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Thread: Hands On: Mario Kart 7

  1. #1
    Retired WiiHacks Staff peire's Avatar
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    Hands On: Mario Kart 7

    Within the first few seconds of starting a race in Mario Kart 7, it is evident that there is one thing that already sets 7 apart from the previous entries in the Mario Kart franchise: a wonderful sense of speed. Iím not sure if this is due to the impressive 3D effect or if Nintendo have simply just made the game faster. It is also unclear what CC the preview version was set to when I played it. One thing is very clear, though: the speed of the game makes it feel exhilarating.
    The big addition in this latest instalment of Mario Kart are the fancy new underwater propellers and airborne gliders that automatically open when you splosh into water of whoosh into the air. The propeller works exactly how any would predict it: it simply lets you drive underwater at a slower speed than normal racing. Luckily, Nintendo have toned down the effect of water friction so that the slowing down isnít too much and the game still feels fast. The glider, however, is a completely different story.
    If you have played Pilotwings Resort then I wouldnít blame you for expecting the glider in Mario Kart 7 to feel similar as I did - calm and gentle. So you can imagine my surprise when I hit my first big jump only to be catapulted into the air at an alarming speed and the glider popping out - it was immense. Thanks to the 3DSí Circle Pad, it controls beautifully, too. The glider is extremely nimble and even the slightest move can help you soar down the track and over the heads of opponents. Two notable glider sections is where youíre launched over a lovely forest and need to swoop down into the trees below, the second great one is on track on a mountain top where there isnít much height in the jump, but you can still soar down the track, past the finish line, and still carry on gliding for a decent amount in the next lap - if youíre careful enough you can cut a corner or two. If Nintendo donít include an extra minigame or two based solely on the use of the glider, I will be very disappointed.

    The coins from the original Super Mario Kart make a return here. These are dotted throughout the track - and placed in a circular formation in some glider sections - and picking them up increases your speed. The inclusion of them adds some extra tactical thinking into the mix: do you move out of your way for a coin or stick to the racing line? No doubt that there will also be sections where you must choose between collecting a coin or picking up an item.
    While on the subject of items and weapons, I suspect that they have been toned down for the purposed of the preview version I played and donít represent what the items will be like in the final version of the game. Not only were there no new items, but some of the more powerful weapons were noticeable absent, such as the lightning and the infamous, swear-inducing blue shell, likely to make the preview far less frustrating.
    The attributes of a kart are now largely impacted by the size of the wheels. There is a kart customisation option after the character selection and you can choose between large, medium or small for any character. The large wheels make the kart very hard to turn around corners but very fast once you hit a long enough straight. My personal preference, Toad with tiny wheels, is extremely nimble around corners and great for getting poweslide boosts in. It is possible that this change has been made to the franchise for the purposes of online (and local) multiplayer. As Mario Kart usually doesnít allow more than one player to select the same character, it could lead to problems if everyone wanted, for example, a lightweight character. Moving the attributes to the wheels means that things remain simple while people can select a different character without needing to get used to how they race.
    The four courses I played were all great fun and very nicely detailed - the forest I mentioned earlier looked gorgeous. There are plenty of obstacles on the track for you to avoid and a few alternate routes. One noticeable thing about the courses in Mario Kart 7 is that the courses themselves feel much more integrated with the track-side scenery. The courses also seem to much less flat sections and overall they just feel much more...natural. As natural as you can get in a game set in the Mushroom Kingdom, anyway.
    As is stands already, Mario Kart 7 will be a great addition to the franchise and a great expansion to the Mario Kart gameplay. The propeller and glider, mainly the glider, are brilliant additions to the gameplay and Nintendo have somehow managed to integrate in a way that feels in no way at all gimmicky - which is more that can be said about the last entry in the franchise. The biggest problem now will be waiting for the game to be released.

    thanks to bmarlo for this signature

  2. #2
    Retired Staffer bmarlo's Avatar
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    Thanks for the read mate! I think me boy will love this
    when I eventually get around to buying him a 3DS lol.


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