News Article

Hardware Review: Wii U

Posted by Damien McFerran

The Nintendo Life verdict on the biggest hardware launch of 2012

After months of waiting, the Wii U is finally here. The system launched in North America on the 18th and comes to European shores today. We’ve had our hands on a Euro console for a while now, and have been putting it through its paces to bring you our impressions of what is Nintendo’s most important hardware release in years. Sitting comfortably? Then let’s get this party started.

The Hardware

The moment you extract the Wii U from its packaging you’ll be struck by just how much larger it is when compared to the standard Wii. It’s also more rounded, with curves in all the right places. Some elements are perhaps a little fussy; there are panels here and there will presumably grant access to various parts of the internal hardware, and they break up the otherwise sleek lines of the casing. On the front of the system there’s the all-important sync button (for setting up Wii Remotes and GamePads) and a pull-down flap which conceals the USB ports and SD card slot. The glossy black casing of the Premium model is sure to divide critics; while it looks mean and moody when placed under your TV - something the snow-white Wii rarely did - it’s an absolute magnet for fingerprints.

If you got the Premium package then you’ll notice a bundle of other items in the box. There’s a power supply for both the console itself and the GamePad - the former of which is quite a chunky beast, but not as imposing as the one which ships with the Xbox 360. Two stands are supplied for the GamePad - one which charges the battery when docked, and another which allows you to rest the pad on a flat surface - handy for when you’re making video calls. There’s also a sensor bar, exactly the same as the one you got with your Wii. Nintendo has kindly supplied a HDMI cable as well, the use of which still feels a bit alien on a Nintendo console.

When the Wii U is running, it can get quite loud due to the internal fan. It never approaches the same level as the Xbox 360 - which can sometimes sound as if it’s about to take off - but it’s a big change from the near-silent Wii.

The GamePad

Arguably of more interest than the main console is the Wii U’s GamePad. Again, it has the same glossy casing as the console, and as such picks up smudges just as easily. It feels chunky and oversized - even more so if you’ve had previous experience of tablet-like devices such as the iPad and Nexus 7. However, its proportions are intentional; the larger size makes it easier to grip, because unlike the aforementioned tablets, this is intended as a controller first and foremost.

The GamePad’s touchscreen is something we expected to be disappointed with, and while there are elements we wish could be different, it has impressed us during our time with the console. The resolution - while not being HD quality - is very sharp indeed. Individual pixels are hard to discern unless you look very closely indeed, and brightness and colour are both spot on. Viewing angles are also rock-solid, which is important when you consider that many games will ask you to hold the device in a variety of different ways. The image displayed by the screen can sometimes offer disappointing results - for example, shades of red are quite blocky - but this is down to the compression system used to stream images from the Wii U to the GamePad itself.

Unlike the iPad and most mobile phones available today, the Wii U GamePad does not use a capacitive touch panel, opting instead for the older (and cheaper) resistive technology. Resistive screens - which are also used on the DS and 3DS - require pressure, which is why they work so well with a stylus. The negatives are that these displays are less precise; because you have to push down a little to register an input, there’s more chance of pokes and swipes going undetected. Compare this to a capacitive display - which only requires skin-to-screen contact to function - and it’s clear to see why many people were so disappointed to learn that Nintendo had taken the resistive route with the GamePad. Capacitive also offers multi-touch support and even boast special stylus pens now, which removes the only advantage resistive screens had over them.

However, we have to remember that capacitive technology - while widespread - is more costly. Adding it to the GamePad would have almost certainly have resulted in a higher retail price for the entire console. It also needs to be said that the GamePad has one of the best resistive screens we’ve ever used, very nearly matching a capacitive display in terms of responsiveness and accuracy. Taking all of this into account, it’s hard to grumble too much about Nintendo’s decision in this regard.

Many people wondered about the kind of range the GamePad could operate over, and now we’ve had chance to test it, we’re pleasantly surprised. We were able to take the GamePad into the next room - which was separated by two solid brick walls and a flight of stairs - and it was only when we were right at the far side of the room that the connection dropped. Moving upstairs was even better; the signal between the console and controller clearly travels more freely through floorboards than brick, and we were able to enjoy a game of New Super Mario Bros. U from the comfort of our bed. Bliss.

