Wii U has Highest Rated Exclusives, No Signs of Slowing Down

The big Nintendo news going around the web is the promise from Nintendo of America’s president that the Wii U has a long life ahead of it. Those who are paying attention know that this isn’t news at all. That isn’t just this humble gamer’s opinion, either. It’s echoed among dozens of video game reviewers across the industry. Using the one metric everyone seems to care about most — exclusive titles — Wii U’s exclusives in 2013 and 2014 had a higher average rating than exclusives of Playstation 4 and Xbox One, according to Metacritic ratings.

Wii U’s 2013 exclusives had an average rating of 76.8 on Metacritic. PS4’s exclusives came in second with a 70.33 average rating (although only releasing three exclusives in 2013), and Xbox One’s exclusives came in dead last, with an average metascore of 63, almost 14 points lower than Wii U’s average metascore.

In fact, 2013 was a wildly successful year for Wii U exclusives. Of the 10 exclusive Wii U titles released in 2013, five of them sported at least an 80 rating, with two breaking 90 (Wind Waker and Super Mario 3D World). Not a single exclusive from Xbox One or PS4 broke 90, with highest rated games at 78 and 84 respectively.

And yes, this average rating did take into account the abysmal Mario and Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. No punches were pulled in getting these averages. But hey, PS4 and Xbox One … they’re coming. Right?

Counting 2014, Wii U has 12 exclusives, compared to Xbox One’s nine and PS4’s five.

If you think 2014 has been any kinder to these two platforms, you might want to take a moment and chew it over with Twix. Remember that already under Wii U’s 2014 belt are Mario Kart 8 and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. With new titles in the Super Smash Bros and Legend of Zelda series imminent, Wii U isn’t slowing down.

DKC5_box_art MarioKart8Boxart

PS4 in the mean time has released Basement Crawl with a 27 metascore (remember the maximum is 100), albeit alongside Infamous: Second Son, which garnered an 80. Xbox One has been taking their time releasing exclusives in 2014, so there isn’t a comparable sample.

Smash Bros did disappoint a little at E3 by introducing Miis as playable characters, but then they brought it right back with an impressive Pac-Man demonstration and, while Amiibos are sure to irk hardcore fans of the game, those figurines are really nice. Does anyone honestly predict Smash Bros flopping, critically or commercially? Hyrule Warriors is especially exciting, since it doesn’t come across as yet another rehash, but I can see it being a bit of a letdown.

But that’s the thing. Even Wii U’s worst games aren’t really that bad. The three lowest-rated Wii U games are the aforementioned Sochi Olympic tie-in at 55, Game and Wario at 61 and Dr. Luigi at 65. Besides that, every Wii U exclusive has at least a 77 Metascore. Xbox One only has two exclusives that break 77: Dead Rising 3 at 78 and Forza Motorsport 5 at 80. Its three worst games are rated 23, 56 and 60.

PlayStation 4 might not be a fair comparison, since it only has 5 exclusives at this point, but what are its up-and-comers that can compete with the Wii U ratings? The Order: 1886? Not likely. Infamous: Second Son DLC? PS4-exclusive Destiny content?

You can talk about the Xbox One’s status as an eclectic media device, or rave about Playstation Plus, and you wouldn’t be wrong. But when choosing which gaming console to buy, the first consideration should always be games, and the Wii U has taken the cake and is now showing it off in Mario Kart 8’s Sweet Sweet Canyon.


Review scores were compiled via Metacritic into an excel spreadsheet and averaged. Games on both PC and a particular console were not counted as exclusives.

  • David

    Yes, yes, we all know that reviewers are way too kind to Nintendos properties and will heap praise on them that they don’t come close to deserving. How is this news?

    • Orange Lada

      I play all the platforms. The reviewers are pretty darn accurate.

      • brianc6234

        No, they’re just boring.

        • smashbrolink

          Yeah, because over a third of a 6M install base is “bored” with Mario Kart.

          You’re just salty that the company you hate is doing better than you want it to.

          • Yldefonso Then

            That’s funny you’re saying that when Nintendo themselves knows they’re not doing good, keep up the faith Link.

        • Pattonfiend67

          Kind of like douchebags named Brian… Go figure…

    • Roberto Carlos Martinez

      You probably don’t own a Wii U. Everyone who has played those games knows Nintendo releases top quality games over and over again.

