So you managed to get a PlayStation 4. Congratulations!
But what's next? Perhaps you've already decided not to purchase an Xbox One, due to the two systems being so similar. That's understandable! Maybe instead you've been eyeing the Wii U, a system that offers a different experience from the PlayStation 4 in a few different ways.
Before you spend your hard earned cash, you may be asking yourself if the Wii U makes a good companion console to the PlayStation 4. Let's examine both the pros and the cons of the system to help you make a decision.
Nothing Tops Nintendo's Franchises...
For the past 30 years, no video game company has come close to topping any of Nintendo's games or franchises; Mario still remains the gold standard for platforming games and every entry in the Zelda series goes on to sell millions. While a few games on past PlayStation systems, like Darksiders and Rayman Origins, come close to Nintendo game experiences, they aren't a substitute for the real thing.
Nintendo games typically sacrifice story and setpiece gaming for pure gameplay and fun, a far cry from games such as Call of Duty and Battiefield. The Wii U looks to continue this tradition of focusing on gameplay over everything else, already releasing a handful of amazing games that are already future classics.
Super Mario 3D World is garnering perfect scores at numerous publications, while Wind Waker HD is an amazing update to an amazing GameCube game. New Super Mario Bros., along with New Luigi Bros., capture that old school Super Mario World feel. Third party support for the Wii U is limited, but games such as Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, ZombiU and Wonderful 101 are well worth the money, taking full advantage of the Wii U's features.
... But Third Party Support Is Limited
While Nintendo's games are the cream of the crop, and the Wii U does have a few great third party games, overall support for the console is lacking. Many developers and publishers have abandoned the console due to its lower sales, and the multiplatform games on the Wii U that do see release are often missing features. The bottome line is that if you're purchasing a Wii U, you're going to need to be a fan of Nintendo's franchises. With upcoming games like Super Smash Bros., Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze and Mario Kart, the system does have a bright future for fans of the publisher.
A Unique Control Scheme
The first thing most people notice about the Wii U is its unique controller, dubbed the Wii U GamePad, that is patterned off of a tablet computer. The controller plays host to a large touch-based display right in the center of it, with the typical buttons and analog sticks found on either side.
Similar to the DualShock 4's touchpad but with a screen, the GamePad enables developers to utilize the controller as both a second screen and as an alternate control scheme. For example, the controller could not only display a map, but would also let you draw your own notes on the map.
Additionally, you can transfer any Wii U game to the GamePad, similar to the remote play feature the PS4 uses with the Vita. The difference is you don't need an additional console to activate this form of remote play and it works flawlessly with every single game on the Wii U system.
Unfortunately, while the GamePad could potentially be used for some good ideas, it seems no developer, Nintendo included, has figured how to use it other than as a map screen or alternate control method. Once a developer figures out how to use the GamePad in a new and inventive way, everyone will see the Wii U in a brand new light. Until then, the GamePad presents some nice quality of life improvements but nothing you haven't seen before.
How Does It Look?
To put it bluntly, the Wii U's graphics are only marginally better than the last generation of video game consoles. Graphics aren't everything however, and since most Wii U games focus on fantasy-based worlds and not realistic worlds, the graphics still look amazing. You've never seen Mario and Zelda look this great!
You already have a PlayStation 4, so you already have awesome graphics covered, so you can cut the Wii U a bit of slack in this regard.
The Online Angle
Online was never been one of Nintendo's strong suits with the Wii and that trend continues with the Wii U. While Nintendo has made strides to improve its online service, it's still a far cry from what you see with the PlayStation 4's PlayStation Network. The bottom line is that you'll be playing all of your multiplayer retail games on the PlayStation 4, as the Wii U's online is mostly a novelty and not a full feature.
The exception to the rule is the Wii U's Virtual Console, lettings gamers buy, download and play digital copies of some of Nintendo's best older games. These games are fully enabled to take advantage of your HDTV and also add in support for save states! Some standout virtual console titles include Earthbound, Punch Out, Mega Man 2 and The Legend of Zelda.
The Final Verdict
Is it worth it to get a Wii U if you already have the PlayStation 4? The answer lies in what you're looking for in a second console.
As we've seen with the average to poor reviews for Knack, the PlayStation 4 has a dearth of platforming and family friendly games with only Rayman Legends in the pipeline. If you're missing classic platforming gameplay, definitely pick up a Wii U.
Likewise, if you're a fan of Nintendo franchises and consoles, definitely get a Wii U: Nintendo is at the top of its game, so to speak, this generation when it comes to making killer games.
However, if you're not a fan of Nintendo, enjoy online gaming, or only care about graphics and realism, the Wii U is most likely not for you. It won't be for everyone.
At $299.99 in the United States, and including a different pack-in game depending on what system you get (or two, in the case of the New Super Mario Bros. bundle), the Wii U is a decent deal. It covers a different range of gaming experiences than the PlayStation 4, enabling both systems to happily coexist under your television.
Article by - Joshua Phillips
Insert Date: 12/17/2013