News Article

Round Table: Let's Talk Endlessly About Mario Kart 8, Just Because

Posted by Damien McFerran

Tom, Ant, Daz and Damo share their hands-on impressions

Our official Mario Kart 8 hands-on preview went live yesterday — if you haven't done so already, you should really read it. We'll wait here until you get back.

Done? Good. We can now move onto the next phase of our Mario Kart 8 coverage: a good old-fashioned chat around a table featuring Thomas "I just had to hit you twice" Whitehead, Anthony "It's just like F-Zero" Dickens, Darren "Don't put me last in the list" Calvert and Damien "Tom, you hit me twice" McFerran.

Gentlemen, start your engines!


Thomas: So, initial feeling after playing the eight tracks. Were you sufficiently wowed?

Anthony: Visually it's a big step from the Wii version and super smooth 60fps in single and two player looks great. I think the detail on the trackside is really impressive — just a shame you don't get time to look at it when you're racing!

Damien: I'm not sure I was wowed, but I was certainly entertained. It's Mario Kart at the end of the day, and it met my expectations.

Anthony: It was hard to be "wowed" when we've already played it before!

Thomas: I think the visuals and 60fps were really impressive, especially in single player. Online play with that smoothness and look is going to be really enticing. It was hard to be blown away because we were playing the early cups, which are always less spectacular than the second two.

Darren: The new tracks designed specifically around the anti-gravity cars blew me away more than the retro-fitted ones, for sure.

Anthony: I think one thing we all noticed was the drop to 30fps in three and four player. What did you all make of that?

Damien: I thought four player was slightly disappointing, due to the aforementioned frame rate and detail drop. Anti-gravity worked well on some tracks and less on others — it was hard to tell when you were upside down.

Thomas: I'd agree. It was surprising that not only was there a very noticeable drop in visuals, but the framerate is quite jarring after the silky smooth single and two player.

Anthony: It's one of those things though, because the framerate is so good in single player, it's more noticeable when you have three or more players.

Damien: Clearly they've had to make sacrifices to get four players on screen at once.

Anthony: At least it was a very solid 30fps and not variable.

Damien: The most puzzling thing for me was the fact that you couldn't do second screen multiplayer with the GamePad. I assume that's because too much horsepower was needed to stream two different displays.

Anthony: Yeah - one player on the TV, one player on the GamePad would make a lot of sense, other games have done it.

Thomas: Uh-oh, the GamePad. [laughs]

Anthony: Please Understand!

Damien: Or "the controller that Nintendo forgot".

Darren: Yeah, that is a massive oversight given that F1 Race Stars and Sonic & All-Star Racing Transformed let another player use the GamePad so you can avoid split screen.

Anthony: You'd think it could of done it at 30fps, if not at 60fps.

Damien: I can only assume that the graphical detail would have suffered if they'd included second-screen play, whatever the frame rate. They clearly want to impress with this title. But yeah, it's disappointing — this is one of the selling points of the hardware after all, and racers are ideal for second-screen play.

Darren: I would have liked to have had the 30fps option if I could have used GamePad for two players.

Damien: Wow, we all sound so negative!

Darren: I guess it's good that this was pretty much the only negative!

Anthony: We're assuming it'll be running in super smooth 60fps for online multiplayer, so that will make a lot of people very happy!

Thomas: Yeah, that has to be the hope.

Damien: It can't be stressed enough that in full screen at 60fps, this is gorgeous. Possibly the best looking Wii U game so far?

Anthony: One other thing, I went back to Mario Kart Wii the other day and found myself really unimpressed with the design of the user interface and HUD elements of the game. Mario Kart 8 looks fantastic in these areas, and it gives a really nice polish to the game as a whole.

Darren: What were some of your favourite tracks which we played? I really loved the "Sugar Rush" style course. Looked good enough to eat!

Anthony: It's got a similar feel graphically to Super Mario 3D World for me, it's simple but really high quality at the same time.

Damien: I was disappointed that Donkey Kong doesn't have HD fur like in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. A minor quibble, obviously.

Anthony: His traditionally luxurious hair looked quite greasy, to be honest.

Darren: Donkey Kong's expressions when you do a stunt cracked me up, he's the best!

Anthony: Yeah, the character animations for the stunts are really fantastic.

Thomas: It is gorgeous, and when racing you don't necessarily appreciate the background detail.

Damien: Back to the question, I found the retro tracks were more to my liking, mainly because they lacked the distracting twists and turns of the anti-grav tracks. And also because I'm a boring old fart who clings to the past like a comfort blanket.

Thomas: Anti-grav is hit and miss early on, sometimes it's hard to realise you're actually upside down.

Anthony: I thought all the tracks were pretty great to be honest, there's a nice mixture for different style racers - personally the anti-gravity was great, but probably because it's the closest thing to F-Zero X I'm going to get on Wii U.

Thomas: It felt like the speed wasn't high enough for anti-grav to be cool, which might explain why you keep banging on about F-Zero.

Darren: Anti-grav is a nice addition, but it doesn't fundamentally change the gameplay. Personally I'm glad it's not as wild as F-Zero, because we are still gonna get an F-Zero on Wii U one day, right?!

Damien: Ant sure hopes so! Every night before bedtime he prays to a miniature statue of Miyamoto that F-Zero will return.

