So Nintendo took the proverbial stage and gave all of us a better taste of what’s to come Novermber 18th with the Wii U console and launch titles. I saw some neat stuff with Nintendo Land and the mini-Metroid world and got a little excited for New Super Mario Bros U.. But overall, it’s the same stuff we’ve seen from E3. There was really nothing for me as a gamer to get excited over.
I think it hit me watching the overly complicated demo of Nintendo TV (sorry, it’s Nintendo TVii). It was nice that they let you know which episodes of show can be accessed from multiple streaming services or your TiVo. But then, wouldn’t you just use your TiVo to do those things, or probably your brand new TV that comes with Netflix and Hulu Plus built in?
I mean it seems well meaning and all if you we going to use the Wii U as your one stop entertainment hub. But we know that you can’t because if you’re like me, you’ve been building up that Blu-Ray library or have a substantial DVD library. Guess what, there is NO SUPPORT FOR DVD OR BLU-RAY on the Wii U console. That’s right, it only supports a proprietary Wii U optical disc format. Seriously? We’re still on the proprietary disc format thing? How many generations ago did everyone else stop that nonsense? This is the next generation offering from Nintendo and we’re on proprietary disc formats?
Let’s move onto the hardware because I really feel for a next generation offering this is a serious letdown out of the gate. The base version at $299.00 is white only and comes with 8GB storage. The “deluxe”edition is black and comes with 32GB with Nintendoland pre-installed at a $349.00 price point.
Now it will almost be 2013 when the Wii U comes out. Hard drives are dirt cheap and even solid state drives can offer decent sizes for reasonable prices. But when you’re selling me a brand new next gen console that has no more storage space than a flash drive that I could buy 4 years ago is really sad. You’ve got XBox 360 and PS3’s coming in with 250GB of storage right now and I can’t imagine the kind of storage options that Microsoft and Sony will offer with their next generation consoles, but I guarantee it will be more than they offer now and put the Wii U storage to shame. I know Nintendo fanboys will say you can expand the memory with external USB or SD storage so it isn’t a big deal. I respectfully disagree and think it is a big deal for the price. I don’t want to spend another $50+ on storage on top of the $300 for the console to have decent space to get downloadable games and videos from Nintendo.
The Wii U has some impressive hardware specs if you just look at the brands like AMD providing the GPU. If you look at the rumored VGLeaks specs, then it seems like the Wii U is nothing more than a GameCube HD+. According to VGLeaks, we got a 3-core CPU Broadway core supplied by IBM. This just seems like a step up from the Wii CPU in terms of being multi-core and somewhat faster. This doesn’t give me much confidence in the Wii U outpowering the current gen of XBox 360 or PS3 anytime soon since they are both basically using enhanced PowerPC cores. Even older, those cores probably were clocked higher and had deeper instruction sets. Also, the Wii U clocks in with only 1GB of RAM, which is double what the XBox 360 and PS3 currently have, but we’re talking 6 or 7 years difference on console age. Only double the RAM? Nintendo apparently doesn’t believe in Moore’s Law. There shouldn’t be just faster RAM on the system, there should also be more space to hold quality textures and game data. The multi-core AMD GPU sounds impressive, and is the only part of this console that seems reasonably powerful for the hype.
Now I get to the nitty gritty, the stuff you really care about if you read Cool Stuff:
We’re talking Games!
Now the games lineup for the Wii U at launch seems like a mixed bag. There’s a Mario title at launch; New Super Mario Bros U. Now I have to say seeing this game in action was pretty sweet. I know it’s another Mario title but I love how they added some cool mechanics and that there are challenge modes. I think this title was well thought out for gamers.
Nintendo Land seems like a “trail mix” of different offerings to gamers. I guess it could be considered Wii Sports U? But the difference is it comes bundled with all this variety of activities that aren’t sports related. I think the only fail for this title is that it’s only available initially if you buy the deluxe Wii U bundle. This should be offered to EVERYONE buying the Wii U. Other than that, it seems like it has something for any type of gamer.
There are a couple of new offerings like ZombiiU, Bayonetta 2, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Lego City Undercover, Pikmin3, and The Wonderful 101. Honestly, I’m not really excited for any of these.
While I like Bayonetta and would like to play the sequel, this seems like Nintendo picking up the ball that Sega dropped. It makes me think why Sega would drop this franchise that seemed to be popular with gamers?
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is just another Monster Hunter port. I gave Monster Hunter Tri on the Wii a fair shake but the crazy fights and the monotonous running around the world just made me lose interest. I expect more of the same from this game unless there are spectacular multiplayer elements.
Lego City Undercover looks cool. Lego has always been able to make capable games out of diiferent franchises, so I don’t doubt a kid friendly, GTA-Lite clone would be any different.
The Wonderful 101 I can’t get excited for because there was no gameplay shown and all the characters look like they took fashion advice from Viewtiful Joe.
The rest of the lineup from 3rd party vendors looks like remakes of currently or soon to be available games for XBox 360 and PS3. I wouldn’t buy a new console to play Assassin’s Creed 3 or Black Ops 2 (especially CoD considering most people have buddies on XBox Live or PS3 waiting to dive into it).
I played and thoroughly beat Batman: Arkham City LAST YEAR so I don’t really need to revisit it on the Wii U.
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge seems like the running joke of Tecmo with another statement saying something about the Wii U allowing them to fix problems that were in the previous title and they added more stuff. Really Tecmo? Gee, we haven’t heard that before except from EVERY NINJA GAIDEN TITLE YOU’VE EVER MADE IN THE LAST GENERATION.
Overall, I can’t say my feels are peeked for the Wii U.
It seems like it had potential but there are some glaring decision flaws that just stagger me. Proprietary disc formats, low storage space, weak next-gen specs, and a launch lineup mostly made up of old games most of us have played already on XBox 360 or PS3. It is not enough to make me shell out $350 right now. And that is sad because I’ve been excited for Nintendo systems in the past at launch day (with the exception of Gamecube).
Will the Wii U be a next-gen success? I’m going to sit back and observe things carefully.