansion have been playable in previous demo builds, and have some clever manipulation of the anti-gravity feature; both have you flipping sideways and racing alongside and below / above rivals — it's at this stage that the new title's mechanic starts to assert itself. Shy Guy Falls, meanwhile, is a stand-out of the eight new tracks we played, with an expansive backdrop, exciting flying sections and secret routes to find.

Our preview time also brought the first two Retro cups, too, in the form of the Shell and Banana trophies. The former has Moo Moo Meadows (Mario Kart Wii), Mario Circuit (Mario Kart Super Circuit), Cheep Cheep Beach (Mario Kart DS) and Toad's Turnpike (Mario Kart 64); the latter includes Dry Dry Desert (Mario Kart: Double Dash!!), Donut Plains (Super Mario Kart), Royal Raceway (Mario Kart 64) and DK Jungle (Mario Kart 7). While the tracks from the Wii and 3DS era felt very familiar, some of the older retro tracks seemed almost alien and like new tracks in themselves. For example, Mario Circuit from the GBA title shows a long bend being lifted up into the air in the opening cinematic, and you whizz around sideways utilising the anti-gravity ramps. Toad's Turnpike also felt rather different, with anti-gravity shortcuts redefining the importance of the side areas of the original. While traditionalists may be deterred by this, it's refreshing that the retro tracks on show actually utilise the various innovations of Mario Kart 7 and the new entry to change the overall feel. If you want to play the original tracks they're right there in the past-generation entries, yet these feel like an exciting step up for old favourites.

The difference in these retro tracks isn't just about new mechanics, however, but how the game looks. In motion Mario Kart 8 looks fantastic, and continues Nintendo's run of utilising the capabilities of the Wii U in a sensitive, technically clever way. With bright colours and a CGI cartoon approach to textures, the system is producing visuals that are delightful and not out of place in the era of PS4 and Xbox One graphics, stepping away from complex models — a score on which the system can't compete — and utilising terrific art style instead. When watching someone play in single player, particularly, the attention to detail truly is eye catching.

While playing you're only somewhat aware of the standard of the visuals, but what is immediately striking is the framerate. In single player and two player splitscreen it's locked at 60fps, and when playing alone — in particular — it hits home how satisfying the title is in motion. It simply could not be smoother, and while visual flourishes such as smoking tyres and sparks off the engine may only push your buttons on a somewhat subconscious level, the impeccable movement and flow of the race will seize your attention. Nintendo's dedication to maintaining 60fps — as also seen in Super Mario 3D World — should be commended, as it makes a significant difference to the feel of the game; music performed by a live band also enhances the overall effect of the experience. After playing Mario Kart 8 and witnessing the combination of bright, clean HD visuals and a flawless technical performance, going back to past entries in the franchise will be difficult.

That applies in single-player and two-player splitscreen, though you will need to lower expectations once the action shifts to three or four player local play. Here the framerate drops to 30fps, which has been the standard for so long, yet in the context of this title feels like a drastic decline. It performs better than the equivalent mode on Wii, undoubtedly, but it takes time to adjust if you're jumping in from the smoother modes. Visuals also take an expected hit, though they actually show some artifacts and flaws that stand out more than we expected; the new engine utilised for this title doesn't scale as well as we'd like, so the lower framerate is joined by a sharp drop in visual fidelity. These aspects of performance are perhaps relatively unimportant when in a noisy living room playing some riotous four player races, and are only so noticeable due to the exceptional standards of single and two player.

You may have noticed that we've only mentioned four player, which provides us with a neat diversion towards the only major issue we've had with Mario Kart 8 so far. The GamePad. While it supports off-TV play, it does not enable you to play with five players, nor does it allow the GamePad player to use the full screen on the controller while others use the TV in a local race, thus potentially adding an extra player in the process. In multiplayer, in fact, the GamePad screen's only off-TV option is to mirror the TV, including the splitscreen when applicable. While useful for playing a bit of single player when the TV's in use, the mirrored image is worthless in multiplayer. Considering the lower framerate and graphical drop we've referenced above, perhaps technical issues have caused a problem. That doesn't make it any less disappointing, however, and when we asked Nintendo about this we were told that the GamePad options in the preview build were representative of the final product.

In terms of what the Wii U's primary controller does do, the screen can be alternated — by tapping large buttons — to show off-TV, an overhead map of the race or simply a big horn that you press; all superfluous fluff aside from off-TV, and underwhelming for a flagship title. You can also flip between physical controls and tilt controls with a simple tap, and the tilt controls work well, as would be expected. We can envisage young gamers in particular using tilt, holding the GamePad up while playing and getting a laugh out of the horn, but outside of that audience it is simply a very large Pro Controller. In theory all it's missing is that full screen multiplayer option, but then that was the key application of its capabilities that we were hoping to see.