Anthony: Actually, it's a statue of Jody Summer. Someone buy me a White Cat. Ahem. Moving on, some of those retro tracks are almost unrecognizable now with all the additional environmental detail; I remember playing a few SNES tracks and struggling to believe they were retro tracks!

Darren: There's so much detail in them now. I was enjoying watching others play so I could get a good look at what was going on in the background.

Anthony: The other thing that really stood out for me was the difference in AI compared to Mario Kart Wii — it's actually pretty fair now!

Damien: Yeah, I was more frustrated and annoyed at my fellow players than the AI, which makes a nice change.

Darren: I only got one blue shell on 150cc per race in single player!

Anthony: 150cc is still a challenge, but you're not getting battered by lightning and blue shells constantly like on the Wii. Which is a great improvement; it's much more like Mario Kart 7 in that respect.

Darren: What did you think to the new weapons such as the Piranha Plant? I really loved how this was carried across from 3D World — a fair trade for the Tanooki tail.

Anthony: Piranha Plant is an instant classic, it works fantastically as a weapon AND a speed boost.

Thomas: The Piranha plant is awesome, though maybe overpowered. It just cleans everyone out. Controllers of opponents will be thrown.

Anthony: I'm not sure about the frankly bizarre additional of a Coin as a power up! Not even coin(s), just a coin. Instant 10 would of been nice!

Thomas: The coin isn't exactly mint, is it. [delivered with a straight face]

Damien: I love the way your character is actually holding their current item, and driving one-handed.

Anthony: Yeah, that's new — you can actually see what weapons the other racers have. A vital tactical advantage!

Darren: That made it more tense when I could see someone behind me with a red shell!

Thomas: In that respect this game is full of character. A lot of effort has been made with the animation of each racer. It's super charming.

Darren: It's hard to convey how good this looks; it really does show the Wii U's graphical capabilities in a great light.

Anthony: Talking of lights. There are headlights in certain areas of the tracks, which looks great. Fantastic lighting in the game in general.

Darren: That was a nice addition. Also it's nice to see the motorbikes return in Mario Kart 8... no wheelies this time though!

Damien: There were more than a few sad faces among the Nintendo Life team due to the lack of wheelie action, I can tell you.

Anthony: I know we've touched upon this briefly already, but it's likely to be a hot topic. How does Mario Kart 8 make use of the GamePad?

Darren: I know some people will like using the GamePad like a steering wheel, tilting to steer. And the screen makes a handy horn! But when all is said and done, it's basically a mirror of split screen in multiplayer. It isn't really used in any meaningful way.

Damien: It's a massive shame that the game doesn't make more use of the controller, given that the GamePad is the Wii U's big advantage over its rivals. I guess the turning on the GamePad could have been another reason not to use it as a second screen? It might be harder to keep track of what's going on if you're constantly twisting and turning the controller in all directions.

Anthony: So, we got to play four cups with a total of sixteen tracks. With another four cups to unlock, is that enough content for Mario Kart 8? Or do you expect a final extra cup?

Darren: I would be amazed if there weren't at least some surprises.

Anthony: I'm guessing there will be a mirror mode, right?

Thomas: Mirror mode is likely, I'd like to think it'll follow the lead of Super Mario 3D World and surprise us with something extra special, right at the end.

Anthony: We had a Mario Kart-themed course in 3D World, so a 3D World themed track in Mario Kart 8, perhaps?

Thomas: It must also be said that during the preview we couldn't try a lot of things, including Battle mode — surely one of the most popular multiplayer features.

Darren: Don't forget Mario Kart TV, too!

Damien: Mario Kart TV should be really interesting — as we suspected, it doesn't upload videos but rather the game data from your lap, which can then be viewed on someone else's Wii U console using the in-game engine. I can see that being incredibly popular with players.

Anthony: Makes sense really. It sounds like a good idea, we just need to see it in action. If they had servers that could render your clips to mobiles, tablets and desktop computers, that would be fantastic. You could even have a dedicated viewing app on the 3DS!

Darren: Did we all like the "Highlight Reel" which was offered after each race as the default option?

Anthony: No, "Next Race" should always be the default option! I selected "Highlight Reel" a few times by mistake...

Damien: To be fair, the highlights did look amazing — I'm not surprised that Nintendo wants that to be your first choice after finishing a race. They really showed off the graphics and the charm. Did we mention the charm yet?

Thomas: Yes, yes we did. Several times, actually.

Darren: It was as charming as Hugh Grant at a wedding reception.

Damien: Wow, that is charming.

Anthony: Mario Kart is a charm factory.

Damien: The Highlight Reel also hammered home the anti-grav element, which you usually missed during the race!

Anthony: I can see people using the Highlight Reel to bask in their glory.

Thomas: That's something to remember. This game is actually really entertaining for observers. Better than Eastenders, anyway.

Anthony: I would watch Eastenders if it was 30 minutes of Mario Kart highlights. That wouldn't stop Damien watching Coronation Street though.

Damien: Well, there goes our non-UK audience.

Darren: One more charming thing about Mario Kart 8 to add to the ever-growing list of charming things about Mario Kart 8 was all the brands made up for all of the characters on the tracks — Bowser's Oil being one that stood out for me. Such a cool touch.

Anthony: I'm actually really excited for the final game now, and more so to play in our community nights — it'll be great playing (losing) against the Nintendo Life community!

Thomas: Yeah, that should be fantastic, assuming the feature is there, of course.

