Feature Article

Why You Should Buy a Wii U in 2015

A library full of exclusives and a lot of potential for the coming year.

Join in us over the next few days as we look at all of the leading games consoles and platforms out right now and try to convince you why you should spend your hard-earned cash. Today we're looking at the Wii U, with Justin Haywald taking the lead on why you need the system in 2015.

The Wii U had an undeniably rocky start. Sales were slow at the start, and there was confusion over what the system was exactly: a standalone controller for the Wii? A self-contained game system and tablet in one? The situation was dire enough that it even prompted one GameSpot editor early in 2014 to wonder if Nintendo would just slowly kill the system off.

Sales still haven't skyrocketed in the last year, with just a slight bump in hardware numbers over recently. But despite facing increasing competition from Microsoft and Sony's current-gen systems, Nintendo has turned the perception of its console around significantly. 2015 is the year that you should buy a Wii U.

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The Library

As a developer, Nintendo has settled into a comfortable groove. With every new hardware iteration, gamers can set up a checklist of exclusive, high-quality games: Mario platformer, Zelda game, Mario Kart, Smash, etc. And 2014 did not disrupt those expectations.

The party-friendly Super Smash Bros. introduced a larger cast of characters than ever before, including surprise appearances by Bowser Jr. and the dog from Duck Hunt. The option to play eight-player matches ramped up the on-screen chaos exponentially, but the series stays true to previous iterations with its simple to learn fighting moves that make it approachable for new players while maintaining enough depth for hardcore tournament play. And for the first time in the series, players could construct their own arenas to battle in.

Mario Kart 8 also came out last year. It doesn't try anything terribly ground-breaking for the series, it's an example of how small refinements can turn what could've been a phoned-in sequel into one of the best entries in Nintendo's racing franchise. And that's helped by the Wii U's HD graphic capabilities, which show off how great the details look while also giving us a close-up view of individual racers' faces, and their occasionally dark, intimidating stares.

But Nintendo's biggest strength is in creating quality platformers. The Wii U has a slate of strong entries in the genre that puts your hand-eye coordination to the test -- games like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, New Super Mario Bros., and Super Mario 3D World.

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Nintendo isn't the only one creating Wii U exclusives; the console is also the only place to play Platinum Games' Bayonetta 2. One of the few games in GameSpot's history to garner a perfect review score, Bayonetta shows off not just the technical prowess of the Wii U in handling a good-looking game, but also the availability of more adult-focused software on the what is generally considered a kid-friendly machine.

On the flip side, like Nintendo's previous home consoles, there's not a lot of multiplatofrm third-party games on Wii U. EA discussed their lack of support for the console back in 2013, and Activision didn't bring the latest Call of Duty to Wii U last year. Ubisoft's Watch Dogs came to the system, but it's definitely not the best version available. However, you can sill access great smaller titles like Child of Light, Guacamelee, and Shovel Knight on the Wii U's online game store.

The argument that there just aren't games to play on the Wii U doesn't hold up, with quirky exclusives like: The Wonderful 101 (from the creators of Viewtiful Joe and Okami); the family-friendly puzzle game Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker; classic remasters like The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD; and party games like Game & Wario and the Nintendo Land pack-in.

Upcoming Games

2014 saw a big improvement in the size and quality of the Wii U's library, but the future looks even brighter. Mario Kart 8 will continue to see new life with the addition of a second DLC pack that extends the number of available racers, carts, and tracks. More classic Wii games like Super Mario Galaxy 2 and The Metroid Prime Trilogy will be making their way to the Nintendo Wii U eShop. But more importantly, there's a new entry in the Zelda franchise on the way.

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While Nintendo has only released a small amount of information, Zelda on Wii U's world is set to be expansive, making it comparable in scope to a Western open-world RPG like The Elder Scrolls. We'll hear more about the game at E3, but the currently untitled Zelda Wii U is slated to come out near the end of the year.

The Wii U is also getting a new entry in the Star Fox series this year, which we got a brief flight mechanics demo of last year. Kirby and Yoshi will be making a return in standalone games. And the epic RPG Xenoblade Chronicles X is targeting an April release in Japan and a worldwide release sometime in 2015.

Nintendo is branching out as well with some new ideas. For the first time the developer is working on a shooter in the form of Splatoon. The bright, paintball-looking third-person game is being overseen, but not developed, by Shigeru Miyamoto. And Mario Maker is an upcoming creation tool that lets you make your own Mario levels while choosing what graphical style (NES, SNES, or Wii U) you'd like to play with.

