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Mario Kart 8: End of an Era?

/ Jul 22nd, 2013 No Comments

Mario Kart 8

Mario Kart 8 will feature driving underwater, while gliding and using anti-gravity repulsors, and now, Mario Kart has arrived in the future, ladies and the gentlemen. With the 8th installment of the main series (11th overall), Mario Kart 8 promises to give us the same level of acceleration we have come to expect from the series by improving the old features and enhancing the game with new ones. Such features as gliding and underwater driving will return with cleaned up mechanics for the Wii U. Additionally, those features become integrated with anti-gravity driving, a feature new to the series. While the rumor from Miyamoto (made in a somewhat off-handed statement) is that this may be the end of the Mario Kart franchise, the hope for a new franchise is sure to titillate players for what may come next.

Mario Kart 8

Mario Kart 8

In the meantime however, the horizon definitely features anti-gravity driving. This new feature allows players to drive along walls and upside down (on specific tracks of course). The Mario Kart 8 video from E3 even showed moments where a player would enter the anti-gravity mode and then progress to an underwater section of the course implying a cross-integration of the two features. Some of the demonstration of this anti-gravity feature came off as very reminiscent to the feature used in the Super Mario Galaxy series, which allowed the player (as Mario) to defy gravity in many parts of the level. With this in mind, the player can only hope to be as equally impressed by the use of this concept in Mario Kart 8, as its looking to be the big selling point of this new iteration.

Mario Kart 8

Imagine having that ghoulish grin looking back taunting you.

Another bit of excitement for the series glorious return to Console will be the inclusion of vehicle choice (between bikes and cars), as well as the coin collecting, which in Mario Kart 7 was used to primarily to unlock new vehicle parts for greater customization. Its function will presumably continue to unlock parts in Mario Kart 8 as vehicle customization will be returning. A note for bikes is that they sadly will not be able to attempt a wheelie anymore (according to official reports). Thus, dreams of giving your friends the finger while you pop one over the finish line must be put to the sidelines for now. On the bright-side Waluigi is back, so no matter what plaers will be able to roll that royal purple to glory as an alternate means of taunting friends.

Mario Kart 8

It is like 2001.

Transitioning from in-game mechanics to the capabilities of the hardware, twelve-player online has been confirmed by Nintendo. A feature from Mario Kart Wii, Mario Kart 8 makes a return to the twelve player format and allows it for local and online play alike. Of course the crisp HD graphics of the Wii U shone in the gameplay footage as Mario Kart 8, simply put, looks absolutely stunning, while still maintaining its cartoonish appeal. Integration of the “Miiverse” also appears to be something in development with the possibility of sharing videos of your best driving performances with friends via the internet, so now they do not even have to be in your home for you to show them reminders of how you crushed them in the last race.

Ending with a bit of speculation, Hideki Konno (producer of Mario Kart 8) has stated that talks of integrating the two-player driving mechanic of Mario Kart: Double-Dash are in the works, however it remains to be seen if this will come to pass. Meanwhile we eagerly await to hear who has made the cut for this game with some assumptions already made (Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Peach, etc.), but as noted before Waluigi will be returning, as will Toadette, who are slowly gaining a bit of a cult following with Nintendo fans. As far as new tracks go, some former tracks were seen in the video given an HD clean-up, as well as glimpses of some potential new ones (most of which showed off the new anti-gravity feature). All the wondering aside, our questions should be getting some solid answers in the time leading up to spring 2014 when Mario Kart 8 is expected to release. Until then keep your shell finger itchy and your trailing friends ever wanting.

Greg Johnson
Greg is a Nintendo fan-boy who would cry if they ever went 3rd party. He writes news, previews and reviews for various consoles at Gaming Illustrated.
Greg Johnson

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