AKR (User)

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Mario Kart 8 Officially Justifies the Wii U's Graphical Prowess

AKR | 72d ago
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Say what you want about the Wii U. Whine and complain as much as you'd like about how the system isn't at the same 'power-level' as the PS4 or XBOX One. One thing is for sure, though:

Mario Kart 8 is one damn-fine looking game.

It's been a little less than a year from since the public got a chance to first see the title in action. It's been a little over a year from since Nintendo showed us their ace-card in motion. It's been a little over a year from since what is Wii U's, arguably - best-looking title to release yet.

And it's weird.

I say that it's weird simply because in the 1.5 years that the system has been out, it has been under a lot of fire. Some have complained about how the Gamepad is “unnecessary”, others have booed the lack of third-party support – and there are some which time and again, have complained about how it simply isn’t riding as high as the PS4 or XBOX One in terms of power. This is a topic that has come up many times, even before the Wii U was released back in 2012. Nintendo has never really been the type to advertise the true specs of their systems; leaving gamers to figure out the limits on their own. As to why they choose to do this is unknown – but it’s not like its necessary. After all, they make consoles not PCs. Regardless, one thing is for sure, even if we still don’t know the exact specifications; that doesn’t change the fact that many games on the system have performed reasonably well.

Look at titles such as Trine 2, Need for Speed: Most Wanted U, Pikmin 3, Super Mario 3D World, DKC: Tropical Freeze, Sonic Lost World, Sonic Boom, ACIV: Black Flag, and Rayman Legends – it’s undoubtedly clear that they all look great. But the system is supposed to be “weak, “underpowered”, a “technological slouch”. Why do you think devs are ignoring it? It’s simply too weak! It can’t keep up! What was Nintendo thinking? It’s just two Wii’s duck taped together!

Okay, okay, enough with the foolishness.

The acclaimed indie-studio, Shin’en Multimedia has already spoken on numerous occasions about the Wii U’s power. But, for the sake of keeping it brief, I’ll simply quote one of their statements:

“I can’t detail the Wii U GPU but remember it’s a GPGPU. So you are lifted from most limits you had on previous consoles. I think that if you have problems making a great looking game on Wii U then it’s not a problem of the hardware.”

When I first read this, I literally did a slow clap. It just made sense. It was nice to finally see a developer, speak well of the system. And let’s be real; they have proof to back it up. Considering the fact that they basically work exclusively on Nintendo hardware – it’s no doubt that they know what they’re talking. Heck, they released 3 – yes only three – titles on the original Wii, through the WiiWare service – and those 3 titles, all under 45mb, looked better (and played better) than 90% of the Wii’s entire library. With Wii U – they were there for the launch of its eShop – with their title Nano Assault NEO, and once again, they’ve dazzled us with one fine looking game. And they have two more in development. Now then, what’s my point? Shin’en wasn’t just saying that as lip-service. They were right.

And all Nintendo did was solidify it.

Look at Mario Kart 8. Look at the screenshots. Look at the trailers. Look at the gameplay clips. Look at all the effects going on. Look at the beautiful bloom, the shaders, and amazing lighting. What about the amounts of polygons, even so much so that now each character’s hair flutters in the wind? I’m picking out all the details for a reason – It’s no PS4, true, but in no way shape or form, can anyone with a functioning brain and pair of eyes, can look at this game and not say: “Wow, that looks beautiful!”

Mario Kart 8 is easily Nintendo’s best looking title ever released on the Wii U, and arguably their most beautiful title ever. The environments in the background are just drop-dead gorgeous. Look at Rainbow Road; look at that train circling the track, and those city far below in the distance, with real-time lighting effects. The thing looks like a Pixar movie that’s simply been converted to a game. And that’s saying something.

It’s true that we’ll never see the Wii U hit the level of running something along the lines of The Order: 1886, for instance – but that doesn’t change the fact, that if we continue to get games that are at the level of Mario Kart 8; there really is no reason for complaints. Nintendo has always been the ones too show us what their systems are made of, and for what is arguably going to be the biggest release for the system’s lifetime; they are doing an amazingly good job.

DragonKnight  +   71d ago
I was going to make an argument, but you actually kinda touched on it already.

The types of games that look good on the Wii U aren't the same as the types of games that look good on PS4 or XB1. They are typically less "realistic" than what the Wii U's competition offers, so it's easier to get the higher res textures and higher framerates without sacrificing much, or anything at all.

But it feels like a case of arguing "good enough" vs "omg, that looks amazing."
Vegamyster  +   71d ago
Nintendo are experts at putting graphical touches in areas that you'll actually notice instead of just throwing tons of polygons everywhere, regardless the game looks gorgeous and runs at a smooth 60 fps 1080p even in 2 player splitscreen, I'd say its quite the accomplishment. I can't wait to see what the next Zelda looks like, hoping it looks similar to the 2011 Wii-U tech demo.
Chard  +   71d ago
I don't think it's 100% confirmed to be native 1080p yet. The truth will probably be revealed by the usual suspects like Digital Foundry, NeoGAF etc.
The game looks cool though.
#1.1.1 (Edited 71d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report
Vegamyster  +   71d ago
@Chartd

Eurogamer said it's 1080p in this article (first paragraph) although i'm not sure if they actually tested it or are just assuming at this point: http://www.eurogamer.net/ar...
#1.1.2 (Edited 71d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report
mikeslemonade  +   71d ago
Haha Dragonknight speaks the truth and the delusional gamers from the Nintendo camp disagree.
randomass171  +   71d ago
It's definitely an accomplishment that was achieved on what everyone claims is a "weak, underpowered" console. Wii U is not on par with the other guys, but that doesn't make it a slouch. MK8 is gorgeous and runs smoothly. Goes to show Wii U can do a lot more than many believed.
JohnathanACE  +   71d ago
Good blog! Mario Kart does look amazing and it even runs at 60fps. Despite having the weakest console last gen Nintendo made some really amazing looking games on the Wii (like Mario Galaxy). I really think Nintendo is good at getting the most out of their consoles and the Wii U is no different.
AKR  +   70d ago
Yeah; no doubt, they did wonders with the Wii - them and some third-parties. Titles like Mario Galaxy, Skyward Sword, Xenoblade Chronices, Rodea the Sky Soldier, Go Vacation, Fishing Resort, Rayman Origins and Sonic Colors looked great; even if they were only at 480p.

MK8 is truly an amazing looking title, hands down. I don't care how much power the U has - if can keep churning out games like this (and a few other notable titles) - it will be quite fine.
Picnic  +   66d ago
When there's due to be Sunset Overdrive on Xbox One satisfying, to some extent, the 'Sega' fan (the grinding appears Jet Set Radio-like) the reasons to need a Nintendo console are reduced unless you are massively attached to those particular Nintendo characters or a few of the RPG games they do.
#3 (Edited 66d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply

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