Damien: Yeah, the 3DS Mario Kart nights we've been doing have gone down a storm, this could be a real system seller. Nintendo would be silly not to include communities in MK8.


So there you have it — the innermost thoughts from the Nintendo Life team about Mario Kart 8, and a little more pointless chatter besides. Let us know how excited you are for this forthcoming Wii U racer by leaving a comment below.

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User Comments (99)

she_gamer

#4

she_gamer said:

So incredibly psyched for this. Mario Kart 8 accounts for 33% of why I bought a Wii U. Another third goes to 3D world, and the last third is open for pleasant surprises (rayman being one of them).
P.S. "delivered with a straight face". High five.

Dreamz

#6

Dreamz said:

Geez. I'm so out of the hype loop, it seems. I'm looking forward to MK8, but I'm not THAT excited about it. In the list I have in my sig, as far as anticipation goes, it's not even in the top two (which belong to Child of Light and Bayonetta2).

Too much hype CAN be a bad thing.

Dreamcaster-X

#8

Dreamcaster-X said:

The games graphics are just so friggin good. It's a shame it took Nintendo so long to get into HD but they seem to be adjusting nicely. Maybe we will get a chance to see a new Zelda or Metroid in HD this year as well.

shigulicious

#9

shigulicious said:

I want more info in online leader boards. Tournaments would be awesome. Highlight reel sounds cool.

NbaJunkie

#11

NbaJunkie said:

Need info on online components,races..disappointed in lack of game pad use. By now i've given up hope that any Nintendo franchise will innovate with it. Still a must buy for me though. Tv off play still counts•﹏•

XCWarrior

#13

XCWarrior said:

Stopped reading when they started talking about frame rate.

God, if it's consistent, I don't care. Graphics... the least important part about a game. Always will be.

lividd3ad

#14

lividd3ad said:

@XCWarrior Graphics aren't everything but there is a certain amount of weight they carry in the quality of a game. If it looks horrible and chugs alone at 20fps, it can be difficult to stomach and really hamper your enjoyment.

rjejr

#16

rjejr said:

I almost choked to death on a dill pickle reading that headline I was laughing so hard. There's really no point even reading the rest.

Gma-X

#19

Gma-X said:

Too bad there is no hands-on info on the online experience, that's one of the most important features for me. Being able to play with friends and MKTV, finally something you can save your epic races with.

We all know those races where something so amazing happens (positive or negative) and no one was there to see it, so you could only describe it with words and the other guy like "okay, pretty cool man". But it wasn't 'pretty cool', it was downright unbelievable. Now you can say: "Look what happened in this race, dude!". Epic feature.

rjejr

#21

rjejr said:

OK, I read it, now I'm wondering who had to type it up, unpaid intern or is this entire thing a Twitter conversation?

ahem, anyway, few thoughts - I always felt anti-grav would look better than play. I'm a bit of a roller coaster aficionado and really, loop-de-loops look much better than they ride, sometimes you can't actually tell when you physically are upside down. Old - and some new - wooden roller coasters can still give you more bang for your buck.

Is there off screen play on the Gamepad w/o using the tv screen? I might not use it much but I could see my kid using it alot, the one not addicted to Minecraft.

Since 30/60fps came up so much, do we know if this is 720p or 1080p? I don't really care but my 52" 1080p tv wanted to know.

Any word on bi-weekly challenges like MK Wii had? I spent months being excited when that little blue light was on announcing another challenge.

I almost feel bad for you guys, nothing to look forward to May 30th. Well at least you'll be able to keep working while the rest of us are playing.

jcross1978

#23

jcross1978 said:

That's great, but I still have not been able to get confirmation as to whether or not MK8 will or will not have in game voice chat... Can anyone provide that info PLEASE?

zool

#24

zool said:

This game is getting a lot of hype.... a bit like finding water in a desert.

sinalefa

#26

sinalefa said:

I would love to know if you tried different vehicles while playing. I have never tried bikes so that is new for me, but I am curious if buggies handle differently to bikes and cars.

K-Gamer

#27

K-Gamer said:

I am glad the wheelies are gone, now I can race with a kart online and the races will be even, good decision on Nintendo's part. Only request I still have is Nabbit as a playable character. I would say Yoshi Valley but that's already been answered.

Goginho

#28

Goginho said:

I'm very excited. I'm a bit concerned, though, that this Mario Kart will end up being nothing more than pure eye candy, and, as they mentioned it, a "charm factory". I still really want a true Mario Kart experience while actually racing, and not just gaze in awe at the pretty visuals and be impressed by them. You know, actually have awesome tracks to race on, and not just ones where you say, "oh wow, this track looks amazing...gorgeous...etc.", all the kinds of comments I've been reading lately on all different kinds of sources about MK8. Nobody really praised the actual track design and overall racing experience (apart from the smooth 60 fps). So I'm hoping it won't disappoint in that department, as I'm very certain it won't :)

Nintenjoe64

#29

Nintenjoe64 said:

Talking just makes the 7-8 week wait hurt even more! Even if they didn't fix any of the issues of previous games or improve anything but graphics, the gameplay would still make it the best Kart racer. It saddens me when I see unpractised people blame the AI or Items for their poor performances, I am not that good at games, especially racing ones, but I've always thought overcoming the evil items was the most satisfying part of Mario Kart! People saying the Blue Shell should be replaced by something like Sonic Racing's 'swarm' are just looking for an easy option. I'd recommend 50cc to them

Nintendo_Ninja

#30

Nintendo_Ninja said:

Looks great. DAY ONE BUY! But I Have 2 questions. 1.Is there a no tv option for single player? 2. What is Coronation Street?

gatorboi352

#35

gatorboi352 said:

@rjejr "Since 30/60fps came up so much, do we know if this is 720p or 1080p? "

My rule of thumb is this: if Xbox One has been struggling to output games in native 1080p, it's a safe bet that Wii U titles are 95% of the time native 720p upscaled to 1080p.