Aside from that, however, the control options are as expected. The Wii Remote can be used in a wheel or hooked up to a Nunchuk, while the Classic Controller is also supported — our pad of choice was the Wii U Pro Controller. Control is fluent, regardless of the option chosen, and our overriding sensation in this sense was that "it's Mario Kart" — it's intuitive, natural and fun. Any gamer that's played modern entries in the series will instinctively know exactly what they're doing and be drifting around corners in no time.

As we've highlighted so far, however, Nintendo has clearly been putting a lot of thought into how it can shake up the formula. Regular MK fans will notice some new items; in this build we came across a fantastic Piranha Plant weapon — lifted straight from Super Mario 3D World — that grabs coins while flipping over any other racers unfortunate enough to be nearby. Also included is the boomerang from Super Mario 3D Land, which is thrown up to three times and can cause genuine chaos. The coin itself is another item and the curse of the race leader, doing little for you but adding to your allocation — the more coins you have, up to ten, the faster your kart. Particularly pleasing, meanwhile, is that the Spiny blue shell goes along the ground as it did in days gone by, potentially wiping out multiple racers on its hunt for the unfortunate leader, while the usual array of shells and bananas return. Some key balancing is in place, too, such as the set of three bananas now coming as separate items of fruit to be used individually, wiping out the trail of previous entries.

Another new move that could revolutionise play among the best players and lead to some chaotic moments in multiplayer is the Spin Turbo. When in an anti-gravity area, a collision with another racer will prompt both to spin around and have a small boost. It adds a different dynamic, and while it could benefit both racers, an unaware driver could lose control on a tight bend if they spin unpredictably; this only happens when in anti-gravity, so serves as a neat extra touch that's entertaining in action. We would also like to add that the anti-gravity effect, in general, does become more noticeable as the tracks ramp up in the second cup — on a few tracks you're so focused on the back of your vehicle that you don't always notice the upside down world in the distance, but the Flower Cup showed the potential of the new feature to capture your attention while playing.

It's often the case with Mario Kart games that complexity, longevity and replayability come from mastering the tracks, and most recently in customising vehicles, trying different characters and finding favoured combinations. Away from the track this looks set to be the case again, and it seems to us that cars and bikes will be more integral than ever before. The performance of a vehicle seems more contingent on its own setup than the character, for example, and our limited playtime suggests that you can select a brute like Bowser or Donkey Kong but, with the right configuration, have a light and fast car rather than being slow and heavy. Like in Mario Kart 7 you select three key areas — vehicle, wheel and flying equipment — and it is that which defines your style of driver, not the mascot of choice. We'd need more hours with the full game to fully verify that's the case, but it's an attractive change that you can opt for speed at the risk of being pushed around, but still choose any character you want, or you can be a powerful brute with Toad or Baby Mario behind the wheel.

This selection of vehicles further enforces, meanwhile, the sense that this title truly is merging the best of the past two titles while adding its own distinctive touches. Bikes don't seem to wheelie any more — which left us incredulous for roughly five seconds — but stunts return again. Stunts, like much about this title, show a charm and attention to detail that's truly admirable, with each character having ludicrous and humorous animations, in some cases flashing a grin towards the player as they execute some impressive skills; it's all more noticeable than ever with the crisp visuals. Another small touch that continued to charm us is that characters now hold their next item in their hand; not only is it a cute effect, but it changed the way we played — if we saw a character driving with a red shell sitting in their left hand we'd hold back until it had been used. Again, it's subtle but changes the overall dynamic.

That's a trend that promises to be important with this title, ultimately — changes that feel small but, when combined, give it a whole new freshness. The preview was restricted to single player Grand Prix cups, too, so there's much that we haven't seen. Mario Kart TV was there but inaccessible, and it's also possible to make edits to post-race replays. Blocked menus showed the usual mix of modes, including the 12 player online option that we pray will be as smooth as the single and two-player races; in other words, 60fps. Time Trials, Vs. Race and Battle menus also taunted us, out of reach, and it's clear that Nintendo is storing up additional details and reveals related to modes such as these — all to build even more excitement ahead of 30th May.

As for our emotions as the end of an afternoon with the game? Two main feelings — it was more Mario Kart, in that it played as we expected and, by that reasoning alone, left us pleased, and also that it has the potential to be one of the best entries the series has seen. Whether it will be the best? It's far too early to tell, but it cannot be understated how impressive the title feels to play in single or two player races; it flows beautifully, with anti-gravity and visual embellishments adding extra flavour to a formula that becomes increasingly refined and fun to play. A few of the new tracks also hint at potential greatness in those to come. The only downsides were the notable downgrades in three and four player splitscreen, along with the GamePad — the Wii U's controller adds little of worth.

