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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 
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Post Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch is a souped-up version of the Wii U’s Mario Kart 8. When I reviewed Mario Kart 8 almost three years ago, I thought it was an amazing game and awarded it a score of a 9.0. Here’s what I said then:

“Mario Kart 8 is the best kart racing game Nintendo has made in a long time. It strikes a careful balance between refining old ideas while introducing fresh new ones. Admittedly, its gorgeous graphics and jazzy orchestrated soundtrack bolster its presentation, but you’re getting a lot more than just looks with this one – although I spent an awful lot of time gawking at the details in slow-motion, the fast and furious pace of racing with friends both locally and online is what really kept me coming back.”

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe includes all of that, plus all the previously released DLC along with some new additions. That means you’re getting 48 great courses and 42 diverse characters, including new ones like Bowser Jr. and the Inklings from Splatoon, and some neat extras like the unbelievably fast 200cc speed class. Every course, character, and mode is unlocked right from the start, meaning you can just jump right in and hit the track.

The one oddly executed addition is Smart Steering, a new feature designed to help keep novice players on the road. It isn’t a bad idea at all to consider newcomers to help them understand a game with a simple ruleset like Mario Kart, but Nintendo chose to leave Smart Steering on by default and it isn’t immediately clear how to turn it off in the menus. Barring that annoying little quirk, this collection is high-quality kart racer with lots of content.

It’s just as amazing in 2017 as it was in 2014

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe looks great on the Switch, too! It’s just as amazing in 2017 as it was in 2014, and great art direction is a major reason that the graphics have stood the test of time. The course designs, in particular, are top notch – I love the way Mario Circuit twists and bends like a Mobius strip. Even remade tracks, like SNES Rainbow Road or F-Zero’s Mute City, have remarkable detail that is noticeable whether you’re playing handheld or on a TV. The framerate does drop from 60 to 30 frames per second if you play on a single Switch with three or four players, but that’s hardly a dealbreaker when the racing looks this good.

If you already have the Wii U version, the real reason to pick up Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the revamped Battle mode. Nintendo added five smart objective-based modes, and each one brings its own unique competitive angle to its eight varied arenas. In Balloon Battle, you have to take advantage of items and smart positioning to score points by popping your rivals’ balloons. Shine Thief is a wacky, action-packed riff on keep away. Bob-bomb Blast is an explosive, over-the-top face-off. I wish I were more motivated to play Coin Runners, though. Gathering or swiping coins from others is okay, but not nearly as exciting by comparison.

The biggest highlight is the suspenseful fight-or-flight nature of Renegade Roundup. It’s a round-based mode where a team of outlaws desperately tries to avoid a squad of Piranha Plant cops until the timer runs out. If a teammate is captured, you can free them with some skillful driving, but it comes at the risk of getting caught and losing the match if you’re the last man standing. That sets up tense make-or-break moments that can be genuinely thrilling with the right team. You can play any of these modes against bots of varying intelligence, but the real fun is online. ... uxe-review


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Sun Apr 23, 2017 1:08 pm
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Post Re: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Great to have another first party release so soon, even if it is effectively a remaster.

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Thu May 18, 2017 9:53 pm
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