Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Mario Kart Wii Mod: CTGP Revolution. MOAR TRACKS!!!

What? You actually thought I'd review the same game twice? I'm not cruel, this isn't Endless Eight. What I am reviewing though is a mod for the game. Mechanically, its the same thing, go check out the Mario Kart Wii review if you want to know how the game is mechanically. Before I go on though, one note. I will only review mods I can get working with little adjustments to consoles. I'm fine with installing extra data, I won't do things like disabling region lock. For this one, all you really need is the Homebrew channel, and a physical copy of Mario Kart Wii. I can confirm it works for PAL, NTSC-U and NTSC-J, though PAL is the only one I can 100% confirm, as that is the region I live.

One thing to note, this isn't really a mod, moreso a mod pack. Adding 54 new cups, 216 tracks (almost all are made by other users, so shoutouts to the creators of the tracks used), two of which are hidden. Also included is a custom channel that does auto update if you choose, a Count down mode that replaces normal battle mode, being that you have to complete a race in a set amount of time, along with other features like new online support, a speedometer and other tweaks meant more for the custom tracks, such as lap count changers and speed changers. On top of this, you can add custom characters, change how tracks look, and add custom music thanks to shared MK Wii mod development. I can't confirm if it is possible to replace base game tracks with other track

I should probably explain that. From what I can tell, and I have to thank the twitter user @SuperAce20 for pointing me in the right direction to learn about this. The way mods work for Mario Kart Wii is that they force the game to load their data rather then the data on the disk, they have a higher priority. As such, for all custom tracks, music, characters and most packs, you really aren't changing how the game functions, just what it loads. What this also means is that you are limited to what's in the base game. It's a bad idea to have two things that try to load over Luigi's Circuit, for example. CTGP is bound to this too, but how it gets around it is that it creates custom cups for the extra tracks, as you're never forcing the game to load the same track twice at the same time. However, this does have a drawback, mainly in terms of music. From what I've seen, most, if not all tracks are bound to the music of what they're overriding, and as of right now, there isn't a way to change that to my knowledge. So if you want a song to play in a track that loads over Rainbow Road, it does that for every track that loads over Rainbow Road. This is also why Time trials currently don't work for the custom tracks, however that is coming in a the next update. Speaking of bugs, 4 player vs mode currently doesn't work in this pack, and if you try and use the base game's Random Track selector, you'll only play Luigi's Circuit, both are also being patched and are expected in the next update, however if you use another feature, you can still randomize track selection by pressing + (according to the wiki).

 As for the track selections, they are a bit hit and miss. Most, if not all the tracks from Mario Kart SNES through to Wii are in the game, along with some tracks from Mario Kart 7, with tweaks to compensate for the lack of Glider and underwater. There are also tracks from the Arcade Mario Kart, Diddy Kong Racing, F-Zero, Twinkle Circuit from Sonic Adventure, and also fan created tacks. Some of which are very good, I liked Castle of Time, River of Dreams, Dreamworld Cloudway and Hell Pyramid. However there are also tracks I found to be rather boring like ASDF_Course, awkward due to camera positioning like Sky Shrine, though that one you can get used to, tight to navigate like Delfino Island, and tracks where its a nightmare to navigate due to track layouts having paths that lead you to dead ends and out of bounds like Rosalina's Starlight Coaster. One thing I wished the pack creators would do is have a version that comes with a pack editor. No Wi-Fi, unless possible, but would allow people to replace tracks in the pack that they don't like with tracks they do. I don't know if there is a way to do this, if there is though then please let me know to both update this, and to change the pack to personal preferences.

Overall, it does breath new life into the game, and if you know how to tweak the contents, you can turn Mario Kart Wii into almost an infinite content game. To those who like the Battle mode of the base game, you're going to be disappointed. Hopefully the pack will, in time, consider adding those Battle modes back in, maybe with custom tracks of their own? Personally, I'd just like to be able to tweak the pack more to personal preferences, replace the tracks I don't like with tracks I do. But even then that's a personal thing, and completely subjective. If you're confident in your abilities to mod consoles, then by all means, try this out if you still have a physical copy of Mario Kart Wii, it is fun to see how creative the community is. See you next week for another comic review.

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