Nintendo hasn’t really had a truly, exceptionally strong year in console gaming for over a decade now. One way or another, they always falter- either they don’t get enough games, either they suffer from commercial setback, either the games they do get are critically panned, and oftentimes, a combination of more than one of those. 2010 and 2011 saw the releases of some great games for the Wii which were all highly acclaimed, and the two years together also witnessed extremely high sales for the Big N in the console market.
2012 has been a bit of a mixed bag. We did get a few good releases for the Wii, and the system sold pretty well too, and there were no real setbacks to speak of. But it wasn’t the Wii we were focusing on these past few months. Even though the Wii U released only a few weeks back, it has been the focal point of the year, as far as Nintendo is concerned.
But to keep this article from getting too incoherent and messy, let’s talk about them one-by-0ne.
You haven’t forgotten about this little console, have you?
Surprisingly, despite being in what is clearly the last year of its life cycle, the Wii received a decent number of great games. After its much awaited European release in 2011, Xenoblade Chronicles finally saw the light of the day in North America this year.
The other two Wii titles that people wanted to see released on the west got launched as well. The Last Story was an absolutely delightful RPG, with a great story and addictive gameplay that reminded us just how wonderfil Japanese Role Playing Games can be. The game was almost as good as Xenoblade Chronicles, in some respects, and in many ways, the highlight of the Wii’s year.
Pandora’s Tower, on the other hand, was a tad bit disappointing. While we appreciated its story and the emotional connection it could have with its players, we called Pandora’s Tower a “a clunky, uninspired generic dungeon crawler that shows on occasion a flicker of genius.” Well, two for three, Nintendo, not bad.
Rhythm Heaven Fever was a pleasant surprise. Anyone who played the DS game knew what to expect- an extremely enjoyable music games with an abundance of variety in mini-games. And that is exactly what we got.
Other titles like Mario Party 9, Just Dance 4 and Skylanders Giants kept the system going for the rest of the year. It didn’t exactly had the best year, and there weren’t a whole bunch of major releases to speak of, but there were a few great launches, and anyone who owns a Wii cannot really say they had a bad year in video games.
However, needless to say, 2013 looks bleak for the Nintendo Wii. There’s absolutely no future for this system now- this much can be said without any reservations. The next gen Nintendo console is out now and will be entering full gear soon, and Nintendo and the third parties- the ones that are supporting the system- will be focusing completely on the Wii U now.
Sure, we will get to see a few forgettable, shovelware, casual releases on the Wii in 2013, but there’s nothing for serious gamers to look forward to starting January 1st. Actually, starting now.
Overall Performance: B-
The Wii U received a crapload of hype throughout the year, and a lot was expected of it, but when it finally got launched, things didn’t go quite as Nintendo had planned. There was a shortage of stocks, there were tons of technical issues and glitches found in the console, it was being reported that the system was technically crippled and that it delivered titles with poor graphics. Some people are going as far as saying that the Wii U is not even a next gen system. Now that particular statement is something Nintendo should be used to, but still, that’s harsh.
Not all went wrong though. The Wii U received a few great games on launch, and three of those were especially awesome. ZombiU was a hugely anticipated titles, and we can gladly say that it delivered on our front. Not only did it get a highly positive review from us, it also won our Wii/Wii U Game of the Year award. ZombiU was an excellent game in an excellent, bleak setting, with incredibly challenging difficulty and truly spooky, creepy moments that stick with you for a long time.
On the brighter side of the things (visually), New Super Mario Bros. U was an excellent title, as is always expected of New Super Mario Bros. games. It was a typically hilarious, enjoyable and incredulously addictive title that spearheaded the Wii U launch lineup and showed us all why Mario games are still great in side scrolling 2D format.
Nintendo Land also grabbed our attention. We didn’t expect it to be good at all when it was announced back at E3 in the awful Nintendo conference. And while it may not have been to the Wii U what Wii Sports was to the Wii, it was still a hell of a game, enough to provide countless hours of joy while showing off many of the Wii U’s capabilities.
There were other remarkable titles as well- Batman: Arkham City: Armoured Edition,Assassin’s Creed III, Darksiders II, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Scribblenauts Unlimited and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, which was surprisingly good. It was certainly much better than the original, crappy version of Ninja Gaiden 3.
So 2012 seems to have given the Wii U as reasonably good start, since the system does have games to go on, is selling well and has plenty of features to back its price. But 2013 looks to be a much better year for it.
The new home console has got games like Aliens: Colonial Marines, Rayman Legends, Injustice, LEGO City Undercover, Pikmin 3 and The Wonderful 101 and so much more coming our way, and we can all safely assume that Nintendo will be making a lot of huge announcements. Hopefully we’ll be hearing about the next Mario, Zelda and Metroid games soon, and maybe all new F-Zero and Star Fox titles (one can always hope).
So the future does look good for Nintendo’s new console. Will our prediction be accurate, though? Only time will tell.
Overall Performance: B