The Wii U Experience

As you’ve no doubt heard, the Wii U requires a software update to unlock features such as Nintendo Network ID creation, the eShop online store and Wii functionality. The file size is around 1GB, which took us about an hour to download and install. You can do this in the background while playing a game so it’s not the end of the world - and one would assume that Nintendo will never need to deploy an update of this magnitude again during the console’s lifespan. Once it’s over and done with, you can relax.

Initially, it’s quite strange to have to shift your gaze back and forth between the TV screen and GamePad, but it doesn’t take long to grow comfortable with it - especially when you’re aware of how each piece of software utilises the displays. Nintendo has been very careful to ensure that messages appear indicating which screen you should be focusing on. Within a few hours you’ll have gotten your head around the concept of using two screens simultaneously - a situation not entirely dissimilar to the first time you scooped up a DS console all those years ago.

The Wii U is full of little surprises. Here in Europe we can’t access TVii yet (although it remains an option on the GamePad’s home screen, which is a pretty big indication that it’s coming), but it is still possible to use the controller as a remote for your television, thanks to the inclusion of an infrared port on the top edge of the device. You can switch the TV on, change volume, toggle between the available inputs and even access your digital programme guide. This might be relatively outdated tech - Casio had the same feature built into one of its wristwatches well over a decade ago - but it made us smile regardless. It’s a solid indication of how Nintendo is trying to unify all of your entertainment into one device, and bodes well for a more connected and cohesive future in your living room.

We’ve noticed a few irksome points during our time with the machine, however. Software is prone to crashes, with Nintendo Land freezing on us several times during the first week or so. We also experienced random lockups when navigating the Wii U’s main menu, and the only solution was to yank the power lead out of the back of the console and plug it back in again. This lack of stability is annoying, but subsequent software updates will no doubt rectify it.

Possibly the most frustrating element of setting up the console was the fact that we couldn’t get it to connected to our wireless router, no matter how hard we tried. In the end we had to resort to inputting the settings manually after following a handy guide online. This isn’t Nintendo’s fault as such, but it bears mentioning, when you consider how painless it is to link up other consoles to Wi-Fi.

The Final Word

If you’re expecting this section of the review to deliver a solid verdict on whether or not you should buy this system, you’re sadly going to be disappointed. The Wii U is a fantastic machine with a few faults we’d rather it didn’t have, but you can’t judge a games console without putting it to the task it was built for: playing games. As you can see from our current selection of Wii U game reviews, the opening batch of games is solid, and this suggests a bright future for the system. Critics may continue to bemoan the ‘slow’ CPU or the ‘last gen’ graphics, but the fact remains that no one knows games like Nintendo, and just as the Wii was home to some of the best software of its generation, we’re certain the same will apply to the Wii U. In short, Nintendo has done it again, creating a unique platform which is quite unlike anything else available on the market today.

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User Comments (116)

True_Hero

#1

True_Hero said:

Well done, Damien. Solid review. You would have convinced me to buy it if I didn't already have it.

6ch6ris6

#2

6ch6ris6 said:

"In short, Nintendo has done it again, creating a unique platform which is quite unlike anything else available on the market today."

yeah thats basically the review for the wiiu

WesCash

#3

WesCash said:

Nice review. I'll get one when the bugs are worked out and some worthwhile games are released.

Tasuki

#4

Tasuki said:

Nice review. Out of curiosity what kind of problems were you having trying to connect it to your router?

Shiryu

#5

Shiryu said:

I am very impressed. I cannot distinguish between "Assassins Creed III" graphics on 360, PS3 and Wii U yet, the Wii U is half the size, does not eat up and makes zero noise in relation to the competition.

SteveW

#6

SteveW said:

Loud? My Wii U doesn't seem any louder than the Wii. I have it sitting flat, maybe that is the difference? did you leave enough room for airflow around your Wii U?

Lopezdm

#7

Lopezdm said:

@Shiryu Your right, also with the wii u minor launch issues it is a lot better then the xbox360 launch that was pleaged with the red ring of death and updates. I had a 360 day one, it was a work in progress. As for sony, nintendo is better at backing up their products with great games unlike the PS Vita that sits in my bedside table collecting dust.

