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Nintendo WiiU

Star Rating: 
9 out of 10

We got a taste of Nintendo’s new console. Yum.

The Pitch: Nintendo’s refocused efforts in appeasing hardcore gamers without giving up the casual gaming fun of the Wii has led to the WiiU, a console that offers the best of mobile gaming, motion gaming and core gaming all in a single, streamlined piece of hardware.

What It Really Is: A feat for Nintendo. They’ve managed to create a console that caters to the gaming preferences of an incredibly wide audience. Love to game on your iPhone? Check out the new multi-touch gamepad. Don’t wanna give up your high score in Wii Bowling? Your old Wiimotes (and Wii games) will work seamlessly. Wanna gun down terrorists? Grab a classic controller. Most importantly, Nintendo has lined up the third party support that was sorely missing from the Wii, so you no longer need to own two consoles to play Super Mario Bros. and Call of Duty. What we saw from the fledgling console impressed us on several fronts: versatile gameplay, innovation via the new gamepad, free and easy online interactions, beautiful (and long overdue) high-def graphics—and all that in a sleek package. However, it’s the promise of the WiiU, apparent immediately, that really has us excited. Asymmetric gaming might be the buzz right now, but you just can’t fully appreciate it until you’re flinging shurikens from your gamepad at a hoard of attacking ninjas on your TV. At the time of our review, TVii wasn’t available, but the taste we had of entertainment on the WiiU via Netflix and the way it could easily flip back and forth between the handheld gamepad and our HDTV was marvelous. And it even worked when we took it into the bathroom (the gamepad, not the HDTV)! That’s some impressive range. We do feel a bit bad for whoever uses our loaner WiiU next. We don’t even wash our hands, let alone our peripherals, after using the pisser. Ready-Made Press Blurb: “You can’t spell swimsuit without “WiiU,” and swimsuits are very important to us.”

Fun Fact: Besides Nintendo’s own first party games, WiiU is getting the exclusive treatment for the sequel to the uber-popular Bayonetta. Though Bayonetta 2 is coming some time in 2013, the exclusivity is a testament to Nintendo’s seriousness about rejoining the fight for console dominance against Microsoft and Sony.

Who It’s For: Everyone; that’s the point. Where Nintendo is an integral part of many a gamers’ upbringing, the focus of the Wii was to make video games accessible to people who normally wouldn’t play them. The WiiU isn’t just continuing to target the audience garnered by the Wii, it’s trying its damnedest to recapture the hardcore audience that flocked to the PS3 and Xbox. Time will tell if this strategy is successful but, at the outset, it sure seems like Nintendo is heading in the right direction.

Want more Nintendo? Check out our Gaming Review: Paper Mario: Sticker Stars.