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Friday, December 27, 2013

Is the Wii U Actually Nintendo's Greatest Console?

It was seven Christmases ago when I first laid my hands on the Nintendo Wii. The company has always been my personal favorite, mainly because of Super Mario. One of my first consoles was the Gameboy Color and soon after the Gamecube. The Wii system was a revolutionary console in its day, paving the way for motion-control in video games. It's one of the highest selling consoles of all time. Sadly for it, in recent years the positive reviews started to die down. Why? Because Nintendo had seemingly forgotten about its gaming audiences and instead decided to focus on family-related activities, such as Wii Fit and Wii Music. By the time 2012 hit, the Wii had run its course and the time for a new console was imminent.

This next-gen console for Nintendo was called the 'Wii U.'

Before getting my own, I was skeptical then. The first mistake I thought was the title. I would have thought Nintendo would have liked to distance itself from the Wii, but nope they decided to add a U. And then the Gamepad was shown, and as you can you see, it's a rather large controller.
Insane, eh?

The Wii U was not off to a very happy start. Already it seemed like it was just going to be a Wii extension with an over-sized controller. The launch window wasn't exactly a gang-buster either. And if you look at the numbers from previous months, the Wii U hasn't been selling well at all. It remains to be seen if this month's holiday sales will give it a much needed-helping hand. I wasn't expecting much from the system, but I was going to get it no matter what, being a longtime Nintendo fan.

Well I'm certainly glad I did, because it's actually a really interesting console. 

The Wii U is a pretty slick looking system, the black version anyway. The white one sadly just looks like a bigger Wii. But as you'll notice, a lot of the marketing isn't on the actual system, but rather the Gamepad. 

The Gamepad is one of the most ingenious concepts I've ever seen video game wise. 

Obviously the rather large size can be off-putting to some, but once you're actually in the game playing, you get used to it. The biggest factor about the controller is the screen on it. You see, the big thing about this controller is that it's also the Wii U itself, in itself, You can literally play any Wii U game on the Gamepad...with the TV off! Basically, if someone is using the TV, you can still play any Wii U game without the need of a TV screen! (All you need to do is just turn the console on and you're good to go!) And if someone is using the TV or if there's noise, you can plug in a pair of headphones thanks to the headphone jack. Often you'll find yourself using the Gamepad screen more than the actual TV screen. To be able to play big console games without the need of a TV screen is a great concept that no other company has implemented. 

The only thing I wish is that the range was longer, you can't go too far away from the actual console. But, despite limited range, the Gamepad is one of the most fantastic ideas Nintendo has ever come up with. And of course for purists, you do have the option of buying the Wii U Pro Controller, which is a standardized and very sleek-looking controller.

The other major thing about this system I've noticed is that it seems to be doing away with many of the things Wii did. It looks to be an actual video gaming system for gamers, no more motion-gimmicks. Sadly the Wii U didn't have the best launch titles, but now it's shaping up. The problem with the Wii is that with every one all-star title, there was at least three "Huh?" games, such as Imagine Babies. *Shudder.* With quite a few all-star titles such as New Super Mario Bros. U, Super Mario 3D World, and Sonic Lost World, the Wii U has some solid games to pick up. And the future looks very promising, with games like Super Smash Bros. and Hyrule Warriors (Hopefully they keep that title or something similar), the Wii U's future looks bright.

The graphics aren't too different than the Wii, but they are HD and look beautiful on the right TV. The sound effects have noticeably become better and more cinematic, such as in Super Mario 3D World where you really hear the water splash. 

The title of this article is more hyperbole than opinionated, since it's still pretty early. However, with games such as Super Smash Bros. and Hyrule Warriors coming, the Wii U may end up being one of the greats. 

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