Last week Dan and I made the case for why you should and shouldn’t buy the PS4, and then this week we did the should and shouldn’t thing for the Xbox One. But wait, aren’t we missing something? Doesn’t Nintendo also have a console in this race?
It’s no secret that the Wii U got off to a rough start, but a lot’s changed since the system’s launch last year. The Wii U is starting to turn it around, and in fact you may even want to consider it above the recently released PS4 and Xbox One. Why? Well…
It Has The Best Games
The Wii U’s release schedule was pretty bleak throughout most of 2013, but slowly-but-surely the system has managed to accumulate a fairly impressive slate of games. Super Mario 3D World is one of the best reviewed titles of the year, and it’s backed up by the exclusives like Pikmin 3, Wind Waker HD, New Super Mario Bros. U, Zombi U, Lego City Undercover and more.
The average Metacritic score of the Wii U’s top 5 exclusives is 87. By comparison, the Xbox One’s top five average out to 74 and the PS4, well, the PS4 doesn’t have five exclusives to average.
Bayonetta’s sassy new do, coming to Wii U in 2014.
It’s Going To Have The Best 2014
Both the PS4 and Xbox One have surprisingly little coming in 2014. Sony has Driveclub, a new InFamous and the vague promise of another Uncharted. Microsoft has Titanfall and the vague promise of a new Halo.
The Wii U on the other hand has Mario Kart 8, Donkey Kong Country Returns 2, Bayonetta 2, Smash Bros., a Fire Emblem/Shin Megami Tensei crossover, a Xenoblade Chronicles sequel, a new Yoshi game and, according to rumors, a new original IP from Shigeru Miyamoto. With the exception of the last one, all this stuff has been in the works for a while and is confirmed to be coming in 2014.
Wii U Actually Brings Something New To The Gaming Table
The PS4 and Xbox One may bring a lot of extra power to the table, but neither system really attempts to shake up the way you play games in any significant way. The Playstation 4 has a mini-touch pad on its controller and a share button, but that’s about it. The Xbox One has all sorts of nifty media hub stuff going on, but none of that has much effect on how you’ll play games on the machine.
The Wii U on the other hand has the GamePad, which isn’t as revolutionary as the Wiimote by any means, but does mix things up to some degree. Depending on the genre of game, having a second screen in your lap can be quite useful, asymmetric multiplayer can be a lot of fun if done right, and being able to play games solely on your GamePad while the TV is occupied is a surprisingly useful feature.
Granted, both the Xbox One and PS4 have “second screen” options of their own, but they involve buying a $200 Vita or a $500 tablet, and only a few games do anything with the Vita or SmartGlass. As is usually the case, Nintendo’s console is the place to go if you think a new console should push new gameplay ideas along with fancier graphics.
Mario’s cat pajamas don’t really require that much processing power.
The Wii U’s Lack of Power Doesn’t Matter Much
Yes, the Wii U doesn’t have the horsepower of the other next-gen systems, but let’s be honest here, you buy a Nintendo console for Nintendo games, and Nintendo games don’t really require PS4-levels of power. I mean, how many polygons does Kirby need to be made of?
Eventually the Wii U is going to lose out on multi-platform games due it’s lack of horsepower, but that’s still a ways down the line — most major 3rd party games are still going to be doing the “cross-gen” thing for a while. Besides, there’s some trade-offs for the Wii U being a bit less powerful than it’s competitors, such as…
It’s The Best Value of the Bunch
Okay, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty — the Wii U is simply a lot easier on the wallet than the PS4 or Xbox One. A Wii U will run you 300 bucks and Nintendo is bundling the hell out of the thing. You can grab the New Super Mario Bros. & New Super Luigi bundle and three or four additional games for the price of an Xbox One. That’s a console and five or six games or a console and no games at all for the same price. Your choice.
The Bottom Line
The Wii U still has it’s problems, but if you want a next-gen console with a good selection of games right now and the best line-up of stuff coming in 2014, then the Wii U is your best choice. The Wii U may not have the long-term potential of the Playstation 4 or Xbox One, and I’m not suggesting you should stick to the Wii U and only the Wii U this entire generation, but it could prove to be a solid stop-gap until the other next-gen systems pick up steam (and hopefully come down in price). If you’re a Nintendo fan, or just open to straying outside of Microsoft and Sony’s grey and brown gritty box, it’s time to give the Wii U a chance.