Funny_Moblin

#37

Funny_Moblin said:

Great read. Just a question--when you guys mentioned that the details drop when playing with 3 or 4 people, what do you mean exactly? Like are there certain little details such as a flower in the background that disappears?

rjejr

#39

rjejr said:

@gatorboi352 - " it's a safe bet that Wii U titles are 95% of the time native 720p upscaled to 1080p."

Yeah that's what I figured, was just wondering if there was any word from Nintendo on the subject.

Apparently Ant says 720p is the word. Oh well, still looks beautiful. Don't get to say that about a game like this too often, though Trine 2 and Child of Light are beautiful, but they are much simpler artwork.

Nintenjoe64

#40

Nintenjoe64 said:

@Nintendo_Ninja
I agree. The same people who cry about the AI cheating or getting beaten on a last lap because of a triple whammy of blue shells would never be able to win a race online without the handicapping of items. It basically makes more people play at the same level and only the best will be able to stand out..

antdickensAdmin

#41

antdickens said:

@Funny_Moblin no, nothing disappears but the quality is reduced, simplified or compressed - basically not as sharp/pretty. Personally I didn't really notice, but I think Tom did.

Rafie

#42

Rafie said:

I actually can't stop thinking about Mario Kart. Ever since I saw the new vids, it's been on my mind. Hahaha No game as of recent years has done that before they were released. It would seem we are getting 32 tracks. 16 retro-revised tracks, and 16 new ones. I'm stoked for this. So stoked!

unrandomsam

#44

unrandomsam said:

Surely if Sega could do Fzero GX - 4 player 60fps Nintendo should be able to do this with all the extra horsepower.

bofis

#48

bofis said:

Can't the Gamepad screen also display the race map sorta like the lower screen in Mario Kart DS and 7? That would at least be SOMETHING, though not nearly as nice and useful as having second-screen playing in 2-player.

Funny_Moblin

#50

Funny_Moblin said:

I miss Yoshi's choking sounds from older games such as Mario Kart 64. It would be cool if Yoshi would make that sound in Mario Kart 8.

Monkeh

#51

Monkeh said:

Nice read and thanks for the off-screen gameplay! The game truly looks astonishing.

Ralizah

#52

Ralizah said:

Bah, it's hard to defend the Gamepad when Nintendo won't even utilize it fully.

Still, this game sounds fun, and seems to be a major step up from the mediocre Mario Kart Wii. I'm glad they're taking the casual appeal out of the games this gen (Mario Kart Wii and its constant bombardment of race-destroying items; SSB Brawl and its tripping mechanic; etc, etc.)

Funny_Moblin

#54

Funny_Moblin said:

@Ralizah I'd like to agree with you that they are taking out casual appeal about SSBU. Aside from tripping mechanics, I don't want it floaty like Brawl. The good news is that Sakurai is posting quite a few screenshots with combos, so that's a good thing.

AshFoxX

#55

AshFoxX said:

Thank god they dropped the tanooki tail power-up, I always find myself using it just to get rid of it. Hopefully the piranha plant isn't a 'broken' item. Mario Kart: Double Dash had the characters holding the weapon in their hands first, I don't know why that is so interesting to reviewers for MK8.

Love the inclusion of a highlight reel, now I can relive my glory days watching the replays for Burnout 2 and pointing out the part of the race where I spilled my beer. The more I see and read about this game, the more I am SO happy I preordered my copy months ago. Also surprisingly excited of the return of the 'grounded' blue shell.

Excep7ional

#56

Excep7ional said:

I can't wait for the endless amount of fun that this game will bring to me and my bros. Such a great family game.

ThomasBW84Admin

#57

ThomasBW84 said:

@rjejr The idea was to leave some of the foibles of live chat in there, not edit it to within an inch of its existence. Conversations are rarely of impeccable grammar and punctuation. Plus Friday, video games, fun, not taking everything too seriously all of the time...

On the split screen visuals point that was made elsewhere, I certainly thought there were some compression problems that could be handled better; it's very clear that there have been technical issues on that score. That said, a valid point was made in the article that 3-4 player split just shows how spoiled we are in 1-2 player. The four player split does have a solid frame rate, and is miles more enjoyable / playable than on MK Wii.

I'm just picky, sorry :)

Aran

#58

Aran said:

Do you Think there could be an online voice chat? At least with the people we have on our friend list? It would be a wonderful addition! Making the game even more fun in online mode, though knowing Nintendo I think they won't add a voice chat to the game.

Aran

#59

Aran said:

Why doesn't Donkey Kong look like in Tropical Freeze? He looks really great in Tropical Freeze, in the SSMB screenshots he doesn't look that good, and I think neither in Mario Kart 8

Funny_Moblin

#60

Funny_Moblin said:

@ThomasBW84 "I'm just picky, sorry" And you gave 3D World a 10. Lol, a game can really say something when reviewed by Thomas. Still hoping for a Galaxy 2 sequel!

