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This review is from: Nintendo Wii U Mario & Luigi Deluxe Set Black
Pros: Gamepad is surprisingly comfortable
Gamepad screen incorporates some nice features
Nintendo exclusive games are great
Backwards compatibility with Wii games and controllers saves me some money
Cons: Comparatively weak hardware for current gen consoles
Many 3rd party games unavailable
3rd party games that are on the system are often scaled down versions
Other Thoughts: First, the good: the gamepad is really nice. It adds some cool functionality to a lot of games (touchscreen very intuitive for managing inventory), and the ability to play on the gamepad screen while the tv is in use is a great feature. Also, the gamepad is surprisingly comfortable; looking at it, I thought it would be terrible for extended use, but I have been pleasantly surprised. The backwards compatibility with wii games and controllers is a bonus. Finally, nintendo exclusive games are the reason you would buy this console. Zelda, mario, mario-kart, smash bros are all out or coming soon. There are some other nice exclusives like zombie u and nintendo land, which are both quite enjoyable.
Now, the bad: hardware on the wii u is severely lacking compared to ps4 and xbox one (although it is $100-200 cheaper than those consoles). This means many 3rd party games don't make it to the wii u, and those that do are often downscaled versions; for example, sniper elite v2 on the wii u removed multiplayer and dlc isn't available. So, if you only get one console, it should not be the wii u unless the nintendo exclusives are the games you care about most. I am lucky enough to have the ps4 and xbox one as well, so the wii u is only used for nintendo exclusives. In that role, it does quite well. However, if I could only have one system, it wouldn't be the wii u, because there are too many 3rd party games I want to play.
I absolutely love the wii u, so I don't want this to come off as a negative review. But, if you are looking at this system, it is important to know what you are getting. You aren't getting a graphics powerhouse, and you aren't getting a whole lot of 3rd party support. If you love nintendo games, then those limitations aren't real problems, and you will love the system. If you aren't crazy about nintendo games, then you would be better off getting a different console, where 3rd party support is better, resulting in a wider selection of games. You do save $100 with the wii u, but that is less than one game and one extra controller will cost you, so it is worth considering putting some extra money towards another console if you aren't a big mario or zelda fan.
Summary: gamepad is great, backwards compatibility with wii software and hardware is great, and nintendo exclusives are a blast. If you can only get one console, the wii u should be your choice only if nintendo exclusives are the games you are most interested in, or else the lack of 3rd party support could leave you disappointed.