Monday, November 5, 2012
Do I Want a Wii U?
Given that I've had a bit of extra time lately with things being....like they are, and the fact that I'm actually bringing in some playing money for the first time in a while, I've been putting some consideration into things and at the top of that consideration list is the up-coming Wii U. It surprises me, I'm sure you'll all know already, and I cannot quite pin down just -why- I have anything beyond a passing glance to give it since I know, in my head, that it really has nothing to offer me that I'm interested in. I suppose it's just the glimmer and glitter of that which is new, but I'm usually pretty good about being able to resist that sort of thing unless it is something that I directly want, like it was with the Vita. It's a quandary, that's for sure, as I have said that I'm not really all that enthused with Nintendo's First Party efforts, and if any other Nintendo release past the N64 is concerned, that's all that really should matter
The system is getting -one- thing I want, at least, in the form of Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper, which is basically Warriors Orochi 3 with extra stuff and, here's the important part, on a fucking disk. Does that blow your mind? It shouldn't! Because the goddamn game should be on a disk no matter what, but we've learned that things aren't always as they should be and it just sucks when it's like that. Still, that's just one game and no matter if it's a game I particularly want, it does not justify a drop of $350 (because who wants the basic model? Nobody, that's who) when the game, itself, will likely be $50 or $60 as well. Not to mention the looming possibility of 'exclusive Wii U Pad functionality' which translates into 'stupid things we arbitrarily added to force you to use things besides buttons and sticks' since KOEI doesn't know the meaning of the word 'optional'. This is all stuff you want to learn -before- you shell the cash, which is what I'll be doing, certainly, since impressions are going to be key overall and not just here.
The major tipping point for me is just how up-to-date Nintendo's Online workings are, really, which seems to be a strange metric to gauge it by. Fact is, however, that the Wii U is indeed starting a new cycle and we can often use where the console begins as a judge for how it's going to progress through the years. There are some outliers, as the PS3 ended up growing by leaps and bounds beyond its original constraints, but I doubt Nintendo will offer the same evolution. In fact, I fear the opposite if the N64, the Wii and the 3DS is anything to go by, since all three examples show Nintendo offering growth and never, ever utilizing it in a decisive way until it's too late, if even then. For the N64, it was the expansion pack (and arguably rumble pack), for the Wii it was Motion+ (only required for Wii Sports Resort and Skyward Sword? C'mooon), and for the 3DS it's arguably the Circle Pad Pro which is a whole other argument in itself. But the pattern is that Nintendo has a habit of releasing things mid-way through for something, and then only using it for that one thing, completely neutering its potential and leaving everyone confused.
My point is, if the Online Infrastructure isn't up-to-par on day one, I have very serious doubts that it will ever be, as I'm not quite sure Nintendo is flexible enough to end up molding it the way Sony did with the PS3 to get it from where it was to where it's at now. Specifically, the at-least list is topped by "Unified ID" (which rumors indicate is a thing with the Nintendo Network ID or something similar) and "Universal Achievement System" which.....no, isn't my preference, it's kind of a thing now. Every single thing that -isn't- a Nintendo product has Achievements of some sort now (hell, even some of Nintendo's own games have something of that sort) and refusing to acknowledge that by having a system in place is just going to show Nintendo's own stubbornness in insisting they don't have to do what everyone else is doing while doing....-most- of what everyone else is doing all the same. After all, Nintendo is the last horse past the gate when it comes to having an Online set up in a cohesive manner as well as coming in to this whole HD game. If they're not catching up and 'surpassing' all at once, they're still behind, and that's where they're going to end up.
Possibly not behind sales-wise, though that is an option depending on how Nintendo plays their cards, but in general opinion nonetheless. Without delving too deep into rhetoric, cliches or stigmas, to say that the Wii captured a wide majority of we who play games regularly is a falsehood and I know that's such a controversial statement and blah blah, but it's the truth nonetheless. If you have a Wii, it's generally a companion piece and not a main-stay, trotted out whenever a first-party title is released and then quietly ushered behind the curtain while the rest of your time is spent with a PS3, a 360 or a handheld of your choice. The reasoning behind that is basically that the Wii fell out with folks who play games more often than every few months or so when something reasonably interesting from the First-Party pops out, since there just isn't a whole hell of a lot else there. You gotta have something to fill up the time with and the third parties are a-thrivin' over in PS360 land and unless Nintendo can keep the seemingly high interest up, the climate is going to go much the same way and without the novelty of "Hey, I can play bowling with a remote control" to fall back on, there's no other widespread audience to grab.
That is, in fact, my real, genuine concern with the system, in that it has poised itself to be the system we all want it to be, without the past pedigree to buy that assurance. The masses might not agree, but I personally need a little more than Yet Another Mario Title In Which Something Is Barely Different and the promise of another Zelda game in two or three years to get my hopes up. I need new IPs from Nintendo who are supposed to be the most creative of the big three out there. I need continued third-party support. I need Nintendo to know just what in the blue hell they are doing with the Wii U without voluntarily introducing something that could technically change the entire climate of the system, yet doesn't, ending up in enticing you to spend $20-$60 on an accessory for a single game, potentially two or three. I need something to affirm the faith that so many people have unquestioningly in Nintendo. Perhaps the Wii U will deliver on that - I'm not too sure. Clearly, I have my doubts, but I can hope and dream as well and if, by chance, the Wii U ends up being what it can and should be, I think the answer to the question I've been pondering will be "Yes. Yes, I do want a Wii U." What a day that would be.