While some may compare Mario Kart to Call of Duty in terms of rehashing games, I would argue that there’s always been small differences between all of the Mario Kart games. Mario Kart 8 seems to me to be possibly the culmination of the previous games – all of which are renowned for being entirely fun. So let’s jump ahead to see what why Mario Kart 8 will be the best one yet.

1. Mario Kart TV

Mario Kart TVIf you’ve seen the Nintendo Direct on Mario Kart 8 you’ll probably know about this exciting feature. And to be fair, I think there’s always been a niggling feeling about it in the back of my head. Something along the lines of “there’s a lot of footage of racers that aren’t in regular gameplay view”. There’s a reason for that, they seem to be using some sort of advanced replay feature. Not only that, but you can use this same feature. I’m not sure how far it goes (probably not to the level that the replay editor on Team Fortress 2 goes), but so far, it’s confirmed that you can replay footage from different angles, slow down the motion and even export it to YouTube for all to see. Pretty exciting if you ask me. Prepare for some very good videos on that.

2. The blue shell can be killed

HornDon’t worry, you won’t have to upload the virus onto the mothership. Instead, you can grab a horn which gives you a blast that can destroy the blue shell (when timed correctly). This will inevitably be a boon for some and a disappointment for others. I can imagine it being a lifesaver for some completing the game on 150cc.

3. All the best stuff from the past few games

OnlineI know this one is a bit of a cop out, but I really enjoyed Mario Kart Wii online. Mario Kart 8 seems to build on this – being able to play with friends, and if some of the screenshots from the Nintendo Direct are anything to go by, possibly even a lobby type system – where you can choose the rules of the matches – so you can play online in any type of game you wanted. Exciting stuff!

4. Anti-gravity

MK8-anti-gravityThough a bit inaccurate, I think we all know what this is. But what you wouldn’t know unless you were keeping up with Mario Kart news, is that you actually get speed bursts from bumping into other players, rather than getting slowed down. This will inevitably result in a greater range of tactics used in some levels – making sure you don’t bash into anyone when you’re cornering in anti-gravity mode.

5. Balance

MK8 customisationIt seems that the bikes are back as well as the karts, but this time there’s a slight strategy when it comes speed – bikes are better for handling corners, karts are better for more plain tracks. But regardless of this, there’s a good range of customisable options, not just for how your kart looks, but for how it plays too. No doubt once you find one that you can play really well with, you’ll stick to it, but in the mean time you can customise the main kart, the wheels, etc…

Free-GiftI am no doubt going to be buying Mario Kart 8 on launch, and because I am already a Wii U owner, complete with a small library of games (well, you say small, I think around 15 or so retail games is fairly respectable atm), I already have three of the four games that are on offer when you redeem the Mario Kart 8 voucher thingy. Oh, you didn’t know? You can get a free copy of Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, Pikmin 3, New Super Mario Bross Wii U or Wii Party U. Not too shabby!

Oh, and if you wanted to see the whole of Mario Kart 8 Nintendo Direct, you can watch it here: