Friday, November 23, 2012

Backlogged Gaming: Wii U First Impressions

Now that it's been out for nearly a week I've decided to give my first impressions of the system. Or more accurately my nit picks. Now don't get me wrong I'm not saying it's a bad system but as is starting to become typical for Nintendo, stuff that just seems like common sense to everyone else often just doesn't occur to them

A large part of my problem relates to the system's backwards compatability. Most of which I know probably will never be patched for the same reason Sony removed PS2 compatibility from the PS3, backwards compatibility isn't profitable.

But what am I talking about you might ask? Wii games and by extension Virtual Console games must be played in Wii Mode which in some areas mimics the original system more then it should and in others ignores things that were changed in patches. For starters in spite of the far superior internal memory of the Wii U (8GB or 32GB) the Wii mode still limits you to the same 512MB of file space the original Wii had. So if you were thinking "Sweet I'll finally be able to have all my Virtual Console and Wiiware games downloaded at the same time!" you were unfortunately wrong.

Another thing that baffles me is how it runs Virtual Console games, just like the regular Wii it still stretches games that were only made for standard definition to widescreen unless you manually adjust the zoom on your TV. Neither the X-Box 360 or PS3 do this when you run their older games, they keep them at their proper 4:3 aspect ratio without you adjusting your TV.

One thing I knew about beforehand is that you can only use the original Wii controllers in Wii Mode, but this still bothers me. The Pro Controller has the same number of buttons as the classic controller, we should be able to use it especially since we lost the use of the Gamecube controller. Am I the only one who wants to be able to play my games without wasting tons of batteries?

Lastly while I had heard Nintendo was doing away with Wii Points in favor of using regular currency for their eShop, this is not entirely true. Because see... Virtual Console and Wiiware titles are not available through the eShop. They can only be accessed through the Wii Shop Channel while in Wii mode which surprise surprise... still uses Wii Points. So if like me you bought an eShop card while picking up the system and planned on expanding your Virtual Console games (since you have extra space now even though you don't) then you just wasted your money!

Now onto actual Wii U games, the HD stuff. Sad to say, I haven't spent much time on actual Wii U games. Primarily because most of the games I really want to play won't be out for a few months but after what happened with the original Wii I didn't wanna be left empty handed on a system when the games I really wanted got released. But here is what I have noticed so far...

Prior to it's release they were saying it was going to be more powerful then the PS3. But is this true? Well... yes and no. It can put out more impressive visuals but there seems to be a cost to doing so. For instance Warriors Orochi 3 looks better on the Wii U, but it can't handle as many enemies on screen at the same time. Which for a game that is all about slaughtering hundreds and hundreds of enemy soldiers, the last thing you want is to decrease the number of enemies on screen at a time. Especially considering the enemies are always still there even when the game can't handle them, they just materialize out of thin air after you killed the ones it could handle being there. Now this has previously been an issue with the Dynasty Warriors games but it had more or less become unnoticeable this console generation, only for the Wii U to cause it to show up again.

So this may leave many developers asking themselves "Should we make our game look as beautiful as possible, or hold it back so it'll run better on the system". Then again it may just be that since it's a new system people haven't gotten a proper grasp on developing for it and things may improve later. But it's hard to say at this point since it's far too early to know for sure.

Obviously for Nintendo's first party games this won't be an issue since they only develop for their own systems and will design everything keeping the system's capabilities in mind. But this may end up being a problem with companies intending to make multiplatform games. Then again most games don't require insane numbers of enemies on screen like Warriors Orochi 3 but I have been hearing mixed reviews about various other launch titles.

As I said, I suppose only time will tell and it's certainly not a bad system. It's just somewhat irritating that Nintendo has a habit of doing things however they feel like with little regard for what consumers actually say on the matters. But that's par for the course with them and I suppose there is no sense in complaining about it now.

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