In a console cycle which has been mired by remasters and remakes (not to mention games that were built for both last-generation and current-generation consoles concurrently), it is not Sony or Microsoft that has taken the spotlight in terms of exclusive content, but instead Nintendo. Although the company only has a market share of a little less than 20 percent in the current console race, they continue to put out the best original content for their console in comparison to their competitors without much in the way of any third-party support.
Now, while both Sony and Microsoft have managed to put out some fantastic content this holiday season and have incredibly stellar software releases coming in 2016, the first two years of these consoles has been bogged down with “remastered” titles; The Last of Us even received a remastered version a mere year after its release. Games are beginning to come out that showcase both the Playstation 4 and Xbox One’s potential for creativity and innovation, but it seems like neither company was truly ready to make the plunge into the next generation.
Although Sony and Microsoft have had their share of problems with regards to software, this was no stranger to Nintendo either. The Wii U’s launch was plagued by game delays and they even lost the exclusivity to the critically acclaimed Rayman Legends, which was a huge blow to the company, especially with regards to third-party support. Despite this though, Nintendo has managed to put out the best original content this generation. Even with the lack of the Wii U’s power in comparison to its counterparts and its non-existent third-party support, the system has managed to muster up an impressive library of games.
Nintendo is home to some of the most beloved gaming characters and franchises of all time which can only be found on Nintendo platforms, with Mario being most famous of them all. Games like New Super Mario Bros. U, Super Mario 3D World, Super Mario Maker, Mario Kart 8, and even spin-off games like Yoshi’s Wolly World and Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker show Nintendo’s burst of creativity and their innovative ideas; they’re always thinking of something outside the box.
These games can only be found on the Wii U and all were designed specifically for the platform. This is quite different than many early Playstation 4 and Xbox One games, which initially had to be developed for both last-generation and current-generation consoles. This may have taken away development resources from the games and prevented them from truly taking advantage of the excess power of both systems. Each of the aforementioned titles were developed by Nintendo, who always ensures the highest level of quality in their games with innovative gameplay, a unique approach to level design, a ton of creativity, and most importantly, fun.
Other popular franchises to grace the Wii U are both the Donkey Kong and Super Smash Bros. series’ in the way of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Zelda even received a spin-off title with the challenging, yet incredibly fun and content-packed Hyrule Warriors. Pikmin 3, which was initially intended to be a launch title but was delayed, is also a captivating experience that can only be found on the Wii U. A brand new IP from Nintendo, Splatoon, has taken the world by storm and has sold over 4 million units worldwide, even selling over 1 million copies in Japan. The list doesn’t even incorporate Bayonetta 2, which received universal praise, or the Japanese RPG Xenoblade Chronicles X, which we reviewed and believed to be one of the best Japanese RPGs in years and a masterpiece within itself. The Wonderful 101 was also an exclusive title developed by Platinum Games for the Wii U which came out early in the system’s lifespan and oozed with creativity.
Nintendo has managed to foster an environment of creativity during this console cycle that no other company has been able to do. With so many high-quality and captivating exclusive titles, do they even truly need third-party support? While the Wii U is guilty of two high-definition remasters, The Wind Waker HD and the upcoming Twilight Princess HD, these games are over 10 years old and there has been a demand for a remaster of both games for quite some time. We also don’t even know what Nintendo truly has in store for 2016; all we do know is that they are releasing both Star Fox Zero and The Legend of Zelda for Wii U, which is the most anticipated Nintendo title in years.
Nintendo fosters so much creativity within their development teams, so it is of little surprise that the Wii U currently has the best set of exclusive content that this generation of consoles has to offer. Of course, this could change in the upcoming year or two with so many quality titles coming to Microsoft and Sony’s platforms, but as it stands now, the Nintendo Wii U, despite lackluster sales, has the best lineup of exclusives that gaming has to offer.