      • David

        One of the highest rated WiiU games is one of the worst value for money HD remasters ever made. This is considered to be a great WiiU game. This is pretty much all you need to know to realise how much reviewers and fanboys are giving Nintendo the kid gloves.

        • Eric Degrechie

          Bullshit. How would that explain the rave reviews of Nintendo games from independent reviewers like Destructoid, or the lackluster reviews given to some Nintendo games by mainstream review sites like Gamespot? You would think if every beloved Nintendo franchise was just given a pass, Other M wouldn’t have met with such harsh criticism. You can make baseless accusations (that review sites aren’t being honest and are just shills for Nintendo), but unless you have any evidence to support it, it remains just that. Baseless.

          I assume you’re talking about Wind Waker HD. It’s highly reviewed because the game withstands the test of time, like pretty much every classic Nintendo game, and they did a good job with the remake. It controls better, it looks better and there are added features that improve upon the original. It deserves the praise it gets.

          Yoshi’s New Island met with a lot of criticism and got low review scores because it of it being too similar to the first game. Why would the same review sites hate Yoshi’s Island for being unoriginal, but praise other Nintendo games when they’re supposedly unoriginal as well. Could be that Nintendo’s detractors are full of shit, that they lack the ability to see past the surface and just assume Nintendo makes the same games over and over without actually even playing them? Gee, I wonder!

  • brianc6234

    Nothing but the same old boring games. Who cares. Nintendo loves to milk the same few games generation after generation.

    • heavenshitman1

      Bout time to get back FIFA 15 and CoD Warfare 2, version 2 DLC pack 10 eh?

      • Upvote for you sir!

      • Jeremy Gentry

        not to mention assasins creed 20, halo 50 and uncharted 24?

        • notenoughtime

          Exactly but don’t diss Uncharted. They only have 4 games and the series is outstanding (at least to me it is)

          • Kasparius

            I love Uncharted, Naughty Dog is one of the only game developers I’m interested in these days, with Nintendo. And I just hope Rockstar can reproduce their miracle with Red Dead Redemption 2, I’m still shocked those guys made a game that good. Usually their games are fun for a few hours before the complete lack of invention catches up with them.

        • Guest

          Assassin Creed actually offer something refreshing and new to action adventure games. What has Zelda done on Wii U but offer old port remakes? Now Unity allows you to do co-op mission with your friends. With TWO PS4, thats Next gen baby. And you dont have to wait 5 years before Nintendo release a game. Gamefly all day…

          • Shadow10r43

            Zelda is also going to be introducing multiplayer. Do your research before you sate the facts.

          • Kasparius

            Assassin’s Creed IV is an empty sandbox game, once you’re done messing around a bit and you sink your teeth into the missions, you realize how bad the game is. The stealth aspect is laughable when compared to games like Metal Gear. Most of the missions are filler and terribly boring. I’ve heard it being refered to as Wind Waker for adults, but that is an absolute insult to a game that pioneered every good aspect of this Assassin’s Creed and has more ideas per second than Ubisoft could ever dream of coming up with.

            I played the game for a few hours and I really enjoyed the sailing and discovering the new islands, but once I understood that there was nothing to do on them but kill animals, find little items here and there and kill more people without any kind of skill involved, I was bitterly disappointed.

  • smashbrolink

    It’s good to see the Wii U’s games getting high acclaim; they need the good press if the system is to turn itself around.

  • Dennis Crosby

    Nintendo make good games. Yes they over the last 30 years the plot of those franchises never change. The main problem Nintendo has is they need to evolve. Its embracing to know that when you have to compare Nintendo online experiences to the PS 2. If they can get the online together figure out how to get 3rd parties back working with them they can be a contender but as of right now the Wii U is just a good second platform to have or a great platform for childern

    • And here I am at 35 having the time of my life, best console I’ve ever owned and will be my only console for the forseeable future…

      • Dennis Crosby

        That’s good to know hope you always will enjoy your Wii U. I have one also its just can’t be a main console to me its missing alot

        • smashbrolink

          I disagree with that; it’s my main console, quite easily, because I appreciate the indie offerings on it, and I keep a look-out for the very few decent third party games on top of that.
          Between all of that, first party games, and backwards compatibility with the Wii to let me keep playing the gems from that era, it’s quite easily my first choice for a console.
          And that’s before factoring in the Virtual Console games like Metroid Fusion.

