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The Wii U is the must-have console of 2014 - no ifs, no buts

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Nintendo, Wii U, Wii U games

The Wii U is the must-have console of 2014 - no ifs, no buts

The so-called "console wars" are usually framed as a straight battle between the PS4 and Xbox One,  but over the last twelve months these two gaming titans have been thoroughly embarrassed by a quiet, humble yet devastatingly impressive contender. No ifs, no buts: the Wii U is the must-own console of 2014.

Some argue that "consoles are an investment," but I'm not convinced by the logic. Money in the bank is an investment. An investment is an investment. A console, meanwhile, is only as good as the games you can play on it right now, and this is just the first way in which the Wii U proves its worth for any serious gamer.

There's no denying that Nintendo released their system sellers this year. Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros deliver local multiplayer perfection -- a niche that both Microsoft and Sony are ill-equipped to contest -- while Bayonetta 2 casually destroys the hardcore competition. A triple-threat of essential software to be sure, but dwelling on these three games does the Wii U's software library a huge disservice.

The Wii U is the must-have console of 2014 - no ifs, no buts

See, while 2014 saw the release of the big guns, the Wii U has been quietly yet consistently amassing an incredible collection of quality games. Not just products, but hand-crafted, gorgeous, expansive, working games created with clear love and attention to detail. Super Mario 3D World is one of the best games of the decade. The Wonderful 101 is a hectic and insane work of art. Pikmin 3.The Wind Waker HD. New Super Mario Bros U. Hyrule Warriors. Even ZombiU proved to be one of the best true survival horror games in recent years, despite many of my fellow reviewers bizarrely critiquing it as some sort of action game. The Wii U brings colour and vibrancy where other consoles bring grit and guns, delivering the fun and the quality as comprehensively as the new-gen machines deliver the hype.

I'd be a hypocrite if I mentioned the upcoming 2015 titles, seeing as I rubbished the "consoles as investment" argument 300 words ago. So I definitely won't namedrop the likes of new Zelda, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Star Fox, Yoshi's Wooly World and Splatoon. No sir.

So the Wii U does the business on the games front... but we're just getting started.

The Wii U is the must-have console of 2014 - no ifs, no buts

Let's talk backwards compatibility. Remember when that was a thing? Nintendo certainly does, and though you'll annoyingly have to boot up an official emulator app, you can play any number of superb games from the Wii that you might have missed. If you never got around to playing Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, Pandora's Tower, Sin & Punishment II,, MadWorld, Tatsunoko vs Capcom, No More Heroes, Fire Emblem, Dead Space: Extraction and Zelda: Twilight Princess, you can now. It's hardware backwards-compatible too, allowing you to use your existing WiiMotes should you have them.

Then there's the Wii U's functionality. Despite being a games machine first and foremost, the GamePad functions as a handy universal remote, while there's enough entertainment apps to tide you over. More to the point, you'll also get access to MiiVerse, which is one of the most under-appreciated yet impressive killer apps that any of the current-gen consoles have to offer.

The Wii U is the must-have console of 2014 - no ifs, no buts

Gamer culture has been rightly and wrongly accused of being toxic over the past few years, but MiiVerse disabuses that notion thoroughly. It's a charming and genuinely nice social network baked directly into the firmware, allowing you to make new friends, talk shop, draw pictures, post screenshots and get involved with lively debates all from within a game or via your browser. It's a masterpiece of moderation that lets nary a single abusive comment or phallic doodle past, but still allows gamers to vent their frustrations or offer up conflicting points of view about games without being shut down.

And, perhaps most importantly of all, the Wii U gets its priorities right. In an age when publishers are constantly forcing us to jump through hoops, it's a refreshing change of pace. I'll let my past self explain:

"If you've found yourself grinding through games because you're chasing ranks, achievements or unlocks, not enjoying the core experience of simply playing them, the Wii U will remind you why you fell in love with this hobby in the first place. And potentially rekindle it."

The Wii U is the must-have console of 2014 - no ifs, no buts

The Wii U is all about the games. Not hype or flam, not subscriptions and hurdles, just the joy of videogames themselves. And though Nintendo still has to sort out their idiotic region locking restrictions and weird hard drive tethering (seriously, why are purchases locked to your console rather than your account?!!), the Wii U does its level best to stay out of the way and let you play. It doesn't even charge you for online multiplayer.

But the Wii U's ultimate success is that it doesn't want to replace your PS4 or Xbox One. It fits right in beside them.

Available in cheap console bundles for around the as £160-£220 mark (such as yesterday's deal for a Wii U bundle with Super Smash Bros for £169), the Wii U is designed to be a second console, a machine that enriches and enhances your gaming experience with unique, lavishly produced and lovingly crafted titles that uphold the traditions of the past while still looking to the future. There when you need it. When you want it. I freely admit that much of this gushing article reads like a love letter if not an advert, but after savagely bashing the Wii U throughout its reveal and first year, I'm just looking to redress the balance and give credit where it's due.

The Wii U is the must-have console of 2014 - no ifs, no buts

The Wii U is the must-own console of 2014. Do you own one yet?

Be sure to follow our console bundle deals and bookmark our games deals stream if you're looking to save some money!

Add a comment10 comments
Tsung  Dec. 17, 2014 at 13:08

Super Smash Button Melee..

I don't know where the love for this game comes from?, watching it being played must be the majority of it. The game itself seems like a random button masher nothing more.

I did try playing it, got whooped, so asked "is there any instructions? any moves to learn?" to which I got a no you just have to play it. I was like ???

