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Flapperdoodle's Gaming Blog Ep. 5: Mario Kart 7 First Impressions

12/5/11 8:31pm
tl;dr

 While Mario Kart 7 will move slowly for you if you don't drift AND the unlockables and character selection is a little whack, it still is very nice looking and I will say that the game is fun to play. I'll have to play more though once I buy it to give it a full score. Expect a review in... the somewhat future I guess.

 Dear Readers,

HELLO g1s EVERYWHERE! This is Flapperdoodle here with my second first impressions in a row. I know, it seems strange to do two first impressions, but I promise you that you'll care about this one a hell of a lot more than my previous one. Also, I plan to do a Top Ten next time, as well as talk about my past memories with a certain game... but for now, let us commence OPERATION: MK7 IMPRESSIONS!

OK, so I am REALLY excited for this game. Like, no joke, this was my MUST HAVE 3DS game right when it was announced. I could care less about Super Mario 3D Land, Luigi's Mansion 2, and Kid Icarus: Uprising. Forget those, THIS IS THE GAME! After Mario Kart Wii (currently one of my favorite Wii games up to date), I was so excited to see Mario Kart 7 possibly be even better. So, I am planning to buy the game once Chanukah comes around (yes I'm jewish, insert money big nose jokes here), but I soon realized my friends are the biggest Mario fans EVAH because they ALL bought MK7 the day it came out... way to exclude me guys. But, that gives me an advantage, cause I get to mooch off of them FOR FREE! So, today I decided to try out some hands on gameplay. How does it stack up?

Let me start off on an unfortunately bad note by saying Nintendo messes two big things up; Unlockable System and Character Selection. I'm going to warn you right now, I am about to spoil the character roster here, so let me make it easy for people who are lazily skimming...

SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!

OK, good, let me talk about the unlockables. First of all, they give you all of the cups AT THE VERY START excluding Mirror Mode. I can understand why they would do this to make it easier for newcomers to jump in, and I can still play fairly, but it just seems cheap. Also, apparently if you beat 150cc Mushroom Cup, you get Mushroom Cup IN THE REST OF THE CUPS! I may not have heard him correctly, but THAT is what I got out of it. I can understand taking the same approach from Mario Kart DS (considering this IS another handheld MK) but still, it seems like a step backward.

But it gets worse. I understand the coin concept, and I like it returning. I like the fact that adding coins to the race to unlock stuff adds replay value, and I like the customizable karts thing. I REALLY dig this concept in fact... but my friends tell me that every 100 coins, you unlock a totally random item. It could be wheels, a glider, or a kart. This, I do not like. Why not just have a shop where you can spend your coins freely? That would seem like the better outcome.

BUT IT GETS WORSE! The character selection... what the hell Nintendo? The additions are cool, I'll admit. Metal Mario rocks, Lakitu is pretty cool, and Shy Guy and Wiggler are characters I've been waiting to join the series. But QUEEN BEE? QUEEN BEE? REALLY? Did you guys really consider this a good choice. With all of the other characters you left out, you choose QUEEN BEE. I mean, Rosalina is cool. She was the STAR of SMG1. Queen Bee was a stupid little side character that you, let's be honest, sexually assaulted to collect star chips. Also, you excluded so many great additions. You left out Toadette, all the baby characters, King Boo, and Walugi. Nintendo, I love you guys, you guys are usually really smart. But you left out of Mario's most beloved characters... HOW COULD YOU LEAVE OUT WALUIGI! He's been in every frackin game since he got announced. We traded Waluigi for Queen Bee? Unexceptable.

THE SPOILERS ARE OVER PAST THIS POINT!

OK, so I don't like unlockables or characters; two of which are important. But ya know what else is important, the gameplay, so lets take a look!

OK, as for overall track design, I am in favor. I played the Mushroom Cup and Rainbow Road, and all five of the tracks I played had many branching paths. For example, in Daisy Hills (you may have seen this in the trailer), after this one gliding section you can either go to the ground, or you can onto this roof, OR you can go to this tiny shorcut. Both of these have different advantages. The roof allows nice scenery and allows for some nice easy drifting and a nice jump. The ground offers more coins to collect, and the shortcut is well... a shortcut. I like when Nintendo does this, and I am impressed. I haven't seen any new tracks that are wowing me, but I will say the new Rainbow Road is one HELL of an epic addition.

OK, how do I describe the gliding and water racing. First off, gliding... awesome. No doubt, the gliding is fun to execute and does even involve some slight strategy involved if you want to collect coins or reach a shortcut. I overall think it works. The water racing works... but not as much as the gliding. Sure, its fun to race underwater, but it is slower than the regular racing, and unless you're drifting, this is going to be a BIG problem. Overall, both of these ideas were executed pretty well.

