Opinions – Mario Kart 8 DLC Wrap-Up

Mario Kart 8’s first DLC will land on August 27. And it’s free. Yay!

First I’ll outline the upcoming changes, and then I’ll raise a few of my own ideas.

Let’s go:

– Mercedes-Benz x Mario Kart 8

This was advertised a while earlier on and now it’s ready to launch.

First up, I feel compelled to mention that the models just don’t fit into the Mario Kart universe very well. The game is super colourful and highly stylized, and the new vehicles just look totally out of place. The Mercedes-Benz karts are shrunken versions of real-life models, so the end result is an awkward little cart that looks like a bloated Mirco-Machine(®). There is no info on colour schemes or further customization either. The DLC promo video showed a lot of grey/black models, but there was also a white and red one in the mix. A few more colours might help. But either way it still feels kind of strange.

mercedes

On another note – I’m confused about why the two companies have partnered in this way. Mercedes-Benz are a prestige car manufacturer, while Nintendo sell the cheapest modern console available today. What are they hoping to gain out of this deal?  As a marketing move it makes little sense to me, so feel free to comment about this if you have any insight.

– Post-Race Menu Fix

The first gripe for just about all gamers who bought this game was the post-race menu screen during single player. Instead of just tapping the A button in order to breeze on through to the next race, the selection would default to the “replay” option instead. This meant that you’d be inadvertedly loading up the replay feature by accident a bunch of times until you got used to it. It felt very unnatural so it’s great this is getting fixed.

replay

However, in all seriousness it seems strange that the game was released this way in the first place. It is totally awesome that Nintendo is actually listening to consumer feedback and acting on it, but on the other hand it’s also something extremely minor and won’t affect people who bought the game at launch and barely play offline anymore. Baby steps, Nintendo. Baby steps.

Map Tweak

There will now be an option to display the map on the tv screen. This will mean you can see all you need without having to quickly look down at the game-pad, which should make everything a little easier. Leaving the map off-screen wasn’t a bad idea, because this way the player gets to soak up the graphics with minimal HUD clutter. However – moving the map onto the main screen should make for a much more streamlined experience.

map

I hope this option will also be available for gamepad-only display although it might not work out so well on such a small screen. Another bonus would be the ability to see which items each player is carrying – either implemented within or alongside the map – or as a separate feature. This could potentially minimize the sheer chaos of the item system and make it feel slightly less random because the player would be armed with just a little more info.

– Online Stability, Statistics and More

It’s fair to say that the online experience with Mario Kart 8 is still a little flaky. Match-making needs a stich-up and general stability needs help to prevent disconnects. This is a highly welcome addition to the patch.

Mario_kart_8_6

I’m also super keen to see what statistics we get. Remember the amount of stats available in Super Smash Bros. Brawl? That was cool. I don’t think it will be as extensive this time round but it will be nice to get something. The source I read also mentioned that the “most recent” kart configuration could be saved. This is also good, but how about a few custom slots for different set-ups? That would be awesome indeed.

Changes i’d like to see in the future (even if they might never happen):

– Item Rebalancing

I mentioned in my review that the items aren’t balanced very well in MK8 and this is still a very common complaint about the game. I also said that over time the ranking system manages to seperate the varying skill levels of players over time… However, luck still remains a real element in the outcome of every race.

mariokartitembox

Just earlier today I found myself in second place on the final lap of a circuit… And at the final item box set I pulled out a Crazy 8 and launched in to steal first place. This just shouldn’t happen at all particularly when the guy in last place is only getting mushrooms, because we’ve all been there too. I think the erratic nature of the item balance in Mario Kart 8 could be improved without cutting into the fun. The craziness is part of the charm, but it’s also completely out of control and could benefit majorly with just a little tweaking.

– Map Packs + New Racers

This seems obvious and would no doubt be incredibly popular. I’m pretty sure a large slice of the community would be prepared to part with a little cash for additional content. Maybe Nintendo feel that additional courses would somehow discount the originals in some way? I don’t know. But more than that I still can’t believe Nabbit didn’t make it into this game as a playable racer.

nabbit

– Throw Battle Mode In The Trash, Re-invent It From Scratch, Never Speak Of Previous Battle Mode Again

And that’s pretty much it.


 

What are your thoughts on the first Mario Kart 8 DLC? What else would you like to see injected into the game?

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