Sour grapes I guess, I was awful at it :D

roberttaylor8273  Dec. 17, 2014 at 13:10

no i don't own one, just don't have any interest in it and this is someone who has owned every Nintendo console from the nes to the wii. don't know why but have zero interest in it.

spike1985  Dec. 17, 2014 at 13:18

I agree with your 'BOLD' statement towards then end.... it does sit right beside your PS/Xbox. Not to compete.

Its a simple hit of pleasure, pure fun and as a result often have pals coming round just for abit of insane multiplayer madness.

Late  Dec. 17, 2014 at 13:19

"A console... is only as good as the games you can play on it right now..."
Beg to differ. A console is as good as the games you can currently get and those which will come out in the future.

"But the Wii U's ultimate success isn't that it wants to replace your PS4 or Xbox One. It fits right in beside them."
Damned right. It was the same with the original Wii. It wasn't the best console, but it was the ideal second console - and I think that's one of the main reasons it sold so well. It's hard to deny their console was the least powerful of the three, but by being everyone's second console it ended up outselling the competition.
Being everyone's second console should be the Wii U's priority this generation.

I have an xbox One. I'd love a ps4, and recent bundles have been tempting - but if I were to buy a second console it'd make much more sense to get a U. It's nowhere near as powerful as the ps4, but it doesn't need to be. In a toss up between buying a ps4 with largely similar (or in most cases virtually identical) games to those I play on the One, or buying a wii U with a completely different catalogue to those on the One then the U wins.

Sure, it's lagging behind the others at present, in the sales charts, but people have been busy buying their "first" console this year. I expect a lot will be looking to buy their second in 2015 and 2016, and if the U continues to bring out in-demand titles than it should flourish.

Last edited by Late, Dec. 17, 2014 at 13:20
Crazy Jamie  Dec. 17, 2014 at 13:27

I agree wholeheartedly with this. I spent some time trying to put my finger on why I have enjoyed my Wii U games so much, and the answer is that it takes me back to the NES and SNES days when playing games was just fun, and that was all that really mattered. Simply put, the Wii U reminds me why I fell in love with gaming in the first place.

The local multiplayer element can't be understated either. You rightly mention Mario Kart 8 and Smash Bros, but you don't mention Nintendoland, which is unlike any other local multiplayer thanks to the dynamic between the Gamepad and the other remotes. I've played Nintendoland with everyone from friends that are hardcore gamers, to family members that have no interest in games, and all have really enjoyed it. Given the prevalence of online multiplayer and online features, people don't seem to realise that Nintendo have quietly nailed local multiplayer with this console.

JonLester  Dec. 17, 2014 at 13:37

Big reply comment...

@Tsung: it takes a while to get used to the analogue controls - Smash handles very differently from regular fighting games and can feel like a button masher until you've unlearned a lot of stuff. I'm still amazed that there's no playable tutorial TBH.

@spike1985: Yeah, it's great to have that on tap for when you need it. Oddly, the OUYA manages to do that quite well, though hasn't had a look-in this year. Or ever. Because it's the OUYA.

@Late: I'd argue that the console in the future is as good as the games that will come out in the future. Erm, or in non-gibberish, that it's only worth buying a console when it offers games you genuinely want, not before. That's the reason I haven't bought a PS4 yet - there aren't enough exclusives that I want on that system yet, so I'll only plonk down my cash when the likes of Bloodborne and maybe UC4 release. It's totally horses for courses though.

@Crazy Jamie: Yeah, the Wii U actually broke my addiction to achievements too.

Last edited by JonLester, Dec. 17, 2014 at 13:42
silverkiller  Dec. 17, 2014 at 15:46

Super Smash Button Melee..

I don't know where the love for this game comes from?, watching it being played must be the majority of it. The game itself seems like a random button masher nothing more.

I did try playing it, got whooped, so asked "is there any instructions? any moves to learn?" to which I got a no you just have to play it. I was like ???

Sour grapes I guess, I was awful at it :D


i do not agree here, controls in smash are very simple but it requires some skill in order to move around and avoid being hit and block, that game is around timing on when to use what :D, i know is easy just to smash buttons but if you found someone skilled probably you will lose alwasy when smashing ;).

Gorgar  Dec. 17, 2014 at 16:58

This article is pure fanboy gibberish. The Wii U is the farthest thing from the "must-have console of 2014". Entire genres of games are simply missing, existing game selection is pitiful, specs and features are dismally lacking, the gamepad is nothing more than an oversized, awkward Fisher-Price tablet wannabe, and the system can't even match games from consoles that came out 8 years before it! Thankfully, gamers have recognized this, leaving Wii U in a distant 3rd pkace among current gen consoles, so hopefully the " Age of Gimmicks" is finally coming to an end!

BBBBBB2  Dec. 17, 2014 at 17:29

there are only a few games worth playing and the menu OS is a POS... so no. Don't even get me started on that controller.

snotters  Dec. 17, 2014 at 17:32

This article is pure fanboy gibberish. The Wii U is the farthest thing from the "must-have console of 2014". Entire genres of games are simply missing, existing game selection is pitiful, specs and features are dismally lacking, the gamepad is nothing more than an oversized, awkward Fisher-Price tablet wannabe, and the system can't even match games from consoles that came out 8 years before it! Thankfully, gamers have recognized this, leaving Wii U in a distant 3rd pkace among current gen consoles, so hopefully the " Age of Gimmicks" is finally coming to an end!


Your response is ill-informed, reactionary gibberish. The console is..oh I can't even be bothered. You're talking out of your **** mate.

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