Let me start this piece off by stating that one month ago I purchased a Wii U. I did so knowing all the problems that the Wii U is facing, and still made the purchase regardless. I am, also, pleased with my purchase, although I do wish I was able to use the Wii U more often.
When the Wii U was formally announced last year, I wrote an opinion piece for another website (that has since been removed, by myself, and deleted into oblivion) entitled “Still Undecided on The Wii U” where I went over some of the concerns I had about purchasing the U. Some of the concerns were: No Achievements, Support, Software, Novelty Factor, and Xbox “720″/PS4 Competition. For me, the first thing I struggle with is the lack of an achievement system. I know some people really don’t care about achievements/trophies, but there is a large sector of the gaming community that does, and if you want to reach those people, you really have to have them. I find as I play through Lego City Undercover, I’m not searching as thoroughly as I normally would knowing that the platinum/1000G is out there. I’ve been and achievement/trophy hunter for some time now, and I find myself asking “why?” Sure, knowing is good, but not as good as showing.
I had mentioned “support” in my initial article, and this issue remains, but in an entirely different manner. My concern revolved around support from a software perspective, and trust me, this issue is still a problem, but the real support issue manifested itself in an entirely different way. Nintendo has absolutely NO clue how to marked this product. It does, I know, seem odd that a consumer wants better support in selling a companies product, but this problem has resulted in a lack of software and the loss, in my opinion, of an exclusive title, Rayman’s Legends. I believe that Nintendo’s sales numbers were not strong enough for Ubisoft to maintain an exclusive title on Rayman’s. As an owner of the Wii U, I would love to actually hear positive news about the sales of the U, because more sales would mean better and more plentiful titles. I had originally been worried about the number of titles, and this is still the case. My family and I have looked time, and time again, to find something that looks interesting to play, and the sheer lack of titles overall has been disappointing.
That brings us to my next issue I had, and that is software. As long as I can remember, Nintendo has been known as a family oriented company. Long running titles, such as Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda have never been heavy on the gratuitous violence and salty language. But, with the announcement of the Wii U, Nintendo promised gamers that they would do more to cater to the “hardcore” gaming community, but they have yet to fulfill this promise. Sure, they’ve released Black Ops 2, Mass Effect 3, and Arkham City, but in order to make a mark in the community, they need not to release 18 month old titles, but they need an exclusive title to carry them into the future. Not just any title, but a game that can compete with the Uncharted, Halo, and Gears of War series. Moreover, when they announced the Wii U, they also showcased a new controller, called the Pro Controller, that was obviously based on the Xbox 360 Controller. The problem is, for some reason, none of the game I’ve played allows for the use of it, either as player 1, or player 2.
So, as we sit now, some of the details of the Playstation 4 have been formally announced, and there has been some information leaked about the next generation Xbox, how does the Wii U stack up? Well, like always, Nintendo has shot themselves in the foot, releasing a system that is more last gen, then next gen. This time, though, they have included some technology that is innovative and hasn’t been stolen…yet. The Game Pad is a unique device in gaming, for me it has changed the way I game. I had mention a concern over the novelty factor wearing off, and I was mainly concerned about their new controller. Yet, the Game Pad really isn’t a novelty, it’s a tool. Playing Lego City Undercover, where the GP acts as an interactive map, it really made the game much more enjoyable, and also helped me immensely navigating through a big, open world. In Super Mario Bros. U, the GP is a secondary TV, you can either play on your television, or play on the controller, and move around, as long as you stay within 30 feet on the console. My only gripes about the controller is I wish you could change the GP from a map to a secondary, and the button lay out. I often found myself looking at the controller because of the odd ABXY locations.
I honestly think, beyond the lack of titles, the biggest problem with the Wii U is Nintendo, themselves. The U is a good device, sure it is underpowered up against the PS4 specs, and most likely Microsoft’s as well, but overall, the gaming is very satisfying. Nintendo needs to start fulfilling the promises they made to the gaming community, bring out some games that we would like to play, and they need to figure out how to sell a device the performs very well. The ball is in your court, Nintendo, figure out what to do with it.