Why I’m Not Buying Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mario Kart 8 for the Nintendo Wii U was released on May 29, 2014. Just a little less than 3 years after that (April 28, 2017 to be exact), Nintendo’s new console, Switch, will be receiving an “advanced port” of Mario Kart 8 appropriately titled, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The game will retail for $60. What’s so different about the two games? Before I get to that, let me provide a slight backstory of Mario Kart 8.
When it was first released, the game contained 8 cups with 4 tracks a piece for a total of 32 tracks. That was a fairly standard number of courses for a Mario Kart game (the previous two games also had 8 cups with 32 total tracks). The game featured a massive roster with a whopping 29 characters to choose from (30 if you count Miis). Previously, the high for playable characters was 26 in Mario Kart Wii. The game wasn’t finished, though, because for the first time in any Mario Kart game, there would be downloadable content (DLC). This DLC contained more tracks and characters. There were 2 waves of DLC, each containing 2 brand new cups (again, with 4 tracks a piece for a total of 8 new tracks) and 3 playable characters. The first DLC pack was dubbed “The Legend of Zelda” pack and contained the Triforce Cup and Egg Cup along with Cat Peach, Tanooki Mario and Link. The second set of DLC, the Animal Crossing pack, featured the Crossing Cup and Bell Cup as well as Villager (male and female), Isabelle and Dry Bowser (returning from Mario Kart Wii). This was paid DLC, mind you, so if you wanted to use these characters and race these courses, you had to fork over $7.99 per pack. But wait… if you purchased both together, the price was only $11.99! When all was said and done, the game now featured 48 TRACKS and 35 PLAYABLE CHARACTERS (36 or 37 if you count Miis and/or both Villagers).
So, in total, Mario Kart 8 for Wii U (along with all DLC) cost you at least $72. That’s the amount I personally put into the game. I don’t regret it for a second. I’ve always been a huge Mario Kart fan. Each game has seemingly improved upon its predecessor. While Mario Kart 8 was far from perfect, it truly was an amazing game.
Although many people purchased Mario Kart 8, not many people owned a Wii U. Thus, while the game was a success, poor Wii U sales held the game back. Enter the Nintendo Switch. The Switch was Nintendo’s way to rid itself of the embarrassment known as Wii U. So what can we do to further make people forget the Wii U ever existed? Re-release one of its most popular games on our new console! Behold, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was born… just not at launch. In fact, the game STILL isn’t out and won’t be for several more weeks (April 28th, to be exact). This is mind boggling in and of itself, but I digress.
Now that we’ve gotten the history lesson and facts out of the way, let’s get back to the topic at hand: Why I’m Not Buying Mario Kart 8 Deluxe!
I want to play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch. Really, I do. But I refuse to pay $60 for it. I’ve already spent $72 on the game (not counting tax and shipping costs). But wait… is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe just a simple port? Actually, it is not. About 90%* of the content in the game is exactly the same.
*This is my personal, rough estimate. It’s probably not exactly precise. If you want to calculate the exact number, be my guest.
So what’s new, you ask? Great question. Read on to find out…
- Battle Mode has been completely overhauled. Battle Mode was probably the only truly terrible thing in Mario Kart 8. Instead of a standard arena layout, Nintendo decided it would cut corners and just re-use 8 standard tracks as Battle Mode courses. Yes, you heard me right. All they did was attach some balloons to your character and notify Lakitu not to bother you when driving off-course or going backwards. Seriously.
- You can now carry 2 items. But wait, couldn’t you always sort of carry two items in past Mario Kart games? That’s true! Going back as far as Mario Kart 64, it was possible to drag some items behind you (shells, bananas, fake item blocks, etc) or allow Triple Items to circle you while still reserving another item in your inventory. Oddly, Nintendo decided that wasn’t fair and removed the ability in Mario Kart 8. Now, while dragging an item behind you or allowing them to circle you, they remained in your inventory window. When you drove through and item block… nothing happened. Some called this strategic, but it really made races less hectic and easier to front run when getting off to a good start.
- New characters! Yes, that’s what we needed, even MORE characters! Hopefully you could sense my sarcasm in that last statement. Nonetheless, Deluxe will see the return of King Boo, Bowser Jr. and Dry Bones along with the addition of Splatoon’s Inkling Boy and Inkling Girl as new racers (Gold Mario will also be in the game, but it’s still unclear whether he’s a separate character or a skin for Metal Mario). Oddly, still M.I.A. are Birdo and Diddy Kong. Both fan favorites that surprisingly were not included in the initial release nor DLC.
- New items. Well, 1 new item when racing and 2 new items in Battle Mode. The 2 items are the Boo and the Feather. The Boo turns you invisible for a short time while also stealing an item from a random opponent. The Feather allows you to jump high and steal a balloon in Battle Mode. While the Boo can be used while racing and during battle, the Feather is Battle Mode exclusive. Not sure why, though, seeing as it was a standard item in Super Mario Kart. Noticeably absent from Mario Kart 8 was the Fake Item Block. When I heard Deluxe would contain some new items, I was positive it would finally return. Wrong again. For the life of me, I just can’t figure out why it wasn’t in Mario Kart 8 and still not returning in Deluxe.