Those GamePad limitations aside, this is shaping up to be an exciting new entry in the series, and if it delivers in the final package could be indispensable for existing Wii U owners. With its touches of flair and gorgeous performance, it could catch the attention of those without a Wii U, too.

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With thanks to Nintendo UK for arranging this preview at its headquarters. Travel and expenses were paid by Nintendo Life.

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User Comments (187)



kereke12 said:

I NEED A WII U!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Dreamz said:

Waiting for the comments complaining about how this should be on the 3DS. >.>



Mk_II said:

I visited Nintendo Benelux yesterday and they were demoing MK8 to some press guys. It really looks absolutely amazing and very smooth.



Nomad said:

That looked AMAZING. If this doesn't move systems, I don't know what will.



RedYoshi999 said:

I'm getting super excited now! Looks absolutely amazing. Loving the selection of N64 courses so far. That lack of 5 player/having someone playing separately on the GamePad really sucks though. It seemed like a no brainer, especially when 3rd party titles like Sonic Racing did it.



NintyMan said:

I became so excited when N64 Rainbow Road was revealed; it was a dream come true! This game looks and sounds so good, it simply needs to save Wii U! This is the most hyped I've felt about the game yet!



617Sqn said:

Really looking forward to this, seems a bit strange 2 people playing local MP cant use the game pad screen, This was a great feature in Black ops, and sonic all stars.



Rin-go said:

Was that opening paragraph really necessary? Is it not possible to write about the subject at hand without constantly putting it against the Wii U sales situation?

And I didn't know the N64 Rainbow Road was that popular.



Panamae said:

So you can't have two players, with one person using only the gamepad?

What's even the point of the gamepad if not even Nintendo know how to make use of it?



babyguess said:

Dear Nintendo,

Please offer a Mario Kart 8 Bundle with a bright red console!

Loyal Nintendo Customer



OorWullie said:

Those graphics are truly fantastic! Fingers crossed the online is smooth and at least as good as the Wii version.If not,then there's no point really.



HarryK said:

This looks promising!

But... They are taking forever to get this out and don't even implement a 2nd screen in multiplayer on the Gamepad? What the?! I mean, what is the point in releasing it on May 30th (2 months from now) if there is an important feature missing and they can't take care of it? They have been showing off a finished product for quite some time now.

I really don't get how Nintendo decided to miss all the easter sales. IMHO that might have been their last chance to turn sales around. Now MK8 will be released right before summer where nobody cares. I just don't get it.



FriedSquid said:

I think this will be the best Mario Kart yet. Very excited for this.

Now, if only Nintendo would bring a certain other racing franchise of their own to Wii U...



SCAR said:

Were you guys able to figure out whether it's 1080p?

Also, Mario, Wario, and Peach all did wheelies in the last trailer.



Kirk said:

Well I doubt it's really going to do much for the Wii U's overall situation but it looks good.



PinkSpider said:

Do you know if they managed to get 60fps in 4 player slit screen as I read they were trying to do so



WaveGhoul said:

If MK8 doesn't ignite in sales, than nothing will. Not even Super Smash Bros. U.
Those darn pesky '15 shade of grey talking' soccer mom's have moved onto their I-devices.



Nintenjoe64 said:

16 new and 16 old tracks is ok but I was hoping for more or at least some DLC retro tracks. Also not overly impressed by the split-screen options but let's face it, this will be the best game on Wii U and if they give it as much love as they gave Mario Kart Wii, it will still be fun for years to come.



WaveGhoul said:

Same here. I just couldn't wrap my head around the never ending praise that game received...Split screen's frame rate was a NIGHTMARE, choppy would be a compliment!



xevious said:

It's definitely a shame you can't use the Gamepad screen for local multiplayer. Sonic All-Stars Racing did this and it was great. I can't understand why MK8 doesn't.



ThomasBW84 said:

Pretty similar, and actually quite hard in single player. We were jumping between single and multiplayer, but I didn't actually manage to win a grand prix in single player 150cc, so it seemed like a nice challenge. The smooth framerate makes a big difference too — like many MK games, it feels fast but manageable, with the challenge being in making some trickier turns are the higher speed.



Emblem said:

Someone on Neogaf claiming to be an intern stated a while back that the gamepad can be used for five player local only in battlemode. He actually got a lot of things right so I'm wondering if he was telling the truth, unfourunatley he deleted the thread after being called a liar too many times.



Ralek85 said:

This sounds and looks all pretty amazing, but I wonder if they'll also work on the A.I. The whole rubberband thing maybe faithful to the series but it's still an annoyance. The WiiU should allow for a little more sophisticated approach one would think !



