PROS / The Wii U's tablet-like Gamepad offers gameplay potential similar to the Nintendo DS and 3DS.
CONS / The Nintendo Network is a poor online system, lacking the simplicity of other consoles.
VERDICT / The Nintendo Wii U is full of potential, but it lacks the capabilities and media features of other consoles.
Nintendo was the first company to launch a new video game console in the latest wave of next-gen devices. Unfortunately, the Wii U feels more like competition to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, rather than a true next-gen console. The Wii U's Gamepad is an excellent gaming controller, and the console offers amazing potential. However, there are some major issues preventing the system from becoming a great gaming machine. The Wii U uses unique hardware that requires game developers to create games specifically for this console. It's hard for publishers to justify the extra development costs to optimize multiplatform games to fit the Wii U, which means Sony and Microsoft consoles will attract more developers and more games. On the other hand, this means most games that do come to the Wii U are either exclusive or able to utilize the GamePad.
The Nintendo Wii U has proprietary technology, so it is hard to find exact details about its performance. While benchmark tests are available online to demonstrate the power of the console, the truly important aspect of any console is its games. Since its launch, Nintendo has had difficulty convincing third-party publishers to port popular games from the PS4 and Xbox One over to the Wii U. Fortunately, Nintendo's growing list of first-party titles makes it the only place to play incredible games like "The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD" and "Mario Kart 8." And best of all, the Wii U's Gamepad allows you to transfer gameplay to the tablet and let others use the television.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of wasted potential with the Wii U. Although the console supports up to two Gamepads, there aren't any games that utilize this feature. All multiplayer games use last-generation Wii remotes instead. Also, the Gamepad must be within range of the Wii U console to use the remote play capabilities, so you cannot download games to the controller and play on the road.
Perhaps the biggest flaw with the Wii U is its antiquated online service. The Nintendo Network requires Friend Codes to connect with others online. You cannot search for players that you met in multiplayer sessions, and the system does not support party and cross-game chat with your friends.
Even with all of its faults, the Wii U is a Nintendo console, so you'll see some of the best first-party games exclusively for the system. From Mario to Zelda, Nintendo develops fun games for people of all ages and tastes. Over the coming years, other Nintendo franchises will bring excellent experiences to the console, and we hope that other publishers will see the potential in the Wii U.
The Nintendo Wii U is a unique video game console that fails to offer comparable gaming experiences to other next-gen systems. Although the console has lots of potential, it cannot compete with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and many of the system's features do not work in today's gaming environment. Fortunately, the Wii U is the exclusive home of new Nintendo exclusives, which are some of the most enjoyable family-friendly games available.