DashChargedShot

#8

DashChargedShot said:

The Wii U might have some flaws now, I'm sure they'll be fixed with updates in time and a newer model eventually. Solid review.

warvad

#9

warvad said:

No. Laggy, smudge-n-pray capacitive screens are terrible for gaming. Go back to your mobile games.

DashChargedShot

#11

DashChargedShot said:

@warvad Considering GamePads are already worth $100-$200 AND a touchscreen has never really been used as a gaming consoles remote before, capacitive screen is fine for us.

DRLAdmin

#12

DRL said:

This is the most impressed I've been with Nintendo hardware since the launch of the N64. In the short two weeks I've owned my Wii U, it has already brought a great new level of connectivity to my living room. In fact, I've barely been on my laptop as I mostly use the system's impressive web browser for habitual browsing and I'm finding that sharing the internet with other people is a surprisingly satisfying experience.

With all that said, I'm a little worried about the software lineup during the next year. I already own a 360 and a PS3 so I personally have little interest in multiplatform releases. I'm here for those genre defining experiences that only Nintendo knows how to deliver and as of right now, there have yet to be any truly jaw-dropping announcements. But I know I shouldn't worry - they'll come soon enough :)

Lunapplebloom

#13

Lunapplebloom said:

Great review of the hardware, and exactly my thoughts on the system as well. It has crashed on me about 7 times since I got it after the update was installed. I hope that update to fix that comes sooner than later. Otherwise, a great new system, and being able to play games in bed is such a treat.

Ernest_The_Crab

#14

Ernest_The_Crab said:

@3Dash I think you misinterpreted warvad's message. The tablet controller is RESISTIVE not capacitive. He's saying how capacitive screens are lacking in accuracy even if they are multi-touch.

@warvad However, using a phone comparison probably wasn't such a good idea since those screens aren't the best representation of capacitive tech. You would have made a better argument about price (which Damien already mentioned).

Wonder_Ideal

#15

Wonder_Ideal said:

One of the things I really like about my Wii U is the remote control capabilities of the GamePad. I can turn on the TV, change the input on my TV, and adjust the volume. While it's a simple, small thing, it means I'll never have to go digging through the couch to find the lost remote when it's game time, or get up and manually do it when I feel lazy. :D

Chrno-x

#16

Chrno-x said:

Good review but I still have some concesrns that's bothering me:

  • lack of slot for optic cable
  • solely the reflecting plastic of the console and the look are terrible (where are those times that consoles was made of matte plastic?).
  • in a near future, lack of big third-party titles that are gonna be made for next Xbox and PS.

I don't know, maybe I'm overreacting ;/

WiiLovePeace

#17

WiiLovePeace said:

Great review! Can't wait to get my hands on a Wii U when I can afford one & there's a LoZ game released for it, though I'm still waiting for a new LoZ game on 3DS too :p

Otto-Soq

#18

Otto-Soq said:

I am waiting for a Zelda of Dragon Quest game on it, before i buy....and only in white!

CapnPancakes

#19

CapnPancakes said:

Any of the critics who complained about the GamePad and Pro Controller feeling too light and cheap were just spewing garbage. They are both very comfortable in terms of weight and ergonomically. That aside, I was very impressed with the toushcreen on the GamePad myself. It is very responsive to light finger presses and I haven't had any problems with it myself.

DRLAdmin

#20

DRL said:

@Chrno-x I agree with your concerns about the glossy finish - specifically on the GamePad. I'm slightly OCD and a bit of a neat freak so I'm constantly having to wipe this thing down - you should see it after a night of gaming with multiple friends! Although the look of the finish doesn't necessarily bother me, I would have most definitely preferred a matte finish to thwart off fingerprints.

Kirk

#21

Kirk said:

I'm not sold.

There's so many issues and niggles here that I really don't like to see in a Nintendo console.

I remember a time when a new Nintendo console would be about as good as it got, in pretty much every single way you could think of, and that would be the case until the next generation of Nintendo console would come around to replace it or the next generation of consoles from the competition would come around to at least challenge it. That really isn't the case any more.

