MARIO KART 7 REVIEW
More of the same, but more.
Posted by PlayDevil.com Staff on Dec 22, 2011 14:45 (Dec 22, 2011 14:45)
Written by: Alex
There is no mistaking it, "Mario Kart 7" is the seventh Mario Kart. Taking the now twenty-year-old original as its starting point, the series has spent the last six games expanding on and experimenting with its core mechanic to mixed effect. At this point the series has its standards, its signature elements that are instantly recognised, from red shells to power slides. But it is the subtleties in control and small twists each instalment brings, which really hold the key each title’s (relative) successes.
There are no huge changes in Mario Kart 7. Eight racers still speed around a variety of colourful tracks in the (now) familiar world of the Mushroom Kingdom. Three speeds of tournament, all taking place over the same eight set of four races, translate to the games difficulty levels and the importance of weapons, coins and slides remain, albeit with a different emphasis on each. Even the multiplayer modes are unchanged in concept, while remaining the true highlight of the game.
Mario Kart’s static nature is not a problem, after all each instalment of the franchise has been among the best title in their respective consoles’ library. It is for this reason most other companies have given up even attempting to make carting games as none come close to matching Mario Kart. It keeps its core constant because, like all successful franchises, it is just tweaking what works.
The point is (and I know I said this already but its worth saying twice) this is Mario Kart, there are no huge changes. Except when there are.
Alterations are subtle, additive elements. A careful balance of the best of the past and then new; the trick is Mario Kart 7 manages this with more skill than (nearly) all of its predecessors. For my money the best Mario Kart is still the original on the SNES, but that is just nostalgia, in considered terms I would say that the DS version tops the list. Mario Kart 7 however is now a very close second.
Mario Kart 7 (as always) divided in to eight cups, half of which are made up of old tracks while the other half are new. New tracks a wonderfully overblown spectacles and really show case just how much better 7 looks than any of the other titles, really showing off what the small system can do. Most innovative among these new tracks are the road races, shunning laps for a single three-stage course. It is a tiny change but the first time it happens it is a shock, requiring more focus than any of the lap based courses.
Even the old tracks have undergone a significant facelift, and not simply in terms of graphics. With new abilities (along with the normal new selection of weapons), courses have been tweaked to incorporate the new glide and underwater mechanics, with new geometry and jumps added brining interesting twists to familiar tracks.
There is also a new way to experience the tracks with a new first person view. No doubt introduced to make use of the 3DS motion control, buy pressing up or down on the d-pad the camera view switches and enables you to use either the slide-pad or tilt control. It works really well (providing you turn off the 3D which is easily disrupted when tilting) and the lower viewing angle looking over the nose of the kart provides a very different, more in the action, feel.
Mario Katy 7 other noticeable change is some car customization. I don’t pretend that this is on the level of Gran Turismo, but it is like a lightweight version of it, and a nice introduction to the concept of car performance modifications.