It’s been a hard few years as a Nintendo fan. A weak launch line-up, lack of third party support and it’s initial identity crisis, lead to poor sales and a shed load of criticism from the critics and public alike.
That’s starting to change this year though, with several games being critically praised, including; Super Smash Bros for Wii U, Mario Kart 8 and Bayonetta 2. These titles have slowly started to build momentum in the system and with Amiibo and titles like; The Legend of Zelda, Splatoon and Star Fox on the horizon, the future is finally starting to look bright for Nintendo’s slow-burning console.
But the one thing that’s set the bar high is the quality of Nintendo’s releases. Want to play Smash for Wii U online on release day? Sure thing. If you had wanted to do that with either The Master Chief Collection or Driveclub, you’d have had a bad time. Let’s also not forget the sheer lack of quality overall in games like Assassin’s Creed Unity that have come out this year. A vast majority of games, especially exclusives, this year on Xbox One and PS4 have flopped hard and stumbled through their launch periods, clearly unfinished or broken in some way, shape or form. What’s surprising then, is the fact that Nintendo’s online has remained fairly stable this year, considering Nintendo is often criticised for having an archaic online system. It’s an odd u-turn for both Microsoft and Sony, who seemed to have nailed their online quality in the last-gen of games. Let’s also not forget, you’re paying for PS+ and Xbox Live while your copies Driveclub and The Master Chief Collection aren’t working online, while Nintendo gamers get to smash each other off the screen. That’s not to say Nintendo’s system is ahead of times, with its data management system being all sorts of wrong with the lack of ability to tie games to your account and the fact that there is no real voice chat option. You could list all the problems for days, but crucially it works, unlike the recent and frequent outages on PSN and Xbox Live.
Wii U games seem to be ready straight out the box too, like the good old days. Bayonetta 2 and Smash Bros haven’t needed an update yet to fix anything, because nothing is really broken. Mario Kart 8 is the same too, as is Mario 3D World, Zelda: Wind Waker, Shovel Knight and so on. Majoritively speaking on the other systems, it’s been an update-heavy process to fix those broken games, especially online.
The Wii U also seems to be the only system on the market that isn’t trying to be a sub-par computer, remembering the fact it’s actually games console. While it’s true that the Xbox One and PS4 outclass the Wii U in terms of raw power, the same can be said for any medium range PC outclassing the Xbox One and the PS4. If you want a powerful machine to run games on, then get what the industry calls a PC. Most of the games on Xbox One and PS4 are also on PC and there aren’t really that many exclusives that would warrant one of those systems over a PC. It’s almost like the Xbox and PlayStation are competing in a world’s strongest man competition, knowing full well one of them will only get second at best. So that leaves the Wii U then, the perfect partner next to the PC. I’m pretty happy to run my own rig with my Wii U next to it on a daily basis switching between the two systems depending on what I’m in the mood for or need to review. And that’s the way it’ll stay until No Man’s Sky arrives and I buy a PS4 or wait for its inevitable PC release.