Despite some interesting aspects to the Wii U I'm left mostly unimpressed and in many ways quite disappointed actually.

I'll play on my brother's Wii U system whenever I visit him but that's about as much love as Nintendo's new console is going to get from this one time hardcore Nintendo fan it seems.

Jaco

#23

Jaco said:

Great Review Man,

I can't wait to get my hands on the system. Miiverse sounds awesome and I can't wait to see what they'll do to the 3DS when they integrate it there

Kyloctopus

#25

Kyloctopus said:

I say as you should have done with every Nintendo over the past few years. Proceed with caution, especially on launch. Nintendo will make your moneys worth, but I say you won't get it back in the first month or two.

krunchykhaos

#26

krunchykhaos said:

I think the hardware is going To surprise a lot of people. The system is basically the board with a case thats not much different than the ps3s board. The next few years are going to be fun to watch for all the nintendo faithful. Great looking first party games with some awesome third party (i have my scope on aliens right now) seems to be the future. At the least itll be better than the last gen. Thats all i can ask for. Im a happy fan right now

citizenerased

#28

citizenerased said:

I own several Apple devices but I think I actually prefer resistive touch screens over capacitive touch screens. I have yet to see a stylus I like that works well with capacitive, and your finger blocks much more of the screen. Pinching is not nearly as intuitive as people make it out to be, if the screen is big enough (iPad, Gamepad) I prefer zoom in/out buttons. In my experience a stylus is much more accurate as well (and drawing motions are much more natural). I don't have a Wii U yet, though, but I love my DS' touch screen.

As for Wii U overall, there's already half a dozen games I want. Which is incredible for a launch. That being said, I'm currently abroad and don't have enough funds, so I'm happy to wait a few months (possibly a year). The lack of (in my eyes) a must-buy first party game helps with the wait. I'm actually looking forward to Assassin's Creed III and Trine 2 more than Mario U and Nintendoland. Then there are the software and patch problems. No doubt by the time Retro releases their first game (late 2013?), it'll be much harder to resist.

Oh and I hate the gloss. So much that I might pick up a white one over a black one.

Burning_Spear

#29

Burning_Spear said:

One thing I'd add is the long load times for the various apps. The console is still new, so I often forget and tap things a few times, not realizing that the app is loading. I've left my Wii hooked up, and it's actually quicker to shift to that than to go into Wii Mode when I play a Wii game.
That said, having had this for nearly two weeks, I can say the glitches are minor things that shouldn't deter anyone from buying ASAP.

FiveDigitLP

#30

FiveDigitLP said:

In regards to the freezing, this seems to be a software problem affecting certain consoles. It seems to have been narrowed down (by the consumers--Nintendo has refuesed to respond) to an issue with foreign characters. Coming from a development perspective, that makes perfect sense with the way the system reacts. Having software that doesn't properly parse non-English characters can totally break a computer system quite easily. Luckily, if this is actually what is causing the problems, then this is an issue that can be easily resolved with a patch.

There are several solutions available, but all of them seem to point back to people using foreign characters in Miiverse messages. The best way to fix this (that I've seen in my research, my Wii U doesn't actually have this problem) is to change Miiverse and any games that use it to only display English messages. Here's the thread on Nintendo's forums that have been discussing it:
http://techforums.nintendo.com/message/80552

daveh30

#33

daveh30 said:

@Chrno-x You realize optic is a lower quality audio than HDMI, right? personally I'm glad they left the older optic port off and stuck with HDMI, just to keep cost down.

rjejr

#34

rjejr said:

Since you made several Xbox360 comparisons here are a few of mine (I don't own either 1 yet, only know what I've read)

A $250 Xbox360 4GB Kinect bundle w/ 2 games has an ethernet port - so you don't have router problems, and an optical port for audio out. The 4GB storage has 3GB free, just like the 8GB Wii U. The Wii U comes with a $100 Gamepad, (the reason usually given for the higher price than Wii), the Xbox360 has a $100 Kinect and also a $40 Pro equivalent controller. And from what I've read - mostly here - they have very similar CPU chips and HD graphics output. So w/ the Xbox360 you get equal, or more, for less $.

