It has been three months since the release of Nintendos newest console the WiiU and still it is being met with mixed reviews. Those new to gaming are not sure what to make of it, those experienced feel as though gaming should stay more traditional. We hear and see comments such as “Why do we need two screens to play?” “This system isn’t innovative, it’s just another gimmick!” Yet how much hands on experience do those making the comments have? Are people once again judging a book by its cover? Here is my take on the newest console, the software, the games and its future…
Just last Thursday was when I actually went and got my new deluxe WiiU system. There was a big snow storm headed my way, I was almost done with the current game I was playing, had the money and decided to go for it. Initially when I heard news about the WiiU I wasn’t all that interested, but things changed on that faithful day January 23. This was the day the remake of Windwaker for the WiiU was announced. Being a fan of the Zelda series, my mind was set on getting the WiiU. Since last Thursday I have spent 30-40 hours digging into the games and features this system has to offer.
We will first talk about the system itself. When it comes to gaming, the dual screen is nothing new. We have had the DS handheld system and its children systems for a number of years now. As far as the home console goes, I do like the dual screens and find it nice to lay in bed and play. However, you can’t do this with every game. It really depends on if the game was designed that way. The game pad is very comfortable and feels nice in your hands, however the battery life is short. I tend to do gaming sessions of about 3-4 hours at a time. The low battery light comes on at about 3 hours. You can play while plugged in so that’s a plus. Currently my biggest gripe system wise is the load times. Even when you first start up the system, it takes far to long to load the menu, never mind any navigation you intend to do.
When it comes to software, miiverse is what really shines, though this is not without its quirks. I have to say I love that when you are playing a game you can hit the home button and go to miiverse to ask a question or make a comment without ending your gaming session. This is a HUGE plus given how many gamers are on all the time. However, the fact that you have only 100 characters to express your thoughts leaves it to be very limited. It is very hard to have any discussion at length via this method. Another plus though is that some games have the miiverse commenting incorporated into the actual game play. New Super Mario Bros U, uses this feature and allows you to post notes for your successes and failures and these are then displayed in game to anyone who has spotpass activated.
Later this spring and again in the summer there will be two major updates to the WiiU software. These are said to fix the load times, add custom communities to the miiverse, give us the new Virtual Console (VC) for the WiiU and more. We see making its come back though is the eshop. Until July, each month there will be one special game on sale for only $0.30. Navigation of the eshop is a bit choppy. Unlike the shop on the 3DS, there is no tab for demos. I found this to be some what confusing because even when you type the word demo in the search, there are no direct results. However, on the home tab of the eshop, there is a demo section that highlights the four newest demos available for download. You best hope you have a really good internet connection though, downloading a demo just over 1GB took me 3 hours!
We have reached the meat of the system now. When we talk about home gaming consoles, a system can have all the features in the world, have the greatest hardware, but in the end it all comes down to the games. I have to say that the launch line up for the WiiU demonstrated how well the system does with the games we currently have. Granted a lot of these games were ported over from other systems and have been out for a while, however, the changes made just for the WiiU do shine. Not only that, but the games designed with the WiiU in mind give us a clear picture of what the future holds for this system.
First game that would come to mind on a Nintendo console would be Mario right? Granted I will get to NSMBU since I actually own that game and have played more then half of it and co-op as well, but the first game that I want to bring to your attention is ZombiU. I have to admit that I actually hate this genre of gaming. I do not enjoy being scared, it just stresses me out! Yet since I do love to write and voice my opinion of gaming, I do try the demos even of games that I’m sure not to like. So yes, I tried the demo for this game and no I did not like it, however, as a gamer I can appreciate the concept and design of the game. Not to mention how well this game demonstrates the use of the dual screen for home console gaming. Excuse the pun, but I would say it was “bloodie” brilliant! As you venture forth, you can look around using the gamepad, analyze, and go through your menu using the touch screen. Having direct control over your inventory through a touch screen when playing first person, makes the game feel more realistic. The use of the gamepad in this case was very well done and gives me great hope for the future. Currently there are several other demos out in the eshop that you can try out along with many full retail games that are also downloadable.
For the games I actually purchases with my console, I got Nintendo Land that comes with the deluxe console, NSMBU and Assassins Creed III. NL is a party game with many different mini games to play. I haven’t spent much time with it but I found it to be cute and appealing for gamers of all ages. NSMBU as mentioned earlier, is now my favorite Mario game for the platforming plumber! This game showed great use of miiverse and how system software can be used along side gaming. Finally Assassins Creed III was a random choice for me seeing how I’ve never played this style of game and it is my first in the series. This game did not do anything innovative with the gamepad, but did include some nice touch screen action along with the use of a minimap being displayed which is quite nice.
I know this was a quick run down of some of the games the system currently has out, but the focus here is the WiiU itself and how these games help us to see the future of the console and reshaping gaming. I can see a lot of potential with the features this system has to offer. We already can see a larger third party support then we had with the Wii. Seeing how mobile gaming is becoming increasingly popular with smart phones and tablets, it was a smart move on Nintendos part to include a tablet like gamepad with their newest console. Once miiverse comes to the smartphones and people get accustom to the ideas the system presents I am sure we will see less negative judgment being cast.
In conclusion, I would say Nintendo is still very much in the game, and the WiiU will have it’s day in the spotlight!