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Mario Kart 8 Review: Good Enough to Save the Wii U?

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As one of 2014’s most anticipated games, Mario Kart 8 is finally out and Nintendo hopes its success, along with that of the upcoming Super Smash Bros., will bolster sales of the struggling Wii U. So much is riding on the new party racer that you can buy a new Wii U console with the game bundled inside. But the question remains — is Mario Kart 8 a good enough game to improve sales of Nintendo’s “next-gen” console?

I have sunk hours into Mario Kart 8 and while I believe it’s a good game, I don’t think it is as exceptional as Nintendo probably thinks. Aside from a few new features and some decently improved graphics, it’s basically the same Mario Kart that it was before. You have the Grand Prix, the Time Trials, the Team modes, and the Battle modes and a few online options as well.

The game’s graphics are definitely an improvement over anything that the previous Mario Karts had to offer and you can definitely tell the difference between the previous iterations on the Wii and Mario Kart 8. One of the things that I like is the fact that the characters now hold the attack power-ups in their hand and when you press the attack button, you see them throw the power-up at the opposing players.

The other unique feature about the latest Mario Kart is the ability to more deeply customize the different parts of your vehicle, and I say “vehicle” because you can race with a go-kart, a motorcycle, or an ATV. You have the ability to choose the vehicle you want, between an assortment of different wheel designs that each have their pros and cons, and between a parachute or glider for instances when you are jumping large gaps.

My favorite feature is the ant-gravity transformations. Selecting the option grants your vehicle with several of advantages, such as the ability to ride on the walls in certain areas of the course. It’s a surprisingly subtle idea (fortunately, it’s not overused) that introduces an interesting new mechanic to the racing experience.

While players will quickly familiarize themselves with returning items like the red shell, mushrooms and star, new items like Piranha Plant and Boomerang Flower make their way into the fray without throwing off Mario Kart’s delicate balance. And — finally! — we get the Super Horn, a new item that prevents the much-maligned blue shell comeback mechanic most dread, allowing skill rather than luck to prevail most of the time.

Mario Kart 8 introduces a few new exciting tracks to the long list of returning ones. With more options at your disposal, it’s a fun game — moreso than any other Mario Kart before it — that will challenge both your skill as a kart racer and your ability to find creative ways to cross the finish line first.

With its eclectic mix of vehicle options, new items and creative tracks, Nintendo’s latest kart racer is undoubtedly an engaging party racer that will keep you, your friends and your children entertained for quite a while. While I don’t think it will be the system-seller that the company is hoping for, it is the most comprehensive, well-executed and engaging addition to the storied franchise. If you have a Wii U, I suggest you invite your friends over and give it a try.

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Switch

Fortnite Was The Most-Played Nintendo Switch Game Of 2018

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Fortnite characters

Fortnite is dominant on every platform its own.

Nintendo has revealed that Fortnite was the most-played Switch games of 2018.

The free-to-play title from Epic Games topped a list of the 21 most-played titles, with Nintendo’s own IPs rounding out the remainder of the top five.

This is especially impressive considering Fortnite launched six months into the year. By October, almost half of Switch users worldwide had it installed.

Here’s the full list of most-played Switch games for 2018. Are you surprised by the results?

  1. Fortnite
  2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  3. Super Mario Odyssey
  4. Splatoon 2
  5. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  6. FIFA 19
  7. Minecraft
  8. Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu
  9. Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee
  10. Xenoblade Chronicles 2
  11. The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
  12. Rocket League
  13. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
  14. Pokemon Quest
  15. Stardew Valley
  16. Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
  17. Octopath Traveler
  18. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  19. Paladins
  20. Super Mario Party
  21. Mario Tennis Aces
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PC

This Is Mortal Kombat 11’s Official Cover, What Do You Think?

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Mortal Kombat 11 official Cover art with Scorpion

It’s familiar, but different; simpler, but engaging.

