Sunday, April 24, 2016

Mario Kart vs Mario Kart 7 vs My Sims Racing: DS Showdown!

For Christmas I received a Nintendo 2DS, which came with a code to download Mario Kart 7. I held on to the code hoping I would find a physical copy in the future, or perhaps I could trade it to someone who was more into having a digital version. As my birthday arrived, three months after Christmas, I decided it was best to just use the code and make do with what I was given.

After having the DS version of My Sims Racing for a few months, I was a bit underwhelmed by Mario Kart 7. Mario Kart 7 is pretty much the same as any other Mario Kart, except now you have to worry about collecting coins and holding on to them throughout the race, while any weapon used by an opponent, and sometimes even yourself, can quickly and easily deplete them. After a while I felt like Mario Kart 7 was just too repetitive for it's own good as all I was doing was racing, re-racing and yet still racing the same tracks over and over trying to collect the coins.

I will say that My Sims Racing isn't exactly the best kart racing game, but at least it feels better and offers more than Mario Kart 7. In the Wii version you were restricted to a top down, board game style map where you would go from point to point and then appear in races to help people do random things. In the DS version you actually get to drive people around, sure it gets boring but you're now driving them around, instead of a simple point to point with a single press of the directional pad. Where Mario Kart 7 has menus, My Sims Racing has actual driving, albeit with shallow objectives, but actual driving.

The online feature for Mario Kart 7 didn't really help me like it anymore either. All the online multiplayer option did was make me feel stupid, because I hadn't played enough of the single player and collected enough coins to unlock new, better parts to be more competitive in the online mode. Why would I want to play online if it's going to penalize me for not having played enough of the single player side of the game? And why would I want to keep playing the single player campaign when all it is is me playing the same tracks over and over, stressing about being in first and having to cross the finish line with 10 coins?

I'm no stranger to Mario Kart, I loved Mario Kart 64. Sure Mario Kart 64 was more of the same, but it made me want to keep playing, it made me want to keep racing and doing better. I quite like Mario Kart Double Dash too. The graphics are great, the game play is fun, although I still find it to be more of the same, I like the power up weapons, as well as having a co-driver is sometimes quite entertaining. Mario Kart 7 just doesn't have the same effect on me.

Let's get back to My Sims Racing for a little bit. In some ways it's better on the DS than it is on the Wii, and vice versa, because they're clearly two different games with the same name. Even though the DS version should be the weaker version, in many aspects it comes out ahead. The main thing that sticks out to me is that you get to freely roam and drive around a few different sections of town, as where the Wii version has what I thought would be more suited to a portable version; a slimmed down map screen.

My Sims Racing offers pretty much the same experience as it's Wii counterpart as well as what Mario Kart 7 offers, and then some. You have power up weapons, drifting that fills a turbo meter, although you need to manually use it, track shortcuts, and the list goes on and on. I truly can't think of something Mario Kart 7 offers that My Sims Racing doesn't offer, apart from it's graphics, which even so aren't too bad.

As I was growing ever more weary of Mario Kart 7 I started playing more My Sims Racing, but all that was about to change. You see, a few months ago my girlfriend had bought me a copy of Mario Kart for the DS, the original one, and soon there would be a third game on the race track. After receiving Mario Kart DS I quickly became addicted. Why? I can only assume because I'm not fucking stressed out by trying to collect those fucking coins!

Yes, almost instantaneously I was addicted to Mario Kart DS. Sure there were menus again and sure I was racing the exact same tracks over and over again to unlock new circuits, new racers and new karts, but I wasn't stressed out if I was smashed with a red shell or fell off the side of the track, because there are no coins to lose.

I don't hate Mario Kart 7, I just feel that a game should be fun and items earned should be earned and retained, not lost over every single teeny tiny little infraction that sometimes aren't even your fault. The original idea was to race and do your best, the rewards will come. Mario Kart 7 seems to say race, do your best and even so I'm still not going to allow you to obtain what you really wanted.

My Sims Racing is a phenomenal game with a lot of strong points as well as it overall feeling like a Mario Kart clone. It's not that the characters are bad, because they're not, it's just a simple matter of familiarity. Over the course of my life I've become familiar with most, if not all, of the characters I can use in Mario Kart, as where I haven't the slightest interest in why any of the Sims in My Sims Racing need me to take them across town, all I know is that I need to do it to progress.

Mario Kart DS is an amazing game, even though the graphics look really choppy and dated. Going from Mario Kart 7 back to MK DS was like night and day, and it helped me suss out why I disliked Mario Kart 7 so much. Maybe because I'm more a fan of older games, maybe because I don't like to be stressed out and on edge when I'm playing a game, which only leads to me making more mistakes within said game. I can't say for sure why, but I absolutely prefer Mario Kart DS to My Sims Racing. And I prefer My Sims Racing to Mario Kart 7. All three games are good kart racing games in their own rights, but it seems, to me, the older and simpler wins.

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