- Publisher: Nintendo
- Developer: Nintendo
- MSRP: $7.99 / $12.99 bundle for both DLC packs
- Rated: E
- Release Date: April 23rd, 2015
- Platforms: Wii U
- Rating: ★★★★☆
Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack 2 Review
Mario Kart 8 is back for one more spin with the latest DLC Pack 2. As with the first expansion, there are three new characters with four new vehicles, and four new cups for eight new tracks. That’s quite a bit of content, but of course the question remains if it’s worth picking up, especially when a free update of 200cc could keep you entertained alone for quite some time. It’s more Mario Kart, so of course the answer is a resounding yes; but let’s take a look at what you’ll be getting.
The character selection adds in two additional non-Mario related characters. First you have the Animal Crossing villager, which wisely they give you the option to play as either the male or female version. It really is almost like giving you two additional characters in one. Also hailing from Animal Crossing you can play as your assistant, Isabelle. With her, it seems as though there could have been a few other choices to pull from Animal Crossing that may have been more exciting, such as Tortimer, Tom Nook or KK Slider, especially considering how new she is to the series. The last character is Dry Bowser, who more or less feels like just another costume for Bowser, of which Mario Kart 8 has done heavily. In his case though, who doesn’t want to race as Dry Bowser? They at least made sure he looks very sharp to catch your eye in the race.
While the characters feel a little more diverse instead of giving us two more costumes for Mario and Peach as was the case with the first pack, the vehicles and accessories are a bit more disappointing. For vehicles it adds the Streetle, P-Wing, City Tripper, and Bone Rattler, with two new accessories, the Crossing Kite and Leaf Tires. Last pack we received the Master Cycle and Blue Falcon, both which where excellent designs and additions, which none of the new vehicles can match. It would have been much more exciting to see an Arwing kart instead of a P-Wing for example. The Bone Rattler had potential for a nice skeleton construct like Dry Bowser himself, but opts instead for flashy metal that looks dull. On the other hand, the wheels are a nice touch, being designed after Animal Crossing’s grass, and the kite looks like it came right out of the Able Sisters’ shop.
The first new cup available is the Crossing Cup. It features two retro tracks, Baby Park from GCN and Cheese Land from the GBA. Of those, Baby Park was always one of our least favorites, so we were a little disappointed to see it make the cut. The exception on that is playing it in 200cc where it is absolute chaos as you lap the stragglers again and again. Cheese Land has been nicely upgrades and actually adds a challenge. The next two tracks are completely brand new, Wild Woods and Animal Crossing. Wild Woods is an entertaining track, if not a little generic. The real star is Animal Crossing which is lots of fun and a love letter to fans of the series. On the track you’ll be able to see several of the villagers, Tom Nook, KK Slider on the sidelines, and even Mr. Resetti popping up to try to knock you out. The trees even have fruit fall down that serve as mushroom boosts for you. It takes you right through the town, the forest, and beach. Best of all, the track is dynamic like it’s source game, meaning the season can change each time you play for a slightly different look.
The final cup for Mario Kart 8 is the Bell Cup. As the same as the previous, it has two retro tracks, Neo Bowser City and Ribbon Road. New Bowser City is a thrill to have back as it is one of the most challenging additions with its constant curves, and of course it looks better than ever. For actual appearance, Ribbon Road is easily the most unique, as you race around a track built on the floor of a child’s room, just like Toy Story. Looking at Nintendo memorabilia around the track adds plenty of character and charm to the race. The two new tracks are Super Bell Subway and Big Blue. Super Bell Subway is an interesting design as it has several path choices to choose from, all while having subway cars zooming through the middle. You can go through the middle and avoid them, or occasionally you can choose to go up left or right and land on the actual subway car to hit their boost pads on top. Our favorite track is easily Big Blue. Call it nostalgia for F-Zero, but the track is perfectly designed to represent the game it came from and fit into Mario Kart. It is also not a closed circuit track, just like Mount Wario you’ll start from the top and go through three checkpoints to reach the bottom. It adds plenty of boosts, moving pads, jumps, and warp gates to make it one of the best in the game. If only we could get an actual F-Zero game now.
If you love Mario Kart 8, you really have no excuse not to pick this up. They could have added a more diverse character selection, they could have created better vehicles, and the retro track selection could have been improved in spots. At the end of everything though, those are very minor complaints from a pack that gives us a whole lot more to go through. The value alone is hard to pass up, but the excitement this new content brings makes it irresistible for any Mario Kart fan