When the Wii U came out, I picked one up on launch day, something I had never done before with a new game system. As I said in my original article, it was a ton of fun. It provided some of the best times I had gaming in a long time and showed true potential for what a next-gen console could accomplish via the Gamepad and second screen technology.
All of that wrapped up with the fact that it was backwards compatible with original Wii games, and it almost seemed like the perfect package. Sure, it was missing a few features, but Nintendo promised they’d release them within a month (they did), so it seemed all was well. I loved the damn thing and was extremely excited to see what Nintendo and other developers had in store for us.
Three months have passed.
Currently, the Wii U landscape is about as barren as the Gobi desert. Aside from a few DLC games, the TVii update (which flopped miserably, as Citizen-Bot can attest to), and a half-assed port of the Avengers Kinect game, there has been absolutely nothing to drive anyone to pick up anything for the system let alone convince someone to plunk down their hard earned money and actually purchase the damn thing. Sure, Nintendo has promised us our Marios, Zeldas and other high-quality first-party titles, but those are like a shimmering mirage that do nothing to quench our thirst now.
I put up with the fact that there were no really good launch titles for the simple reason that most systems don’t have a strong library of games from the get go. Sure, there’s always those one or two games that stand out and sell the systems by themselves, but early adopters don’t expect masterpieces when they first buy the new technology (Halo and Super Mario 64 being a few of the rare exceptions).
The problem with the Wii U was there wasn’t even one stand out title that made the system worth buying. Yes, Mario was amazing, but it was a 2D platformer that barely took advantage of the Gamepad and didn’t highlight the new features of the system. Nintendo Land was great; showing off the potential of the Gamepad. But overall, it was just a collection of mini-games like Wii Sports on steroids. Zombi U was innovative, but it was a horrible game, and all of the ports were solid enough by themselves, but there was no reason to pick them up if you had played them on Xbox360 or PS3.
I was extremely excited for Rayman Legends to be released, having downloaded and played the hell out of the demo. Finally! A game that really showed off the Wii U.
Nope, not gonna happen for awhile.
Now that the devs have seen how poorly the Wii U has done, they want to port it to the other systems and release them all at once, which makes business sense, but is horrible for all us poor Wii U owners, as an exclusive title that shows off the unique advantages of the system are just what we need now.
So what have I done with my Wii U these last 3 months? Well, after getting done with Mario, all I do is catch up on old Wii games I hadn’t played through yet. Oh, and it gets really dusty — that’s it. I show it off to friends when they come over to visit. We play Nintendo Land for an hour or so before they ask, “What else have you got?”
“This Rayman Legends demo, which is really cool for the 3 levels you get to play through,” I sheepishly reply.
5 minutes later.
“That was a lot of fun too. Anything else?”
“No … let’s watch TV.”
I still stand by everything I had to say in my first review; the Wii U has every bit of potential to be a big player in the next gen console wars due to its originality and second screen technology, but there’s not a chance in hell I would recommend buying one now or in the near future.
It almost seems as if Nintendo released it just in time for the holidays to make a few bucks, and then forgot about it. It’s really nice that we’re getting a Wind Waker HD remake later this year and to know that the good stuff is ‘on its way’, but at this point, it just seems like Nintendo really doesn’t give a shit. And you know what, at this point, neither should any of us.
Some of the other robots have some pretty strong feelings on the Wii U as well, so here they are to share their thoughts.
I’ll preface this by saying I’m going to sound like a Nintendo apologist, and for that I apologize. While I will admit I’m not using my Wii U as much as I did back in November/December, there are still a lot of awesome things going on with it right now.
This past week saw the amazing Google Street view app appear. When I first heard about this, I was wondering why anyone would like this at all. Now, though? What a cool way to explore parts of the world I may never see in real life! You literally use the Wii U gamepad as a window to the world, I found myself virtually exploring my old neighborhood, going to a sushi bar in Shibuya, and having a full 360-degree view of Piccadilly Square. This is the sort of thing only the Wii U can do, and we’ve barely scraped the potential!
Not only that, but Nintendo is currently celebrating 30 years in the home console business with an amazing showcase of their old titles. By practically giving away select Virtual Console games at 30 cents apiece, it’s a risk-free way to explore what the Wii U has to offer.
Of course, it’s not all sunshine and roses, and sadly, a lot of that is Nintendo’s own fault. I work in retail, and I have lost count of how many people assume the Wii U is an add-on for the original Wii, and when they are set straight, they balk at the $300 price point. Honestly, if Nintendo used their marketing muscle to advertise the system better, or at least not call the freaking thing a Wii, they wouldn’t be in the boat they’re in now.
