I Got Me a WiiU

I usually wait a year or so after it comes out before I buy a console. That gives them the time to work the kinks out of the system, the launch games to come down in price and for me to get a better idea of the kind of support the system is going to have. I broke that policy with the WiiU. Not because I think it is going to be a must have, unbeatable powerhouse. I see it being a modest success, with plenty of unique asymmetrical multiplayer games to play. But my Wii was on its last legs, unable to play dual layered discs and getting progressively noisier when playing any game. Since I still have a sizable stack of Wii games to play, I decided rather than get a new one or pay to fix mine, I would just get a WiiU. As of right now, I am very happy with that decision.

I of course bought the deluxe edition, because I buy enough downloadable games that having the still too small size of the Deluxe’s internal memory was a must. That and I would have likely bought Nintendoland anyway made it a no brainer. I do have to say I like the look of the white system better, though. I wish the colors weren’t split between the two SKUs. The system itself is tiny, significantly smaller than even the slim PS3. It does look really nice. The big selling point of the system, the tablet controller, is nice as well. It is light, weighing only a little more than a regular controller and fitting comfortably in your hands. While light, it doesn’t feel cheap. It continues Nintendo’s track record of comfortable, if unique, controllers.

Nintendo has been closed mouthed about the technology inside the machine, and honestly, I don’t really care. It seems likely that the WiiU is roughly on the same level as the PS3 and 360, meaning that In a year or so they will be in the same position they were last generation. I see this as being even less of a problem than it was with the Wii. There were very few gameplay improvements in the last generation. Scale increased, but the games are largely the same as they were before. The jump from PS2 to PS3 was not unlike that from NES to SNES. The games looked better and were larger but at the base level the games were mostly the same. I don’t see even the graphical increase being as large this time around. The important thing for the WiiU is not being on a technological level with their rivals, but in providing interesting games to play for their system.

So far, Nintendo has done a fine job of providing the games. Most of the launch games are ports of games released in the last year. All the games are solid, though some of the ports are rough. Still, the variety is something worth noting. There is also a good number of original games. ZombieU has gotten good buzz and Scribblenauts looks great. I bought New Super Mario Bros. U and Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed to go with Nintendoland. All three are have been good fun. Sonic Racing is buggy as shit, but the racing is good. It has a very arcade, very Sega feel. Plus, I get to race as Vyse, which is a big plus. Nintendo Land is the Wii Sports equivalent for this system, but I would say it is even better. Instead of a handful of simple sports, it has nearly a dozen games that have surprising depth. Sure, some of them are as simple as they seem, but others seem to never get old. Me and my brother have had a lot of fun playing the Metroid themed shooting game, and playing Mario Chase with a full complement of players is like the best game of Pac-Man ever. The best has been Donkey Kong’s Crash Course, a tilt controlled obstacle course that is as difficult as it is addictive. In all, I have been more than satisfied with Nintendo Land. The stand out title, though, has been NSMBU. While most of the NSMB games have felt like updates of Super Mario Bros or SMB3, NSMBU is a follow up to Super Mario World, which is the best Mario game. The level design is pitch perfect, and the controls are as good as ever. It is truly great.

A highlight for the system so far has been asymmetrical multiplayer. With Nintendo Land’s Mario Chase, one player with the tablet runs away from up to four players with Wii Remotes. It only works because the tablet, so one player has his own screen. With NSMBU, a player with the tablet can make platforms for the other players. More often, the tablet player puts out platforms to screw up the other players. It isn’t exactly useful for beating the game, but it is a fun experience. I hope for more of this sort of content.

The WiiU has the potential to be something great. Even just the ability to just move the video to the handheld screen is worth the price of entry. I like the system a lot. As long as it has Nintendo’s games on it, then I’ll have fun with it.

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2 thoughts on “I Got Me a WiiU

  1. I can’t say I agree with you saying the jump from PS2-PS3, Xbox-Xbox 360 wasn’t that great. The games look and run much better (which you do admit), but not only that the gaming experience has changed dramatically. The online experience alone makes it a huge jump. Did you ever think last generation you’d use a console to watch TV, movies, stream Netflix, watch live sports, etc? Downloadable content?

    The WiiU will be fun for Nintendo games, but when the next true generation rolls out I think all third party support will pretty much stop. The games won’t run well on a WiiU at all.

    -avideogamelife.com

    • Games noticeably did not play better on the PS3 and 360. If I said that I need to change what I wrote. Games of this generation are buggier and filled with the same performance problems, ie low framerate, pop-in, as previous 3D generations. This was largely the fault of the increased scale increasing complexity. But other than some progression is gameplay approaches,which have little to do with technology and more to do with learning from the mistakes of the last game, there was no offsetting gameplay jump to go with the graphical jump from generation.

      There was a big jump on the online front. But again, that has more to do with the evolution of online content than with the power of new consoles. streaming Netflix wasn’t even a thing until near the tail end of the PS2’s life. Consoles have wisely jumped on the streaming media train; using my WiiU or PS3 to watch Netflix etc, is a great advancement, but it has little to do with playing games. DLC has been a mixed bag of an innovation this gen. In theory I like it a lot, but it is sometimes aggravating when things are made DLC that should, or even have, been included on the disc. Minus Nintendo’s complete disinterest in online play, the Wii’s selection of downloadable games is better than the 360s and PS3s.

      The WiiU could very well lose most 3rd party support when Microsoft and Sony unveil new consoles. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the added power adds enough cost that fully using it will not be an enticing prospect for many developers. They have been dropping like flies this generation, and I don’t see development costs dropping. Perhaps finding a niche with slightly older tools won’t be such a burden.

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