Well, I did it. It’s been a crazy time for me lately. I just got a new cat. And, even more exciting (I kid, or do I?), I finally relented and bought my first console of the current generation. My choice was the Wii U, despite a waning love of Nintendo, for it was the only console that already had games I wanted, while my next choice, the PS4, has yet to receive the immense joy that I hope Kingdom Hearts 3 will bring. I also can never resist a new Super Smash Bros., so the Wii U was, well, not the obvious choice, but the one that made the most sense. Kind of.
Despite being told that the Wii U I wanted was the last one in stock a few months ago, this turned out to not be true, as when I went to the game store to pick up my console, along with the new Super Smash Bros and the Final Mix version of Kingdom Hearts 2 for the PS3 (oh, my gosh…), the console was still there, and I happily bought the one that came with New Super Mario Bros U, as Super Mario 3D World didn’t look as appealing to me. And the box for the one I chose was prettier. In addition to those games, I also bought a month prior (I had money for the games, just not the console yet) the new Donkey Kong Country and Pikmin 3. Now all that was left was to set it up and go for it.
First things first, that controller is ridiculously big. It is really, absurdly huge. And not all of the buttons are terribly easy to reach, either. But, despite this, I actually got used to it pretty quickly. I like that we have four trigger buttons now, which I don’t recall on any previous Nintendo controllers. And I like that the wire for charging it is a decent length, though the battery doesn’t last long at all. But, at least it’s rechargeable, so no more changing batteries once a month. You just need to charge it every few hours. Hmm… Is that better? So far, however, I don’t really see how useful that big, old screen in the middle of the controller is, and I think the most effective use of this feature thus far has been while playing Pikmin 3, as being able to see the map and know where items and Pikmin are is very helpful. Though, if you’re playing a game like New Super Mario Bros U, I suggest muting the controller, as the game will show up both on your TV and controller, and then the game sounds bizarre when the noise is emanating from two places….
After checking out a few of my new Wii U games, I also felt it necessary to ensure that it could play Wii games, considering my Wii couldn’t read GameCube memory cards, making playing games from the good, ol’ Cube not very convenient when save files weren’t possible. It does appear that Wii games work fine on my Wii U, which is great. I just think it’s odd it needs to switch to a Wii screen before you can select the game, especially since the Wii didn’t require any such thing to play GameCube games. Not a big deal, just silly. What is a problem, however, is I read in the manual that, in order to transfer data from the Wii to the Wii U, you lose all your data on the Wii. Does anyone know a way to transfer files over to the Wii U and keep them on the Wii? Because I simply can’t do that to the poor Wii! We’ve been through so much together!
Anyway, the graphics are very nice, but I really see little difference between the graphics of the Wii and the Wii U. I am also quite pleased to be free of those motion controls. I felt so silly shaking the Wiimote around like a maniac, and now I get to press buttons again. The console itself is larger than the Wii, though it is very quiet, and I think it looks quite nice. And I don’t use the extra features, so I have no comment on any of that….
Well, now, some quick reviews of the games so far. Pikmin 3 was tons of fun, and it was the first Wii U game I really focused on. I love that it brought back the feel of the first game by giving you the challenge of collecting enough food for your characters to survive, which is similar to your fight against time in the first game, where Captain Olimar would run out of air if he didn’t escape from the planet within 30 days. I also liked that you could make your characters (there are a total of three playable characters) go places on their own, so you could more easily get tasks done at the same time. The flying Pikmin are also adorable (a good replacement for the wimpy white Pikmin from Pikmin 2), even if the rock Pikmin just seem identical to the purple Pikmin. I also like that this game actually has a plot for once. Hooray!
The next game I focused on was Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. I wasn’t a fan of the previous game on the Wii because it was far too hard, but this one dials down the insanity a bit, I think, and it gives Donkey three characters to work with rather than just Diddy. Diddy still has his jet pack for jumping longer distances. Dixie can reach higher ledges, though her jumping is a little hard to get used to, as I think she dips before she rises, causing me to bump into enemies I was trying to jump over a lot. And Cranky seems to have the ability to use his cane like a pogo stick, allowing you to cross spikes and stuff. The levels are far more unique and varied in this game, as well, as I think many of the worlds of the first game were variations of the exact same thing. (Honestly, jungle, forest, island. Ruins in a jungle? Is that the best they could do?)
Unfortunately, New Super Mario Bros U feels like more of the same. And it’s really hard. Fun, but hard.
And I haven’t done tons with Super Smash Bros yet. It has some cool stages and, more importantly, a lot of characters, but many seem too similar (Marth, Ike, Robin, Shulk, I dunno…), but I’m sure that will improve when I unlock more. (Rosalina is pretty awesome. And Little Mac kicks butt, and I never thought I’d be a big fan of him.) There also appears to be a very good variety of challenges, which I look forward to completing, but I am quite disappointed to hear there is no story mode like Subspace Emissary in Brawl, which I think was the best thing to ever happen to the series. And I think I’m still having trouble getting over the fact that Ghirahim was not a playable character. An assist trophy is just not doing it for me.
Anyway, I’m having more fun with the Wii U than I expected, and I look forward to seeing what games it will offer in the future. Oh, and I can’t wait for that new Zelda. Seriously. Can’t wait.
The Duck Who Almost Became a Playable Character in the New SSB…