Of DLC, ‘Mario Kart 8’ and the Great Link Invasion

Mario

In 2014 game-ery, DLC is nothing less than a dirty word (or rather, acronym). It’s the scourge of our times, and if there’s one thing the Internet likes to whine about, it’s this shady business.

We all know the routine. From tiny little additions that barely qualify as microtransactions to whole new campaigns, these guys will package and sell anything. Just to get their tentacles on a little more of our cashtacular. Worst of all is the dreaded on-disk DLC, when something that already existed prior is withheld just for that purpose.

Now, when they’re simply supporting a game post-release, that’s all well and good. Feast your eyes on Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare, for instance, for DLC done right. Regular packs comprising new characters and stages and such? It’d be rude to refuse. But there’s no doubt that this is the exception to a crappy, crappy rule.

Traditionally, Nintendo have had no part in this. I’d like to think that this was some righteous moral decision, made by high-minded businessmen seeing the sad plight of African children and declaring: no more. In reality, that was just them having no clue about this newfangled ‘online play’ thing, and thinking it was witchcraft or something. A philosophy which has held true until relatively recently.

Of late, they’ve taken a tentative step into the cretinous world of DLC. The 3DS’s New Super Mario Bros. 2 was the first to offer content pack post-launch, with series of challenge levels and such. They were strictly optional, and available at a budget price, but opinions were mixed.

Nerve-Wrack Pack indeed.
Nerve-Wrack Pack indeed.

And now, just this week, this happened. One of their biggest releases of the year, Mario Kart 8, has seen the arrival of the first of two packs. And the biggest news? Link, heroic fairy-boy of The Legend of Zelda fame, is now playable. Which is, for long-time Mario Kart fans, huge.

Outside of that arcade weirdness with Pac-Man, nobody from outside the Mushroom Kingdom has ever seen the light of day here. This isn’t Super Smash Bros., where everyone from ROB to that woman in the yoga pants from Wii Fit gets a go. Cue Grandpa’s reminiscing: when I was a boy, Mario Kart meant Mario Kart. What the hell’s happened to the world?

Since his release, naturally, Link has taken online races by storm. There are reports of lobbies filled entirely by 12 Links. In the second pack, scheduled for early 2015, Animal Crossing characters are joining the ranks. But that’s just what happens when the curse of DLC gets on you.

‘Mario Kart 8’ and the Koopaling Controversy: What Do You Think of the Roster?

Mario Kart

Mario Kart 8 has been plying its trade on Wii Us the world over for a couple of weeks now. Shells, banana peels and fancy new boomerang flowers have been flying all over the darn place. As has a heaping helping of profanity. This is Mario Kart after all, and a dose of ragetastic is compulsory.

In the midst of all the sweet, sweet ridiculousness, a question has been posed. The same one that has been floating about the series for the last few installments: What the balls? What kind of character selection is that?

Now, if we’re being pernickety, that’s actually two questions. But we aren’t, so let’s move swiftly on.

Mario Kart Wii added those toontastic simpletons, the Miis, to the roster. While driving as yourself was a nice little novelty (albeit a tiny, lumpen, makes-stupid-honking-noises-for-no-reason-at-all version of yourself), there are some purists who think the series should be strictly Mario-character-only. Delving all over the place is really more of a Smash Bros. thing, with Sonic, Snake, Pac-Man, Mega Man et al.

UP WITH THIS I SHALL NOT PUT!
UP WITH THIS I SHALL NOT PUT!

But that gives rise to a separate issue. Which Mario characters? With such a large repertoire of crazies to choose from, and limited slots, there are bound to be some craptastic choices. Kamek has been repeatedly called for since he was unseated by Wario for Mario Kart 64, as have all kinds of weird and wonderful souls from the archives.

But do you know who nobody ever wanted? Super Mario Galaxy’s Honey Queen, that’s who. Why this was an actual thing that happened, I’ve no idea, but there it was. The 3DS installment also brought us oddities like Wiggler, and the controversial Metal Mario. As we know, if there’s one thing that’ll cause the Nerdsassins of the Internet to spit blood (blood of PURE RAGE AND FURIOUS FURY), it’s palette swaps. That, or ‘wasted slots.’

So what do you make of Mario Kart 8? Is Pink Gold Peach really the hideous abomination from the depths of the devil’s underpants that some of us claim? Was a full complement of Koopalings really necessary?

Best Games Coming Out May 2014

Games

A new month is ahead of us and the excitement rises with the imminent arrival of numerous highly anticipated titles. May 2014 will be a month extremely rich in genre diversity games and next-gen content. Even the pickiest players will be satisfied with a brand new release for their favorite gaming genre. Sports, strategy, role-playing, action-adventure, there’s certainly a release for every taste.

