Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 6, 2016

Email: So I bought a Wii U for Christmas

Hi there!

It may not be interesting at all that I bought one, but why I did so might be. After reading your response to the crow eating email, I see you’re slowly getting into the same conclusions I’ve made sometime earlier.

After a reality check, NX isn’t going to be the Wii 2/NES 3 that I’d hope for. No, most likely it’s Gamecube 3/Wii U 2. The direction Nintendo’s taken is MORE pay to play – something that you might expect from Nintendo’s mobile strategy – and there already are a number of this kind of games on  DS (my kids have a 2DS) and new ones coming. Also the DLC there are in a number of games is just going go up. Soon the downloadable extra content is going to be mandatory and only “half” of the game is to be released on it’s release date and the rest as DLC. And, I really don’t think NX features free online play anymore. It could be as bad as to make NX the last Nintendo hardware ever.

I ended up buying Wii U because of it’s game’s quality in age ratings 3-12 and I paid 220€ for the premium model new, with Mario Kart 8. Bought Hyrule Warriors for 10€, Splatoon for 35€, Lego Batman 3 for 10€ and Lego Marvel for 10€. Not a bad deal. Close to 200€ is how the Wii U should’ve been priced to begin with.

Anyway, there’s pros and cons in the Wii U, and firstly: yes, you CAN control the menu with Wii Remote. For some odd reason, this is a feature  Nintendo has said nothing about. Wii Remotes are compatible, so all the Wii owners save money for not needing to buy new controllers for
multiplayer. The TV remote in the Wii U gamepad is one of it’s best features and easy to set up. Too bad it supports only the more common brands (in Japan), and it didn’t work with my Finnsat DVR. The battery life of the controller isn’t that good; one charge lasts only few hours.

Creating the “account”, or NNid, you have to have in order to use online features is stupid. You should need to connect online, type your online name and the system should give you your id number (like it did with Wii), instead of you needing to make the code yourself (only 6 numbers allowed, letters you can have up to 16) and needing to verify it by email. However, when you start the console, you select your user profile and this is all you have to do in order to access your personal save data and NNid. If you purchase something from the store, it’s accessible by everyone on the same console (at least all the stuff I’ve bought).

Frankly, Splatoon is one of the more interesting games on the system. Basically it’s a shooter that does everything right, sans the controls , and really had my attention after seeing it in VG chartz top ten software (all systems) one week in november, this is six months after the game’s initial release and I heard it’s the best-selling console game in Japan this gen. The music kicks ass (this is something I’d really give credit for), game is really fun to play and it’s rated for relatively young audience. It’s not forcing the crappy dual analog controls on you, however you can play it that way if that’s your
preference. What sucks, is that you can’t use Wii Remote and nunchuck combo to play the game (major setback), games like Metroid Prime 3 and Water Warfafe on Wii already had fabulous controls using the said combination, so why can’t I play Splatoon so if want to, it’s not like  it would be technically impossible. I’d say that anyone who want’s WR+nunchuck controls to Splatoon should post comments asking to do so in  the Nintendo’s social media channels; Twitter, Facebook, Miiverse and what others there are.

Mario Kart 8: this is where controls are where they should be, you can play it with any possible combination you choose to. It also implements off-TV play. The bikes are nerfed with no wheeling this time. The kite isn’t that bad in the end, but underwater driving and levitation are what’s bad in the game; the vehicles control differently when levitating or underwater. Online play’s biggest downside is, that there are only 3 tracks at a time you can choose to vote from. And the battle is worst yet, this time you’re driving the actual race tracks instead of specialised battle courses. Mario Kart Wii does basically everything better, and has better tracks, than MK8, sans the option to choose your vehicle freely in battle mode.
The online score system is really flawed. It seems that it has more to do with how MUCH you play than HOW you play. and when you start online, it takes ages before you face challenging opponents online. Obviously it was even worse earlier when Nintendo did some fixes, that caused an hardcore meltdown because all the hardcore started losing points for losing online (oh, the irony).

