Its seemingly the unloved console to replace the much loved Wii, hell everyone seemed to have one and everyone talked about it. In my own personal experience I (the jaded gamer) bought the Wii before the PS3 and both shared much love. But my theory is that as everyone bought a Wii and as everyone realised that they stopped playing on the party favourite about 18 months later there really was no sound economic sense to buy a replacement for it. I love Nintendo but really the Wii U is not for me at the moment.
However, there is some hope and thankfully there has been strong voice in the community still singing the virtues of what the Wii U can offer and here I am pleased to add to the TekTalk community Katie Heath’s positive view of what Nintendo can still produce.
So, I’ve been asked to write a review of the Wii U, on the basis that I seem to be pretty much the only person in the world to own one. And I think this is a shame. Its predecessor the Wii sold bucketloads, but the Wii U does not seem to have captured the imagination in the same way. On the surface, it is hard for me to realise why. The popular motion controls can still be used, and the Wii U benefits from much better graphics than the Wii. In fact it’s hard to tell the difference between the graphics of the Wii U and those of the PS3 and Xbox 360. I realise those are current/last-gen consoles, but one of the criticisms thrown at the next-gen consoles is that the graphics are not groundbreakingly different from their predecessors, so I wouldn’t have thought the Wii U graphics have been putting people off. I guess it could be that it seems too serious for the casual gaming crowd, who prefer to stick with the Wii, and not serious enough for the hardcore gamers, who gravitate to the other consoles.
The Wii U has some strong points, particularly in terms of price. I got my Wii U basic set for £180. The basic set has now been discontinued (rightly in my opinion, as the 8GB memory of the basic set is really good for nothing) but the premium set can be picked up on Amazon for a little over £200. When compared to the PS4 (£350 on Amazon) and the Xbox One (£429 on Amazon), the Wii U starts to seem very good value indeed.
Ok, so maybe so-called ‘hardcore gamers’ are less well served by the Wii U. A lot of the games on the next-gen consoles seem to have skipped the Wii U. However, there are exceptions. At the moment, I am playing Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Batman: Arkham Origins, both of which are also available on the other consoles, and top of my wish list, when it is finally released, is Watch Dogs. The Wii U does bring its own advantages to these games. The gamepad displays a larger map and makes it easier, expecially on Batman, to see where you are going. You can also use it to select weapons and other options. One of the reasons the Wii U sold so poorly at first I believe was that there weren’t too many good games for it, but things have picked up. Another game I intend to get is the new Super Mario game, which has received scores in the 90s.
There is a lot of social networking available for the Wii U, with its ‘Miiverse’. I haven’t really used this, as I prefer to stick with playing games, but it allows you to do things such as post in forums for different games if you are stuck on a game. The Wii U also allows you to play Wii games, and is the only one of the next-gen consoles to allow backwards-compatibility. The gamepad allows for some clever functionality- not every game uses it well, but it has its fair share of games that make use of it well, such as Nintendo Land.
As a casual gamer myself, the Wii U is perfect for me. As I only really play at weekends, and even then only for an hour or so at a time, I cannot justify spending hundreds of pounds on a console, and the range of games available is good for me. Nintendo had it right with the Wii, attracting many casual gamers. It is a shame that these same people cannot see the attraction of the Wii U too. I am looking forward to seeing where the console will go in the future.