Here’s an extensive list of the best games coming out in May 2014:

Watch Dogs1. Watch Dogs (PC, PS 3, PS 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U)

After a long delay, Watch Dogs is finally getting released. This open world action-adventure game revolves around Aiden Pearce, a Chicago vigilante whose main weapon is hacking. Watch Dogs will introduce an extensive series of next-gen features, unique parkour and hacking abilities, diverse multiplayer modes and a mobile application to fully connect players anytime, anywhere. In a reality where everything is connected finding the most obscure secrets is just a matter of time. Experience the dynamic world of Watch Dogs by purchasing the game here.

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Release Date: May 27     Genre: Action-Adventure

Mode: Single-player & Multiplayer     Official Website: watchdogs.ubi.com

Publisher: Ubisoft     Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Wolfenstein The New Order2. Wolfenstein: The New Order (PC, PS 3, PS 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)

The Wolfenstein series are back with another thrilling game. The New Order presents an alternate course of history, in which the Third Reich came out victorious of the World War II. In this obscure reality, where oppression and tyranny reigns, players are tasked with the challenging mission to take down the nazi forces. To do so they must consider their tactical approach, which can be direct or stealthy. Furthermore, players will have access to a non-limited weapon inventory, including enemy military discoveries. Get a digital copy of Wolfenstein: The New Order here.

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Release Date: May 20 (NA), May 22 (AU), May 23 (EU)     Genre: First-Person Shooter

Mode: Single-player     Official Website: www.wolfenstein.com

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks     Developer: MachineGames

Bound by Flame3. Bound by Flame (PC, PS 3, PS 4, Xbox 360)

Bound by Flame is a promising action role-playing game from Spiders. Set in a world dominated by evil forces, players must do anything it takes to save the world. In this choice-driven game, players’ actions and decisions will generate different scenarios in the story. Also, each choice will determinate the power and appearance of the protagonist – greater power comes at the price of humanity. Companion interaction (friendship, rivalry and romance) will be a key feature in Bound by Flame. Purchase a copy on Amazon.

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Release Date: May 9     Genre: Action Role-Playing

Mode: Single-player     Official Website: www.boundbyflame.com

Publisher: Focus Home Interactive     Developer: Spiders

Mario-Kart-84. Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)

The Mario universe is getting a new racing adventure for Wii U. Mario Kart 8 continues the traditional gameplay of the franchise, in which characters from the Mario universe race against each other in go-karts. This new game will feature an anti-gravity system, as well as underwater racing and vehicle customization. Besides the usual multiplayer mode, Mario Kart 8 will also include an online mode that connects up to twelve players at once. The game is available on Amazon.

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Release Date: May 29 (JP), May 30 (NA&EU), May 31 (AU)     Genre: Racing

Mode: Single-player & Multiplayer     Official Website: mariokart8.nintendo.com

Publisher: Nintendo     Developer: Nintendo EAD Group No. 1

Drakengard 3 5. Drakengard 3 (PS 3)

Drakengard 3 is a prequel to the original game of the Japanese Drakengard series. The game revolves around Zero, a mysterious woman who partners with a dragon to kill her five tyrant sisters. As players progress, they start to discover the true reason behind Zero’s rampage. The third game continues to deliver a mixture of ground-based hack-and-slash combat and aerial battles. Zero’s new adventure is available for purchase here.

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Release Date: May 20 (NA), May 21 (EU), May 22 (AU)     Genre: Action Role-Playing

Mode: Single-player     Official Website: drakengardgame.com

Publisher: Square Enix     Developer: Access Games

Tropico 56. Tropico 5 (PC, PS 4, Xbox 360)

The Tropico series is returning this month with a brand new simulation game. Tropico 5 introduces several innovative political features and challenges players to manage their island colonies since its historical foundation in the colonial era, through World War 2, up to the cold war and present. One of the main attractions is the competitive multiplayer feature, which allows up to four players to ally or fight each other within the same island. Buy it now.

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Release Date: May 23     Genre: Strategy, Simulation

Mode: Single-player & Multiplayer     Official Website: www.tropico5.com

Publisher: Kalypso Media     Developer: Haemimont Games

0Rk.1280x7207. Mario Golf World Tour (3DS)

Mario and his friends will engage in an exciting golf adventure this month in Mario Golf World Tour. The game displays intuitive controls and a fast paced realistic gameplay. The sport simulation mirrors the basis of golf, in which the player aims a ball with a golf club across a massive golf course in order to hit it into the target hole in the lowest number of strokes. Mario Golf World Tour can be purchased via Amazon.

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Release Date: May 1 (JP), May 2 (NA&EU)     Genre: Sports

Mode: Single-player & Multiplayer     Official Website: mariogolf.nintendo.com

Publisher: Nintendo     Developer: Camelot Software Planning

Other Game Releases This Month: Godzilla: Smash3 (May 16); Killer is Dead (May 9); Outlast: Whistleblower (May 7); Soul Sacrifice Delta (May 14); Start a Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure (May 7); Transistor (May 20).