Mortal Kombat creator Ed Boon has revealed the official cover art for Mortal Kombat 11, and its of little surprise that it only features Scorpion.

Compared to Mortal Kombat 10, the overall design is brighter and simpler, featuring a yellow, hot background that surprisingly works well with Scorpion’s yellow outfit.

Scorpion’s pose is imposing, and its interesting that NetherRealm chose go with the more modern version of the character rather than the classic one that appeared in the reveal trailer.

Mortal Kombat 11 releases on April 23, 2019 on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch.

What do you think about the cover art? Better yet, what’s you favorite Mortal Kombat cover art of all time? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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PC

Epic Games Store New Return Policy Allows Unlimited Refunds, But…

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Epic Games Store logo

Gamers get more leniency and a simplified verification process.

Epic has updated the Epic Games Store’s return policy to make it more competitive with other digital storefronts.

With the old policy, you were allowed just two refunds per year, but now everyone has unlimited refunds within 14 days of purchase and with under two hours played.

The Epic Games Store doesn’t have a “self-service” solution, at least not yet, so you will have to go through Customer Support to request a refund.

A change was also made to the verification process for receiving a refund. Customers no longer have to provide their IP address, last four digits of the card used, account creation date, and other information if the return meets the set criteria, though a contact form will still need to be used.

Epic plans to add more regional pricing options to the store. There are currently 30 different regions available, encompassing a total of 130 countries.

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PC

Chinese Minecraft Player Spent Entire Year Creating Awesome Cyberpunk City

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There is seemingly no limits to the scale and creativity one can realize in the blocky world of Minecraft.

Indeed, in Minecraft, you let your imagination run wild, and
we’ve seen some truly awe-inspiring creations

This cyberpunk city by Chinese Minecraft player AZTTER has to be one of the coolest ever.

The man has the patience and persistence of a winner, seeing as it took him an entire year to build it from the ground up.

The results speak for themselves …

Forget about the lights — just look at the scale of it all! AZTTER is bone fide champ.

Have you seen a city as impressive in MinecraftLet us know in the comments below.

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Coud Gaming

Amazon Is Working On A Game Streaming Service

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The e-Comm tech giant’s ambitions for world domination could span the full breath of gaming.

Looking to get in on the game streaming business early, Amazon is reportedly working on its very own game streaming service.

This particular segment of the video game industry is seen by many as the future of gaming.

According to sources familiar with Amazon’s plans, development of Amazon’s game streaming service is already underway, and the company has been in negotiations with game publishers to use the service. If all goes according to plan, it could launch sometime in 2020.

Amazon isn’t the only company looking to capitalize on the promising segment. Other big-names investigating or actively perusing ways to make game streaming viable include Google with Project Stream.

Sony already has PlayStation Now, and Microsoft is working on Project xCloud alongside the hardware for its next-generation console. Even game publishers like EA are working on their own solutions.

There is clearly money to be made in the game streaming arena, and Amazon wants a lot of that money.

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PlayStation 4

Sony Has Sold Over 91 Million PS4 Consoles, With About As Many PSN Active Users On Board

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Sony Playstation 4 Pro With DualShock 4 Controller

The PlayStation 4 is a runaway hit with gamers, at least when compared to the Xbox One.

Sony has confirmed that more than 5.6 million PS4 consoles were sold worldwide during the 2018 holiday season, pushing the console’s all-time sales to an impressive 91.6 million units since its introduction in late 2013.

Over 50.7 million games were sold on the PS4 during the season, both digitally and at retail, and Spider-Man was by far the best-selling exclusive of the entire year.

Keep in mind that these are sell-through numbers, meaning sold to consumers rather than to retail outlets.

As for the number of monthly active users on the PlayStation Network,
Sony recorded over 90 million users as of the end of November, 2018.

Not every user is a paid Plus subscriber, but the impressive figure is a testament to the large, highly-connected community the company has diligently built with quality games and services.

Are you one of the over 90 million PS4 owners? How has the console treated you?

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