As the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 go head to head in the run-up to Christmas, there is another current generation console that often gets overlooked. Nintendo’s Wii U has been on the market for a couple of years now, and although it has never made as much of a sales impact as the original Wii console did, it certainly has picked up its share of fans along the way. If you are considering picking up a console for your home and want a machine which offers family-friendly social gaming, don’t overlook the Wii U.
Although we are now starting to see some great AAA rated content for the leading consoles, it has taken some time for developers to truly embrace current gen technology. Meanwhile, Nintendo has made a real effort to bring plenty of exciting new games to its console – including plenty of exclusives and even a brand new IP. Now that the console can be picked up for a sensible price and many games are available second hand at discount prices, the Wii U has become a great choice for bargain hunters who want to play games and access video content through their console.
So, is the Wii U still worth buying? Many Xbox and PlayStation players say they also have a Wii U console, because it offers a different kind of gaming. It is a much more child-friendly games machine, and one which encourages social gaming in person rather than over an internet connection. 2015 has brought a fresh wave of Nintendo games to the table, so there is plenty to look forward to playing if you decide the Wii U is right for you.
Wii U games: exclusives and old favourites
There have been some very exciting comebacks this year, from Star Fox to The Legend Of Zelda. Link and pals have been given an open-world 3D makeover and the game now plays out in an action-adventure RPG style, but it is still the same Zelda we all know and love. Star Fox, the classic scrolling shooter from the early 1990s, is also getting the Wii U treatment and is about to hit the console any time now.
An exciting development is the brand new paintball FPS Splatoon – Nintendo’s first new IP in many years. The brightly coloured shoot-em-up game is perfect for team battles and the cartoon graphics and non-harmful weapons make this an ideal family game. There’s also Mario meets Minecraft with the new Super Mario Maker, where players make their own Mario levels and play them or share them with others. Xenoblade Chronicles X is one to watch out for if you enjoyed the original, making its return to the new console after many years. Telltale Games has also promised that Minecraft: Story Mode will soon be a Wii U title. No matter what your gaming style and tastes, there are titles for everyone on the Wii U.
Console features and performance
The Wii U has brought touchscreen capabilities to its controller, so you can interact with your games in a whole new way. It uses the traditional motion sensor technology that made the first Wii such a success, and there have been marked improvements to tracking and capturing so the game camera – which is not an accessory, but included – can facilitate a much more immersive experience. You can also stream games to the controller itself and use the touchpad as a second screen, or access videos through wifi to watch via the controller.
Online access is free, setting Nintendo apart from its rivals. Players can join in multiplayer gaming and browse the internet, watch videos and more with just a wifi connection and their console, with no need to subscribe. This makes it a very appealing option for casual gamers who don’t want to commit to a monthly package.
There is also the matter of your old Wii games. The Wii U is the only current gen console to offer full backward compatibility. Although Xbox One can now read and play your old 360 discs, you still need to download the game to your console before playing the disc – taking up your storage space. With the Wii U, all old Wii games are instantly playable through the console.
Should you buy a Wii U?
If you want the very best graphics, state of the art sound and the top game titles, the Wii U might not be your first choice. However, if you want a console that your friends and family can play with you, and one which offers a range of fun exclusive titles like the Mario franchise, then this is a great machine to consider. Lower in price than the leading consoles and with savings to be made on subscriptions and accessories, the Wii U is the best budget console buy. You might also consider one to go with your current gaming computer. The Wii U offers something a little different to the PS4 or Xbox when it comes to games, so you might want to treat yourself to one for the times when only Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros will do!