And if you believe the sentiment that a new Wii U console SHOULD cost more than a 6 year old Xbox360 console - and I do believe this - shouldn't you also believe that a new console SHOULD be superior in many ways to a 6 year old console? Besides being quieter, where are the $ for $ improvements?

I am planning on getting a Wii U at some point, and maybe an Xbox360 for my kids, so I'm not completely knocking the Wii U, but it seems unfair to only compare the good points of the Wii U to the Xbox360 w/o making a more thorough comparison. One last one being MS charges $60 per year for online, while several Wii U games have forgone the $10 online pass. That is certainly a win for Nintendo.

ElMastero

#35

ElMastero said:

I had wifi problems as well. I bought the Wii U as an X-Mas gift for the kids. I heard about the long firmware update and decided to get the console ready to go for X-Mas. I configured the wifi, easy enough and ran the update. An hour or so later I came back and decided to set up Netflix & Hulu Plus. I have subscriptions to both. Unfortunately I needed to update the software of each, including youtube. But each time I'd get booted off the net. So each time I had to configure wifi get connected and update the software. I'd get booted, i'd configure the wifi again and then proceed to update the next software. Rinse and repeat. I assumed it had something to do with the distance of the console to the wifi adapter. But I never had problems using a smart bluray player in the same location. So I think I'll definitely use the fix that is provided in the review above because I have a feeling when I next turn on the console (on X-Mas morning) I'll be booted off the net again.

Tate24

#36

Tate24 said:

Don't know about Wii U😕. On one hand want try new gamepad and experience Nintendo games in HD. But on other hand crashing freezing problem and slow framed rate really worries me😧

At 300 pound I expect these problems to be sorted or for that matter not be even happing on system so this is big problem for me. I may wait till bought out patches for Wii U just incase doesnt happen. What happens if all games suffer with poor frame rates and crashing that gonna just p#*s me off after spending alot money on it. I want home HD console that has no issues like these. That why am thinking all options available Including buying 360 for just 130 pound.

Love Nintendo

I just think system been throw out factory door to hit Christmas period and while know problem will happen to new systems I don't know how gonna fix poor frame rate issues and crashing in there games 😟

pkee

#37

pkee said:

I thought this was a fantastic, informative review. Sadly, I have exams next year so I won't be getting the console until summer, but great to know it's started promisingly, and the gamepad works well. Ridiculously happy to hear the touch screen is precise, I feel bad using a DS's touchscreen in the fear of scratching.

HawkeyeWii

#38

HawkeyeWii said:

Christmas can't come soon enough! Just all of you wait, when that first load of hardcore 1st party games come. Oh boy is it going to be a treat to play the New Super Mario 3D adventure game, or the New Super Smash Bros. and of course the next Zelda. It's going to be a dream come true to play those first party games in HD!!! :D

Kid_A

#39

Kid_A said:

I find the entire idea of a console review very strange. A system should be judged by the end of its run, not when it's just starting. The DS was absolutely panned when it came out and now it could be argued to be Nintendo's best console. A system is defined by its games, not its tech.

WesCash

#40

WesCash said:

@Kid_A
It isn't really a "review", more of just a look at the potential of the system. I know some sites actually give a numerical score to new systems, which is just silly for the reasons you stated.
I will say that although a system is defined by its games, games in turn are limited by the tech of the system.

GazPlant

#42

GazPlant said:

I think the real question here is why do you have a Christmas tree up already?!

ohhaime

#43

ohhaime said:

I don't have a Wii U yet but I'm glad Nintendo stuck with Resistive touch screens because between my DS/3DS and my Vita I very much prefer the DS's pixel perfect accurate Resistive touch screens to the Vita's clunky capacitive.

