So that’s the Wii U, Nintendo’s latest “console” and I hesitate to use that word. Is there a console to do with the control? Yes, but, right now at least, it seems like it’s just a souped-up Wii. If Wii went HD and decided to add another controller, then that would be Wii U. Now, here’s what’s odd about Wii U’s controller. I’m not going to comment on how comfortable it is or is not, but rather what I think about this.
Basically, my thoughts right now are, “Is this going to make gameplay better, or is it just something else I don’t want to have to mess with?” Will it be like motion controls, which are insanely fun (don’t get me wrong, I love Wii Sports as much as the next gamer), but are tacked on for other games? Despite Nintendo promising better third-party support, will this control actually allow for it?
So you can use it as a hand held, yet you can’t take it places because the game is actually coming from the console and not the controller, correct? Won’t that produce lag? What is someone walks between your controller and the console. Since they’re communicating wirelessly, and probably soaking away your battery life while they’re at it, won’t that disrupt the signal?
Also, the controller is trying to do two things at once: produce a more “normal” controller for the third-party people while at the same time trying to be extremely unique to make Wii U stand out from the competition, which already seems to be doing similar to what Nintendo is. Vita anyone?
It’ll be nice to see more third-party games, but you can bet that they won’t be taking advantage of the controls. In a way this reserves the unique gameplay exclusively for Nintendo’s first-party games, but at the same time, I’m afraid this will mean that Nintendo’s key franchises will just become new gameplay experiments rather than amazing games. Look at the hand-held Zelda games. They would be much better if Nintendo wasn’t trying to work them around the controls and rather focused on creating an great game first. Remember, modern gameplay is about more than game mechanics. While game mechanics can make or break a game (touch-screen Zelda sucks), atmosphere, characters, story and other aspects that have traditionally been credited only to literature and film are now becoming a huge part of the gaming industry, putting it on par with these things. Nintendo seems to forget that every once in a while and butchers a perfectly good game because they want to see how cute they can make it or how they can implement their gimmicks into every aspect of the game.
So, what’s my final verdict in this rushed little essay? On the one hand, I’m glad to be here watching the evolution of video games. I was born in 1986 and my first console was a NES, complete with the first Zelda game and Dragon Quest game, called Dragon Warrior back then. I’ve been watching it all happen, and it’s been interesting to see how Nintendo has pushed for something more than a console with better graphics. However, on the other hand I’m skeptical of this new console. I’m glad that casual gamers are coming back onto the scene and that I can share my love of gaming with my mom, but at the same time, I miss being able to just sit back and enjoy a good RPG (Wii majorly lacked these) with traditional controls. Right now, I feel that Nintendo is building games around the controls, which is a recipe for a boring game with no spirit. I hope that this isn’t a gimmick.