But most exciting is what we don't know. It's rare that Nintendo has provided even this much insight into the games it has in the works, but that means we're also in store for some big surprises at E3. Nintendo has still been completely silent on the future of some of its biggest franchises; will we hear about Wii U versions of Metroid or Pokemon?

Hardware

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After the simplicity of the original Wii's design, the Wii U seemed like an overcompensation. The large, tablet-like controller looks too big to be comfortable and the touch-screen seems like an unnecessary gimmick. But the controller is built to be surprisingly ergonomic and easy to hold. And although few games make very innovative use of the second screen's touch controls, that's actually a blessing in disguise: the real highlight is using the controller as a second TV screen.

The Wii U controller streams directly from the console, but without any perceptible lag or decrease in graphical quality. The Wii U's ability to play a game directly on the GamePad while someone else uses the TV for watching a show or playing a different game (on a separate system) is utterly invaluable when you have multiple people who want to use one TV.

In terms of raw processing power, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (and any mid-range gaming PC) handily beats out Nintendo's console. But only Nintendo has a built-in second screen solution that works this effortlessly. And for those instances when you want to play on the big screen and just use a regular controller, the Wii U Pro Controller provides an excellent solution with a more traditional design and a crazy 80 hours of battery life.

Other Stuff

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The Wii U GamePad has some other built-in features like a front-facing camera and gyroscopic controls, but the tech with the most potential in the coming year is the NFC reader. While the Skylanders series is already taking full advantage of the feature for its set of figurine-focused games, Nintendo's own Amiibo program has yet to reach its full potential. But knowing Nintendo, that's only a matter of time.

Make no mistake, several Amiibo (even those without unfortunate manufacturing errors) are already highly collectible commodities. And the figurines do introduce fun extras to a growing list of Wii U games. In Super Smash Bros., you can fight alongside or against your Amiibo, level it up, and save that progress to the figurine. For games like Hyrule Warriors or Mario Kart, different characters unlock cosmetic in-game additions.

But eventually Nintendo is going to release their own Disney Infinity-style Toy Box feature. Or even more potentially compelling: some functionality with a future Pokemon game that allows you to "collect 'em all" in real life. However, even without a killer application to justify them, the figurines are solid, detailed collectibles that any Nintendo fan will want to own at least one of.

In the end, the Wii U is far from a perfect system. But Nintendo is turning its company's outlook around and making what started out as a year-long commercial disaster into a console that you should own. For me personally, and I think for any hardcore gamer, the Wii U has established itself as the perfect "second console." Having access to either a gaming PC, Xbox One, or PS4 will let you play the AAA blockbusters that come out on almost every platform. But I wouldn't give up my Wii U and its slate of timeless exclusives for anything.

With a library of wonderful experiences out now, access to an ever-expanding eShop of upcoming indies and classic games from previous Nintendo consoles, and a very bright future, 2015 is a great year to finally buy a Wii U.

P.S. After writing this, I realized that I left off the most important reason to buy a Wii U: Earthbound. One of the greatest games of all time is on the Wii U virtual console, and if you have a Wii U, you should buy it. If you don't have a Wii U, that's reason enough on it's own to buy one. I was going to replace this entire article with just the word "Earthbound," but I was asked not to by my boss.

Check out our rundowns of the other platforms in 2015.

Justin Haywald on Google+
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

justinhaywald

Justin Haywald

GameSpot's Managing Editor and part-time stunt double for Elijah Wood.

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RetroManHD

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I'm seriously considering getting a Wii U... like today! I have a PS4 and love it, but I miss some good old arcade gameplay!

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Coolman13355

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Because my car is finally paid off.

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ekolite

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I really, really am in a minority when I say that I hope success for all three major consoles. XBone, Wii U and PS4 all need success as, when it comes right down to it, all have the potential of releasing mind-blowing video game experiences. As we say, the more the merrier. The only thing I don't like about Sony is their lack of Vita support in America is pretty staggering. And to be honest I have more respect for Microsoft for their scheme that exploded on itself when they tried to get their hands on all the media rights that interfered with the rights of their buyers. That act alone and the timing of it will actually prevent it from ever happening. So the end result is good, even if not intended that way. Nintendo is just playing it totally different, with totally unique hardware experiences, unlike anything else out there, with sometimes simple game mechanics that are true to the word FUN moreso than graphics horsepower. Hell, when I see Smash Bros. for Wii U in action I can tell you I absolutely do not miss seeing a next-gen game. It's detail in artistic design alone is enough eye candy for me. They are not catching as much fire in sales as many think and expected. And this is unfortunate for them. Money talks. And so does numbers in horsepower (Shout-out to pc gamers) However, good luck to all

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kangaroosly911

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Star Fox, Zelda, Xenoblade, Mario Makers, Kirby, Yoshi, Splatoon..... As long as Bayonetta 2, Mario kart 8, Smash Bros and Toad ? ? WOW !!!!!