BearClaus

#61

BearClaus said:

This game looks set to repeat every problem the series has had since Mario Kart DS. It's a shame, because the courses, graphics, and character roster all look amazing. Battle mode will probably continue the recent tradition of no survival matches even in local multiplayer, and local multiplayer itself will still most likely be a snooze fest.

But for how much I whine that those games are missing the point of ol' Mario Kart, they are remarkably fun, addictive, and overall great all the same. This game will be no different, and as bad a thing as that is, that is a good thing. :)

JaxonH

#63

JaxonH said:

@rjejr

Yes, off-screen play on Gamepad.

60 frames per second in single player and two-player split-screen, but with three or more players the framerate locks at 30fps.

The game is 720p upscaled to 1080p, like most other 1st party Nintendo titles.

Lots to look forward to this month and next- April is the month of digital for Wii U after all! 8 GBA games, Super Mario Bros 3, Child of Light, Scram Kitty, Shovel Knight, and NES Remix 2... May will be a great month for Vita and 3DS leading up to Mario Kart 8. We've got Mario Golf World Tour, Kirby Triple Deluxe, God of War HD Collection (Vita), Borderlands 2 (Vita) and Sly Cooper Collection (Vita). Start your engines RJEJr, summer's heating up!!!

rjejr

#64

rjejr said:

@ThomasBW84 - "The idea was to leave some of the foibles of live chat in there, not edit it to within an inch of its existence."

Sorry TW, I wasn't complaining. (This is what happens when I'm negative 80% of the time, people think I'm negative 100% of the time.) For some reason I was just wondering to myself how a conversation like that gets on the page. When you or Damo or anyone writes an article, or an interview, it's obvious a person sat down and wrote it. With an article like this I was wondering which of you 4 had to actually do the work and type it up - doesn't look easy - or if you have minions for this type of thing. (type is a pun BTW)

ThomasBW84Admin

#66

ThomasBW84 said:

@rjejr We used a chat client that saves the manuscript, that's all, so it just takes a little while sorting it out and formatting. Damien did this one, and it's a similar idea when we have other round tables :)

JarredBuzzo

#69

JarredBuzzo said:

I hope the online mode isn't inundated with cheaters, the way people play can be infuriating.

JeffreyG

#70

JeffreyG said:

I honestly don't really mind the lack of GamePad features. Sure, they could have done more, but it's Mario Kart, keep it simple. Sonic Transformed had some pretty cool GamePad features, but I found myself switching to the Pro Controller pretty quickly, because it's more comfortable. The only big missed opportunity is 5 player local multiplayer, but that would probably harm the graphics even more.

rjejr

#71

rjejr said:

@ThomasBW84 - Ahh, modern technology, that's cool. As much as I loved writing i college, I hated formatting plays and the like.

Psyclone

#72

Psyclone said:

how is it that you guys know the game drops to 30fps and not even have a direct video or know if it's 720p/1080p?, other sites are reporting that it stays locked at 60fps.

hylianhalcyon

#74

hylianhalcyon said:

Just like with the Wii I get the feeling that Zelda will be the only thing on Wiiu to actually utilize the gamepad in a way that the gameplay couldn't have been done any other way by any other controller.

somari

#75

somari said:

The hype by people beacuse of this game is getting bigger and bigger every day.

Franklin

#76

Franklin said:

A lot of the expense of getting a Wii U is due to the GamePad. If even Nintendo games aren't going to use it, then I'm reluctant to get one.

World, and Mario Kart 8 look like great games. But it would take a new franchise or at least radically new take on something that utilised the GamePad to prise me away from my 3DS.

I suppose in this regard Nintendo are a victim of their own success, and with the dual release of Smash, I think this is only going to increase.

JaxonH

#77

JaxonH said:

@arkady77 Actually, It's 720p upscaled to 1080p according to multiple sources. Eurogamer mistakenly reported 1080p, failing to mention that's not native. That's upscaled from its native 720p resolution.

JaxonH

#78

JaxonH said:

@ChoppedLiver 3DS is $200. The Wii U is only a hundred bucks more than that, and that's with a game included and all kinds of extras like DDP. Forget the Gamepad- for a full HD home console experience, that's worth the extra hundred bucks right there, gamepad or no gamepad. The fact you ALSO get a gamepad for off-TV play, hand written Miiverse notes and dozens of other uses (just because Nintendo missed asymmetrical MP in MK8 doesn't mean the majority of the library doesn't use it) is just a cherry on top.

I mean, Wii U was always gonna be a hundred bucks more than their handheld, even without the gamepad. Cause even without it, it's still way more bang for your buck than the meager 3DS. Wii BC and included game alone make up for that hundo, and thats not accounting for the HD hardware capable of games like this.