Dreamz said:

@Emblem It's likely 16 tracks and 16 inverted versions of these tracks, which doesn't count in my book.
What I'm curious to see is if they'll take a step and release a DLC with additional tracks, sort of like they did with New Super Luigi U.



andrea987 said:

@xevious That's what I thought. I know visuals are way better here, but 5 players and 2 players tv/gamepad I thought was guaranteed. Oh well, maybe in an update...



Dark-Luigi said:

Best mario game since 3D World? Best mario game since 3D World!!!!!!

Anyone have a time machine I can barrow? :/



AdanVC said:

The graphics looks like if they were made by Pixar itself! I can't believe how beautiful it looks. Come faster May 30th!!!



FluttershyGuy said:

OMG, Rainbow Road N64 and its theme remix are beautiful!!! I let out a happy squee of nostalgia over that, and yet it looks like it'll be a new experience! Since so many changes are being made to retro tracks, I can't wait to see how Toad Turnpike turns out. While simple, I loved it, its scenery, and especially its music in MK 64! So thrilled to hear it made the retro roster! Now, how about Yoshi Valley from MK 64?

After reading this preview, and seeing the trailer, the wait has officially become PAINFUL!!! I hope MK 8 marks the Wii U's big comeback!



Shade_Koopa said:

Nice, sound like it's going to be a great seller. Shame about know five player mode, considering Sonic & Sega All-Star Racing Transformed supports up to five players. Who knows, maybe they'll add 5 player support in the final build or later after released.

Another question I like to add, any confirm list of characters? I specifically like to know if Bowser Jr. will be back in the mix or if he's been bumped for the Koopalings.



sillygostly said:

When the Wii U was first announced (and Nintendo teased the idea of supporting two Gamepads per console), I instantly thought of 6 player Mario Kart. If Nintendo implemented that, I would have bought a second Gamepad, or hell, a second Wii U console in a heartbeat.

I think that local multiplayer capabilities for up to six people simulatenously would be a system seller for sure, particularly for those with larger families or those who wish to make more people feel included in social gatherings. Why isn't Nintendo making an effort to take advantage of the one feature that puts their console head and shoulders above the others? =/

As much as I'm looking forward to Mario Kart 8, the lack of 5 player multiplayer is a momentum killer for me. I really hope that they rectify that glaring omission in a future update.



Volke93 said:

THAT IS TRULY AMA- (wait, hold on now, do it professionally)...

Uhm, well it looks very nice but.... WAIT THIS GAME IS FOR WII U?! BUT IS INCRE- (stop! Remember? Professionally)...

Overall is..... OH FORGET IT. This was really AWESOME. I can't believe i've doubted for this game in the past months. Now I've no more doubts. I'll buy it at the day one!



azg said:

Don't know if i understand that correctly. 2 player local multi will be split screen only ? No 1 player gamepad 1 player TV ?



onlyaman said:

NO REAR VIEW ON THE GAMEPAD?? Man, that is such a wasted opportunity for dropping banana peals, dodging incoming fire, etc. The lack of 2P play on the gamepad is equally baffling.

In Nintendo isn't going to properly use the gamepad in their flagship title, they need to just drop this "peripheral" and be done with it. Stupid, stupid, stupid.



larry_koopa said:

Awesome preview! It only furthered my excitement for this game. And as somebody who can’t stand the GamePad its lack of original ideas here does not bother me at all. Pro Controller all the way for this guy! If it weren’t for those 3 levels in Super Mario 3D World my GamePad would not have been used at all in over 8 months: I never use it for Wind Waker or for Tropical Freeze and I never play Nintendo Land anymore.

Anyways, this game is going to be my life in less than two months!! And my goodness does the inclusion of the Koopa Kids make me happy!!



Rafie said:

@SCAR392 I' m willing to bet that it is 1080p. If not, then it really doesn't matter. This game will be in heavy rotation for months to come. I feel bad for any other game coming in around or between months of big game releases. Gosh I love MK!



larry_koopa said:


Tom, if you're playing with a Pro Controller during single player does the HUD show you the position of the racers and the items that they have along the left-hand side of the screen (like in Mario Kart 64 or Wii), or can you only access that info if you're playing with the GamePad? Thanks



luke88 said:

@ThomasBW84 Hi, sorry I haven't read all the comments and I skimmed the article fairly quickly so I do apologise if you've already covered this but do you know if you can play two player split screen online?



