Why I’m worried about the Wii U
Ever since Nintendo unveiled the Wii U at E3 2011 I have been excited about it, and looking forward to getting it, but it feels like I’m one of the few. Pretty much everyone else I’ve talked to has been skeptical about it, and when I look more critically at what has been revealed and how, I can’t exactly fault them.
At the very top of the list is how they have done a pretty poor job stressing that this is in fact a new console, and not (as CNN still believes) just a new peripheral for the already existing Wii console. If I remember correctly the console itself was entirely in the shadows during E3 2011, with Nintendo focusing entirely on their fancy new control scheme. Those few that noticed the box in the background might have, on a good day, seen that it did not look like a regular Wii.
So yes, the Wii U is a brand new console, which might have been clearer had they come up with a better, more distinct name for it. From what I’ve heard, the specs are going to be slightly above the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. While this might sound like Nintendo are finally throwing themselves into the console race, I still believe they’re off doing their own thing and refusing to play with the others, considering that Microsoft and Sony are now getting ready to move to the next level, which will leave Nintendo behind once again.
As for the controller itself, a lot of people raised their voices in concern when it was revealed that the Wii U would only support one tablet controller at a time. At E3 2012 this was amended to two, but people are naturally still skeptical. The thing is, the tablet is meant for single-player and online multi-player. When used in split-screen multi-player there will be 1-4 people who use the old Wiimotes, while one person uses the tablet to serve a different role, as seen in several of the Nintendoland demos.
They also revealed the “Classic Controller Pro” at E3 2012, and I must say I quite like this one. I share Yahtzee’s belief that the Gamecube controller is one of the best ever designed, so I think Nintendo have figured out dual-stick controllers.
Speaking of online, Nintendo claims to have finally built a robust online service to compete with XBox Live and PSN. No more friend codes or awkward interfaces, or so they say. Even a couple of developers have spoken up on their behalf that they indeed have proper online integration this time around (it would be about damn time), but on this one subject I remain skeptical until I see it for myself. It would be awesome if it was the case, but after stories like this I find my faith is not strong. And let’s face it, Nintendo have never done a great job when it comes to online services (the 3DS eShop being a prime example).
I should probably also mention the game line-up. While it seems to be a strong one, and it’s good that Nintendo finally seem to be offering proper third-party support, I would say it’s a bit worrying that so many titles seem to be ports of already existing games. They already seem to have borked up the Arkham City port by adding extra fluff onto it that I can’t see anyone actually wanting, and why release Mass Effect 3 for it, honestly? I do want to get Darksiders 2 and Aliens: Colonial Marines for the system though, and I’ve already mentioned I can hardly wait for Pikmin 3. It’s a little weird that no big Legend of Zelda or Metroid (maybe Other M’s reception made them put Samus on ice again) announcements have been made yet, but I’m sure they’re coming.
It is also slightly concerning that they’re still not implementing DVD or Bluray support, but I can’t say I was honestly expecting them to do so either. On the other hand I am glad they’re implementing full backwards compatability with the Wii, but that has always seemed to be one of Nintendo’s strong points.
All in all, while I am sure it will be a great console and I am definitely getting it myself, I can’t help but worry it’s going to pull another Gamecube, or even worse, a Dreamcast. I just want to play bright and colourful games in full HD and also have access to regular AAA titles on my Nintendo again. (And fingers crossed, let’s hope another Okami is coming!)