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December 2, 2014 / Jett

6 Reasons to Buy a Wii U Today


It’s easy to dismiss the Wii U. Compared to the Xbox One or the PlayStation 4, the Wii U lacks horsepower to pump out the best graphics. It also featuring an unusual tablet controller. On top of that, Nintendo has a myriad of perception problems to fight in terms of hardcore gamers who still write off Nintendo as a company that produces products for kids, to the casual crowd who doesn’t know what a Wii U is, to the scorned Nintendo fan who thought that the Wii was a disappointment.

I don’t blame anyone for having grievances with Nintendo or concerns with the Wii U. However, while the world continues to buzz about its competition, I think the Wii U currently delivers the best bang for your buck. It’s placing on the totem pole will likely change with time, though the benefits that come with owning one are already well worth it and should pay dividends in the future. Here’s 6 reasons why you should buy a Wii U today!


 

1. Nintendo games finally have HD graphics

Better late than never, right? After slugging through the HD era with an SD console, the Wii U can finally generate graphics that will display properly on an HDTV. The results so far have been tremendous. For instance, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD looks phenomenal, while Mario Kart 8 runs at a solid 60 frames per second. It’s wonderful to see these Nintendo franchises revived in HD, as the games look gorgeous.

Naysayers will be quick to point out the fact that the Wii U is much closer in terms of overall horsepower to the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, which is accurate. You probably don’t want to buy Watch Dogs on the Wii U over the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 versions because it simply can’t compete. However, Nintendo’s franchises are inherently more cartoony in nature, which means that they don’t necessarily need all of the processing power to make a quality-looking game. One upcoming example of this is the demo for the Wii U Zelda game. Holy cow it looks amazing in its current state. Would it benefit from more horses in the box? From a strictly technical perspective, yes, but it probably wouldn’t make it considerably better looking than it already is. Great art direction on the Wii wasn’t enough to compensate for a weak console, though the Wii U is much more capable of cranking out great looking games on modern televisions.


2. A metric ton of controller options

Of course, the monolithic Wii U Gamepad is the core controller for the platform, which it does really well. It features the right number of buttons, directional pads and analog sticks to accommodate for more traditional games. This alone is a huge step up from the Wii, where the Wii Remote and Nunchuck combo fell horribly short. All of it feels surprisingly great. The touchscreen hasn’t found much use yet as an input mechanism, though the option to play games entirely on the Gamepad is extremely handy.

If you’ve got a bunch of old Wii Remotes and Nunchucks lying around, you’ve already got enough controllers for multiplayer. If you want your friends to have more traditional controls, you can hook them up with the excellent Wii U Pro Controllers, Wii Classic Controllers, Wii Classic Controller Pros, or even Gamecube controllers for the newest Smash Bros. game. Since many games on the platform are opening things up to support all of these options, the way you handle your games is up to you!


3. Makes for a great party machine

As I mentioned in the above point; if you’ve got old Wii Remotes and Nunchucks lying around, you’re already set for Wii U multiplayer. Simply sync them up with the console and you’re good. Once that’s all set up, prepare to have an awesome time with such party hits as Mario Kart 8, Super Mario 3D World and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U! Playing with friends in the same room isn’t nearly as popular as it used to be, but when they ultimately come over, the Wii U is always the system we break out in these situations thanks to the controller flexibility and the number of great local multiplayer games.


 

4. Improved online experience

From Friend Codes to crappy online multiplayer, the Wii was an online disaster. Aside from buying a few Virtual Console games, there wasn’t really much you could do with a Wii connected to the internet. While it is disappointing to see that the Wii U hasn’t fully caught up with the others, the online offering is fairly solid with a few unique tricks of its own.

The Wii U has the processing power to run games online with nary a hitch to the action. Case in point, Mario Kart 8 works like a dream, as races usually move at a buttery smooth pace. I even had a lot of fun with Call of Duty: Black Ops II on the Wii U, which ran just fine, while even including support for voice chat.

Shopping on the Wii U eShop is a fairly pleasant experience. I like how things are laid out in the store, which makes everything easy to find and navigate through. You can now buy full-priced retail releases digitally, which simply wasn’t possible on the Wii, along with smaller downloadable games and add-on content. It even has a few killer apps that you can’t get on other home consoles, such as Shovel Knight and Little Inferno.

The Wii U’s ace-in-the-hole is the Miiverse. In this strange online social experiment, players can type, hand write, or draw messages onto game-specific social feeds that others can like or comment on. The integration can be even tied into the games themselves, to allow you to do things like leave an in-game hints or share screenshots of special moments. I don’t spend too much time in here anymore, though it’s a fascinating window into the world of Wii U owners.


 

5. Backwards compatibility

As much as I tend to bash the Wii every chance I get, it still has it’s fair share of great games. Unlike the Xbox One or PlayStation 4, which have a number of half-hearted ways to play Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 games, the Wii U is 100% backwards compatible with Wii games and controllers. Simply flip the system into Wii mode and you can play all of your old discs in the new machine. You can even port over your old Virtual Console games to the new hardware, though these only work if you’re in Wii mode. As someone who left their Wii behind when I moved out of my parents’ house, having the Wii U gives me a way to still play de Blob, which I still think is one of the all-time greats that ever came out on that platform.


 

6. More quality games from the Nintendo

You know this is where this list would ultimately end, right? Ever since the original Nintendo Entertainment System took off in the early 80s, your only real source of playing their big games is by buying their hardware. As a life-long Nintendo fan, I’ll gladly pay the price of admission for the next installments of Mario, Zelda, Metroid and more.

With Nintendo shifting their focus back to their core gaming audience, their output on this system has been better than it has been for a long time. Super Mario 3D World was my game of the year in 2013, as it perfectly blended the 2D, 3D and multiplayer components of a Mario game into one cohesive experience. Mario Kart 8 is arguably the best Mario Kart game since Mario Kart 64. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is pretty much everything a fan of that series could ever ask for. Even Pikmin 3, which is a much lower profile game from the others, is incredible! Playing it on the Wii U was my first Pikmin experience and it was so fun, rewarding and memorable for its unique real-time strategy gameplay.

If you simply bought a Wii U today with a handful of its best games, your investment in the platform will already be well worth it. But beyond that, there’s still more heat in the pipe, from Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Yoshi Wooly World and the new Zelda game. Without having to worry too much about catering to the casual crowd any more, they’re back to providing quality experiences for the core gamers, which has been hugely rewarding so far. I’ve got my fingers crossed that there’s still much more fun to be had with the Wii U!


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One Comment

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  1. X / Dec 2 2014 5:05 PM

    Oh, 2015 will definitely be the great time to pick up Wii U. I mean, Nintendo’s next year game line-up simply blows my mind. It took them some time to get to this point, though. Besides, Wii U is definitely the safest pick for the new gaming hardware purchase at this point, seeing as most of those “real” next-gen games of other platforms seem to come heavily undercooked these days.

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