All the other console don't offer a gamepad- don't see why it's a requirement to enjoy home console Nintendo games. Would I have liked to see asymmetrical MP in MK8? Sure. Does the fact it's not there mean Wii U isn't worth owning? That's like saying you need to see stylus implementation in every 3DS game or its not worth buying. Wii U is worth it even without the pad. With it, and the minimum off-TV play it brings, it's hard to understand how an extra hundred bucks is not worth it

Marshi

#79

Marshi said:

@hylianhalcyon I second that, but I will add that also like the wii,the hardware was built to work a zelda game. With wii,we got the wiimote,and was shown its effectiveness in wiisports and wiisports resort. Later we got zelda skyward sword which features an amalgomation of all the best points of wiisports(1-1sword use,archery etc). So its pretty safe to assume with wiius nintendo land,it was a test built to see how people react to the mechanics there. In other words id be surprised if zelda wiiu dosnt have the same archery mechanics and other features ripped from nintendo lands minigames

Franklin

#80

Franklin said:

@JaxonH
I've certainly seen a 3DS go for much cheaper than that, and a 2DS is cheaper still. Which is quite to the point. With the handheld, there's the option of the cheaper version without the 'cherry on top', and I don't particularly want that gimmick if Nintendo aren't going to utilise it for one of their main franchises.

I take the point that a home console was always going to be more expensive than a handheld, but handheld gaming has reached a point where it meets my needs; I'd rather play Kid Icarus than a 2D platformer on the Wii U. 3D roaming games are very possible on the 3DS. The main difference between the Smash Bros. games would seem likely to be the graphics, and that's not something that bothers me. It's not like the difference between the Game Boy and SNES anymore, in real terms the gap is getting smaller.

I would argue that currently the 3DS has the better game library as well. And I, and many other people who haven't bought a Wii U, already have a 3DS. Personally, I don't see enough to persuade me to get a Wii U as well just yet, though that could well change if the new Zelda looks promising.

Johnny12

#82

Johnny12 said:

This Mario Kart 8 Trailer brought back memories of falling down on wii rainbow road. #MK8ISAMAZING!!

Diddy_kong

#83

Diddy_kong said:

I would love if something really special was unlocked after you beat every Cup on 150cc – something other than Mirror Mode. Once I get gold in everything in Mirror Mode I never play it again and I don’t think I’m alone on that one, so I wish that Nintendo would include something that I’ll actually want to return to once I beat everything. Maybe some extra Cups or one really long and special final track or something??

Dpullam

#84

Dpullam said:

This is shaping up to be one of the best looking and most entertaining Mario Kart games I have ever seen! Granted, I need to try it out for myself before I make any judgements, but I have never been disappointed by a Mario Kart game in my life and the extensive improvements and additions this one makes me very eager to play it for myself. I just hope they add in some new modes since having the standard Mario Kart modes for the last few games has gotten a little stale. I want new types of battle modes and perhaps bringing back Mission Mode or something like that. Otherwise I might be a little disappointed with the results regardless of the new track design and gameplay elements.

Windy

#85

Windy said:

I'm passing on this and on Smash Brothers. I learned my lesson with Animal Crossing. same game over and over and over and over and over and over and over.......'.................Right now my last gaming purchase this year will be Mario Golf and that's pretty sad.

JaxonH

#86

JaxonH said:

@ChoppedLiver

Oh, I totally get what you're saying. I just see a lot of people treat the Wii U as if it's complete and utter worthless garbage just because a small handful of Nintendo titles don't use the gamepad for more than off-TV play, which to me doesn't really make sense. I mean, me personally, I buy a console for the games- the additional benefits (like Gamepad) are just a nice little extra.

On a side note, I don't feel calling the gamepad a "gimmick" is justified. It's the console's controller, and provides off-TV play for pretty much every game in the library. If it didn't do off-TV play, and was never used for any game, and all it was good for is hand drawn notes on Miiverse, then I'd say ok, it's a gimmick. But the off-TV play destroys that argument. That and the fact it's actually used in more games than not. In fact, there's really only a small handful of games that don't use it- and only one that should have (Mario Kart 8).

Idk, I'm not knockin anyone for not buying a Wii U, I just wanted to point out that it's actually a heck of a good deal when you really break it down. And personally, as much as I ADORE the 3DS library, I think the Wii U has finally surpassed it. The 3rd party AAA ports helped, but also just the sheer superior quality of 1st party titles. I look at Super Mario 3D World, and it walks all over 3D Land. And as much as I love DKC Returns 3D, DKC Tropical Freeze definitely outclasses it in every way. And I used to love Mario Kart 7, but after seeing MK8 it doesn't look that appealing anymore. NSMBU makes NSMB2 look like amateur hour, and games like MH3U and Sonic Transformed are clearly inferior on the handheld. That's not to say I don't love the 3DS, in fact it's one of my favorite systems of all time (second only to Wii U, and not by much).

But hey, I'm glad you're enjoying your 3DS as much as you are. Believe me, you're not the only one. Zelda Link Between Worlds and Fire Emblem Awakening rank among my favorite games of all time. And that Kirby Triple Deluxe is looking top notch (and I'm not even a Kirby fan- you know a game is good when it attracts people who don't even traditionally like the franchise)

hylianhalcyon

#88

hylianhalcyon said:

@JaxonH Sorry, but it's not a heck of a good deal for a lot of people when you really break it down. That's merely your opinion.

The reason it's bad if the gamepad is barely used is because the money that went into the research and development of it could have gone to something more important. Like online infrastructure, beefing up the console, or making it as 3rd party friendly as possible. When Nintendo banks on a controller "innovation" to separate the console from the pack, and so throws resources at that over other things, and then it doesn't do anything to separate itself from the pack, that's not good. Especially because Nintendo is behind their competitors in basically every area.