You know what though? The 3DS started out slowly and had a hefty price tag too. Now? It’s the highest selling console, with a metric ton of awesome games. I’m confident the Wii U will get there too, again this is because of Nintendo themselves.
I am feeling pretty burned by the Rayman delay as well, that kiosk demo made me want the system in the first place! That’s on UbiSoft though. A vote of no confidence like that really stings, but I bought a Nintendo system primarily for Nintendo games, and those I’ll have in spades. I’m optimistic for the future, despite how dire things seem now.
I’m somewhere in the middle. I’m disappointed in the Wii U, but remain hopeful because there is just so much untapped potential. I want an entire Zelda game that delivers what the minigame in Nintendoland teases. Ditto for the Metroid game.
The Wii U is that kid we all knew who was the smartest one in the room but refused to do their homework. The potential is so great, but without doing the work, you can’t reach that potential.
But you know what really disappoints me (and this is so weird, I’ll admit it):
Yes, you read that right. Ubisoft’s #1 selling game right now, Just Dance 4, and they release a DLC right before the holidays to buy the Youtube dance sensation The Macarena… I mean Gangnam Style. My kids love the Just Dance. We have, I think, 4 or 5 different ones. It is one of the games we play most often on our Wii U. And while I appreciate the fun factor they built in just for Wii U to have “Puppetmaster Mode” where the person with the gamepad chooses the dance moves for the people playing, I find it inexcusable that we can download dlc for the Wii to play Gangnam Style but not on the Wii U. It just seems… amateurish?
Of course, if they pulled the developers off Wii U dlc to finish Rayman, then more power to them. Because I want that game.
The other major disappointment for me is Aliens: Colonial Marines. Now, I know that game has its own problems relating to its development, but one of the reasons I was so keen on getting a Wii U were benchmarking reports coming out after E3 last year that tested playing Colonial Marines on a PS3, XB360, and Wii U and showed vastly superior performance for the Wii U. Plus, we were promised an Alien vs Squad of Marines game mode where up to 4 Marines could play on a split screen Goldeneye style, while the Alien used the gamepad and its touchscreen functionality to royally f@#$ them up. Then we find out we’re not getting the Wii U version the same time as the others. Then we find out the game sucks. Now I seriously doubt we’ll get the Holy Grail of squad shooters trying to kill a xenomorph.
And they still need to seriously upgrade Wii TVii. Since writing my review, I haven’t turned mine on. What’s the point? If I’m just going to watch Hulu anyway and that’s all you’re good for, then why? As a side note, I did finally get my Gamepad to work as a remote for my cablebox. Too bad it’s still a hassle to use and generally not worth it. Too bad we’re getting rid of cable again because Nintendo failed to revolutionize cable enough for me to want to continue subscribing to it.
Also, does anyone else get weird text in the upper left hand side of their Netflix when they run it through the Wii U? No such problems with my Roku box, but after the last update, we started getting white text that told us what the show is we were watching and what quality it was streaming in. It’s tiny and almost unnoticeable, but it’s there. Kids don’t seem to mind.
But none of this really changes that I basically feel all I’ve gotten is an HD upgrade to my Wii, and a big GameBoy Advance to play along with it.
Nintendo needs to get the ball rolling with some solid games and fast. The Gamepad coupled with the 4 Wiimotes sets up the perfect party game dynamic where one player has a special power or their purpose is to disrupt rather than compete. So let’s get some of Nintendo’s best party games: Mario Kart. Smash Brothers. Mario Party.
And let’s start enabling DLC for the party games you do have. I mentioned Just Dance. But our family also got Sing Party. A great platform, but we only got like 20 songs with the game. And that does not a karaoke party make.
As long as titles and features like these don’t exist, no one is going to have to own a Wii U. And as soon as the PS4 and the new XBox hit…. well, unless we’re talking about a major price drop by at least $75-$100, I don’t know how you’re going to keep going.
I am probably the most active WiiU user of the bunch here. My kids and I look forward to playing it every weekend and we’re still exploring the depths that NintendoLand and the Wii U Mario Brothers game has to offer. I’m using it for my Amazon and my Netflix, I’m using it for my TV remote. I’m having an absolute blast with it and haven’t even thought about buying a new game for it yet. I have thought about taking Epic Mickey 2 back, though. That game wasn’t good.
The system is everything I need at the moment, the only notable downside is that it still doesn’t play DVDs or Blu-rays, which seems to be the only time I fire up my PS3 these days.
I’ll admit, I’m not a heavy gamer and neither are my kids, but the WiiU has provided my family with endless entertainment, most of it coming from NintendoLand.