- Drive Assist and Automatic Acceleration. Basically this is for your younger sibling so they can sort of play the game without having to play. Drive Assist prevents players from falling off track. Automatic Acceleration? Who really knows. Honestly, it was easier back in the day to hand them an unplugged controller and tell them they were the CPU. But that’s another story…
- 200cc Time Trials. While 200cc was added as a free update to Mario Kart 8 for Wii U, you could not race it in Time Trial mode.
- Purple sparks! Previously, you could only hold your drift for two sets of boosts (blue and orange). Now, if you hold it longer, you’ll see more sparks for what we can only speculate will be a longer or faster drift boost. Not much is known about this extra boost, but it’s definitely something new.
- New stats? Maybe! While unconfirmed, it appears there may be new character, kart and part stats in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Check out our YouTube discussion for more information.
While that list may seem like a lot of new stuff… it’s really not. Allow me to explain.
First off, the Battle Mode was a mistake that Nintendo has known about since BEFORE Mario Kart 8 first launched. Practically every review for the game mentioned how horrible it was. Seeing as Nintendo was able to release DLC and various updates (map on screen; 200cc), was it unrealistic for them to fix Battle Mode for the Wii U version? Honestly, they could have easily crafted at least 4 Battle Mode arenas (2 new, 2 retro) and added them to the game via free update or paid DLC. Instead, they held out to make it the big selling point of Deluxe. That’s just uncool.
Secondly, we didn’t need MORE new characters. Adding Splatoon characters feels like a money grab to me. I don’t mind that they’re in, but it feels like they’re being used to further justify the price point. Get real, Nintendo!
Thirdly (is that even a word?)… double items, drive assist, extra drift boost, the Boo/Feather items and possibly changed stats (among other small changes) didn’t need to happen. It would have been fine to leave well enough alone and implement those sorts of changes in Mario Kart 9. Same goes for the above two points. The game was fine as-is. It wasn’t perfect, but that’s what sequels are for. Also, why make all these changes for a game that hasn’t been updated in 2 years and was released 3 years ago???
Lastly… NO NEW TRACKS! We get more characters, but zero tracks in a racing game. Let that sink in. If you’re going to charge me full price, at least give me a couple new cups. Is that too much to ask for?
Now I’m probably coming across as a spoiled fan, but I don’t think that’s the case in this situation. Again, this is a game that’ll be 3 years old when the “advanced port” is released. As mentioned previously, I’ve already spent over $72 on the game. Why does Nintendo want me to spend $60 more? Nintendo… $132… for Mario Kart 8… are you kidding me?
Of course, this wouldn’t be an issue had Nintendo offered some form of trade-in/upgrade program. What is this novel idea? Basically, it’s a way to reward those of us that supported Nintendo during the difficult Wii U era. Most people state that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe isn’t for those of us that already own Mario Kart 8. Okay… so are we not allowed to play it? Why are we being penalized for being loyal Nintendo fans even in their darker times? Also, keep in mind, trade-in/upgrade programs are not unheard of. Sony did it when they launched the Playstation 4. During the launch window of PS4, several Playstation 3 games were re-released on Sony’s new console. Instead of punishing fans that may have already bought these games, Sony instead offered them a chance to upgrade for $10 (this included both digital and retail versions). Most of these games were essentially “Deluxe” editions of the originals that featured all previous paid DLC as well upscaled graphics and a few minor extras. Sound familiar? Had Nintendo taken this route, I would most certainly be picking up this game. I’d even consider upgrading for $20. Essentially, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a glorified DLC/expansion pack. It does not warrant a $60 price tag.
In closing, this is why I’m not buying Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch. I’m sad to say that, but I just can’t do it. I love Mario Kart and always will. Hopefully the price of this game falls drastically at some point and then, perhaps, I’ll consider picking up a copy. I really missed standard Battle Mode and the fixed Battle Mode in Deluxe, along with some cool new modes, looks fantastic! The new drift boost, double items and possibility for new stats is extremely intriguing. As is the ability to play the game on the go. Just not for another $60. So Nintendo, going forward, if you plan on doing more “advanced ports” of Wii U games, please consider lowering the retail price or simply helping out those of us that supported you when times were tough. Is that too much to ask?
Hey, what did you think of this editorial? Am I being unfair? Do I come across as a spoiled fan? Do you share my sentiments? Are you buying Mario Kart 8 Deluxe? Let me know in the COMMENTS section below! Also, please check out our YouTube channel (YouTube.com/AZBrosGaming), we’ve got several Mario Kart discussions currently up. Please watch them if you have a chance and share your thoughts on them as well. As always, stayed tuned to AZBros.com for more news, opinions, discussions and more from the AZBros!