Goginho said:

I'm so happy Royal Raceway is back, as well as Rainbow Road 64 and Toad's Turnpike. All that's left in bringing back is Wario's Stadium, with the necessary changes, incorporating flying and even anti-gravity on according section. Choco Mountain would also be awesome to bring back.
I'm really excited for this game. Shame about the GamePad though, as I really hoped to be able to play two players on seperate screens.



larry_koopa said:

Also I just realized that you can no longer pick up a second item when you are dragging one behind your kart. That's going to take some getting used to.



element187 said:

"Nintendo's dedication to maintaining 60fps — as also seen in Super Mario 3D World — should be commended, as it makes a significant difference to the feel of the game"

And this is why Nintendo is the only systems I'll ever purchase to put next to my PC. PS4 and xBone are trapped in the 30fps ghetto 95% of the time like last gen.... Crappy frame rate just obliterates the gameplay. Microsoft/Sony gamers don't care about gameplay, they spend all of their time on websites arguing over graphics, so Sony and Microsoft oblige that by murdering gameplay (frame rate) to push the visuals as far as it can go (even bringing a game down into the 20's fps is acceptable to them, cough cough TLOU)



ledreppe said:

Lets just hope the fps is ok in 12 player online. The pro controller will be my controller of choice.



NintyMan said:

After watching a series of videos on the game recently giving previews of 17 tracks, all I can say is it is good.



benportugal said:

I'm no less excited about the game....BUT....WHY develop a split screen console and not include a way for two players to use one screen each - i.e. one on gamepad and one on the TV? There's simply no excuse.

Nintendo really seem to have problems these days. There's something that defies belief in everything they do: i.e. no N64 Virtual Console on Wii U when they had it on Wii (and yes, I know I can still access them via the Wii emulation cos I went through the painful migration process).

As I say, I'm still very excited about this game - it's a new Mario Kart, after all. But I keep waiting for Nintendo to properly WOW me with the Wii U. I'd secretly hoped they'd silence the doubters with something truly amazing like 8 new cups AND 8 retro cups AND the promise of DLC. It's time for them to go above and beyond with something instead of constantly making long term Nintendo fans go "eh?"



NintyMan said:

Other details I've learned elsewhere

  • According to NintendoWorldReport, Retro Studios is not involved in Mario Kart 8
  • There was an image from an IGN preview showing two more new items, a red horn and a blue eight. I don't know what the horn would do but the eight is probably like the Lucky 7 from Mario Kart 7
  • Don't know if this preview mentions it or not, but some of the tracks have live music for the first time in the series


FX102A said:

The lack of using the Gamepad for multiplayer split screen up to 5 is baffling. It worked so well in Sonic All Stars Racing Transformed.

My only theory is that Nintendo wanted to ensure the 60FPS for at least up to 2 player and it couldn't work when using the Gamepad? The only other reason I can think of is they wanted everyone to see the game in 1080?



memoryman3 said:

@ThomasBW84 I hope they patch it in because I have DREAMED to take down my opponents secretly while they think they're playing in their own.



ThomasBW84 said:

@Diddy_kong The GamePad was set up as the default single player controller, so I don't know. There are noise warnings, arrows etc when an item's coming up behind you, though, as normal.

@luke88 'Online - 2 players' is a mode in the game, so it looks 99% likely, yes. We weren't allowed to test it in the build, like all of the online play.

@Moshugan Myself or whoever reviews this would need a lot more time to say definitively. What I will say is that single player races felt quite fair, and certainly not as brutal as Mario Kart Wii.



NintyMan said:

I can only imagine what the new and old Bowser's Castles and the new Rainbow Road will look.



Bizzyb said:

Royal Raceway and Toads Turnpike are back!?

Ooohhh snap.




luke88 said:

@ThomasBW84 woohoo: thank you! that sounds pretty certain to me, though I shan't hold it against you if it turns out not to be entirely what I'm hoping for, so excited for this game.



shigulicious said:

@babyguess Yes, a limited edition bundle is definitely required. I would by it without hesitation, then pickup a second MK game and play with my son for some online multiplayer. C'mon Nintendo, we are asking you to take our money here!



C-Olimar said:

Other than Dry Dry desert I'm not crazy about the retro track choices. However, the new tracks look phenomenal, I can't wait for this game!



C-Olimar said:

@Dreamz No, it isn't. It's 16 new tracks and 16 tracks from old MK games updated with new features. So there are 32 unique tracks in total.



Sir_JBizzle said:

Wow this game is looking amazing!! So much so, I can't even complain about the lack of asynchronous multiplayer or the lack of Gamepad features.

Part of me thinks they wanted to give us the smoothest, best gameplay possible. The other part of me thinks they are holding back and want to show us what the Gamepad can do in a key title like Zelda U (EDIT: or at the very least a title designed around the Gamepad) Wasn't it reported a while back that some of the Gamepad features were built specifically for Zelda?



Gma-X said:

Rainbow Road from 64 is back!? Is this heaven?

