Nintendo release the successor to the Wii next month, finally presenting a console worthy of standing up to the competition from Microsoft and Sony. But is it too little too late? There’s no doubt that Nintendo consoles have provided an entirely different gaming experience to its rivals; hosting cartoon-style, “family-orientated” games, the Wii was often considered child’s play and some sceptics often went as far to suggest Nintendo didn’t attract “real” gamers (definitely true, at least since being a “gamer” meant being a graphics whore). Sure, you couldn’t play the latest mind-numbing, regurgitated version of COD, nor could you sit for hours watching amazing cinematics without actually being able to contribute much to the gameplay, but in spite of this, Nintendo have consistently produced excellent games. If you disagree you’re wrong.
Their specs have always been behind, they’ve never had the latest processing chip and you still can’t play a DVD on the Wii but they have always prided themselves on focusing on gameplay, interactivity and widening their target audience – not winning the graphics rat-race. Well, ladies and gentlemen, it’s all about to change at Nintendo HQ – or at least, they are trying to change. The new Wii U promises to be faster, more powerful and more interactive than any previous Nintendo console with major spec updates that many Mario fan kids have been longing for since the novelty of motion-control first wore off. Many of the new features have been kept under wraps, however we know the Wii U has twice as much RAM as its rivals and allegedly better GPU; combined, these mean the Wii U will be able to have series such as Assassin’s Creed and Mass Effect in its line-up, games which were usually too much for Nintendo’s relatively weak devices. When asked, John Nash, of Blitz Games Studios, said the power and capabilities of the Wii U are “comparable to the current generation and a bit more powerful than that.” Not only that, some game developers have come forward and said they believe their game will look best on the Wii U than any other platform currently available. This basically means (brace yourself), once the Wii U is released, Nintendo will momentarily have the most powerful console on the market. It’s like we’re in the 90s again. And that’s not all; the new “pro” controller, for which I suspect the inspiration was massively derived (stolen) from the Xbox 360, also give users of the Wii U that “real gaming” experience I mentioned earlier. So now you can feel like you’re playing an Xbox, but still have granny in on the action. Brilliant.
It may seem like these improvements are long-overdue, but that’s only because they are. So much so, in fact, Nintendo are at major risk of being cast-aside once more when Sony and Microsoft release their new gaming behemoths later next year. The PS4 and Xbox 720 promise nothing short of amazing and I’m not sure the Wii U’s processing bumper-pack stands a chance against these bullies.
But fear not. In true Nintendo style, they have a new motion-controlled, super-interactive-gadget-thingy for you to enjoy. The Wii U Gamepad has a touch screen which makes the contention for the player 1 spot ever fiercer. The wielder of the Gamepad will have the possibility to interact with games in new dimensions and in ways others cannot, however, the full capabilities of this new tool are yet to be discovered. If it all sounds like another classic Nintendo novelty, then you may be right. Its charm and appeal could very well wear off just as soon as wildly waving your Wiimote around (smashing your living room television in the process) did.
The basic Wii U pack, released 30th November this year, will set you back approximately £250. Considering the new PS3 slim still costs £230, I wouldn’t say that’s a bad deal. However, it’s a great shame that Nintendo’s step into the big boy playground will be so shortly lived; this time next year the PS4 and Xbox 720 will undoubtedly leave the little U eating dust once more.