Should You Buy a Wii U?
In our house we have a Wii, a Wii U and a PS3 as well as a few handheld consoles (Nintendo DS, PSP & PS Vita). Although many sources are saying the Wii U is finished, it has increasingly become the go to console in our household (particularly after picking up a Wii U Pro Controller). If you’re on the fence about buying one, here are some reasons that may help you make your decision:
- Family Friendly – Nintendo has always been a family friendly company and if you have children under 12, then this is a no-brainer. In today’s connected society it makes sense that gaming is moving to online multi-player but Nintendo still has a very couch-centric multiplayer library. There are so many games my wife and two kids (aged 9 and 6) can play together – Mario Kart 8, Rayman Legends, Nintendo Land, Super Smash Brothers, Yoshi’s Wooly World, etc., etic.
- Price – Several bundles are available now – Super Mario Brothers, Super Smash Brothers, Mario Kart 8, Super Mario World 3D and Splatoon for considerably less than an XBOX 1 or PS4 (although the Legend of Zelda Limited Edition bundle is going for $1,500 on eBay).
- The Game Pad – The default controller that comes with the Wii U is not perfect. It doesn’t have anywhere near the sensitivity of an iPad, but it’s still a neat controller that still has some potential. Nintendo Land utilizes it well as does Super Mario Maker and I’m interested to see what the new Star Fox Zero will do with it. Games that are available on other platforms, like Rayman Legends are best played on the Wii U because of the Game Pad co-op control. And the Game Pad helps a game like Disney Infinity utilize the inventory and aids in the build mode. It also allows for two very handy features:
- Remote Play & Netflix – The remote play feature allows some of the console games to be played directly on the Game Pad, so my daughter can be playing Minecraft on the PS3 while my son is playing Transformers on the Wii U Game Pad (sometimes with headphones on), no arguments about whose turn it is. Same goes with Netflix, it can be watched directly on the Game Pad.
- Wii Backwards Compatibility – The Wii was a revolutionary game system when it came out in late 2006 but really sagged in the middle years with terrible 3rd Party games and too much controller waggling. That being said, there are a lot of great Wii games and a lot that are available cheaply. The nunchuck/controller combo wasn’t always great but two of my favourite gaming memories were playing Resident Evil 4 – Wii Edition (with the controls set so you aimed the controller to be your gun) and Star Wars – The Force Unleashed, which was the closest I ever felt to being a Jedi.
- The Nintendo Virtual Console – If you ever had an NES, Super NES or Game Cube, then the library of games available for nostalgia purposes is huge. Growing up, we were a Commodore family, so I got to play glitchy rip-off versions of Nintendo games, like Gianna Sisters instead of Mario Brothers. So, to go back and be able to play some of these great games was a lot of fun (it’s also amusing to show your kids how hard games used to be). Super Metroid is a fantastic game and still stands up.
- First Party Games and Wii U Exclusives – The Wii U was difficult to develop games on. Despite coming out 6 years after the PS3 and XBOX 360, the Wii U was only on par with those systems power wise. This is a fascinating article about one developers experience designing a game for the Wii U. That combined with the low install base of the system, it’s no wonder some 3rd Party developers abandoned the Wii U altogether. That being said a lot of big 3rd party games for younger players are still available, like the Lego games (my son and I love Lego Batman 3 and Lego Marvel Superheroes), Lego Dimensions, Disney Infinity and Skylanders. Luckily, Nintendo understands game design very well. Yes, some of their games are just HD iterations of games they have already made, but they’re still a lot of fun. There’s some great mini-game compilations for kids, the Mario games are consistently solid and even new properties, like Splatoon are awesome. Wii U exclusives like Zombie U and Bayonetta 2 alone are perhaps worth getting this console. I’m looking forward to spending some time on Xenoblade Chronicles X.