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mariokart64fan

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Wiiu has a better 2015' marioparty 10" yoshi Kirby Zelda xenoblade splattoon starfox Mario vs dk Mario maker

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ewokachu

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I finally got my Wii U in late 2014...I LOVE IT! It was a hard decision between that and the PS4, but honestly, my gaming habits have changed, and the games Nintendo produced offered me more value. I can honestly say I was nervous about getting a Wii U, but not anymore. It does everything that I need it to do; and I love using Netflix, Hulu, etc. on it.

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megakick

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You should buy Wii U because it can do 1080p 60 FPS, who cares if it is photo realistic if the the frame drops and the animation looks broken.

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kdognumba1

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The reason to get any system is solely the games. All the other "features" are great and all but none of them matter when it comes down to it.

Here's some exclusive games people can look forward to getting on WiiU:


Splatoon

Mario Party 10

Legend of Zelda Wii U

Yoshi's Wooly World

Star Fox Wii U

Mario Maker

Xenoblade Chronicles X

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse

Devil's Third

Project Shield

Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem

Project Giant Robot

Project Treasure

Games that can be localized:



Fatal Frame V

Pokken Tournament

Dragon Quest X

Rodea the Sky Soldier

Yakuza 1&2 HD

Games currently on the WiiU:

New Super Mario Bros U

ZombiU

New Super Luigi U

Bayonetta 2

Super Mario 3D World

Wonderful 101

Nintendoland

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

Wii Sports Club

Super Smash Bros Wii U

Wii Party U

Sonic Lost World

NES Remix Pack

Pikmin 3

Pushmo World

Mario Kart 8

Captain Toads Treasure Tracker

Hyrule Warriors

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze

Game & Wario

Legend of Zelda Wind Waker HD

Lego City Undercover

Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Games

Scram Kitty and His Buddy On Rails

Tank! Tank! Tank!

Mighty Switch Force Hyper Drive Edition

Mighty Switch Force 2

Shantae and the Pirate's Curse

Armillo


If these games don't interest you then sure, you should probably stay away but myself, many of these games are experiences that are down my alley and there's actually plenty more games that are either console exclusive or multiplat that benefit from the controller that are also worthwhile experiences. If you're interested in knowing what all is on the system here's a wikipedia link:


<< LINK REMOVED >>

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Terminator95

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SONY PS4 Games

- Bloodborne

- Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

- The Order: 1886

- No Man's Sky

- Until Dawn

- Street Fighter V

- Infamous Second Son

- Wild

- The Tomorrow Children

- The Last Guardian

Future Sony games :

-GOD of War 4

-Gran Turismo 7

-GTA 6

-etc…

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timmerous

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Does this list have a point? Or did you just want to copy and paste it from another article for extra gold stars? I'm guessing you like lists so here's some of my shopping list just for you:

-Bacon

-Brown Bread

-Chicken Fillets

-Potatoes

-Mixed Veg

-Brown Rice

-Orange Juice

-Stock

-Soup

If you want more, just let me know and I'll see what I can do.

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ichthusfish

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> lool! I love your list.

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omniphile

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<< LINK REMOVED >> That's quite a list but unfortunately it lacks a killer-app for 2015... I might get a PS4 for The Last Guardian, Kingdom Hearts 4, etc... next year, or in 2017, when the good games are finally released and the console is $100 cheaper.

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PikachuDude860

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Just saying. Zelda U, Starfox, and Xenoblade Chronicles X...In the SAME year. Just saying.

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Mitsukiba

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Almost... Zelda has been delayed to TBA.

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ewokachu

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<< LINK REMOVED >> YES!!

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bigrod69

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I have all the units... it would be very difficult to recommend a Wii U over a XB1 or a PS4 for the simple reason that you know the Wii U won't be around for long and it has very poor game support. The graphics on the Wii U, depending on the game, can be surprisingly good. Most Nintendo titles don't use a lot of textures and simplified designs, thus they can look very good on the older hardware. Nintendo has an excellent back library and that is probably its strongest feature, since you can go to Gamestop or somewhere else and get used games, very good used games, for fairly cheap.


