So it’s been almost a month since the release of Nintendo’s Wii U, and with some impressive launch titles and an innovative new gamepad, they managed to rack up a cool two million units sold before closing out 2012. This begs the question on every console connoisseur’s mind: “is it worth the $300 dollar price point?”
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Well here are the facts: The original Nintendo Wii fared quite well in the console wars against Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3…in the beginning. As high-definition became the norm, the Wii began being lauded for its inability to support any resolution higher than 480p (480i if you don’t have component cables.) Luckily (and not surprisingly) the Wii U has rectified this, offering full HD support. The neat thing about this is that the console is actually backwards compatible and has the ability to upscale your older Wii titles. While your old games aren’t going to magically become crystal clear and pristine, there is a noticeable difference in quality running games like Super Mario Galaxy on a Wii U through your HD set, as opposed to running it natively on the Wii on an HDTV.
As for the Wii U touchscreen gamepad, people are seemingly divided on it. Complaints of clunkiness and an undesirable amount of battery life have surfaced since launch day although there’s no denying the cool things you’re able to do with it. Shutting off your TV and taking your game handheld right on the controller is a nice feature that’s supported by a few titles already. The gamepad also provides an opportunity for some cool new game mechanics, such as being a “master” player in Super Mario Bros Wii U, and helping or hindering the main NPCs with the use of platforms and obstacles that you place using the touchscreen.
While Super Mario Bros Wii U, Nintendo Land, and Zombi U make for some exciting launch titles, it’s no secret that Nintendo fans are biding their time for the latest installment in the Super Smash Bros. series. In this case however, that very title is also coming to the Nintendo 3DS. This leaves Smash Bros. exclusive fans in an interesting position. If you’re planning to buy the Wii U just for the latest Smash Bros. game, you might be better off picking up a Nintendo 3DS instead. It can be assumed that Nintendo has a simple stance on that: they don’t care because either way you’re giving them money.
So should you buy the Wii U? The way I look at it, since the days of the GameCube, Nintendo has been hitching its wagon on innovative and exciting gameplay rather than mind-blowing graphics. There’s a good chance that Sony and Microsoft will be coming out with new consoles of their own relatively soon that may even blow the Wii U’s graphics out of the water. The question is, are mind-blowing graphics the key to immersive gameplay? Or is it interesting game mechanics and engaging stories? It’s safe to assume that all three major players in the new console wars will have games that encompass both of these things. But do your loyalties lie with Mario, Metal Gear, or Marcus Fenix?
Opinions may vary.
Keep on gaming