Wii U Review Update: 20 Months Later

Wii U Review Update: 20 Months Later

If you don’t have a Wii U, it’s time to get one. This is our Kotaku review update for the Wii U, the gaming console with a screen in its controller that we’ve been telling you since November 2012 is not yet a must-have. It finally is.

It is because the Wii U finally has so many good games that it’s possible to forget some of them! For example, someone might ask a Wii U owner which games are great on Wii U and they will mention this one:

And this one….

But they will forget this this one existed.

Or they may not even know that this one is out.

You’ve heard about the one that remixes old Nintendo games, right?

Have you seen this one?

Would you believe that this Nintendo console is even building up a stack of indie games worth splurging on?

Long ago in the year 2012, we knocked the Wii U for its sluggish operating system. Nintendo sped it up a bit. It wasn’t enough, so Nintendo kept tinkering. Today, we can praise the Wii U for its new start-up menu that lets us get to its games a bit faster.

Once, we knocked the Wii U for having a pitiful amount of internal storage, 32GB max, (well, really only 29GB). And… we still think that’s too paltry but maybe you’re cool with plugging in an externally-powered USB drive to give you extra storage?

Once, we complained that the Wii U GamePad controller battery died too quickly. It still does (but you can buy a better battery).

We can live with these problems. They’re overwhelmed by what the Wii U does right. And that GamePad controller is actually pretty great. So is the optional (and recommended) Xbox-style Pro Controller.

The Wii U launched with a bunch of services, but what we weren’t sure about at first was how well they’d run long-term.

Good news!

The Wii U eShop is easy to navigate, constantly filled with sales and regularly updated with new and old games alike. The Virtual Console back-catalogue could use some beefing up, but who are we to slight a console that now lets you download everything from Earthbound to Advance Wars to Golden Sun to Metroid Fusion?

The system’s social network, the Miiverse, is somewhat insane but it’s also the warmest, friendliest community you can find on a console. From the console, you can go into a message board for a game and find that people are drawing pictures celebrating it. And sometimes those pictures make it back into the games. Cheery! Seriously, it’s a nice touch.

Back in the old days of 2013 or so the coolest thing about the Wii U was that it was giving you Nintendo graphics in HD.

And then that became a clichéd reason to be excited about the Wii U.

Oh, whatever. It’s really nice to see Nintendo graphics in HD!

Note: On the occasion of writing about the Wii U here at Kotaku we don’t always mention two games that many of our readers love. We will do that here to further show off how cool the Wii U is.

First, we are mentioning Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate right here.

Second, we are mentioning Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze here.

The best thing about the Wii U is that you can play most of its best games without even turning on your TV. Trust us. This is great. It’s great for playing console-quality games without a TV, be it in your bed or in public places (especially if you’re really handsome)…

It’s also great for playing Wii U games while someone else in the house is using the TV that the console is hooked into. Call us crazy, but this has become the norm for many of us Wii U owners at Kotaku who routinely trade stories about playing this or that Wii U game via the system’s controller screen without turning on the TV. Do we do this just because we can? No, we do this because it turns out to be an awesome option.

We even have people on staff who play games on the GamePad while they themselves are using the TV. Oh, the multitasking insanity!

We can’t deny that there are drawbacks to owning a Wii U. If it’s your only console, you can kiss the chances of playing the next cutting-edge Assassin’s Creed, Batman or Grand Theft Auto games goodbye. Unless you’re a big Sonic fan, you’re not really going to find many big-company non-Nintendo games that you can only play on Wii U or play on Wii U at all. Get another system if you want to enjoy blockbusters from Activision, EA, Ubisoft, Take Two and the like. There are also huge genre holes on the Wii U that are likely to get bigger what with a dearth of realistic sports games, a rarity of RPGs, and a slowdown of new shooters.

We are at peace with this.

There was a time when the Wii U simply cost too much for the amount of great games it had on the system. There was also a time when Nintendo TVii might have been a big deal. (This was around the same time!). That was the past. That was a past when you could merrily skip the Wii U and be ok.

Today, however, if you skip the Wii U, you’re missing out.

Please recognise that we don’t make console recommendations based on the future. We’re not telling you to grab a Wii U now because there’s a Smash Bros. a few months from release and a gorgeous open-world Zelda farrrr out on the horizon.


We are recommending the Wii U in the present. We are recommending the console of surprise feature-adding Pikmin 3 patches…the console of the wonderfully weird and eminently crowd-pleasing Nintendo Land…the console of… this:

OK, maybe that’s a bit much.

But still, do we now recommend that you get a Wii U? Are we now pretty sure that you’ll have a good time with it? Do we finally feel like the system has hit its stride?

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