Overall if you got the money to get a Wii U AND still get one of the next gen units AND want to play the Wii U exclusives, it makes sense. Just realize that a new system is probably coming as soon as next year.

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zeldafan195

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Why would it not be around long? Because of bad sales? They stuck with the Gamecube, despite having about the same sales as the Wii U at this point. Nintendo has seen what happens to other companies when they abandon their systems so quick (SEGA). If they were moving to a different platform soon, they wouldn't be showing new games coming out a whole year later. Huge projects like Zelda and Xenoblade X would be for their new system.

Any of those stupid rumors that say Nintendo will abandon it are baseless propaganda with no evidence whatsoever. They have done everything but give up on the Wii U. They have taken support away from the 3DS to focus on the Wii U. If they wanted to replace it, they'd take away support.

Do you understand who is telling you these lies? It's sites that get the majority of their funding from companies that make their money from Sony/MS platforms. Game sites are indirectly getting their money from Sony and Microsoft. Nintendo hardly does any advertising, and doesn't have a hardly any involvement with gaming sites. So of course these sites are going to talk about Nintendo in a more negative way.

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bigrod69

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Nintendo was in bad shape until they got a huge surprise hit in the Wii, there was very much talk of them pulling out of the console business altogether. I already have a Wii U so I have nothing against the system, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone as a primary unit going forward because of the nearly complete lack of 3rd party support. The Wii U released a year before the other next-gen systems but without anything close to the graphics power of those systems - its very much in the range of a PS3, plus maybe 10-20% in power. Meanwhile both nextgen systems from MS and Sony are around 600% more powerful than the last generation of systems. So thats why I don't believe the Wii U will be around for long. Look I could be wrong, Nintendo could just stick with it, Zelda might be a huge hit and sell millions of new consoles, but even if that did happen 3rd party support would be very slow to respond.


So with that said I still with my opinion, and its just opinion, that the Wii U is a great platform if you're interested in the Nintendo library and realize it could have a limited future.


If I'm wrong then fantastic, as I said I have a Wii U, I've enjoyed it much more than I've enjoyed my PS4 (but my XB1 is by far the runaway winner between the three), but the simple fact is the Wii U's upcoming game list is not very impressive.

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J12456788

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> So what your saying is because of one bad system they should pull out of the video game market that's a really stupid statement because look at all the money Sony is losing and no one is telling them to pull out

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Mitsukiba

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Regardless of that; the PS3 is still getting a fair amount of support, while PS4 won't have anything killer until 2016 from what I've gathered. There are good games now... But nothing so amazing to stop you from getting the Wii U now. I'd say wait patiently for now on both.

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bigrod69

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Dummy... about the only division making money for Sony right now is their Playstation division, its basically what is keeping them in business. As for Nintendo I didn't say they should pull out of the video game market, first I said before the Wii there were many rumors of them pulling out of the console market - that means making consoles. With the Wii U, Nintendo has not done well, the sales numbers and the 3rd party support prove that. I have a Wii U, I actually like the system, but there is no way I'd recommend it to someone that wants a console for the next 5 years - the support isn't there. However if you want a 2nd or 3rd console to play Nintendo games, then its a perfect fit - which is how I use it.


Anywho kid get back to me after you balls drop, until then try to be less boring.

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Azkotek

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I have a PS3, a good gaming PC and a Wii U. I don't even think they compete one another since the experience I get from them is quite different. But I really like the Wii U feature that allows playing on the gamepad (although resolution is not great and colors seems a bit more bland than my TV). Mario 3D World alone makes it Worth buying a Wii U. Well, now that I bought the Metroid Trilogy (which BTW is on sale right now on the eShop if you're interested...) and played with nostalgia, I'd wish there's a Wii U version coming out soon! Metroid on Wii U would be awesome!

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Mindwipe77

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buying the mario 3d world bundle tomorrow, along with smash bros, hyrule warriors, mario kart 8 and bayonetta 2! It's going to be a FUN weekend!

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Legend002

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Damn right! Best console at the moment.

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zeldafan195

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Simple. It consistantly has games coming to it that are at least as good, if not better, than depicted from previews. There aren't any games that I have bought that were worse than I expected. Their games actually work at launch, and don't require a day 1 patch. And they show real gameplay with their reveals, and never downgrade the graphics (sometimes upgrade).

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canuckbiker

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Um, watchdogs.

