Wii U Launch Fails to Reach New Heights

Nintendo and I have been going to counseling lately. I want to see new people because Nintendo just isn’t delivering what they promised me. I told them that the Wii U was their last chance to win me back. Did they succeed? Uh… let’s just say I filed for separation.

The Wii U is supposed to be our first glimpse at the next generation of gaming. As far as first impressions go, this was a very lackluster experience.

Let’s start by taking a look at the Wii U hardware. We’ve got a new controller that has a touch screen and, in some cases, shows the game on the screen as well as the TV, kind of like the Nintendo DS. This is actually a really cool controller; props to Nintendo for their creativity here.

It’s a neat idea, it works pretty well and it’d probably be a great new controller for the Wii- wait, this isn’t a new controller, it’s a new console that costs 300 bucks. That’s ok, I just happened to have 300 dollars that I was going to flush down a toilet.

Well, if a DS controller isn’t your cup of tea, you can use the Pro Gamepad. What is this? It’s an Xbox 360 controller. Yes, it’s literally an Xbox 360 controller with Nintendo’s logo slapped on it.

I know this is the default controller most gamers use and it’s perfectly fine to use, but this is Nintendo- they pioneer in developing new and unusual things, then making them work. I wanted Nintendo to try something new and take risks like it usually does.

It’s alright though; the Wii U now has a decent online network. You can friend other people you play with and you have a better connection to the games you play. You know, like Xbox Live, except about six years late. Well, it’s free, so I’ll give them that.

The initial impressions aren’t very good. Let’s take a look at the Wii U’s gaming library to see the incredible launch titles. We’ve got Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Assassin’s Creed 3, Mass Effect 3 and Madden NFL 13. Other titles include New Super Mario Bros. U, Epic Mickey 2, Just Dance 4, Ninetendo Land and Rabbids Land.

Hold the phone- I was apparently on vacation and didn’t get the memo. You know, that memo that said that Nintendo is now the dumping ground for ports of popular games from other consoles.

Some people look at this as a great launch line up. Others realize that these have been Nintendo’s bread and butter for nearly a decade. Sure, they’ve tried to spruce up their main franchise lists with popular titles like Assassin’s Creed  and Bayonetta, but that doesn’t stop some from thinking this is an excuse to milk an additional $300 dollars over the same games.

Ok, I’ll stop bashing Nintendo. Let’s look at the games that are actually original. This should be quick since I can count them with one hand. First we’ve got New Super Mario Brothers U– and that’s when I realized that finding anything ‘original’ would be a stretch.

Nintendo seems to be stuck on loop. They have forgotten that they already made this game and released it twice already. There really isn’t much of anything different here.

That game is about a 2D Mario in the exact same fashion as the other three Super Mario games that were released within the last few years. It’s got the same level areas, the same music, same graphics, and cookie cutter identical gameplay with, I think, one new power up. Apparently a new power up is reason alone to make a new game and sell it for 60 bucks.

Next we have Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing. Oh no, not you too, Sonic. Didn’t you just have an amazing game last year? What are you doing making bad spinoff games again? I thought you were on the path to recovery, but apparently even my most cherished video game character is falling victim to the Wii U’s mediocrity.

I will say that ZombiU looks pretty cool. I like survival horror, and I like zombies, which means that this game looks legitimately good. If there’s one saving grace in the Wii U launch titles, it’s this one.

Surprisingly, Nintendo really made out with this launch. They sold over 400,000 systems in the first week, and that would’ve been higher if Best Buy and Game Stop didn’t run out of stock. You multiply 400,000 by the $300 price tag, and we can probably assume that Nintendo has no regrets over their system design. After bashing their lackluster new hardware, very uninspired and ignorable launch library and the fact that it seems like Nintendo wants to make a lot of money off of a little idea, my final verdict on the Wii U is… meh.

I don’t plan on getting it any time soon. I’ll stick to my other consoles and save that 300 dollars I was planning on flushing for the sewer people. Maybe I’ll check it out later if they put some original games on it.