A slew of Nintendo characters and tracks are coming to Mario Kart 8 soon in two DLC packs, Nintendo revealed with a post to their UK Store. The packs, which will cost $7.99 individually and $11.99 if you get them both as a bundle, mark Nintendo’s first foray into payed DLC – a move they hinted at happening after a disappointing sales review last year.
The first group of add-ons to Mario Kart 8 will include racers Link, Tanooki Mario, and Cat Peach. Joining them in the $7.99 pack will be four new vehicles and eight courses. Outside of Link, which is a fantastic addition, the other two racers are frankly a little disappointing. There are already variants of Mario and Peach with their metal and rose gold forms respectively and they are extremely underwhelming. Throwing a couple new suits on them and shuffling some stats is not enough to get me excited about it. This first pack releases this November.
Coming out in May of 2015 is the pack that will really bring some interesting racers to the game. Villager and Isabelle from Animal Crossing will take to the tracks along with Dry Bowser plus four new vehicles and eight more courses. As an added bonus if you pre-order both packs you will also receive eight different colored Yoshi and Shy Guy variants.
If you have ever taken time to master a Mario Kart 8 course you know it can take hours upon hours until you master all the correct lines, know when to use certain items, and know all the right shortcuts. With that it mind, adding 16 total courses over the next eight months is huge and should be plenty to keep racing fans interested for a while as the current selection of stages has long since gone stale.
These DLC packs are not just a new gun, something that should have been in the game from the beginning, or horse armor (I will never let Bethesda live that down), but hours of new content and racers to yell profanity at when they ram through you with a star. Point being, even if you’re someone dead-set on a main racer already and new additions won’t do much for you, 16 tracks are a steal at $11.99.
My only real concern with the DLC is how Nintendo is going to implement it. Mario Kart 8 has definitely been a step in the right direction, but Nintendo still does not appear to completely understand how the internet or online gaming works, especially when compared to other big players like Sony, Microsoft, and Valve. Everything from the menus to matchmaking can be described as janky at best, so it’ll be interesting to see if they can handle some players having the maps and some not having them with grace. Or if they’ll stumble over it in usual Nintendo online fashion.
Other than Pac-Man being in the NAMCO Bandai produced arcade port of Mario Kart, the series has been sacred ground for Mario and friends and little else. Unlike, say, Smash Bros which allows pretty much any Nintendo character to join in and even several from other third-party developers, Mario Kart has always been restricted to characters from the Mario universe. Nintendo adding so many other characters is further signs of them expanding their own franchises and in general being a less constrictive developer and publisher.
It is also probably no coincidence that two of these characters being added will have Amiibo figurines available when that service goes live this holiday season. Nintendo hasn’t said how the Amiibo characters will interact with Mario Kart 8, but if it’s anything like their planned Smash Bros Wii U implementation, which allows you to pit your souped up Amiibo fighter against your friends, I would be more than ok with that. The idea of saving your best ghosts, car setups and other settings for your chosen racers would also be interesting, even if it is still not enough to make me buy an Amiibo figure just for Mario Kart 8.
These additions, plus Nintendo finally adding an on-screen map, are essentially making an already near-perfect racer that much closer to kart racing nirvana.Source: IGN