Friday, 14 November 2014

First Impressions: Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack 1

What makes a one of the best Mario Kart games ever better, you ask? How about more tracks, more karts and one incredibly happy Link. Yes. Link from the Legend Of Zelda is in Mario Kart! (or should that be Nintendo Kart?) Cat Peach and Tanooki Mario also make an appearance. All of them have their own unique animations, sounds and logo's, which shows that Nintendo doesn't believe that DLC just means different skins.

Note: I will be giving awards to the tracks and they are for the DLC tracks only.

There are two new cups (the Egg Cup and the Triforce Cup) and both of them are great fun. The Egg Cup is so far the only cup which doesn't feature any glider sections but this is fine because you have the likes of Excitebike Arena and Mute City instead. The first track is Yoshi Circuit (of Double Dash and Mario Kart DS fame). The course layout is that of Yoshi and features many drifts and grass. It is a great track to start off the DLC tracks as it is familiar to veterans of the series and an easier course for beginners to start. This track wins the award for Best Track Based Off Of A Playable Character.

The next track is Excitebike arena and it plays similarly to Baby Park as it has not a lot of corners and is just two long straights broken up by some great drifting corners. This track pays homage to the great retro game Excitebike. With a giant statue of a racer from the game and many posters and banners as well as the games signature hill jumps, this game does exactly that. It even has bars which stop the players from driving in the opening countdown like Excitebike and has mud puddles which slow you down. Unlike Excitebike and all other tracks in the history of Mario Kart, this game features a randomly changing layout each time you start a race. This track wins the award for Best Track For Best Jumps.

Next up is Dragon Driftway. This track is basically all anti-grav (with only the very beginning and end not being). You drive through a giant dragon (resembles Gobblegut) with pictures and monuments to the great Lakitu of the past popping up through the course. There are many, many drift sections. It is called Dragon Driftway I guess. This track wins the award for Best Drifting.

The last track for the Egg cup is Mute City of F-Zero fame. Remember Dragon Driftway being nearly all ant-grav. Well this one is ALL anti-grav just like F-Zero. Other details which F-Zero is famous for is the incredible speeds (achieved by a lot of boost pads), a pit lane which can heal you (gives you coins instead), a massive jump, a sci-fi setting and a lot of blue. This track is my personal favourite of the new tracks due to the massive speeds you can acquire and the general feel of the world you are in. It is also the closest we will ever get to a new F-Zero game. This track wins the award for Best Track.

The second cup is called the Triforce cup and the first track is Wario's Gold Mine (of Mario Kart Wii fame). The giant drop at the beginning of the course is still there although the half-pipe sadly isn't. The bats are still there, though, and the graphics have been given a great new shine and the lighting effects are just breath-taking. The dusk setting allows for gorgeous lighting and reflections of lights on gold and even the mine carts have been updated, being given anti-grav wheels. This track wins the award for Best Lighting Effects.

The next track is Rainbow Road from the SNES Mario Kart. Yes, the third Rainbow Road in this Mario Kart but this one has again been updated. While keeping the same basic track layout which made the original great the graphics have been updated, with the rainbow track shimmering and rainbow Thwomps crashing down on you. This track wins the award for Best Rainbow Road.

Next up is Ice Ice Outpost. This contains two levels, a lot of ice and shortcuts and lots of Toads. The idea for this track seems to be about drilling in the Antarctic or some similar place. Giant icebergs sink and drills operate in the distance, this track is breath taking and the shortcuts allow you to get an advantage over the enemy. This track wins the award for Best Shortcuts.

The last track in this DLC pack is Hyrule Circuit (of Legend of Zelda fame). The amount of effort which has been put into these tracks is exceptional and this track is no different. The coins have been changed into green rupees, the sound of choosing an item is replaced with the sound of opening a chest. The piranha plants have been replaced by Deku Babas, among many other small changes. The track is spilt into two parts: Hyrule Castle and Hyrule Field. Gliding into Hyrule Castle is absolutely amazing, with Hyrulian Guards cheering and the Master Sword standing in the middle of the room you enter. Wow. This track wins the award for Best Mario Kart Moment.

You also get 4 new vehicles: Blue Falcon (from F-Zero), B-Dasher (from Mario Kart DS and 7), Master Cycle (based on The Legend Of Zelda) and the Tanooki Kart (based on Tanooki Mario) as well as Triforce Tires and a Hylian Kite (a glider).

This DLC pack is DLC done right, with lots for your money if you like Mario Kart and adding Link was an absolutely genius idea. If you are at all interested in Mario Kart then buy this DLC pack (buy it with the second one and you get some money off, as well as 8 different colour Yoshi's and Shy Guys). I just can't wait for the second DLC pack (out next May (edit: it actually came out in late April). This DLC wins the award for Best DLC.

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

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