The Nintendo Wii U: A versatile system that deserves more attention
On the Video Games Realm
An underestimated console with a small but solid library
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The Nintendo Switch's unique gaming experience has brought Nintendo back to compete head-to-head with Sony or Microsoft. In spite of the fact that the system is not as powerful as a Playstation or an Xbox, its popularity is constantly rising, a fact which brings to mind the golden era of the Game Boy. With the success that the Switch brought to Nintendo, the company indirectly wants consumers to forget that the Wii U, Nintendo's first attempt to the 8th generation, ever existed. However, by taking a careful look at the console and its gaming library, the Wii U is far from the failure Nintendo and most people believe it is.
There are 2 reasons why the Wii U is considered by many a failure. Firstly, the overall marketing for the console; Not only the system wasn't advertised enough, but also it wasn't clear to consumers if the system was a brand-new one or just an upgrade to the Wii. Not to speak about the advertisements themselves, which were dramatically unpolished and childish. The second reason is the console itself. Since it was technically a 2-part console, the gamepad, and the system, it was both confusing and difficult for companies to develop, or port games for the system, a fact which led to an almost non-existing third-party support.
Due to the fact that the Wii U didn't succeed in the market, its gaming library is significantly short. However, that does not mean that there is no quality there. Actually, it's quite the opposite. Nintendo managed to maintain the console's lifespan to 4 years filled with some of the best first-party games the company ever created. Mario Kart 8, Super Mario 3D World, Bayonetta 2, the HD remasters of Twilight Princess & Wind Waker, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (yes, that was initially a Wii U title) are some of the console's masterpieces. What is more, despite the limited third-party support, ports of third-party games such as Batman: Arkham City, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 were great on the system, and included exclusive content and gamepad functions.
With Nintendo's decision to port almost all Wii U first-party games to their successful hybrid console, many could argue that there is no point in buying a Wii U since they can experience most Wii U's games on the Switch; and that's kind of true; Wii U ports run at a higher resolution, with better frame-rate and most of them include extra content on the Switch. On the other hand, it has to be noted that Nintendo charges these ports at full price, and in spite of the fact that the ports have received a few upgrades, they are technically the same game, which can be bought at a significantly lower price brand-new or used, in comparison to its Switch version.
For example, Bayonetta 2 costs 60€ on Switch, while on Wii U it costs extremely less, especially in used condition (approx. 10€). Another example is the Switch version of Breath of the Wild, which is still at full price, while its Wii U version retails for 36-45€. What is more, the console itself can be found at a fairly cheap price online and its games have significantly low prices both in used or brand-new condition.
Being fully backward compatible with its predecessor, the Wii U is practically two systems in one, allowing the option to experience the huge library of the Wii. Being the first HD console ever released by Nintendo, it is the best way to experience Wii games, which all benefit from the Wii U's HD upscale. Wii Remotes, Nunchuks, and the Classic Controllers are also compatible with many Wii U games as well. In addition, the Wii U is a virtual console powerhouse, having access to games from NES (94 in total), SNES (51 in total), N64 (21 in total), Wii (30 in total), GBA (74 in total), DS (31 in total) and other systems.
All in all, it is true that the Switch completely overshadows the unsuccessful Wii U, and the fact that most Wii U games re-released on the Switch make the system practically useless to have or to collect for, especially by Switch owners. Nevertheless, for someone who wants to have a solid collection of Nintendo's best games and the option to explore the Wii's library as well, the Wii U is just a sin not to collect for.