I absolutely agree not every game should try and use it in some amazing way, but as of right now the thing setting Nintendo's console apart, the gamepad, doesn't have the software to sell it.

JaxonH

#89

JaxonH said:

@hylianhalcyon

Ya it's my opinion, but I believe it's the right opinion. Speaking from purely a hardware bang for your buck perspective, but also from a software perspective.

The gamepad is not barely used. I don't understand where people are getting this from. Every game has, at the bare minimum, off-TV play. That alone justifies its existence, and that alone is an example of it being used for every single game, and a good use at that. In fact, off-TV play is probably the best use it can offer. But there are also many games using it to further enhance the experience, including

Pikmin 3
Wonderful 101
Zelda Windwaker HD
New Super Mario Bros U
Nintendoland
Wii Party U
Game & Wario
Wii Fit U
Resident Evil Revelations HD
Deus Ex Human Revolution
ZombiU
Rayman Legends
Assassin's Creed 3/4
Batman Arkham City (not Origins)
Call of Duty BO2/Ghosts
Darksiders 2
Mass Effect 3
Need For Speed
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
Ninja Gaiden 3
Lego City Undercover
Sonic Lost World
Sonic Racing Transformed
Injustice

Barely used? Ok, in Super Mario 3D World, DKC Tropical Freeze, and I'll even say Mario Kart 8, because that WAS a huge missed opportunity, no denying that. Barely used in 3 games. Compared to, how many again in that top list? And even those 3 use it for off-TV play.

R&D for the Gamepad does not hinder R&D for other areas of the console. Nintendo is a large company, billions of dollars. The Wii U is exactly how they wanted it. Beefing up the console would do nothing but increase development costs and development cycle times (so we wait even LONGER for games to release). And the games would only very marginally look better. Unless a console specializes in photorealism (which Nintendo consoles do not), beefing it up further would accomplish little to nothing, but would cost us games in the end, because they'd be harder to make, and take longer to finish.

And it's important to note that the controller is not what separates the Wii U from its competitors. Way too much emphasis being put on the gamepad. Way too much undeserved attention. The gamepad is just a controller that happens to also have a screen. Nothing more. Didn't take rocket science to create, and isn't the crux of the console experience. The games are the crux of the console experience, as always. Nintendo games are what separates Wii U from its competitors. The unique hardware is just there to compliment the games. The gamepad is a complimentary addition, not the heart, soul and differentiator of the Wii U.

Online infrastructure is fine. Not sure where you're going with that. Online works flawlessly and it's free. What kind of online infrastructure improvements are you talking about? The infrastructure is rock solid, and works like a charm. I've put over 500 online hours into MH3U, and never had a hiccup. That's solid infrastructure there. Could the Wii U use some additional online apps, like cross-game chat? Sure could. I'd love to see that. But the absence of a system-level cross-game chat has nothing to do with the controller having a screen on it. Two totally unrelated things.

And I beg to differ when you assert that Nintendo is behind their competitors in basically every area. They're ahead in the following areas:

online social integration ala Miiverse (in fact, Wii U LEADS their competitors here)
multiple controller options
off-TV play
dual screen and motion gaming capabilities (note capability, not prerequisite)
backwards compatibility
Virtual Console (complete with virtual saves and button mapping)
80 hour battery life for Pro Controller (70 hours more than Dualshock 4)
external hard drive/USB drive compatibility
non-proprietary memory for handhelds
lowest price
free online
highest quality software

Franklin

#90

Franklin said:

@JaxonH
When I look at Wii U games, I think 'could this largely have been done on 3DS, and usually, the answer is yes. If I'm going to buy a Wii U, I need at least one amazing game that couldn't be done on the handheld, and that most likely means using the GamePad creatively. Zelda could be the one.

hylianhalcyon

#92

hylianhalcyon said:

@JaxonH And I believe it's the wrong opinion. So there ya go.

Of course the gamepad is not barely used. It's the controller for the console. It needs to be used for pretty much every game buddy. But the operative word here is how. How the gamepad is used. And I'm sorry I wasn't clear enough in my prior post. As of now there are no games using the gamepad in a meaningful way to enhance gameplay that couldn't have been done some other way and by a standard controller.

Off tv play is the only upside to the gamepad, but a weak one at that. Unless you somehow happen to not have multiple tvs in the house, or just have many family members, I'd wager that most consumers would prefer to play on a large HD tv instead of a tiny low res screen. When I visit my brother and play his Wiiu i look forward to playing Nintendo games for the first time ever in HD, not on the gamepad screen.

When you take time and money and spend it somewhere, it consequently doesn't go somewhere else. They could have put resources that went into making the gamepad into attracting 3rd parties (or making the console more powerful, which, ya know, affects more than the visuals). Which is noticeably missing from your largely opinionated list of how Nintendo is ahead of their competitors.

I agree that games are largely why we buy consoles. But the gamepad is what separates the Wiiu from its competitors. At least that's what Nintendo was hoping. You notice how they unveiled the Wiiu a while back? Remember when all they did was pull out a controller and completely emphasize it? The wiimote set the Wii apart, the gamepad was supposed to set the Wiiu apart. Obviously it didn't work as well this time taking a glance at the sales. Nintendo has made very apparent that they are not following in their competitors footsteps. They are traveling their own path and not partaking in a power race. So yes, the gamepad is as big a selling point for the Wiiu as the games, because the competitors don't have something like it.

