Saturday, August 24, 2013

Wii U, the little console that could.

A few days ago, on a whim, I picked up a Wii U. The premium model as you see above this post. With a copy of Zombi U. After spending some time with it, in true internet fashion, I will consider myself an expert and bestow my wisdom upon you...

Let's start off with what I like, which are the exclusive games. Zombi U was kind of meh but Super Mario and Pikmin still have that Nintendo spark. The game that really did it for me however was Lego City Undercover. In my opinion one of the best open world games out there and yes, that includes the two recent Saints Row games who I though were made for people with the IQ of a turnip.

In any event, that Nintendo makes good games is no surprise. It's probably the reason they're still in business as their franchises can carry entire consoles through rough spots.

What did surprise me is how solid the rest of the console's experience is compared to it's current rivals, the PS3 and the 360. This is perhaps the first console I've owned since the 16-bit days that just works and works as you want, even expect. None of the convoluted, advertisement ridden bullshit that the 360 has these days and none of the odd instabilities I've experienced with my PS3. Virtually no startup time and thanks to solid state technology the best possible load times.

Yes, I hear you think, I you've read some Wii U game reviews and all of them complain about the load times. If you think things are bad now, let's look forward to the next gen shall we? Currently the PS3 and 360 have about 512MB of ram that needs to be loaded in, which can be done reasonably quickly from a hard drive. The Wii U has double that, so naturally the loading of that data takes a bit longer. PS4 will have 10x that available to games, which will need to be loaded of that same hard drive technology that you've got now. So please, stop complaining about load times, it's probably the next gen's most unifying feature.

The non-gaming software on the machine is also top notch, it comes with the best web browser on any console, ever. Allowing you to start movies from Youtube or sites like IGN and Giantbomb and then move them to the TV screen for viewing while you continue browsing on the gamepad. The browser also works everywhere, even in the middle of a paused game you can look stuff up.

But, while that game is paused, why not snap a screenshot and share it with your friend in the Miiverse? Features so simple that consoles should have implemented them years ago, but Nintendo is first.

But, you can't talk about Wii U without talking about the huge, almost insurmountable, issue it has.


Well, that's not entirely true, but at least nowhere near the depth and breath of gaming experiences that any other console platform (except maybe the Vita) is or will offer. At current count the two other next gen systems will have about the same number of games at launch as the Wii U has been able to amass in near 10 months.

Will it pull together? I sure hope so. With even Nintendo now acknowledging that, besides the naming confusion, lack of games is the primary factor in the system selling so poorly.

Let's hope big N can turn the tide...