Let’s face it, every Mario Party is fun on some level. But watching me play Wii “Mario Party 8”, you would think I was the most miserable creature on the face of the earth who had given up on videogames and life altogether. And after playing just one round on some level I was. I found myself mumbling under my breath, and sighing more often then I should.
The Mario Party franchise fascinates me. For 8 years, very little about the game has changed. The dice works the same, the characters all act the same, the ultimate goal for stars is the same, the minigames are practically the same to the previous year (and the 6 years before that!) Bowser has still way too much time on his hands and the story is lacking to say the least, but year after year we all keep coming back for more!
Let's throw a Mario Party! I'll be the Princess.
If somehow you’ve missed the first 7 invites for Mario Party, here’s what you’ve been missing out on.
Mario Party is simply the video game equivalent of a board game.
You choose a character, roll a dice, and watch your character move around the board hoping to land on a square with an all important star. At the end of everyone’s turn, you play a minigame.
Every party has a different theme and this time around it’s based around a Star Carnival. This road show is run by MC Ballyhoo and his talking top hat Big Top. Yes, you heard me right, a talking top hat. Come to your own conclusions.
SideNote: I have finally come to realize something that I have suspected about Mario Party games all along –they all rely on luck, not strategic planning, or even good gameplay in any way.
I can’t tell you how many times I won more minigames or got more stars than my competitors just to lose anyway for some frivolous reason or another. I understand that some games do rely on chance, but a good one usually makes you feel that all your hard work, good skills and smart strategic abilities was worth it. I guess in the end, Mario Party really is just a bunch of minigames put together with a board game thrown in.
You know, back in Sept. of 2006 or so, when I first heard about the impending release of the new Nintendo Wii system with its shiny and new controls, one of the games that immediately came to mind was Mario Party. I expected to be a match made in heaven, a sure-fire winner. But a winner “Mario Party 8” is not, because it suffers from been-there-done-that gameplay, clunky controls and boring minigames – the end result is a forgettable could-have-been-done-on-a-GameCube game.
Waving our hands in the air like we just don't care!
(Psst, Nintendo, you can use that .Go ahead. It’s on me. No really. It's cool. No one will know but us.)
So what’s different about “Mario Party 8”? Well, it’s Mario Party for the Wii, so that should tell you something…about the controls anyway. As you’ve probably guessed, each minigame uses the wii-mote in different ways, some will have you holding it sideways in the old NES-style, and others will have you aiming it straight at your TV using the motion sensor. What about the nunchuck? Oh, the nunchuck kinda took the backseat with this title, and it is only used in 1 minigame. Look for it in the Extra Zone called "Flagging Rights".
Unfortunately, some of the controls within the minigames are not as responsive as they should be, but sadly I have come to expect this from the Wiimote at this point. There are some fun minigames in the batch especially the racing and shooting games, but then there are others that are just so-so, such as the one where players simply vigorously shake the remote up and down as if it were a… soda can (what were you thinking?)
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This probably goes without saying but to get the most out of “Mario Party 8”, you really need at least 2 people to play with since playing it alone against the CPU characters is a downright bore. C’mon let's be honest, who looks to party games for single player modes anyway?
It's Mario. He called a few buddies over to party. So should you!
Unfortunately, there just isn’t a whole heck of a lot new here. In fact it feels like a rushed GameCube project with last minute Wii controls. Many of the minigames are rehashes of old minigames with tacked on Wii controls. This isn’t to say that these minigames aren’t fun because they are. Not laugh out loud, smack your thigh type of fun, but fun nonetheless.
And the Wii-mote does breathe some new life into some dusty old minigames. That’s all well and good, except we have games like “Wii Play” and “Wii Sports” now doing similar things, it doesn’t feel like Nintendo pushed the creative envelope in any way- in other words they played it safe, real safe.
Just because it’s Mario doesn’t mean it’s a party worth going to.
Perhaps with all the gaming that I do, I’ve become a little ADD, but Mario Party 8's biggest flaw is that it plays wayyy tooo sloww.
Even when choosing to play only 10 turns be prepared to invest at least 90+ minutes to this game. Most of the time is spent scrolling past text after text of tutorials about events that happened just 10 minutes ago! You will find yourself repeatedly mashing the A button in order to speed it up, but unfortunately in the end, it will do you no good.
Another problem is having to watch the CPU character’s take their turns while you suffer being a spectator, waiting endlessly for your turn and not being able to skip them. Look, I just don’t have the patience or the attention span for this! Whatever happened to the concept of fast-paced fun?
Y'know I will say Mario Party 8 is good for one thing though, it is the perfect game to play when you'd rather kick back on the couch and enjoy some leisure time with your family or friends.
And the best part is you won’t even have to make elbow room or anything like you do for tennis in “Wii Sports” for example. It is just perfect for cooling down to after you've had quite a workout from swinging your arms and grinding your hips in “Wario Ware: Smooth Moves”.
Not exactly what Nintendo and Hudson Soft had in mind I’m sure.
So you want your Mii to come out and play too? Well they can in the Extra Mode, in 8 different minigames not found in the Regular Party mode. Don’t get too excited like I did however, most of them look cheap and crappy, especially the Wii Bowling ripoff. I won’t insult it too much though because no matter how you look at, it is after all, an extra mode.
Let’s move on to graphics shall we? The animations in Mario Party 8 are, how should I say- the least appealing out of all the parties yet. For some reason all of the visuals had a blurred effect added to them, nothing looked that sharp - hmm, odd, very odd indeed.
When you first start the game the menu screen teases you with a nice widescreen display, but once it actually starts, you soon discover that the game doesn’t truly support widescreen TV’s!
Instead the stages, the boards-everything is set with a big, fat checkered border on the left and right sides of the screen. Checkered? Yep, big, loud checkered borders instead of solid black like with DVD’s. What’s the deal?
Like it’s not disappointing enough playing with less than the whole screen, does it have to be a major distraction too?
The audio isn’t anything spectacular either, sort of a mixer of big-top circus music mixed with familiar Mario music but at least you’ll get to hear the voices of your all favorite Nintendo characters coming from your Wiimotes.
Ok, so now where are we so far?
With the move to a new system you’d expect a few things like improved graphics, new boards, new minigames and, because it's the Wii, new controls. Well, I guess two out of four ain’t bad. And if you were paying attention up until now, you will know which two I am referring to.
For better or for worse, “Mario Party 8” is essentially the same old party on a new system. If you like Mario Party, you’ll probably still like “Mario Party 8”. If you don’t like the Mario Party games, this one ain’t going change your mind that’s for sure, even with the Wii controls.
It pains me, to be so rough on “Mario Party 8” because at times it can be fun, but more often than not, it was the least fun that I’ve had playing a Mario Party game yet.
I think sooner or later, Mario is going to have to stop throwing these parties, it has been 8 years it’s getting a bit old and crusty, and frankly it's starting to smell a little funky.
Get Mario Party 8 Here
Posted by oxyjen on Jun 14, 2007
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