Wii U – the next gen alternative

I have decided not to purchase a PS4 or Xbox one this Christmas and between the Wii U and my Steam enabled PC I am happy for a year or so with my gaming needs.  I have had my Wii U since launch and in that time I have built up a collection of games with the majority being first party Nintendo games and some third party games.  I am impressed with the system overall and here is why…

Firstly, it is fully backwards compatible with the Wii and you can transfer all of your goodies to the Wii U.  Couple this with upgrades for Virtual console games on the Wii U at discounted prices puts Xbox one and PS4 to shame.  Also, all accessories are compatible with the Wii U such as the Wii Remote, balance board and nunchuck.  Finally, off TV play is a great feature to keep your family happy by freeing up the TV.

The Wii U is now selling for an attractive price, if you shop around the Premium bundle can be had for £200 or with a bunch of games for £250.  Also, games such as Arkham City, Black ops 2, ZombiU and Assassins Creed 4 can be bought close to £13 brand new each.

It has streaming apps such as Netflix and Lovefilm with good second screen functionality.  I hope Nintendo can build on this in the future.  Miiverse – this has a great gaming community that is moderated by Nintendo and is a great forum for finding out about new games or marvelling at the artistic talents of fellow gamers.

Much has been talked about with regards to the Wii U graphics and the capability of the system.  You will find them hard to fault with stand out titles such as Pikmin 3, Windwaker HD, Rayman Legends and Wonderful 101 showing the full artistic talents of both first party and third party developers.  The use of shading, lighting, anti-aliasing and smooth frame rates are very impressive and help to create a cohesive gaming world.

Finally the games:

Pikmin 3 – more of the same but graphics and gameplay are king.

Nintendoland – local multi-player is fun during get togethers.

New Super Mario Bros U – great fun in local multi-player.

Zelda Windwaker HD – Is there anything else that needs to be said it is a Zelda game people?

Earthbound – Great RPG for the hardcore Nintendo fans.

ZombiU – highly underrated survival horror game, worth playing on chicken mode as more ammo and guns are available.

Rayman Legends – one of the true highlights great as a single or local multi-player game

Wonderful 101 – Great fun once you have mastered the controls and gorgeous graphics.

 

Games to look out for:

Wii Fit U

Wii Sports HD

Super Mario 3D World

Mario Kart 8

Trine 2

Earthbound

The Wii U is not without its faults as a online multiplayer games console it is not on par with PS3 or Xbox 360 (but a free service nonetheless).  However, this all depends on what type of gamer you are and how you play games.  I do not participate in online gaming very much due to time constraints and I am generally not a fan of playing online.  However, as a local multiplayer console or playing solo there is a lot of fun to be had.

To sum up give the Wii U a chance this Christmas you maybe surprised with what Nintendo have to offer.

Why control schemes should be standardised?

I have been playing games for approximately 30 years in that time I have switched from a joystick with one button, to a nes controller, a megadrive controller and then to a Gameboy and snes controller before moving onto the Dualshock controller.

For the past 5-10 years we have seen a standardized button layout emerging from all three games console manufacturers. Apart from the Wii; all controllers have at least 4 face buttons and two shoulder buttons with a combination of twin analog sticks and a cross keypad. It seems that Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony are all in consensus that the controller has been somewhat standardized with maximum number of buttons achieved and manageable for any gamer in terms of dexterity.

Therefore, it begs the question why we haven’t reached a point where a first person game or a platform game has the same control scheme? For example, recently playing Bioshock infinite the change weapon button is RB (when playing on the Xbox 360) when compared to say Battlefield or Call of duty this is usually the Y button. Instinctively, I always manage to press the Y button before realizing that this is the melee button. Take the zoom function when you are using a scoped rifle. On one game this is accomplished via holding down the left trigger (with the right trigger for firing your weapon). Yet, some games think it is suitable to click on the right controller to zoom in such as Uncharted or Gears of War.

Nintendo are not far behind with their confusing control schemes try playing Super Mario 3D land where the L button allows you to do the stomp jump whilst on New Super Mario U this turns into the twirl move. This can be very problematic when playing both these games at the same time. A problem I have come across whilst helping my niece through some of the difficult levels on Super Mario 3D land wherein my niece ridiculed me for stomp jumping thin air and that I was an incompetent gamer. Mario is near enough identical in the way he moves, behaves and controls in both games.

Fifa and Pro evo is another example where this occurs. I used to be an avid Pro Evo fan before switching to Fifa and then back again due to Fifa 13 crashing all the time. On Fifa you shoot with the A button whilst on Pro Evo this is the X button. Why can’t they both be the same? I know there is an alternate control scheme in Fifa but every time you play local multiplayer you have to ensure you switch control schemes depending on the person who is playing the game and whether that player is a Pro Evo or Fifa player.

To sum up my gripes; I don’t have the time or patience as an older gamer to move between control schemes and having to adjust the way I play each and every game. Also, the fact that I have a range of devices i.e. Wii U, PS Vita, PS3, Xbox 360 and 3DS I would like controls to be standardized so no matter which console I am using i.e. if I am playing Mario on 3ds it is the same as on the Wii U. If I am playing Metal Gear, Deus Ex or Half-life control schemes are similar. Granted some games differ in terms of functionality and features therefore, in order to change the control scheme there has to be a really good reason to do it and it has to be intuitive/second nature in the way the controls work.