          PC is for AAA third parties, but they’re such a small factor compared to everything else.

    • Pattonfiend67

      For kids, huh?


      My collection says otherwise.

      • Dennis Crosby

        I said its a good second console to have or a great console for children. Never said it was just a children console its the best console for children out of the other two but I know plenty of older gamers who have Wii U I’m one of them

        • Pattonfiend67

          Why would I get a second console?

          PC gets everything. No one but Nintendo consoles get Nintendo games…

  • Robert Kupper

    I know it’s not this year, but the WiiU does have the second lowest rated game ever on metacritic: “Family Party: 30 great games obstacle arcade” has an 11.

    Anyway, I am glad people are having fun with their WiiUs, but this article seems fanboyish and desperate. I am not a fan of Nintendo’s franchises, but I have to admit there are some sweet looking games on the horizon for the people who are. However, comparing the handful of exclusives on each system like it is some scientific proof of the WiiU’s validity just seems weak. (Especially when one of the titles you highlight is an HD port)

    The WiiU is a year on past the other two systems, I have to say that exclusives on the horizon for PS4/Xbone don’t seem impressive, but it still isn’t a great comparison. These other systems are 9 months old. Most of all though, you neglect to mention a pretty big weakness of the WiiU: games that both other systems get but the WiiU does not. Games like Watch_Dogs, Grand Theft Auto V and Metal Gear Solid V. For the large number of people deciding on which singular system they will buy, that’s a pretty big strike.

    There is some validity in saying “Look at the excellent WiiU excusive line-up” or pointing out that people underestimate the library on the system or ignore it. I think trying to make this a partisan fanboy thing where you rattle off some numbers to try and make the WiiU seem superior weakens that message though. Just enjoy your games.

    • r bn

      I agree with you if you say that people should just balance the merits and demerits of a console and decide for themselves, and that it’s fine to point out things that other people seem to be ignoring or overhyping.
      However I find that this article is simply sticking to the facts, and does not throw fanboyism around at all. The article focuses on exclusive titles and breaks down the playing field using that criterium. It does not pretend to be doing anything else. When evaluating exclusives, this is simply how it is at the moment and the foreseeable future. Dismissing the article as being subjective or written by a partisan fanboy to me seems to indicate that you’re simply not liking what you’re reading.

      • Robert Kupper

        I see fanboyism here when the author says things like: “If you think 2014 has been any kinder to these two platforms, you might want to take a moment and chew it over with Twix.” or “But when choosing which gaming console to buy, the first consideration should always be games, and the Wii U has taken the cake and is now showing it off in Mario Kart 8′s Sweet Sweet Canyon.” the author also shows a lack of knowledge about (Or just purposfully does not mention) upcoming titles on other systems, saying “The Order: 1886? Not likely. Infamous: Second Son DLC? PS4-exclusive Destiny content?”. Well here are a few unmentioned exclusives: Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, LittleBigPlanet 3, Uncharted 4, Bloodborne, Guilty Gear Xrd. I would mention more Xbone, but its kind of last on my radar right now. Phantom dust is exciting for me personally though.

        My issue is that this article is using statistics like a drunk man uses a lightpost, for support. These statistics are chosen to make the WiiU look good. Average of exclusives in 2013? Just because a piece of information exists does not make it useful. That is looking at the launch window for two consoles versus a full year of games on another. Mostly though, I call into question the worth of an average of the scores of exclusives. I just do not think that is a worthwhile piece of information to base any decision on. The author seems to be missing that all the people looking just at exclusives are mostly looking at the Xbone and PS4. There maybe you can claim its a bit more useful because the two systems have almost identical line-ups besides the excusive titles, but the WiiU has a very different line-up. The WiiU has more exclusives but also is missing a lot of titles that are on both other systems.

        It is absurd to think this is how anyone would choose a system though. Systems are sold because they have specific titles, or more titles of a specific variety that a particular consumer likes.

