Editorial Miscellany: Mario Puppetierkart 8

Not sure if it's related, but she's not longer my favourite racer.

Rosalina might sound different, but in a screenshot, we can pretend.

I am particularly proud of my horrible puntastic editorial title this week, fellow LusiButts. I hope everybody is groaning just as loud as I am giggling. Onward!

Mario Kart 8

While I do not have it at the moment, I got to play this over the (Canadian) long weekend, and despite having constant plans, my girlfriend and I still managed to play the crap out of it. Where do I start? I suppose ultimately, Mario Kart 8 is – while far from being the savior of Mario Kart – the playable, non-broken version of Mario Kart 7. The racing feels far more similar to the 3DS failure than any other entry, but that is not a bad thing because the racing was the best part of 7 when it was not being sabotaged. Gone in Mario Kart 8 – like 7 – is the option to choose automatic or manual racing, forcing players to master drifting. And the coins to boost max speed also make a return which I am also a fan of. It is also nice to see the classic tracks have more significant updates to them, making the fact that only half the tracks are new a bit easier to swallow.

At first, the racing seems more stripped down, there is no more wheelie for the motorcycle, and racers can no longer store a backup item while holding a defensive item behind them. While this seems superficially like nothing but steps backwards – and it will definitely take some getting used to for veterans – it starts to make sense slowly as it all fits into Mario Kart 8’s sense of balance, a sense that favours smart, skilled racing.

I forgot it was a thing while racing.

The upside down stuff is nice to look at for observers, but irrelevant for racers.

Of course, this leads to the obvious question of item balance. It is still a major point of frustration in Grand Prix mode – which can now be thankfully played multiplayer – although it admittedly is not the broken mess that 7 was. This is due to a few factors: First, the blue shell returns to a form most similar to Mario Kart 64 in which more than just the leader can be affected by its terrible invincibility. Oh, also it is no longer entirely invincible. The new horn item – transparently borrowed from Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed – can blast away players and any incoming item, including the blue shell. It is possible to receive the item while in first place, but it is not super-common. However, there is one balance change that I consider to be, by far, the most welcome. Excepting the relatively rare lightning bolt, precious little can make a racer lose his item, including falling off course. Get hit with a red shell? Boy that sucks, but at least the chance to rise back up the ranks is easier with that trusty mushroom boost still safe in the arsenal. In fact, this boon took so long to get used to that for most of my races, I would release my item by mistake because I had assumed that I had already lost it.

After unlearning my habits from the older games, the game became immensely satisfying, and while being in the middle of the pack and getting hit with three items in a row is still a thing, in 150cc at least, catching up is a common skill-based possibility. Plus, playing in Versus Mode allows for some Mario Kart Wii-esque item options.

Other than that, it is a grab bag of impressions for me. The new track design is largely excellent and focused on driving lines, the game visually looks fantastic, the soundtrack is horrible, Rosalina sounds like Peach now, different kart and bike parts are fun to get familiar with but are a nightmare to select, and the replays are more fun than I expected. Also I have not tried the online yet. Finally, when I go to Michigan in June, I will let everybody know the results of the ultimate showdown between Lusipurr and me.

Mass Effect 3

I beat it again, but I do not want to talk much more about it. I actually do not mind the intention of the ending, but the series certainly did not earn it. The first one – in spite of all its glitchiness – is easily the best.

Pretty fun platformer too.

Whimsical, but intentional.

Puppeteer

This game is great! I am not surprised, but it was not until it was made free for PlayStation Plus members that I tried it out. It was always on my list but I have to admit that free made it shoot to the top. The visual style is excellent and well-executed and the writing is done in a style that could have greatly benefited Child of Light. I am only on Act 2, but if the game lives up to its potential, expect me to be talking about it much more in the future.

Suikoden Tierkreis?!?!

I forget exactly when the conversation came up, but I was talking about Suikoden with the readers in the comments and it reminded me of Tierkreis. Now, I am a Suikoden newbie and I am well aware that fans of the series do not count it as a worthy entry and I do not have the authority to disagree, but as a standalone RPG, I actually like it quite a bit. It feels expansive and well-paced and while the encounter rate is way too high and the battle system way too easy, it is hitting the spot as an RPG that I do not have to think too hard about. I will not be singing its praises, but it is the only game I have felt like playing the past few days.

Final Thoughts

Wow, I did not even talk about Transistor! But I do not feel like I have played enough of it yet anyway. It has been a packed fortnight for gaming and it does not look to be letting up. E3 approaches, I have a media-exclusive Mario Kart 8 tournament approaching, and I have WATCH_DOGS to not give a shit about. Let us talk in the comments below of these things and more, dear reader!

13 comments on “Editorial Miscellany: Mario Puppetierkart 8”

  1. Tierkreis is not a bad game, but it’s not a very good Suikoden game.

    Play Suikoden I, II, or V if you really want to understand the series. I’d suggest playing through the series in order, if possible, as the games do follow on from each other chronologically and in terms of story. If this isn’t possible, you’ll still be fine to play through them in whatever order, although some of the finer points of the story will be lost upon you.

  2. I am also playing Suikoden I and enjoying it immensely. I’ve just been on a DS phase and not a PSP phase. Especially as the weather gets warmer and I prefer to only bring one handheld with me.

  3. Quick note: Puppeteer is amazing, as I have been saying since it was released.

  4. I remember your endorsement on Twitter! One of the reasons it was on my list.

  5. I can’t wait to play Mario Kart 8 on Friday, it feels like I’ve been waiting for this game forever. I’ll have to gather my friends for a Mario Kart Party.

    I’ve been playing Watch Dogs for about an hour and it’s not quite the game we were promised, but the story is interesting enough to have held my attention for this long.

    Puppeteer is amazing. I had so much fun with that game.

    Transistor is so far my favorite PS4 game.

  6. I’ll take credit for Tierkries: Fun game, terrible terrible voice compression.

  7. @DA: Whatdoyoumeanterriblevoicecompression? Ithinkitperfectlynatural.

    @LA: That’s me as well. C’mon Mario Kart. I am properly excited at this point.

    Transistor is my favourite PS4 game, too. Note: I don’t own a PS4, and there aren’t *that* many choices from which to make a selection. But by golly, I want a PS4 on which to play Transistor.

  8. @DA: Watch Dogs is OK, but it is filled with Ubisoft’s patented cost cutting. The five years of development time doesn’t really shine through in the finished product.

  9. I like Watch Dogs a little less every time I play it. There are some aspects that I love (stealth and hacking) but the driving and the shooting mechanics are average. Oh, and Aiden might be one of the worst protagonists I’ve ever played as. That guy is a black hole. Generic as hell.

    Had the game been exclusive to next gen platforms, it probably would have lived up to a lot of it’s promises.

  10. Yeah, I am the same way. I honestly hate the driving controls and not being able to shoot while driving is idiotic, it makes the chase sequences get real annoying real fast. I do like that the game has a good variety to its missions and side content, but it can be hard to enjoy it because of the bad controls and the wonky camera.

  11. Yeah, I’m not disappointed in my choice to wait until Watch Dogs 2 to start paying attention to the series. It’s the Ubisoft way. Assassin’s Creed and Prince of Persia (2008) felt like rough ideas, not fully formed games, so I assumed Watch Dogs would be the same way.

  12. I have Mario Kart 8 now and it’s fantastic and absolutely GORGEOUS. I’ve already forgotten about that other game that came out earlier this week.

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