As for online: go play a PS4 and check out its different social stuffs (recording gameplay and sharing anyone?) and account system, compare it to Wiiu, and then get back to me.

As for your list, you got me there. You have shown me the light. Sony must be blithering idiots for only giving the Dualshock 4 ten hours of battery life.

JaxonH

#93

JaxonH said:

@hylianhalcyon

I agree, even I prefer playing my Wii U games on my gorgeous HDTV. But, sometimes you can't. Sometimes you leave the room. or sometimes others use the TV. Sometimes, you just want to play a movie on the TV but keep your game going in DKC. Me, sometimes I like to have 3 or 4 things going on at once. Of course, if given the choice most people would choose their TV every time. But it should be noted that that's really only true for retail releases and high production value digital releases. When it comes to indies or VC (and VC is a major function of the console), the gamepad is where it's at. The older VC titles look so much better on the smaller screen, and it's definitely how I (and many others I've spoken to) prefer to play VC.

But getting back to what you said, yes I do agree. I'm not saying the gamepad has NO importance, I'm just saying you buy a console for the games, not the controller. And yes, I do agree Mario Kart 8 should have had asymmetrical MP. Not arguing there. But aside from that and the 2 platformers that didn't use it, pretty much every other game has- not always to achieve something that couldn't otherwise be done, but that's going to be rare in and of itself. Most Wii games could have been played with a normal controller, with the exception of a few. The gamepad, like the Wiimote, will create experiences otherwise unattainable FROM TIME TO TIME, but for the most part it's there to streamline and enhance rather than pioneer. And there's nothing wrong with that. It's like any other feature there to improve the experience. It doesn't have to create a new experience every time. It just has to add to what's already there. Zelda Windwaker HD or Pikmin 3 are perfect examples. Although, you will see entirely new gameplay every now and then, ala Wii Sports Club Golf and W101.

Ok, as for attracting 3rd parties, there's nothing that can be done. I thought people had come to understand this by now, but I guess not. There is one thing stopping 3rd parties from developing on the system. It's not the power, it's not the gamepad, it's the fact that their games do not sell. They don't sell, that's all there is to it. It's the same problem Nintendo's had for generations now. Wii U could be more powerful than PS4, have a normal controller and that still won't convince 3rd parties to bring games. When you can't even point to one single multiplat on Wii U that's sold over 250k (most averaging 125k), that's a problem. The audience just isn't there. That's nothing Nintendo has anything control over. It's a problem money can't fix, and certainly R&D can't fix.

As for the PS4, I own a PS4. I own a Vita. Bought em both day one. I am not ignorant to the capabilities of other systems. Nor am I ignorant to the fact that Wii U is ahead of the PS4 in just as many areas as it is behind. Sure, PS4 has video capture and screenshots while Wii U just has screenshots. But, you can't do anything with them on PS4. What, share em on Twitter or Facebook? No thanks. No, PS4 should have online social integration like Wii U- a place where gamers can congregate within the ecosystem and share said videos and pictures.

And yes, PS4 has a better account system, and it has more power. There are numerous areas the PS4 is ahead. But again, there are just as many (if not more) areas PS4 is behind the Wii U. And who are you to say with absolution that the features PS4 has over Wii U are better than the features Wii U has over PS4? That's the thing. Everyone acts like PS4 is just so much better in every way, when it's really not. It's really quite surprising how many things Wii U does or has that PS4 doesn't, or things Wii U does better.

On a final note, I don't know what Sony was thinking with the DS4 either. I bought the extended gamepad battery, and now get up to 8 hours, which is right in the ballpark of the Dualshock 4's battery life. Only the gamepad is powering a 6.2 inch LCD display, camera, accelerometer, NFC, gyroscope, rumble, stereo speakers, etc. There is no reason my Dualshock 4 can't outlast my Gamepad.

I appreciate your well-thought out response though, and ability to express a different opinion without letting emotion run wild with insults. It's something I'm not used to on this site.

hylianhalcyon

#94

hylianhalcyon said:

That's really my biggest gripe with Nintendo (well, besides that I haven't been impressed with their software lineup on WiiU). They pretty much bank on these hardware "innovations" and in the process ignore a lot of other areas they could improve on. And while they do seem to occasionally justify their existence with something such as skyward sword, to me when it gets down to it they aren't worth much more than that. With Wii they hit a home run. With Wiiu they didn't and now they're stuck trying to pick up the pieces.

I don't think the 3rd party situation for Nintendo is so bleak that nothing can be done. Nintendo hasn't done much, if anything to try and change the situation. If they don't change the situation there's pretty much no way they'll be able to keep making home consoles. I just can't see that happening.

As for the Dualshock 4, I was actually being sarcastic. :D But I applaud you if you caught that and went ahead and were mock serious. If not then never mind.

XCWarrior

#96

XCWarrior said:

@lividd3ad If it's consistently 20FPs, then it's fine. Yeah, if a game travels between 60 to 20 to 40 to 10 during a playthru, I get it. But if it' the same, I don't care.

Graphics have never stopped me from playing game. Bad game play, absolutely.

Alucard83

#98

Alucard83 said:

Let's Talk Endlessly About Mario Kart 8, Just Because people don't have anything else to do. LOL! So true

OmegaStar

#99

OmegaStar said:

Not to mention this game confirms that Bullet Bills are inanimate. Their eyes are headlights!

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