Wii U: A Distant Second To Your Mobile...For Now

The Nintendo Wii changed everything. Its follow-up has potential but for now you're better off playing Angry Birds...
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The Nintendo Wii changed everything. Its follow-up has potential but for now you're better off playing Angry Birds...

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So the dust has settled, the hype and spin that accompanies the release of a new console has died down and we’re left with a simple question: is the Wii U any good? The answer is: no. Well, not yet, anyway.

It’s hard to avoid comparing the arrival of Nintendo’s latest console to that of its predecessor. When the Wii was launched in 2006, it was like an explosion of joy in the sterile and conservative gaming world.

It grabbed people from the moment they first stood in front of a telly and began wafting the motion controller around like loons. It was something fresh and new - something that was breaking down gaming barriers. Even your boozed-up gran could play.

The Wii U has none of this initial magic. The novelty factor comes from the Wii U controller. It has a tablet-sized touchscreen and various other technical bells and whistles. However, while the Nintendo Wii removed the walls between you and the game, this kind of fortifies them.

One of the problems is the lack of any launch title to instantly sell the benefit of having two screens – something Wii Sports managed to do for the previous console’s motion controller. Instead, the giant beeping, burping controller in your hand can become more of an annoying distraction.

The other problem is that by beefing up the power of the machine, Nintendo have enabled it to handle all the same types of games that you already get on Xbox and PS3 – the same games to which they used to provide an alternative.

An example of this is ZombiU: a nicely made first-person-shooter in which you run around killing lots of zombies. If that’s the kind of thing you’re after, there are stacks of these out there on the rival consoles.

So the Wii U has still not found its place in the gaming world. It’s possible that it’s going to be a slow burner; that its appeal will gradually emerge as developers work out what to do with the two screens.

The bigger problem Nintendo face is that if you’re looking for innovative gaming, you can now find it on your smartphone or tablet and without having to fork out £50 for each title.

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