        Take me for example, if I owned a WiiU, which titles would I have bought by now? Wonderful 101 and Pikman 3. (Counterpoint, what PS4 titles do I own? Shadowfall, Ground Zeroes and Second Son) That is it. But if for some reason you are insistent on using statistics to prove a system superior, a very flawed approach, use the number of games above a certain score or similar. An average is dumb. Does having a really bad game make a system worse? The Wii has the worst average rating of any last gen system by a large margin (Because of shovelware) does that mean it was crap?

        There are a fair number of gamers out there who don’t really like Nintendo titles: The WiiU isn’t for those people right now, no matter how high those metacritic averages are. Additionally, some people like me don’t like using the new controller. Some people are worried about the comparatively weak system. These are valid criticisms. On the flip side, there are people who love nintendo titles platformers and action games. The WiiU is a great system for a lot of people and they should enjoy it, that doesn’t mean it is a mathematically superior system.,

        • Darkion

          Look the games now.

          • MrAptronym

            All of my points about how horribly flawed this article is stand. My point was never that the WiiU is bad. The WiiU has a pretty good year in my opinion. While the other two consoles have struggled to put out anything major, nintendo got out some really solid games. I don’t like any of nintendo’s flagship series, but it still managed to have more solid titles I do like than PS4 or Xbone. I think none of the systems are must haves right now, but the WIiU is the only one you could justify on games alone.

            Still this article is fanboyish and relies on absurdly bad statistics designed to make the WIiU look good. The system having a solid line-up does not change that.

          • Darkion

            I investigated quite a bit since my last comment…there are really good games headed towards the Ps4 and the xbox1 but something is on those games are that is that nearly all of those games(nearly*) use a really dark palette and most of them focus on shooters.

    • Juan

      The Wind Waker is not JUST an HD port, that’s what most people get wrong. Wind Waker HD is a REMAKE of a game, not just the same game with pretty graphics. “The Wind Waker HD expands on the original with updated 1080p-resolution graphics, an alternative lighting engine, as well as new gameplay features and modifications.”

      Tell me about The lasft of Us on and Tomb Raider on PS4…. those are straight up ports!

      • Yldefonso Then

        Wind Waker is a HD remaster, not remake, end of discussion, if you want an example of remakes, it’s RE1 and MGS: TS on gamecube, that’s it.

        • nWo4liFe

          What difference? Lara’s face? I played the PC Version on Ultra, and it still more impressive than the “definitive” version.

    • [CMD] DEATH

      You do know Wii U is getting Watch Dogs but later right?

      • Robert Kupper

        I did not know that.

  • Cian O’Loughlin

    I like the Wii U, and do think the games look fun and appealing. But if you are going to write an article like this and claim that including Sonic and Mario Olympics gives a non biased view, you need to be a bit more objective in the rest of your analysis. You ignore the not insignificant third party games that will not come to the Wii U. Additionally you take a very selective list of upcoming PS4 titles to compare against the Wii U’s. Where is DriveClub, No Man’s Sky, LBP 3? You completely dismiss The Order as well for no particular reason. The Wii U is a good machine you don’t need to lie about the competition to make the point.

  • Nintenjoe82

    Does this include the Ubisoft Rabbid rubbish from launch?

    I don’t know how MK8 isn’t the top rated game on Wii U. Stupid gaming media sheeple all marking down the battle system despite MK8’s being the biggest game-to-game improvement in battle mode since MK64.

    • Roberto Carlos Martinez

      I really enjoy it. I hope it gets a couple of Game of the Year Awards.

  • Kristopher Boosky Jones

    Alot Nintendo fans on the internet but not alot of Nintendo fans buy games.

    Mario Kart sales 1.4 mil and Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze at less then a mil 0.58 with a meta critic score of 83. Much higher then Killzone SF that has sales of over 2 million. Im a fan of KZ multiplayer, but Mario Kart is better then that. And these two titles is suppose to be some of Nintendo best selling. And it just isnt enough to make Wii U as revelant. Even the fans arent as interested in Nintendo. Nintendo cares about sales, its why they release Donkey Kong over Metroid because it sales more. Its why they release Mario Kart again over F-Zero. They need such games to survive an lack of third party support.

    Metacritic scores may not be slowing down but Nintendo sales has & that ought to be concern over any triva matter of how better Nintendo games are performing based on what critics think. The fans, the games, and the gamers are voting with their dollars and saying something differently entirely.

