Beta’d: Please Welcome The Wii U
by Matthew Burnside on September 15, 2012
On November 18, you can finally wait in line to buy the Wii U. This week, Nintendo announced the release date and pricing of its next home console. There are two boxes offered this time around: For $299, you get the Basic Set, a white Wii U with 8GB of memory, a white GamePad, power cables, a sensor bar, a stylus, and an HDMI cable. For $349, you get the Deluxe Set: a black Wii U with 32GB of memory, a black GamePad, power cables and cradles, a sensor bar, a stylus, an HDMI cable, and exclusively to the Deluxe Set, the theme park inspired mini-game game Nintendo Land. The more expensive set also gives you access to the Deluxe Digital Promotion: You earn points when you download games that you can spend on who knows what.
I’d like to thank Nintendo for putting an HDMI cable in the box: Dear Nintendo, thanks for putting an HDMI cable in the box. Love, everyone who purchased a 360 and/or PS3.
Graphically, the Wii U is very powerful. For now, It’s better than the competition. I’m sure it will be overpowered by the jocks of console gaming shortly, but who cares? What matters is the quality of the games. Graphics are great and all, but the Wii U has some real potential thanks to the GamePad.
On day 1, we’ve got access to some truly great titles including New Super Mario Bros. U (the new flying squirrel suit is neat!), ZombiU (my personal favorite that I’ve played), and Assassin’s Creed III. Not long after that, we should see about 50 titles available. That’s pretty huge. We’ll see the next Pikmin by the Big N themselves, as well as Black Ops 2, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Wii Fit U, and many, many more. It’s comforting to see such great support from third party developers right out of the gate. Nintendo even picked up the hyper-sexualized, hack and slash Bayonetta 2 after Sega dropped it, making it exclusive to the Wii U. This will surely tick off some of the fans of the original, but if Nintendo didn’t pick it up, we’d probably never get it.
The game that has me pumped up more than an old pair of Reeboks is LEGO City: Undercover. It’s basically Die Hard meets GTA, but for kids. The GamePad will act as a forensic scanner and a scope that you use to fight plastic foes. I think something that is hard to accomplish is a particularly funny game, and this looks to deliver. That classic LEGO action saturated with 80’s action movie tropes is quite charming.
I think the Wii was a huge let down. I gave mine away years ago. I’m selfish. I don’t give things away, but the Wii just sat there mocking me. I’ve had the chance to sit down with the Wii U a few times and I have no problem saying that I love it. There is a ton of potential. Nintendo appears to have learned from its mistakes and has figured out a way to balance a customer base of both casual family players and hardcore gamers. The GamePad is comfortable and inventive. Its screen really does add to the HD picture on your television. I’ve always thought the DS was an inventive way to interact with games that you can’t port to any other machine. Of course Nintendo would adapt those ideas for the living room.
There is one feature that I’m not so sure about: You can use the Wii U to aggregate all your streaming services, Tivo, and live TV into one interface. Nintendo is not too great at developing applications that are intuitive and efficient. Not much is known about the service, so hopefully I’m wrong. I’d like to be wrong.
Overall, I’m excited for the Wii U and the oncoming wave of new gaming tech. How about you?