Mario Party 8 (Wii) – Review

Mario Party 8 - CoverWith the controls of the Wii at its disposal, Mario Party 8 seemed to be an excellent title to help further demonstrate the controls of the Wii along with the improved graphical output from the system. Unfortunately, it seems like the developer, Hudson Soft, took a lot of shortcuts with this, borrowing heavily from Mario Party 7 in the graphics department, to churn out just Yet Another Mario Party instead of something that could have been more inspired. Outside of using the Wii remote in ways that, by now, we’re very used to from games like WarioWare: Smooth Moves, there’s really nothing new in Mario Party 8 to make a “buy” unless you are the type commonly playing with friends and need another game for additional variety.

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Mario Party 8 (Wii) – Initial Impressions

I know what I should be expecting of this (I only played MP7 before, but from what I’ve read, the approach the game takes hasn’t changed too drastically over the series), but you know, I still found it disappointing, and I’m glad to see I’m not wrong as several gaming mags are panning this as an average title.

I don’t think it’s the gameplay – at least, as noted, there’s a certain expectation of what you’re getting with this game.  The minigames of what I’ve played are suited to the Wii remote, and feel like expanding WarioWare minigames.

It’s the presentation that’s mediocre, and I’m usually the last one to slam a game for bad graphics.  The in-game graphics look just a bit of this side of klunky – better than the N64, but not seeming to be much better than Gamecube ones.   Sure, the levels are large, and I can understand keeping polycounts low to keep the frame redraws high, but there’s just something poor about this.  I’ve seen Mario Strikers for the Wii, (heck and for the Cube) and there’s a lot more detail and a lot more action to possibly slow the game down, and there’s no excuse for backing off the graphics on this one.

There’s also the fact that while the game is presented in widescreen (if you are running your Wii that way), it will have blank borders down the sides to force the game effectively to a 4×3 display.  This is a really bad design decision and makes no sense for why it was done that way.

And then there’s the fact that doing some actions seem to take one extra button press or toggle to complete, like starting a minigame or rolling the dice.  I understand that, particularly for Wii remote use, that it’s helpful to have an explanation screen of what the controls are, but I would think that if other games can make it obvious during the game what motions to use on the control (WarioWare, Cooking Mama, or Raving Rabbids), it could have been done here.

It’s definitely not as impressive a title as I was expecting – there seems to be a lot more they could have done with this game just simply because of the better power the Wii has on the GC.

More Wii Launch Titles – First Impressions

Picked up a couple more Wii launch titles after hearing only good things about them.

Rayman: Raving Rabbids (sic) – While within the Rayman universe, this is set up more as a mini/party game as opposed to a platformer that the series was of the past.  It reminds me more like Warioware mini-games, though not at the pace that Warioware worked at.  However, there’s a definite bent of humor in the game, and also makes me excited for both the Wii Warioware and the next Mario Party games using the Wiimote.

ExciteTruck – Maybe not the most realistic racing simulation ever, but I do like the idea of using the remote as a steering wheel, and shows yet another way the remote can be used.   Unfortunately it seems to lack online multiplayer which would have sealed the deal on it being a great game, but still is damn fun.

I am really looking forward to games about 6 to 12 months for the Wii right now, as people learn what and what doesn’t work with the Remote and to see what comes about in terms of even newer gameplay.