As for items, the regular items are the same ol' thing we've come to know and love. Mushrooms are good, sheels work well, and bananas are fine. I was able to try out the FIre Flower item and I have to say it is a total welcome addition. I love the strategy used with it and spamming it is fun as hell. Haven't tried out Tanooki Tail or Lucky 7, but I am hearing not so good things about the latter...

Before I get to the major issue I experienced, this is pretty obvious, but the game looks great. Mario is known for cheery bubbly looks and this is no exception. You'll notice some interesting textures and effects throughout the game. The graphics aren't "OH MY GODS THIS IS SO AWESOMELIKE!", but they are pretty nice looking. The 3D is the same feeling. The 3D won't amaze you. I still think Ocarina of Time 3D and Super Mario 3D Land have stronger 3D effects. I will say there's more of an effect on the depth away from you than in your face, which I respect since this game will involve you moving around if you get THAT into it.

My BIGGEST problem with thegame, the game is too slow. I noticed that it'll be much more fast paced if you drift. There's one problen... I am not a drifter most of the time. I drifted a lot in MKDS, but MKWii definitely brought me out of that zone since they allowed me to go fast without the need of drifting. So, for those of you who weren't huge drifters... oh well. I will say that you can fix this by doing a few things. You can choose a smaller weight class AND you could choose the smallest type of wheels. That seemed to help me A LOT, but I suggest getting back into drifting. 

The main problem I have with this, and with the game in general in a few areas, the game is taking steps BACK from MKWii. And it seems like the only reason for this is because it is a handheld MK. That shouldn't be the case. Just because this is a handheld MK doesn't mean that it needs to do EVERYTHING like MKDS. We don't need the messed up unlockables (read the spoilers section if you want to know what I mean), we don't need a smaller character selection (sorry... but you had to know it was coming), and we don't need the game to be slower. You need to show us that the 3DS is going to give us experiences as enjoyable as the Wii, Nintendo. This isn't doing that much justice. Overall, this is gonna be a bit of an issue for me as I'm playing, but I need to get the game and play it and beat it to give you a full, in-depth look. Speaking of which...

THINGS I HAVE YET TO TRY OUT:

1. The Multiplayer: Yes, I have absolutely NO DOUBT the multiplayer will be awesome. Next...

2. The Gyro-Controls: One friend tells me they're OK, one is telling me they suck, one is telling me they are perfect. I can't trust either of them if they all have different opinions, so I'm gonna have to try this on my own. Maybe tomorrow I can do some extra mooching.

3. Battle Mode: In the past, this mode has always been the most dissapointing mode in the entire game. I have doubts of it being better than any other, but hey, its good to keep a head held high.

4. Online Community Mode: Yes, I know ScrewAttack has a community and by god, I am going to join it dammit. But for now, I can only hope this whole "community" thing is as good as people are saying it is.

5. The POSSIBLE Rubber-Band AI: I'm sure, if you've played it, that you had a small problem with how unfair the transition from 100cc to 150cc was when we bring difficulty into the equation from MKWii. I haven't proven it to me, but... my friends say its back... aw well...

So, there ya go. Those are all of my thoughts while playing MK7. I hope you enjoyed reading them, but first, one quick UP TO DATE thanks to g1 Spotlight for spotlighting my first impressions on Rayman Origins. I highly appreciate it, and its good to know you guys are looking out for the smaller known g1s.

Stay tuned for a Top 10, some old memories, and anything else I whip up from my crazy mind! Thanks for reading, and those of you who own this game already, leave your thoughts down below!

- Larry :)

UPDATE 12/6/11!

OK guys, day two of MK7 just ended, and guess what? MORE INFORMATION!

First of all, yes, drifting definitely makes the experience faster, no doubt. It makes much more of a difference than choosing a small weight class and better speed wheels. While that does help, both combined was when I went DA FASTEST! Also, I realized if you mess up while drifting... you are screwed. You'll stop entirely and you'll have to regain speed.

Second, multiplayer is fun as hell... next.

Third, the gyroscoper controls work really well. Since OoT had barely a use for them, I'm gonna say these are the best the system has seen. It will take a little bit of time to get used to them because the turning is WAY less stiff and it feels a lot faster. Drifiting is easier, and it really helps you notice more details about the track. 

Fourth, I played some more stages. I play four retro stages. Let's go down the list; Waluigi Pinball was awesome, Coconut Mall was awesome (and it helps you a lot more with the elevators), Daisy Cruiser was cool (especially the part where you can go underwater... BRILLIANT!), and Airship Fortress is good as well. I also played Pirahna Plant Slide, and it is easily one of the best new additions!

That's all for now folks! Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more blog posts comin' soon!

- Larry :)

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