First of all, base stats matter but only for you. The AI is unaffected by stats. Do not go into the adventure mode playing as Pura or Polar, you will only want to break the disc.
The input on jumping is wonky, with a slight lag between the button press and jumping onscreen. Several times I've jumped off a jump and not gotten a boost when landing. You also have to jump just before the lip of the jump, but I remember the original game being like that too.
The AI is given natural speed advantage over you, even in classic mode. This means if you pull away they can still catch up to you. The AI ignores base character stats, as the slowest characters will still pass you driving normally even when you have a jump/drift boost going and full berries. This is causing most of my frustration with the game currently.
The AI seriously teams up on you. At the start of the race the AI on either side of you will boost with you even if you watched them not hit the gas at the light. They will then both move in, and because they're going slightly faster than you already due to the base speed boost, they connect on the front of your kart and slow you down, mainly negating any benefit you could have gotten doing the countdown boost. Different AI will hit you repeatedly with weapons almost as if each AI is saving their weapons for you and working together to hit you. There's already multiple videos in the ctr subreddit showcasing this, it feels like they saw that one mario kart gif and thought "let's do that to the player every 4th or 5th race".
I swear I have seen AI given weapons without hitting crates. I don't have proof for this yet, but for example, you will watch them drop a potion. Because they just dropped the potion, you go to pass, and suddenly they hit you with a bomb or a missile, even though you're in between crate locations or you saw them miss the crate.
Some AI characters seem guaranteed to be in the top positions on certain levels, and you'll be basically fighting that one character trying to not get knocked into the mob that's right on your tail. The original game would have the pack naturally spread out over the course of the race, but at the least these first few races they have been really clumped together, with sometimes having all 7 AI pass you on the last lap in the course of one hit from something.
Speaking of being hit, that feels very different than I remember. You can be right behind an AI and hit them with a missile and they keep going forward with the same inertia, so by the time they recover you still haven't passed them. I don't remember this being the case in the original game.
I am currently stuck on Sewer Speedway on Classic mode. Mock me for that if you will, but for example I just got second place because even with full berries, a boost from a box, drifting and jumping boosts all going, N Cortex who was not drifting or anything stayed ahead of me even though I was around a tenth of a second behind him when I started my boosts. I've also tried using the shortcut but even with an aku aku, full berries, a boost from a short jump before and timing the jump right I still hit off of the bottom. I tried changing characters to be faster and still am not able to get past this. I've been playing for hours, and giving up to go to bed.
I am really frustrated with the game as it currently is. Online is completely broken, matches end before the person in first even passes the finish line.
The graphics are gorgeous and how I imagined the game looking playing as a kid. I first beat the original game when I was 6. It feels different to me and I can't shake that feeling of disappointment and that Beenox fucked with the formula in a bad way.
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