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After Two Years, the Wii U is Finally Worth Buying

/ Nov 14th, 2014 No Comments

Wii U

Nintendo released the successor to its highly successful Wii, the Wii U, on Nov. 18, 2012. It is no secret; the console didn’t exactly fly off shelves or light the world ablaze like its predecessor. Since releasing two years ago, the system has struggled to strike a chord with gamers, and to find its own voice. Unlike other Nintendo consoles, it didn’t have a game such as Super Mario 64, Luigi’s Mansion or Wii Sports to define it, and the GamePad gimmick didn’t impact the industry as effectively as the Wii’s motion controls.

As such, the biggest issue plaguing the system has been a lack of compelling games. Despite a lack of third-party support, Nintendo persevered and continued to support the maturing system. The Big N has slowly released quality first-party titles since the Wii U’s launch. Now, finally after two long years, the Wii U is a system worth buying.

Wii (U) Got Game(s)

In hindsight, the Wii U launch lineup is Nintendo’s weakest modern showing ever. The launch was littered with third-party ports and shovelware. Even Nintendo’s offerings were nothing to be excited about. Though solid in their own right, New Super Mario Bros. U and Nintendo Land were uncreative, repetitive titles, and surely not system sellers. The brightest spots of the launch were Ubisoft’s ZombiU and the eShop offerings, but none of those were any reason to drop big bucks on a new system.

In the months following its launch, the Wii U was basically a graveyard. Even the occasional good eShop release could be played elsewhere. It wasn’t until March 2013, when Lego City: Undercover and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate released, that dusting off the system was a promising prospect.

After another long drought filled only by third-party ports, Nintendo began dribbling out games, including Game & Wario, Pikmin 3, The Wind Waker HD, the Wonderful 101, and culminating in Super Mario 3D World, which was one of the best games of 2013.
 

Super Mario 3D World

When Nintendo released Super Mario 3D World, it made an argument for its new hardware.

A pattern becomes obvious when looking at the releases for the Wii U over the last two years. The system’s schedule is sustained by third-party ports and eShop titles, but the only time it is worth giving a damn about is when Nintendo releases a first-party title, but this has become rather infrequent.

While 2014 has not been chock full of barn burner Wii U titles, Nintendo has hit big when it hit. Stretched over the year so far, Nintendo has dropped Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Mario Kart 8. Riding the Mario Kart high, Nintendo had an impressive showing at E3 2014.

Heading toward the end of the year, Nintendo released Hyrule Warriors and Bayonetta 2 — oh, and seriously, go buy a Wii U and Bayonetta 2. Now.
 

Bayonetta 2

Nintendo has been smart about finding compelling titles to publish on its console.

It took a while, but Nintendo finally has built a respectable library for the Wii U, making the prospect of dropping $300 on the system a much easier decision. But Nintendo isn’t stopping…

A Smashing Console

It is fitting that Nintendo would release the Wii U’s most anticipated game two years after the system’s launch. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U releases Nov. 21.
 

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

It took two years, but the Wii U finally has a solid library.

The game is jam packed with modes, fighters and extras, which make it a must buy for any Wii U owner. More importantly, it will sell Wii U systems this holiday season. Now, you may be able to find seven other friends with GameCube controllers to play eight-man Smash, a prospect that seemed impossible not too long ago.

Nindependent

One constant strong point for the Wii U has been a good relationship with indie developers, which has resulted in an eShop full of quality titles. However, Nintendo’s indie courting doesn’t stack up to Sony’s aggressive indie push or even Microsoft’s ID@Xbox. But that could be chaning. Recent whispers coming out of Nintendo suggest the company is considering using third and second-party developers to help create Nintendo properties.
 

Splatoon

2015 is bright for the Wii U with a strong line-up of Nintendo titles.

Nintendo could use this push to its advantage by fleshing out its portfolio and push the Nindependent spirit in one go. A wild idea would be for Nintendo to reach out to talented indie developers to create games based on the company’s well-known and more obscure properties. The possibilities that would spring forth from pairing talented, hungry creators with Nintendo IPs are too delicious to pass up.

2015 and Beyond

After a hard fight, the Wii U has finally positioned itself as a console worth buying, and it is aiming to capitalize on it with a great 2015. Next year will include Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, Splatoon and Yoshi’s Wooly World.

Nintendo alos has huge projects such as a brand new, open-world Legend of Zelda, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Mario Maker, Mario Party 10, a new Star Fox and the Shigeru Miyamoto lined up for future release. Things are looking bright for the Wii U, which is something you couldn’t say this time last year.

 

Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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