Outside of any surprises, there is not much left for Nintendo’s Wii U. While the 3DS still has a few games set to release before the end of the year, it is time to take a look of just how well the company has done so far. It may surprise you that they may not be quite as bad off as you think when breaking down each division of the company. Let’s take a look at the six month Nintendo review.
Most people like to get the bad news out of the way first. When we look at the bad news that has followed Nintendo around, most people look at their home console, the Wii U. This has not been a stellar year for the Wii U, and it will not get any better.
The year started slow, and it hasn’t picked up much. There were no significant releases for the Wii U until March. Instead of spacing things out, Nintendo elected to release The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD and Pokken Tournament within two weeks of one another. While Metacritic gave Zelda a respectable 8.3, it is lost on few people as this is just a prettier version of an old game.
Just one month later, Nintendo finally released Star Fox: Zero after numerous delays. They surprised a lot of people by packing in a second game, Star Fox Guard. Control issues kept Zero from reaching its full potential, but Guard has had some good reviews.
The real news for the Wii U came when Nintendo elected to hold off on what is now being called The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Instead, Nintendo has elected to push the game back to 2017. It will launch simultaneously on the Wii U and the new NX.
In all, the Wii U has been a major disappointment for the year as well as its life cycle. It will most likely be remembered as a ‘what could have been product.’ Needless to say, this portion of Nintendo’s year gets a review score of a ‘D’ at best.
Where the Wii U lacked in the first half of 2016, the 3DS has gone a long way to make up for it, especially when it comes to role playing games. With still more of the genre to come, gamers should expect to spend a lot of time the rest of the year in front of the handheld.
January kicked off with Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam. While Metacritic has it at a modest 76, many gamers saw this as just another experiment with Nintendo’s main mascot Mario and his sidekick brother Luigi. While the road started bumpy, February picked up in a big way.
Enter Fire Emblem Fates. The ambitious JRPG attempted to enamor Western audiences like it had done in Japan. It did not disappoint. The three-part role playing fantasy has had tremendous reviews across the board, and despite the high price tag for all three games, most see this as a great value.
The rest of the first six months saw a few other great games. Bravely Second: End Layer offers more role playing goodness. Kirby Planet Robobot has surprised a lot of people with the quality of play, and it has sold more than Nintendo thought it might, especially in Japan. Finally, Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma was released, which will conclude the popular panic room-type trilogy.
In all, the 3Ds has gone a long way to making up for the problems brought about by the Wii U. It gets an ‘A’ proving that Nintendo is still the leader when it comes to making solid handheld titles.
Nintendo delivered on the promise of bringing out games on mobile platforms in 2016. Miitomo, the first entry into this area, started well. It quickly hit the top of the charts on both iOS and Android platforms. However, the lack of quality content has given few a reason to go back. Nintendo recently released an update which at least proves they are not abandoning it.
If we just stopped with Miitom, scores would be average to below average. However, Nintendo’s partner Game Freak and the Pokemon Company just released Pokemon GO this week. As of this writing, the popularity is astounding. It is to the point that they have to actually hold the roll out to the rest of the world because servers can’t keep up.
If you have had a chance to play Pokemon GO, you can see the huge potential it has to bring in dollars. I’m going to cheat a little and review mobile with Pokemon GO. It gets a ‘B’. When the server issues are fixed, this game will print money.
Last, but certainly not least is Nintendo’s eShop platform. This produces solid games from independent developers month in and month out. Mutant Mudds: Super Challenge, Rhythm Heaven Megamix, BoxBoxBoy!, Dual Core, Minecraft Super Megamix, and PixlCross are solid games at reasonable prices. These games alone are enough to review the eShop high.
Virtual Console takes the eShop into the next stratosphere. Pokemon turned 20, this year. The re-release of the original Gameboy titles, Red, Blue, Green (in Japan), and Yellow (Gameboy Color), sold well over a million copies. It helped that each of the Pokemon caught can be played with in the upcoming Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon games releasing in November.
Nintendo also elected to port Super Nintendo games to the New 3DS XL. This has been popular with adopters who had felt forgotten up to this point. This has also given the eShop a huge boost. When reviewing Nintendo’s eShop, anyone would be hard-pressed not to give it an ‘A’.
As a whole, Nintendo gets a solid ‘B’ when it comes to the half-year review. The second half of the year is slow for the Wii U, but the 3DS, Mobile, and eShop all have promising titles on the way. We would love to hear your Nintendo review for the first part of 2016.
[Image via Jeff Daly/AP]