Friday, 30 November 2012

The WII U and my impressions


My history with Nintendo is patchy to say the least.  I was never a major fanboy of the original NES but it was my first major gaming console.  I would later go on to playing on the SNES and Megadrive II enjoying both for different reasons, although my preference was for the SEGA in the end.  I never owned a Gameboy nor did I want one and even the gameboy colour didn't impress since SEGA's older handheld was doing that years prior.

Skip ahead a few years to the N64 a console I feel was really good for it's time.  Don't get me wrong it had nothing on the PlayStation in terms of game library or popularity but it was still good.  The controllers where pretty comfortable to use and suited different gameplay styles perfectly while the graphics and games generally held up well.  Goldeneye was the king on that console, but other games such as Mario kart, Mario 64, Perfect dark and several wrestling games of both WCW and WWE kept me coming back.  My biggest gripe with the N64 was the huge cost of the games which could reach £70 in some cases, an example being Zelda64 which in hindsight was one of the worst purchases for myself since I found I hated Zelda.  Almost everything about the N64 was expensive and somehow it made enough money to warrant a new console.
Small but perfectly formed?

I didn't buy the gamecube which was the first of Nintendo's attempts at being cheap with the hardware and different with it's design approach.  Until the gamecube Nintendo had been fairly straightforward with their console designs since they had such dominance of the market after fending off SEGA, but Sony had completely floored them with the Playstation and even the dreamcast showed the cracks in Nintendo's armour.  The gamecube wasn't graphically as powerful as it's competitors nor was it as popular with developers.  Nintendo had opted for the mini disc as their method of media storage to keep things as small as possible with the console.  I can't comment on price but the little console was sort of cute I guess and probably cheaper than it's competitors, but it just fell flat when compared to the reigning champion Sony and the arrogant newcomer of Microsoft.

Jump ahead again and we have the Wii, probably the strangest name for a console yet.  Nintendo again opt for this "were different" approach by introducing woefully bad motion controls and skimping on the hardware again.  I ended up getting one because the Xbox wasn't an option and there was something stylish about the Wii.  Small, easy to setup and cheaper it had several good selling points for someone on a budget.  Now unless you have been living under a rock you know that the Wii was a massive hit with gamers almost everywhere, selling out regularly and flooding the market with games which ranged from genuinely fun to absolutely terrible.  Who the fuck wants goldenballs on the Wii? Seriously? 

I do have fond memories of the Wii especially the raving rabbits games which are great with friends.  Mario party has always been a guilty pleasure of mine and there were even the occasional mature title released such as madworld.  My love affair with the Wii ended when the PlayStation 3 arrived and the quality of it compared just sunk Nintendo's white box.  It was always there though to remind me of it's influence when almost every early PS3 title had some stupid motion control function tacked on and don't even get me started on Lair.

£44.99? On yer bike!
Now we arrive at the most recent of Nintendo's offerings the Wii U.  No I don't understand what the U stands for either.  Again it's a little white box, but instead of tired motion controls we have controllers with screens in them and games that have already been out on other systems for years to play.  I just don't understand the strategy here I really don't.  Nintendo had the opportunity to steal the show and bring out a console that was considered next gen and beat both of it's competitors to the punch.  Instead they release a console with cheaper hardware and gimmicky controllers.

Nintendo of America's own president doesn't know what tact to take when asked about the console where in a space of a week he says graphics aren't everything and then goes to another interview to lie and say Call of duty black ops 2 looks better on the Wii U compared to both the 360 and PS3.  If nothing else I think Nintendo have found a way to unite the fanboys of both Sony and Microsoft with comments like that.

Who exactly has been sitting on their hands waiting for the Wii U edition of Batman Arkham city for £39.99 when it is cheaper on the other consoles, has a GOTY edition and looks better on PS3 and the 360 anyway?  £39.99 are you serious?  Assassin's creed III is £44.99 brand new online for the Wii U and I can get it new on the PS3 for £38.99, hell for £42.99 I can get the deluxe edition and still save money.  Even the console isn't cheap to offset the higher game price, being a minimum of £299.99 up to £349.99, I didn't even pay that much for the PS3 when it was new!

This will sell a shitload
Nintendo exclusives such as Zelda, Mario and Metroid for example will no doubt sell very well because there are a huge number of dedicated fans out there who will always buy new Zelda games and this is what will make this console money.   Of course this is provided you bought the premium version of the console otherwise your screwed.  The 8 gig version is pointless since the console has a 5gig mandatory OS install when first used meaning you can't even install Nintendoland afterwards.  You can plug in external HDD's but then Nintendo advise you not to since it may cause errors when installing or playing.

The controller has a short lifespan and just completely baffles me.  The idea of being able to switch the TV signal to the controller is great if you still live in a house with only a single TV.  Since children have TV's in their room these days that feature is largely redundant.  Maybe in japan it's a different case but in the UK most kids have consoles in their room instead of the living room.

So do I like the Wii U?  From the reports and customer feedback it seems to be a mixed bag.  Owners of the console love it, but of course they would since they just dropped a lot of cash on it and to say it sucks or is underwhelming would be the final nail in the coffin.  Gaming sites have plenty of good things to say about it, but also criticise the console for being so cheap in the hardware department and even these sites wonder why Nintendo missed out on the chance to bring out a truly next gen console instead of playing catch up to the competition.  Give it a year or so and Sony and Microsoft will be releasing or unveiling their new systems to the market which will bury the Wii U. 

It's the cheapest but the most uselss version
I personally don't see the point of the console really.  It has games which I have played already or in the process of completing while the exclusive lineup is just the same tired old crap Nintendo have been coasting by on for years now.  It looks pretty and I am sure it will still sell well, it just annoys me that such a golden opportunity has been squandered to settle for third place once again.

That said if they released a series of full 3d final fantasy style Pokemon RPG's on it I would buy one cheap just for those games alone.  Of course this will never happen because the idiots who keep buying these games on the handhelds are happy to be fed the same crap everytime and ask for more.  But this is a different story entirely.

Thanks for reading,

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