4 – Mario Kart 8
The last game in the Kart series in which I put in a reasonable amount of time into is Mario Kart: Double Dash, more than 11 years ago. Expecting little to change from the game outside of a higher resolution and a silky smooth 60 FPS, I was blown away by Mario Kart 8.
Easily a standout co-op racing title that will become a regular Wii U disc habitant years to come, Mario Kart 8 offers brand new tracks while reimagining classic ones. I may not like what they have done with Rainbow Road (not nearly long enough!), but the way the game handles AI rubberbanding has been vastly improved. Racing through 32 tracks at launch (with an additional 16 coming through affordable DLC) is a delight, and adds depth to a racer with an impeccable cast of characters.
Awesome to note is the implementation of customizable karts with stat sliders, allowing for easier and more understandable customization. Trading off certain specs for certain races makes for completely different feels for turning corners, speeding through and catching up behind others. Plus, with an online mode that offers solo and co-op/competitive racing, Mario Kart 8 was the game I spent the most time playing this year.
Well, the second-most amount of time.
Next: #3 Should Have Been #1 In 2014, Were It Not For Stumbling Before The Finish Line