Hyrule Warriors is more oldschool Zelda than anything Aonuma ever made, so this is a good thing. It does feel a little non-Zelda, and the first thing that comes into mind when you play it, is that why in the hell this gameplay wasn’t in Skyward Sword. All you can hope is Zelda Wii U having hordes of enemies to kill (not holding my breath, though). Downside of the game is the motion controls that are really clumsy. This makes one think why the controls weren’t made to function like they did in Skyward Sword. It really does feel a little like a mess.

The Lego games are your typical kid-friendly Lego games with potty humour and everything even remotedly dangerous made as clowns.

Miiverse is Nintendo’s Twitter-knockoff with mostly kids drawing pics in it (my 6yo daughter likes to draw and post pics of her favourite franchises like SSB and AVGN). In the most popular communities, it’s impossible to keep up with the flow, as there are lots of posts coming all the time – the less popular ones, however, are pretty much dead. It’s, not-so-surprisingly, easy to run into into fanboys in Miiverse. If you post a comment criticising the genious of Nintendo developers, or their end products, you’re getting fiercely attacked by fanboys. Miiverse is also accessible via smart devices and computers.

What’s really great with the system is, that it’s backwards compatible with Wii. With the HDMI output you’ll get rid of the controller lag you had when you played on a HDTV and composite input, and not only that, but the Wii games (atleast the 1st party ones) look much better. You can even play Wii games off-TV with the gamepad as your only screen (it has the sensor bar). Wii U’s Virtual Console have some Wii games for fairly cheap price, and it actually has some games from every previous Nintendo system, except the original Gameboy and Gamecube (obviously GC games are released as HD-versions on a disc). In it’s Wii mode, Wii’s Virtual Console works as it did earlier. What’s bad is, that Wii games don’t have functional online anymore, even if you’d play them on Wii U. The downloadable AAA Wii U games are really expensive in the Wii U shop, as they have no resell value and you’ll be able to find the games cheaper on a store shelf; the shop’s pricing is 39,99/59,99, and most of  the game stores I’ve seen sell the games for 34,99/49,99. The shop has also a selection of sub 15/sub 10 indie games.

The number of games worth buying for Wii U are likely around ten to fifteen, with few more games coming. But the upside is, that it’s a large number of good quality actually family friendly (not kid-friendly) games all the family can enjoy (this is better than the competitors consoles combined). All the kids games are on all platforms anyway.

The verdict: If you find a Wii U for decent price, it’s definately worth buying. If you have a broken Wii, Wii U is a good replacement (or you want to get rid of the TV’s input lag in controls). Off-TV play is great feature, but not that great you’d pay extra 100 or 150 for it, as not every game supports it – in Wii mode this, however, is different.
Nintendo would really need to get back to Wii and NES; Wii U starts to look interesting three years after it’s release when you can find the console on sale and there are a number of games available. If you don’t mind games being downloadable only, the Splatoon+Mario Kart premium bundle for 299 might be worth the money.

It’s fascinating how Splatoon and Hyrule Warriors are interesting games when you remove the Nintendo old guard from the equation; Splatoon was made by younger Nintendo devs and Hyrule Warriors was outsourced. No Miyamoto, no Aonuma, no Sakamoto.

By the way, during the last year, I’ve noticed Smash Bros having one audience I’ve never thought of: pre-/primary-/elementary school girls! Girls from 5 to 12 seem to be crazy about Smash, so maybe putting Bayonetta into the game wasn’t such a bad idea at all (who cares about Barbie when you can be Bayonetta and kick Captain Falcon’s ass in that gay spandex suit).


I might get a Wii U too as it is going out the door. The backwards compatibility with Wii is awesome.

I did recently buy a Gamecube. I don’t know why. Perhaps it is because I am trying to get my hands on hardware before it becomes too expensive. N64 I am skipping totally. I can’t find any redeeming value in owning a N64. Golden Eye? Puh-lease. Give me Unreal Tournament 99 any day!




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