Paid DLC can be a little hit and miss of late. Some developers seem to have figured it out, but others have this thought in the back of their head that paying a large sum of money on top of what you’ve already paid for the game is worth it for one character (I’m looking at you, Mortal Kombat) or a bunch of costumes that really aren’t worth it (e.g. Dead or Alive 5).
And then, there’s DLC that completely changes the landscape, that makes you rethink the way you play entirely and question your skill at the same time. A few years ago we were all laughing at the idea that Nintendo could pull off such a release, but now we have 200cc in Mario Kart 8. Suddenly, we’re the chumps.
This sudden increase in speed has already caught many off guard and changing their typical routines. My current main racer in Wario is suddenly a little too fast and slippery around certain corners, sending me into walls or off tracks, a far cry from my usual driving style on 150cc. Experimentation is suddenly the aim of the game, to find a racer with the right kind of speed and control to keep you on the track and close to the leaders. It’s a fantastic addition to the franchise that will certainly spice things up for old timers like me.
200cc is just a small part of the selling point for this second lot of DLC content. There’s a few more racers to compete with, some new Kart pieces and, of course, 8 new tracks. Those on offer are a solid compilation of classic and new designs, with a few standouts including the Animal Crossing inspired track that changes seasons each time you play.
There’s a few based on the old GBA Mario Kart that have been given the HD overhaul to great effect, especially Ribbon Road, making them feel like a whole new experience. There’s a few welcome returns too for the 7 lap craziness that is Baby Park and Neo Bowser City from MK’s 3DS outing, a personal favourite.
There’s also a surprise second track based on F-Zero, only because the time wasn’t given to another franchise, but it’s a welcome one given it’s Nintendo’s ‘other’ racing series (if they don’t announce a new title now, I’d feel almost offended). New tracks including Wild Woods and Super Bell Highway make up the two new cups on offer and are a welcome addition thanks to plenty of twists, turns and colourful details.
It remains to be seen whether Mario Kart 8 will receive any further DLC packs beyond these main two, honestly I’d be surprised if they didn’t at this point. There’s a ton of other franchises that would suit the MK treatment, especially the likes of Pokemon (racing around Pokemon Stadium whilst the critters duke it out, for example) or even Smash Bros. itself.
But the big question is, will Nintendo fix Battle Mode? There’s been speculation that the original design may return in some form or another, but so far little has been confirmed. I’d also love to see Mission mode make a return, something that hasn’t been seen since Mario Kart DS, but maybe I’m asking too much. Besides, with a new console already on the horizon, they could be holding out now until then.
If you baulked at the idea of purchasing the DLC updates for Mario Kart 8, I suggest taking another look. Not only will you have four new cups to race through, but you’ve also got the added challenge of taking them on in 200cc mode. That in itself is a challenge worth the price of admission, if you can stomach completing the original tracks of course.
On its own, this second lot of DLC has plenty to offer for newbies and returning veterans. As part of the entire package, the total cost of owning the DLC and Mario Kart 8 itself still comes in about the same price as a normal retail release on an Xbox One or PS4, and that’s a lot of content to get through for that price.
Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack 2 scores an 8 out of 10 (and 200cc mode scores a 9 out of 10).