The other retro courses, well chosen, I always loved Toad's Turnpike. Why is May 30th so far away!

If they really ditched the Rubber Band AI I'll be leaping in the air out of pure joy. I remember in MK Wii, I was playing Moo Moo Meadows in 150cc and I was leading literally from the start and by the third lap I could see number twelve in front of me. I was I think 5 seconds from the finish line when I heard a blue shell(I had no mushroom, so there goes dodging), after that a red shell hit me, followed by me being run over by someone with a big mushroom, recovered only to be hit directly by a bullet bill, landed and got hit by a player with a star. Ended the race in number 12, what the hell...

Too bad about the motorcycles and the wheelies, but I hope they will give them double drift boost then, just like the karts.



mostro328 said:

Nintendo is using the same formula to boost 3DS sales Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7.....Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 8....lets hope this works WiiU is much deserving of a boost in sales with currently much better exclusive then the other systems.....I could see another price drop really helping



sugarshack said:

looks great. but the one thing I despise about all Mario karts is once I finish the other racers automatically finish in the positions from when I cross the finish line. If I want a CPU character to finish 4th or later to help with the overall standings, it wont happen. extend the race afterwards and let characters finish, except for the last place finisher.



GraveLordXD said:

Looks great but what is this I'm hearing that it doesn't support two player non split screen with the game pad like sonic racing if that's true what a shame



Genesaur said:

Man, I really thought they'd be smart enough to include the separate screen, extra player option. I also thought that a rear-view option on the GamePad made a lot of sense. They've got a month to cram it in - come on!



dumedum said:

I don't understand why the overhead map on the controller is so "superfluous". I think it's a wonderful idea.



LunarHalo24 said:

That N64 Rainbow Road. YES.
It's unfortunate that the Gamepad doesn't have too much use, though. I'll probably be playing the game on off-TV mode a lot anyway, but it would have been nice if it were used for something more, like a 5 player mode or 2 player nonsplit gameplay.



LztheQuack said:

Oh wow. It looks like N64 Rainbow Road will actually be fun unlike the 2k borefest on the N64



LavaTwilight said:

I love the new video! Thanks!
It's a huge shame about the gamepad, I felt that this was a title that could really utilize it. Either by players. 2 players without the need of a split-screen or anything else. It's a shame it's such a let down but hey, we're only noticing it because it's there right?
I still can't wait for this title!



Luna-Harmony said:

wow just wow i thort i would never see mario kart looking this aamzinh.
I just hope it mop's up on reviews as well 98%ers .



Vampire-Jekyll said:

Honestly, I have not been hyped for a Mario Kart title since Double Dash and maybe a little for the DS title, since it had online functionality. I have been bored with the series since then. While this game looks pretty it needs to have more features and, no, defying gravity is not a new feature. We have been doing that since F-Zero X days.

Though the games have been consistently good, my interest in them has been the opposite.



aaronsullivan said:

@LavaTwilight Disappointed in no full screen for each player mode as well. I just feel like it would have been worth it even with reduced visuals and/or frame rate. Sonic Racing did it and the performance was a little worse, but it was SO much nicer to play that way.

That being said, I think I'd pay $150 for this game or more. Very excited. My wife and I have been huge fans since the original SNES Mario Kart. It's ALWAYS a blast.



K-Gamer said:

What the?? This was unexpected, this is suck mind blowing news. Glad to see Toads Turnpike and Royal Race Way!

Edit: N64 Rainbow Road?! All my requests have been answered!



Rafie said:

I can't contain my excitement! This is the game I was waiting for. Like someone said in an earlier post, I haven't been this excited since Double Dash. I was a beast at that game. I could have played that game competitively if it was available for tournies at the time. I didn't want to spoil myself with the video of gameplay, but dangit I couldn't help myself. LOL

Sorry don't know how to put videos in the comment section. However, Eurogamer has a side by side of the retro tracks and the newly revised retro tracks that will be in MK8. F'ING LOVELY!



dkxcalibur said:

I never really cared for April.....let's skip the rest of the month!

I wasn't going to pre order because I wanted to wait and see if there were any deals around the game's release but I think I'm going to now because I don't want to be left without a physical game like with DKCTF.



DStroke said:

Does anybody remember the good old N64 Battle times? With the spectacular tactical maps Block Fort and Double Deck? We spent hours batteling in these arenas and after that everything was boring as hell in every Mario Kart after that.
Why didn't we see something like new modes or a really good battle mode in MK8 with these retro tracks and new ones?
I want Battle Mode back as it was these old days, am I the only one??
rest is ok



GeniusDan said:

Was looking forward to some 5 player action so that's kind of a bummer... Otherwise game looks great I'll still get it day one!



