Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One have been receiving the lion’s share of interest from media outlets and consumers alike. But Nintendo’s little console that could, the Wii U, might end up winning this generation’s console wars, even though the system is struggling mightily in commercial sales, by winning the hearts of its users.
Sure, the Wii U doesn’t have a typical control setup like the Xbox One or PS4, its innards are not as powerful, and it doesn’t accommodate as many third-party games. But the basic Wii U is $US100 cheaper than its Xbox and PlayStation counterparts, and it’s got a ton of upsides (see: games).
There's so much the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One can do, but one thing they can't do is play previous-generation titles. Sony and Microsoft are finding workarounds to this issue -- for the most part, the companies are releasing costlier next-gen versions of its older games while offering trade-in systems for current owners -- but at least Nintendo offers a full catalogue of Wii U and Wii games, as well as access to even more classic titles available over its online platform, called the Virtual Console.
The best of Wii includes several fantastic titles: 'Super Mario Galaxy 1' and '2.' 'The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess' and 'Skyward Sword.' 'Okami.' 'Resident Evil 4' and the 'Metroid Prime' trilogy. You could play these games for hours -- and if you've never owned a Wii, you should absolutely try these games.
You might not know it, but the Wii U might be the most hackable game console out there right now. If you have an internet connection and a free SD card, you can activate classic game emulators, cheat engines, DVD players, and even Wii-specific Linux distributions. And if you've stored any old games on a USB stick, The Homebrew Channel can help you play those games, too. These homebrew options are easy to access: With the simple LetterBomb hack that takes only about 10 minutes to complete (HackMii has the full set of instructions), you'll be able to activate The Homebrew Channel and an application called Homebrew Browser, which acts as an alternative marketplace to download popular apps, games, and emulators.
Nintendo just released its first 'cross-buy' game for the Wii U, which means if you purchase the game for Nintendo's handheld 3DS, you'll receive the Wii U version for free as long as you have your Nintendo Network ID set up across both platforms. While the first game, 'Squids Odyssey,' is nothing too fancy -- it's more or less 'Angry Birds' with some RPG gameplay aspects -- the promise of more cross-buy games is a great reason to own a Wii U (and, by extension, a 3DS).
While most game consoles come with a traditional controller, the Wii U's primary controller, called the GamePad, comes with an embedded touchscreen that allows you to play several titles when you can't play them off the TV. (Not all games require the GamePad's second-screen functionality, but some portions of games can only be played on the GamePad screen, and not the TV.)
The GamePad features a 6.2-inch screen, which can be controlled with one's fingers or a stylus, but it also comes with a front-facing camera for video chat and motion control support. Can you take selfies on your PS4 controller? I didn't think so.
'Back in the day, Wind Waker's cartoony style came under fire for being 'too kiddie.' But the joke's on its critics, because while its contemporaries haven't stood the test of time well, Wind Waker has refused to grow old. This timeless tale of a young boy searching for his kidnapped sister re-works classic lore from The Legend of Zelda into a thoughtful and heartwarming adventure that loops itself around familiar tropes. Visually, this new HD treatment isn't much more than a texture update and a new lighting system, but it's impressive and immersive. … If you've never braved this amazing seafaring adventure, the Wii U version offers the definitive way to experience a story that's both charming and elegant.'
'While the series has been around for more than a decade (debuting in 2001 with the original 'Pikmin' for the then-current generation GameCube console), it's remained one of Nintendo's best-kept secrets -- never possessing the star power of 'Super Mario Bros.' or the cultural ubiquity of 'Super Smash Bros.' And to the uninitiated that only know Nintendo as the company that makes 'Mario Kart' games, that's a shame, because, well, 'Pikmin 3' is one of the best video games I've played in years. … Simply put: I could leave gaming behind content with the fact that I never got the chance to play the next Mario game that Nintendo will inevitably release. Not so with 'Pikmin.''
'Countless games have attempted to ape Mario Kart's blend of fizzy racing and disruptive vehicular combat. A few have come close, but none have succeeded. Mario Kart 8 is the series at its very best; an exciting, hilarious and satisfying to-and-fro. Move on from the training wheels of the deliberately ponderous 50cc and there's a delicious sense of speed, whizzing along at 60fps under cerulean skies. The devil, much like that battenburg starting line, is in the detail. It's the subtle shifts in weight depending on character and vehicle choice; it's the satisfying hop that sends your kart into a drift, sparks flying as you charge a boost round a sweeping apex; it's the flick off a ramp, opening your glider and either lifting high above the track or dive-bombing into increased acceleration; it's the evil glee of a perfectly thrown green shell; the infuriating explosion of that blue one that zeroes in on the leader. This is a formula that has been close to perfect for a long time.'
'The game, which is set within the Sprixie Kingdom, is broken into seven main worlds, each subdivided into a number of discrete levels. The structure allows the designers to play with ideas in a way the grim, cinema-aping blockbuster games, which must squeeze their game design ideas into tight narratives, cannot. Mario's verbs of play may remain consistent throughout -- run, jump, pound, clamber -- but each level is presented as a rounded idea that can stand alone, a vignette-like five-minute journey around a single idea, or a set of juxtaposing ones. Nintendo EAD's mastery can be seen in the seeming ease with which the team introduces brilliant ideas, often as one-offs, never to be reprised. … Mario and his makers once again assert their dominance of spatial navigation games, displaying a rude abundance of ideas to delight, surprise and celebrate innocence and playfulness.'
'On the surface, worlds divided into categories like jungle, beach, and ice seem like they could drift into well-worn territory, but the variety is amazing. You platform across giant leaves (kept aloft by gusts of wind from Alpine Horns timed to the background music), ride mine carts through a sawmill as obstacles are carved out just ahead of you, dash through a raging forest fire with slick lighting effects, and navigate ice chunks that quickly melt in the lava below. Just like in the previous game, I yelled alternating cries of agony and relief working through particularly challenging areas.'
It's the biggest, best-selling, and most critically acclaimed inter-franchise fighting series around -- it might also offer the best multiplayer experience in any game series -- and it's coming in October to the Wii U and 3DS consoles. And thanks to some new characters, you'll finally get to see what a brawl between all of the mascots between the four big gaming studios of the '90s: Mario (Nintendo), Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega), Mega Man (Capcom), and Pac-Man (Namco). Need we say more?
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