In my previous post about the Wii U, I discussed many apps and features that come with the Wii U. I realized later that I did forget to mention the browser so I thought I would give it a brief mention here. I do really like the browser that was instituted within the Wii U. The Wii U browser is, I think, the best browser so far on a Nintendo system, and If eel that it works perfectly in conjunction with a tablet like system that allows you to easily enter in addresses via an onscreen keyboard. I especially enjoy that I can now easily surf while watching television.
I have also gotten a number of plays with Nintendo Land by myself and with up to two other people. I do think that this game gives a very good example of what the system and its extra screen can do. I actually really love the game which is surprising to me because when I looked at it in demos I was like “Really?” But it turns out all those reviewers were right, you really need to get your hands on it to understand how fun it is. I don’t think the lifespan of the game will be long in my attention, but while it is there it is a ton of fun.
In particular, my favorite games have been Donkey Kong Crash and Zelda Battle Quest. Donkey Kong Crash is a weird pachinko-like course in which you navigate a little spring on wheels through various ramps, stairs, and gadgets in order to get through to the end. The game is simple yet challenging, I have gone through the first course dozens of times and while I get close I have yet to complete it. Zelda Battle quest allows you and friends to go through simple quests killing orcs and blobs with bow and sword. Only the player with the tablet gets to play the bow, others play with swords. The quests seem to balance the two well, there are challenges each that require the bow, but I do note that it is much easier to get kills with the sword as you can run up and kill before the bow really gets a shot and you tend to lag behind with the bow. There are many other games similar to this, all of high quality.
Nintendo Land also incorporates its Miiverse directly into the game as well. Allowing the appearance of random people who are also playing the game in the main plaza so it looks really busy like a real theme park would. At first I liked it, but after awhile it is kind of annoying and I haven’t actually sat and talked to anyone. So in essence, all the people there kind of just feels like noise.
And really, that is my initial impression of the Miiverse as a whole. I was actually kind of excited by this feature. I mean it seemed like Nintendo was doing a good job of advancing its connectivity of the console finally and in many respects it is miles ahead of the Wii. But in general, the miiverse just feels like noise. Maybe this will get better as more of my real life friends start joining into the Wii U but I’m not really sure who will. I am still hoping that once I really dig into it that I will find myself liking it more but for now it just isn’t there. [1. Of course, I’m not a huge fan of twitter or facebook either so maybe it is going to be a stretch for me to like this type of thing in the first place.
To date one of the biggest quandaries is of games. I feel like Nintendo went out of their way to attract an initial offering of big names but often times they were ports of games that had been out a few months and had lost their luster. There has yet to be a big name game that has launched at the same time as other consoles though I think that is largely just the season for when it launched. Jan and Feb were dead months for games but we are finally seeing some stuff coming down the pipe in March so there is that to look forward to.
I have been impressed enough by the graphics. Is it light years better than the Wii, though likely only marginal steps better than the PS3 and Xbox 360. Most will note the various ports and how oftentimes the graphics don’t match up, but I would point out that you can also compare the Xbox 360 to the PS3 and find X360 graphics better. This is not because the Xbox 360 is the most powerful system, but rather often it is the system games are developed for. That a game is being ported and not well is not the blame of the system at all. In fact, Nintendo has often had the habit of making systems that synchronize well with each of its parts but often only Nintendo can figure out how to use it properly. I have no doubt that it is happening here as well.
I also admit that I am onboard with Nintendo in that I don’t feel graphics are everything. I am the minority here. I believe that making the game fun first and foremost is most important. I think graphics today are already way better than they need to be. To me the main thing I looked for in graphics from nintendo was an slight improvement in quality coupled with high definition and this they delivered. Then again I look for a different experience out of my console, I get my real gaming out of my computer. Real hardcore gamers don’t look for their hardcore fix on a console.