NintyMan said:

If you think the remastered N64 Rainbow Road is grand, the new Rainbow Road might be absolutely epic.

From Mario Kart 8 director Kosuke Yabuki to GameSpot on a GDC roundtable last month:
“One thing I do want to mention is Rainbow Road, that final course. We really want you to look forward to what we've done to it this time because it’s something else. It’s really spectacular.”



K-Gamer said:

You guys didn't bother to confirm some new items or even Metal Mario! But I praise you for this.



technotreegrass said:

Mario Kart Wii was the driving force behind getting a Wii. Mario Kart 8 will be the driving force behind getting a Wii U.



ThomasBW84 said:

@K-Gamer The weird ones that have emerged (figure of 8?) weren't in the build, only the piranha plant, boomerang and coin were playable. I don't think Metal Mario was in the roster, he was a trailer reveal, I think

I covered as much as I could!



Jazzer94 said:

@ThomasBW84 That is a shame as me my mates really miss bob-omb battle from Double Dash and wanted to know if it was back anyway thanks for responding.



SCAR said:

I think it might be upscaled to 1080p from 720p. I was just curious.

I was thinking that might be the case, because Toadette's car was on the back wheels when she used a mushroom.



Jazzer94 said:

@SCAR392 I do remember Nintendo saying the game would be native 1080p but that could have changed to maintain 60fps.



Rafie said:

@SCAR392 I thought Ninty said it was native. Well I can honestly say that it makes no difference at all. This game looks absolutely stunning. Gosh I want this game terribly bad.



6ch6ris6 said:

the game looks ridiculously good. can the visuals for a nonrealistic game get any better? (besides more pixels and bla)



SCAR said:

@Rafie @Jazzer94
Ya, I thought that, too, but I've been reading peoples' doubts on the good ol' internet, so now I'm confused.

Bayonetta 2 was supposed to be 1080p supposedly, but I've heard doubts on that, too.

The resolution won't effect my opinion of these games.



SecondServing said:

@SCAR392 You know the video game community is at a low point when we start worrying about how many freakin' pixels are on a screen. Gameplay, gameplay, gameplay. That's ALL that matters to me.



ProudasaPeacock said:

I know, does it really matter?
Once you're into the game, if the gameplay is good, you're not going to notice a few extra pixels here and there.
It just gets ridiculous sometimes.



Jazzer94 said:

@SCAR392 I'm not really bothered either the gameplay looks excellent, track designs creative and the framerate constant at 60fps so I'm happy and have had my pre-order of the limited edition bundle for a few weeks May 30th can't come soon enough.



bofis said:

I'm upset that my office is closed for the entire week including Memorial Day, but sadly, Mario Kart 8 won't be out until Friday!!! Might have to midnight launch it so I can wake up and play all day Friday at least.

But actually more upsetting is that they did not utilize the gamepad screen for two player, with one player using the gamepad screen, and the second player getting the entire TV, like Sonic Racing did. I didn't even buy Sonic Racing because I've been holding out hope for Mario Kart would be amazing if Nintendo could update and add that feature later, though I greatly doubt it will happen. :-



Yoshi said:

Just to confirm because some people don't know for certain: Mario Kart 8 will run at 60 fps 1080p natively. There is no up scaling. However, frame rate and visual quality will suffer when in 3 or 4 player multiplayer.



Ryno said:

This should be on the 3DS and with no linked accounts, no buy for me!

Oh sorry, wrong thread...



JJtheTexan said:

The game does look great, but I can't help but notice the elephant in the room - the second-straight major Wii U first-party release that does absolutely nothing with the GamePad.

I'll keep repeating myself until I'm blue in the face: the GamePad was a mistake; Nintendo doesn't even know how to use their own stupid gimmick; and they need to drop the GamePad, sell the system with just a Pro Controller and Wii Remote + Nunchuk with a modified OS that doesn't require the GamePad. Sell it as an accessory for the three games that absolutely require it. (Literally, three games I can name: Nintendo Land, ZombiU and The Wonderful 101.) Done. Move on.



marko said:

Okay nintendo this is it. the Big game we all have been waiting for.
Now bundle it in North America so my friends can buy the system and we can play online!!!
DO IT NOW !!!!!!!!!!!



TheAdza said:

Really looking forward to this, however I am deeply saddened by the lack of Gamepad options. Playing Sonic Racing Transformed in two player with one player using the TV and another using the Gamepad was brilliant. Surely if Sega could pull it off, why can't Nintendo? Probably something to do with the engine and it being locked at 60fps. Even so, i would settle for 30fps in two player Gamepad and TV combo. It just works so well having your own screen. I get that the games graphics are probably so intense that the 5 player option like in Sonic Transformed could be an issue, but there really shouldn't be a problem with the two player TV/Gamepad combo. This is likely to be Nintendos biggest game of 2014, and just like DKCTF, it looks like it's going to lack any type of meaningful Gamepad functionality, when in reality, both of these games should be pushing for unique and fun uses for the much maligned controller.