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zeldafan195

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<< LINK REMOVED >> I'm talking more about Nintendo's games that supports the platform. Nintendo is one of the few that actually is honest in their previews. I rarely ever see any other companys upgrading the game after the trailer. The only other one I can think of is Bloodborne, how the gameplay and framerate has gotten better each time they've showed it.

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DonRoosevelt

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I'm with you totally, Justin. This is Nintendo's year. StarFox and Zelda in the same year? Enough said!

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isimitaiwo

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wiiu games are just different, and i like that...i go for consoles that have great exclusives and nintendo has that better than anyother...mircosoft only has halo and playstation are just throwing alot of games that are good but dont really have their own identity(uncharted). and really what really sets ps4 and xbone apart?nothing really,so when i hear people fighting over which console is better,it just sounds weird.

And the issue of "nintendo doesnt have matured games" yes they do...gameplay wise, am tired of these COD handholding "press button to feel something" gameplay. DK:tropical freeze is challenging and thats what games are about.i think its childish when people use that as an excuse to rule out good games...taking style over substance. am not saying COD isnt a good game but so is MK8 or smashbros, bcos they have great gameplay.

nintendo killed it 2014 and will continue 2015...xbox1 and ps4 were flooded with remasters.GTA V , HALO ,LAST OF US,TOMB RAIDER,BORDERLANDS the list goes on...honestly they really didnt have any games especially xbox1...only sunset overdrive and that was an okay game.

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dfernand

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I bought a WiiU and after playing ZombiU I didn't touch it for a year, then it was in storage for around 10 months. When I placed it alongside my PS4, Xbone and Xbox 360 sand started getting games for it I was very impressed with the quality of games on offer. Most of My Nintendo console purchases N64/GameCube/Wii have been 4-5 game purchases only .. I think that the WiiU has surpassed this number already. Although my 3DS stand at at 13 games; I think that Nintendo is stronger than ever in terms of quality. Roll on Star Fox WiiU and Zelda WiiU..

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Gravity_Slave

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"A library full of exclusives!"

By "exclusives" you mean tired Nintendo mascots that have been recycled for decades? Yeah no thanks. If I wanted to buy a brick, I'll go to Home Depot.

A handheld you hook up to the tv anyway...Get with the times Nintendo.

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DonRoosevelt

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Ignorance is bliss, ain't it?

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northArrow

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Is it? Please share

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isimitaiwo

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<< LINK REMOVED >> oh! ubisoft has brought out more assassin creed games than zelda title over there 7 years life span compared to zelda's 20+ or activision's COD...please if you wanna know recycle, check those people out first.

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Nev3rtime

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Indeed. When people complain that Nintendo recycle stuff, I think it's because the characters have been so well know for so many years.

If you don't follow Nintendo game properly it's understandable that you might think that way. The characters have been out and in high profile games for a long time, but Nintendo have been quite restrained compared to most major franchises. Most big companies seem to aim for a game a year with big franchises when Nintendo does one or two games per franchises, per console.

There was a list I saw of new Nintendo franchise vs new Sony franchise since the ps2/gamecube era and sony had just over 70 new franchises, Nintendo just under 70. Nothing really in it.

Of course classing every Mario game as the same franchises thing is a bit like saying every batman game from the Arkham games, to Lego Batman, to batman on the nes, are all the same franchise. So lets talk just about about the Mario platformers.... and lets be unfair and lump both the 2d and 3d ones together.

I believe there have only ever been about 19 Mario platforms in Mario's history including both 3d and 2d and handheld and home console games. Considering the time scale that's not milking it.

There have actually been far more Sonic platform games despite Mario's head start. Are we on to the 11th assassins creed game since 2007 now? According to Wikipedia there are 25 Resident evil games... Although I understand a few are spin offs.

GTA is a franchise that's considered massively restrained but there's still been ten of them. And more 3d gta's than 3d Mario platformers.

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lulababy

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Well they are starting to sell it at Tesco for 99.99 pounds which for me should have been the price of this from the get go .

Now I will get it as 100 quid is a fair price for this tech .

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lorez77

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<< LINK REMOVED >> link? Because I tried searching for it on Tesco's website but it's still 199.

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CoolManMick

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Didn't know about it either as it was coming up same price. But then I seen this

<< LINK REMOVED >>

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lorez77

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Yeah, but it's the basic pack and they went out of stock immediately.

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McGregor

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I'll probably wait until they officially release Zelda before purchasing a Wii U, but if that is this year, you will find a Wii U at my house.

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beermonger7

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Im gonna buy a Virtual Boy in 2015

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