With the Wii U meeting it’s inevitable death with the upcoming release of the Nintendo NX at some point this year (maybe), it is time to look back on the Wii U’s short existence of four years and answer one of life’s most important questions. Is the Wii U a success or failure?
Statistically, one would argue that the Wii U is clearly a failure. The Nintendo Wii U has sold over 12 million units and it appears that it will never reach the dizzy heights of the Nintendo Wii, which has sold over 100 million units. This leaves us to question why the Wii u has sold so badly in comparison. It could be due to the novelty the Wii provided with the introduction of motion controls and in comparison to the Wii U’s unique selling point being basically a controller with a screen that doesn’t really affect game play at all. The controller is so complex that even game developers are unsure how to utilize it, the complexity of combining the controller with gaming has alienated the more casual players which do make up a fairly large number of Nintendo’s audience. The Wii U is also very under powered in comparison to other home console systems and the graphics just do not hold up as well. Furthermore the Wii U’s launch titles were surprisingly disappointing; there were the likes of Call of Duty: Black Ops II in the list but many would prefer to play games like this on other consoles such as the PlayStation 4. Having said this, there’s now some amazing exclusives in the Wii U’s library.
Wii U Exclusives
Since the Wii U’s launch, however, the Nintendo Wii U has had some amazing games populate its library. Splatoon has been described as Nintendo’s answer to Call of Duty and if Nintendo were going to design a Call of Duty game I am pretty sure that it would look very much like Splatoon – light-hearted, colorful and a joy to play, it is what Nintendo do best. Splatoon’s multiplayer is where the game really shines, frantic madness unfolds as teams attempt to cover as much of the map as they can with their team color by shooting paint in every direction. Furthermore, Mario Kart 8 is considered one of the best Mario Kart games yet, the Wii U cannot be all that bad. Xenoblade Chronicles X proved that the Wii U could handle massive open world games that look simply stunning and offer amazing game play, despite the slightly lifeless characters. Furthermore, we cannot ignore the fact that the Wii U also provided us with stunning remakes of both The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Wind Waker. These remakes did not only bring these games back to life, adding surreal beauty to the Twilight Realm in Twilight Princess and bringing a renewed sense of childhood adventure and imagination to Wind Waker. These remakes also improved on their predecessors, finally fixing that sailing mechanic in Wind Waker, for example, making the Wii U the definitive way to play two amazing The Legend of Zelda games.
The Dreaded GamePad Controller
We touched on the complexity of the GamePad earlier but unfortunately there are still many more problems with it. Firstly, the battery is so tiny I am not sure it can even be seen with the naked eye, I feel like I am charging the GamePad every half an hour. If Nintendo really wanted this device to be used in conjunction with all the Wii U’s games, they could have at least made it long enough to last more than one track on Mario Kart. Moreover, the GamePad also feels almost medieval, its design is chunky and it does not add anything to game play. The GamePad is too big and heavy to be used as a consistent controller as it is simply too uncomfortable and the touchscreen is hardly used. The GamePad’s main uses are as an inventory or a map screen. You can use the GamePad as a second screen, meaning you can play games separate from your TV screen. However, one does wonder why on earth you would want to do this as the screen is pretty tiny and looks awful in comparison. Having slated the GamePad a little harshly, it should be said that the GamePad is helpful when sorting your inventory, you do not have to pause the game, you can multi-task and change items whilst still moving in the game, although this added convenience does not excuse the GamePad from its many shortcomings.
Nintendo Doing Nintendo Things
The Wii U could be seen as Nintendo doing what Nintendo do best, which is completely their own thing. Nintendo innovate in such a unique way in comparison to other consoles, never being afraid to completely mix up how we are used to playing games. At least Nintendo are certainly not afraid to try something different, even though failure is a possibility. Many other consoles play it very safe, releasing new generations that simply provide better specs with the same control system as usual. However, we have Sony and Microsoft to do that. Nintendo are the company that reignite imagination and do not fear change but embrace it. Many serious gamers disregard Nintendo because of the ‘if it ain’t broke’ mind-set, however, it is refreshing to see Nintendo doing what they love and providing us with new consoles that are so very different from their predecessor. Hopefully Nintendo will learn from their mistakes with the Wii U and provide us with their best console yet with the Nintendo NX.
The Nintendo Wii U is probably one of the strangest consoles Nintendo has released. There is nothing awful about it however, it just is not good enough to compete with what is already available on the market today. The Wii U has some amazing games and for this I believe that the console is not a failure. As we already know, graphics are not everything and the Wii U reminds us of this by providing some incredibly fun gaming experiences even without the graphical power of its competition. The Wii U could be seen as a failure in that the sales are very disappointing and it certainly will not replace your PlayStation or Xbox. However, the Wii U can certainly sit proudly next to your other consoles, ready and waiting for when you feel like being swept up into the imaginative and slightly bizarre world of Nintendo. So wipe the dust and cobwebs away and give the Wii U another chance.