It could be a permanent rear view mirror, it could display map and weapon info, it could show your friends POV when playing online.

This should be the game to showcase the Gamepad. Oh Nintendo, what are you doing?



BearClaus said:

YES! Royal Raceway!

While it supports off-TV play, it does not enable you to play with five players, nor does it allow the GamePad player to use the full screen on the controller while others use the TV in a local race, thus potentially adding an extra player in the process.

What— what the— what— what‽ Did such a feature (which S&ASR Transformed had and was appreciated for) slow the game down too much? Is there some half-butted justification, like that it would make the GamePad player jealous 'cause the visuals are worse on that? This is brain-dead.



DiscoGentleman said:

Really disappointing about the under-utilization of the gamepad. Most importantly for 2player, one person on the TV, one person on the gamepad- full screens. Warriors Orochi did this and it's one of the biggest selling points for my boyfriend and I.

Also, using the gamepad as a rear view mirror would have absolutely blown my mind.

Such a shame how even Nintendo doesn't use their gamepad...



JaxonH said:

Let me first say that I am REALLY excited for this game. It looks spectacular, and will surely be one of the best releases of 2014!

With that said, I have been a staunch supporter of Nintendo as far as gamepad implementation goes. In the past, the games in which they did not use it for more than off-TV play were games that offered nothing in way of a 2nd screen (ie platformers). But with Mario Kart 8, there is no reason not to have, at the very least, a rear view mirror on the Gamepad. Or more preferably, asymmetrical multiplayer (even if capped at four players). The fact that neither of these have been implemented astonishes me, and to be frank, disappoints me quite a bit.

Not that those features are THAT big a deal- I don't play local co-op so that's not an issue. And the rear view mirror isn't that big an issue to me really. It's just mind-boggling that they would miss such an opportunity. In this case there really WAS a clear-cut use for the second screen, and they completely missed it. I wash my hands on this one. Any criticism they receive is warranted.



AshFoxX said:





Gameday said:

Moo Moo Meadows that upgrade looked amazing needless to say the new Rainbow Road is excellent too. Im hyped day one my friends day one ~ Like the new Piranha Plant item looks like it will be very useful.



Senario said:

Looks fun, a lot of cool things going on. Boosts when hitting other players so heavyweights have a reason to be heavyweights in hovering sections. Many different paths to go through the race in. Oh and I absolutely love the coin mechanics from the older game.



Will-75 said:

Day one purchase , Looks like a masterpiece of kart racing madness .. CAN'T WAIT ..



GraveLordXD said:

I can honestly say that now I'm just as confused about what Nintendo came out with the game pad for??
We have a game like this which would be perfect for couch co-op and Nintendo doesn't seem to think that this game wouldn't benefit from two player off screen play seriously wtf??



GraveLordXD said:

Don't get me wrong the game looks great and I'm still getting it day one but Nintendo leaves me once again scratching my head



Psyclone said:

I read in an IGN article that MK8 is locked at 60fps even during split screen gameplay, as for the gamepad features, I will wait until it comes out, I'm sure we don't have all the info yet right?.. but dammm does this look beautiful.



chiptoon said:

two screen multiplayer was the thing i enjoyed most about the incredible Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing. I'm honestly shocked that they aren't getting it right. I love Mario Kart, but this news makes me a lot less excited



ChuJelly said:

Nice to see that Shy Guy is back the game! He and the rest of the MK7 crew are looking glorious in HD, and it's amazing to hear that he's still playable even without download play guaranteeing his inclusion Here's hoping Diddy and some of the MK Wii/DD characters will come back as well, though I'm not really getting my hopes up too high so close to release. The roster's already amazing anyways



Guovssohas said:

Looks really good overall.

But the lack of 5-player is a huge dissapointment. Lol not even Nintendo uses the Pad. I was also hoping for online play with 4-players, that would be awesome, but no..



Excep7ional said:

Can't wait to play this. Last time I played a Mario Kart game was the one for the DS. So many hours of local multiplayer fun and this will be even better.



Sgt_Ludby said:

Well it looks like when I play local coop, I'll have the gamepad turned off and set aside while we both use Wiimotes... That's a real shame.

With that being said, I'm still extremely excited for the release. I'm just disappointed on the lack of proper gamepad usage.



Yai said:

Looks amazing! My only complaint is they keep picking the less fun retro courses. Cheep cheep beach keeps coming back ): Where are the fun courses like DK mountain or waluigi pinball?

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