Do I want more games? Yes. Do I want Aliens: Colonial Marines despite the bad reviews for my WiiU? Yes. Do I regret buying my WiiU? Not for a second. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. That I can play 5 player games on NintendoLand that involve the whole family is the best, and that more games will eventually come for it is enough for me. The life of these next-gen systems is quite a while and Wii U will catch up with software. Of that, I have no doubt.
I never bought a Wii.
Sure, I had a lot of fun playing a bit of Wii Sports with friends and family. Then I borrowed my friend’s Wii–which he hadn’t touched in months–played the handful of games I had any interest in, then gave it back and never thought about it again.
For me, the Wii felt like a great idea that wasn’t quite ready yet. So I guess I thought the Wii U, being the next iteration of the technology, would represent the maturation of the ideas and innovations that didn’t quite live up to their potential on the Wii.
What I got was a Wii with a new controller. A new controller I almost never use.
The time has come?
Nintendo’s E3 demos of the Wii U were sufficiently exciting that I decided to put my cash on the line and put my faith in Nintendo to make good on their promises. Okay, that’s not entirely true. The Rayman demo sold me, because it was the perfect example of how the Wii U technology can be used to create completely new, totally innovative gaming experiences. (I want my Rayman, goddamnit.)
Just like the Wii, there is so much potential here, the Rayman demo proves it, but I fear that Nintendo’s complete failure in this piss-poor launch is going to prevent any developers from investing any serious time or energy into the system. I foresee the Wii U with a bunch of second-rate, lazy ports and very little in the way of exclusive drawing power.
If that happens, I really did just pay out the nose for a Wii U when I should have just bought an original Wii used.
De ja vu, all over again.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. My family and I really enjoyed the Wii U for a few hours when we got together for the holidays. We played some Nintendoland, I even bought Wii Sports so we could relive those fond memories. Then I played some of the new Mario (which, by the way, was basically the same game I had just finished on my 3DS), and I haven’t touched the Wii U since.
Besides the lackluster launch library, there was a litany of minor irritations that came along with my Wii U.
Sorry, how many goddamn controllers do I need to buy?
If you were a Wii owner, you may be glad to know that all your original WiiMotes will work with your Wii U (provided they have MotionPlus). If however, like me, you gave the Wii a pass, the initial investment for a Wii U is pretty enormous considering how little payoff you get at this point. I don’t understand how Nintendo can expect anyone to shell out this kind of money on a system with very little to make itself desirable.
As far as controllers, the system comes with the GamePad, and nothing else. If you want to play anything multiplayer (which, let’s face it, is the whole point of a Wii) you have to buy a WiiMote Plus for everyone because in most of the multiplayer games, you cannot use the GamePad the same way you would use a WiiMote. That means, if you want to play a four player game, you have to spend around $160 ($40 each, new) for WiiMotes. Don’t forget to factor in a set of four Nunchucks at up to $20 a pop or you miss out on a lot of gaming options. Also, AA batteries for the WiiMotes because rechargables are an additional cost.
Besides all that, the so-called “Wii U Pro Controller” (~$50, new) has very limited compatibility, that is: works with very few games. (Note, it does not work with either NintendoLand or New Super Mario Bros U.)
Nintendo is really falling down on this one. Motion controls can be good fun and all, but the WiiMote makes a terrible gamepad for any non-motion gaming. If Nintendo really wants to bring back the core gaming audience like they claim, they’re doing a spectacularly terrible job of it. By the way, the Wii U Pro Controller also does not work when you go into “Wii Mode,” so if you want to use a “Wii Classic Controller” with your Wii games, guess what? You’ll have to buy a set of those as well (~$25 each, new), and have an equal number of WiiMotes too, because the Classic Controller plugs into the bottom of a WiiMote.
You don’t win die hard fans by nickel-and-diming them with a million little peripherals. Nintendo needs to rectify this. They need to make the controllers more cross-compatible and they need to make it easier and less costly to acquire a full set of controllers. The MotionPlus technology is four years old, there’s got to be a way to make it financially viable to bundle up some of this stuff and make it cheaper.
So I’m left with… a Wii.
I wish I had Shaz-Bot’s confidence that this will all turn around and become worth it, I really do. But I don’t see that happening. I see a horribly mismanaged console launch that is going to scare away potential buyers and leave the system with a pathetically slim market share… which will scare off developer…, which will leave the Wii U even less relevant… and on and on. I see that feedback loop persisting until we all regret our decision and try to sell off our systems at pennies on the dollar.
I guess I’ll try to make all this worth it by catching up on a few of those Wii games I never played. I heard Xenoblade Chronicles was pretty good…