    • Stephen Severino

      1. Brand loyalty.
      2. Obsession with specs.
      3. Over emphasis on graphics.
      4. Online multiplayer over local multiplayer.
      5. Belief that violence and boobs are the height of maturity.

      These are the reasons the PS4 and Xbone sell better than the Wii U in the West.

      The problem with the PS4 and Xbone is that they aren’t delivering what fans thought they were getting. Developers struggle to hit 1080p at 60 fps. And despite the claims of “originality,” “innovation,” and “creativity” made at E3, there actually isn’t that much of that going on in current and upcoming games for those platforms. (There are a few exceptions to this, but only a few)

      Nintendo is currently in a very different position. The same factors that made Western gamers dismiss the system are working in favor of its games’ ratings. No one expected that the Wii U could deliver a great looking game that people wanted to play. Mario Kart disproved that, and people who have bought the system are pleasantly surprised at some of the other titles on the Wii U.

      It’s the underdog effect.

      People have high expectations for PS4 and Xbone, but low expectations for the Wii U. This creates a different psychological effect that affects reviews.

      So yes, money is being thrown at the PS4 and Xbone, but it’s very hard for developers to live up to gamer expectations. Thus, low reviews.

      • Murilo Correia

        Sorry dude.. who thinks that wii u is weak than ps4/xone will be completely mistaken.
        Have you heard about the Megahertz Myth? ..
        I can only say this.. wait and see 🙂
        and tell me how many games xone/ps4 are running at 1080p and 60fps?
        Forza horizon 2 will run at 30fps.. The division on Ps4 will run at 30fps..
        I bought my wii u last month, and i had no expectations about that.. just wanted a new console. PS4/XOne doesn’t has a much titles, Lets try the Wii U.. why not?
        Since that day.. my 360/PS3 are for sale.. and i dont want a ps4/xone.. at least for now.. i dont know.. Nintendo have different games .. more fun games

        • Stephen Severino

          For your information, I own a gaming PC, a Wii U, and a 2DS. I do not own an Xbone or a PS4 and have no interest in owning them.

          The purpose of my response was to point out why most Western console gamers have not hopped on board with the Wii U and to point out an unrecognized reason why Wii U exclusives get higher ratings.

          Nintendo makes great games. But they are very different than what we see on the other consoles. I prefer the Nintendo difference.

          In fact, I hardly play my PC at the moment. My current top games are:

          1. Mario Kart
          2. Wii Fit U
          3. Hearthstone (PC)
          4. Pure Chess
          5. Pushmo
          6. Zen Color
          7. Smash Brothers Brawl (This isn’t on top only because the online is shut down. When the new one comes out, it will be number one for sure.)
          8. Nano Assault Neo

          Surprisingly, 4 of those 8 games are indie download titles. I’m really enjoying the stuff in the eShop.

          • Murilo Correia

            Oh.. i understand that, i’m giving indie games a chance too..
            i saw a review of Shovel Knight yesterday and now i want to play it 😀

      • Roberto Carlos Martinez

        Not really. Nintendo is all about quality. The problem with PS4 and Xbox One is that their exclusives are a little crappy. My expectations for Wii U are the same as my Xbox One. People just want a great game.

  • Daniel Stevenson

    sales are much higher than that : ) for Mario kart 8

  • sisti

    To be honest, the Wii U is a MUCH better system than I anticipated

  • xTrucho3

    You just can’t beat Nintendo’s gameplay expierence

  • Shadow10r43

    This article shows that it doesn’t matter about hardware capabilities and graphics and specs, it’s about gameplay experience.

  • Roberto Carlos Martinez

    That’s the reason I own most of these games on my Wii U. On Xbox One I keep trading exclusives in to find a better game.

  • trurl

    At the moment the Wii U is by far the best actual console with the best games for core gamers. When you look at the Wii U announcements for 2015 (for example Splatoon, Zelda, Xenoblade Chronicles X) it seems Wii U will hold this place easily.

    In my opinion the 2014 line-up for Xbone and PS4 is abysmal. I can’t wait to get Wii U games like Bayonetta 2, Hyrule Warriors and Smash Bros this year! Even a little game like Captain Toad looks interesting and graphically very nice. Because I only played the technically bad PS3 version of Bayonetta 1. I will even play Bayo1 again on Wii U.