Nintendo Wii U Launch Special
Today is a special day for gaming, everyone! A new console has launched, officially ushering in a new generation of gaming. Well, maybe. More on that in a bit.
Starting at $300, the Nintendo Wii U is now available in North America. From what I’ve heard from sources like GameSpot and Nintendo themselves on Twitter, there were huge crowds at the Nintendo Store in New York City last night, where Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime was in attendance for the launch of Nintendo’s new flagship console. If you haven’t heard, the standout feature of this system is the use of a tablet-like controller, which features a touch screen that allows you to interact with games on a whole new level. For instance, with New Super Mario Bros. U, the player holding the GamePad, as it has been dubbed, can touch the screen to plant platforms around levels to either help up to four other players, who play with Wii remotes, get through tough sections or to be a pain in the butt and hinder their progress. That’s right. The Wii remotes used with the Wii console are also usable with the Wii U. Which brings me back to my “Well, maybe,” comment in the opening.
See, the GamePad is all well and good and I can see it may have some potential, with technology that even allows a person to stream a movie onto the television through the console while a person can play a game via the GamePad without having to argue over who gets dibs on the TV. The additional screen could also allow for advantages in games, like being able to switch inventory items, see a map layout, or even change settings without having to pause the game. The issue I see is the fact that it just seems like an upgraded Wii with a tablet controller. Does it have better graphics? Yes, and it is apparently 20% more powerful than the Xbox 360, which means it is the first high-definition Nintendo console, but if rumors of a new Xbox releasing a year from now are true, it’ll be blown out of the water just like the original Wii was last generation. With Nintendo’s new aim of trying to appeal to a more hardcore audience with the plethora of third-party titles like Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, Mass Effect 3, and Batman: Arkham City: Armored Edition, the former two of which are M-rated and all of which are already available on current consoles, the whole argument of this console not requiring really stunning graphics because it appeals to a more casual audience, like the Wii did last generation, goes out the window completely. If there’s one thing that did frustrate some core gamers, it was the lack of HD on the Wii, as games like Super Mario Galaxy and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess could have been truly gorgeous experiences in 1080p (not to say they weren’t already). Not to mention that if third-party titles sell just as badly on this as they did on both the GameCube and the Wii, they’re going to lose these more “core” titles, leaving them to hope that they still have their more casual audience to fall back on. Of course, Nintendo’s first-party titles like Mario and The Legend of Zelda always sell huge numbers, so they do have that to fall back on, as well, but losing that third-party support is what helped lead to the downfall of the Wii. Plus, this thing still uses Wii remotes, so I can hazard a guess and say that Nintendo is satisfied with the tech they currently have, but with superior motion offerings (from a technical standpoint) on the market with the Xbox 360 Kinect and the PlayStation Move, I figured they may have tried to improve upon it further. They still potentially could, just as they did with the Wii MotionPlus last generation, but by using current Wii remotes, they also allow people to upgrade to the Wii U without having to leave those lying around to collect dust and also cut down on peripheral costs, like additional controllers, that usually need to be taken into account when purchasing a new console. On one hand, it seems lazy, but on the other, it’s a genius move.
With those concerns out of the way, I’ll go on the record right now and say I am not buying one. It’s not because I don’t have the money nor am I just not impressed with the console itself as I do believe it has potential, although trying out more than just flipping through a menu on the GamePad with a Walmart demo unit may have helped sway my opinion, the biggest issue with me lies with the launch titles. As I stated for the three titles I mentioned above, they’re all available on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 right now and at cheaper prices, although Ninja Gaiden 3 has been substantially updated to be a nearly entirely new game altogether, so I will give it that. Looking at the rest, New Super Mario Bros. U is just more side-scrolling Mario that I already have on the Wii in the form of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, in which I only spent about a couple hours playing and shelved it, so that is in no way worth throwing down the money for. When Mario isn’t a good enough reason to buy a new Nintendo console, you know it just isn’t the right time to buy it. If it were a revolutionary experience along the lines of Super Mario Galaxy or Super Mario 3D Land, I’d feel more inclined to throw my money down. On top of that, there’s Nintendo Land, which is a mini-game collection and makes absolutely no sense for me to pick up given that games like that are more catered for multiplayer, and as much as I love Tecmo-Koei’s Warriors titles, Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper isn’t worth the pick up considering not only have I already played it on the PlayStation 3, but I even achieved a Platinum Trophy that took around 80 hours to get. ZombiU doesn’t look appealing to me at all, as I’ve grown tired of the whole obsession with zombies that plagues media in general, plus initial previews from IGN gave me the impression that it was more of a frustrating experience. I just finished playing Assassin’s Creed III and have nearly achieved a Platinum Trophy on that, so that isn’t worth it. Scribblenauts wasn’t very appealing on the DS and I don’t see the Wii U version, especially at $60, swaying my stance on that. The rest of the list pretty much dwindles down to more games that are already available on existing consoles for the same or lower prices and fitness, sports, and mini-game shovel-ware.
When will I buy one? There are two circumstances in which I can guarantee you right now that I will buy a Wii U. The first, when the next Super Smash Bros., which is in development at Namco-Bandai as I type this, is released, which probably won’t be until 2014. The other is the ghost-of-a-chance that an exclusive Mega Man title is announced. I didn’t want to sway anyone’s opinion about the Wii U with this post, as this is merely my reasoning for not buying one and my insight on it. If you bought one or are planning on buying one, good for you. In fact, let me know how it is. I’d love to hear some opinions from people who aren’t in the press. If you’re enjoying yours, even better. Keep on enjoying it and don’t be afraid to make me feel jealous. Trust me, I wanted a reason to buy one, but I didn’t want to throw down the money and barely use the thing when I can buy it later on down the line when the next Smash Bros. comes out, where there will be an even larger library of games to choose from and the chance of a price drop, to boot.
To end things off, I do wish Nintendo the best of luck with their new console, I’m sure it’ll do just fine, and may it have a healthy and prosperous console cycle. Until next time, folks!