Game of the month, December 2011

Winner: Mario Kart 7

You would think that by the seventh entry in the series, Mario Kart's formula would have been perfected already. But arguably, recent games have been getting worse. GameCube's Double Dash was good but gimmicky and Wii's entry… well, let's just say weapon spam was a serious issue. So what a relief to switch on Mario Kart 7 and see that it's a return to form – and anything that could be classed as a gimmick is brilliantly underplayed.

The brief moments of Pilotwings-esque flight are just long enough to be enjoyable without watering down the kart-racing action. The underwater bits? Well, the trick is to avoid them in truth, as they slow you down. But even they look amazing thanks to 3DS' 3D screen, which has never looked so good. Every other 3DS developer should take note – this is how you do 3D.

Add in the best online multiplayer Nintendo's offered to date (hardly difficult in honesty) and some of the most fan-pleasing trackside details and unlockable bonuses around and you've got a racer that feels like classic Nintendo, only dressed up in achingly hip modern technology. In all honestly, it's worth buying a 3DS just to play, especially with friends.

Runner-up: Star Wars: The Old Republic

We were shocked when BioWare revealed that The Old Republic would be making 2011. The game was in development for so long, with aspirations so high, that we couldn't believe that it was actually being released. Now, it has not only come out, but it's managing to live up to our lofty expectations, with not one, but eight fantastic, personal stories that truly live up to the Knights of the Old Republic name.

While it doesn't outright reinvent the genre as some had hoped, it does a good job at moving it forward, and providing an experience that should excite fans of MMOs without making newcomers feel overwhelmed. We're going to withhold our final judgment for our review next month, but even without hitting the level cap we're confident that it was one of the best games of December.

Mario Kart 7 review
It's-a fantastic!

Star Wars: The Old Republic review diary, level 1-15
We start our long, winding journey to the Dark Side

Star Wars: The Old Republic the Esseles walkthrough – video of the first Flashpoint
Check out The Old Republic's take on instanced dungeons

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  • Fox_Mulder - January 2, 2012 1:40 p.m.

    NOOO Mario Kart 7 won! Where is that guy who has a lot to say about GR's GOTM features............
  • Pyrophobia - December 31, 2011 8:47 p.m.

    I'm not even entirely certain what the Problem is... :P
  • titleofusername98 - December 30, 2011 6:54 p.m.

    MK7 FTW!!!! Too bad I don't have a 3DS. I only have about 23 dollars, so I likely never will.
  • Nap1400 - December 30, 2011 4:02 p.m.

    The only bad thing I can really say about Mario Kart 7 is the stupid Maka Wuhu glitch. That's going to encouraage more cheating than you can imagine online.
  • shawksta - December 30, 2011 2:56 p.m.

    Awesome, Mario Kart 7 seems to be the best of the best, and technically speaking the only negative thing about it is no Mission modes from the DS one, but it doesnt seem to change your mind either way. I bought Mario Kart 7, but i havnt played it yet cause im doing other things, but i damn cant wait! Good Call on That, Old Republic will no doubt be great, but it isnt fully analyzed yet, or atleast reviewed by you guys yet.
  • talleyXIV - December 30, 2011 1:25 p.m.

    What is up with all your Mario Kart 7 screenshots? I have been playing and the graphics look better than the Wii Mario Kart's. It is a great game though.
  • shawksta - December 30, 2011 2:53 p.m.

    Because, if you havnt realized, the 3DS's Screen is small, EVERY 3DS Screen will NEVER look like actual quality.
  • marioman50 - December 30, 2011 5:42 p.m.

    Games already look pretty pixelated on the 3DS's screen because of the tiny resolution in which the games run. You can only expect the picture to look worse when scaled up to an even larger size (that's the deal with most of the Mario Kart 7 screenshots you'll find on the internet).
  • talleyXIV - December 31, 2011 6:53 p.m.

    I am going to prove both of you wrong. I bet I can take a great screenshot of Mario Kart 7.
  • shawksta - January 2, 2012 11:15 a.m.

    Im not saying you cant, its just making it as big as what GR's doing wont look as %100 as the real thing.