Dogpigfish

#44

Dogpigfish said:

I haven't run into any issues with COD or AC3, so I'm wondering how far they were away from the tv and if they were testing remote play. The only issue I've had with online is users getting kicked off because of slow connections, but that's not my problem. Overall it's much more stable and I'm greatly impressed by the opening software over my ps3 and Xbox 360.

aaronsullivan

#45

aaronsullivan said:

@rjejr
Nice comparison.
One big difference is the GamePad experience is far more practical than the Kinect and also something that feels completely new despite how it is just using old ideas in new ways. Furthermore, the almost zero latency of the GamePad screen is something I haven't seen anywhere else and is one of those overlooked features that people will take for granted immediately.

Most of all, from experience, Nintendo Land itself is unrivaled as far as party games go at the moment. If you want to sit down with a group and have fun, Wii U offers the best way, IMO.

Still, it's important to note that the competitors have a ton to offer at the moment and Nintendo's somewhat conservative approach to the hardware performance is going to make the road ahead uncertain. Unfortunately for Nintendo most people don't account for the fact that the Wii U must render to two screens and maintain performance that compares on the TV alone with the current consoles.

For me personally, Nintendo Land has proven to be more than I even hoped and there is the promise of Metroid, Zelda, a 3D Mario and just as good, surprises that I didn't see coming. So, the Wii U is a no brainer. :)

FiveDigitLP

#46

FiveDigitLP said:

@GazPlant
Why would you not have your Christmas tree up?? Around here, it's pretty traditional for people to put it up right after Thanksgiving! (At the end of November, in other words.) Although my wife likes to put it up at the beginning of November...she says that if she's going to go to all that work, she might as well have a longer period of time to be able to enjoy it!

UnseatingKDawg

#47

UnseatingKDawg said:

Well, despite some flaws, I'm looking forward to picking up one of these bad boys, once I get the money. I can also look at it this way - the 3DS had a rocky startup, but look where that got today. Maybe by the time I grab one, it'll have the updates installed. I'm also pretty sure I'll have to get better Internet if I want to use all the features... But hey, I'm in it for games.

gundam00

#50

gundam00 said:

This wasn't really a "review". This was more: "I took it out of the box and plugged it in". Compared to the reviews you guys do for games, I was expecting something more thought out. Much of the information in your review, we already knew from previous reports. Really the only thing new you brought to the discussion was the Receptive Touchscreen and the Wii U locking up (which I've read on Amazon). Overall, it seemed that you were a little more disappointed with the Wii U than you thought you would be and didn't want to say it out loud. At least, that was the impression I got.

Also, the GamePad is NOT a Tablet. A tablet is a laptop computer without the keyboard. The GamePad is a game controller with a screen. So I think it's incorrect to compare the GamePad to a tablet.

Iggy

#51

Iggy said:

There's a few things that are bothering me the lack of optic and ethernet connections. Hopefully I can use my usb to ethernet adapter that I have for the Wii then that's fixed. But I haven't read of a way to use a surround sound headset on the Wii U. Hopefully they release a adapter like the xbox 360 has. Its going to be a waste of money sense last gen had these options but at least you will have them.

Its not going to be as unique of an experience as playing the Wii for the first time but its something new to home consoles. Its still going to feel unique and something that you can't do on any other console. I may have a few things that are bothering me but its not going to stop me from buying the Wii U.

SpaceApe

#52

SpaceApe said:

The article describes the reasons why I traded in my 360 for a Wii U. Well done.

Jaz007

#53

Jaz007 said:

@rjejr What works on kinect aside from dance central? Nothing works on kinect that has the potential to actually use the potential of the kinect. virtually everything on it doesn't work. (and before you write back about me just being a fanboy think about it, is true)

dananlau

#54

dananlau said:

Picked up my Wii U today - genuinely excited. I'm going to save the big unveil for Christmas and my daughter (who's just as excited as me).

I've got a PS3 and expect I'll have the PS4 as well - that doesn't take away from my love for all things Nintendo (the NES was my first console). I know that both consoles will have different experiences in their own right and I'm fine with that, isn't that the point of 1st party exclusives?!

As I get closer to 30 (rather than 25 :( ) as a gamer, I'm learning that my interest in complexity and depth of gameplay increases, but my time/opportunity to play decreases (works/kids/fiancee doesn't leave much time for anything else).

I've come to realise that graphics are not the be all and end all. I'm fortunate in that I will probably invest in the new consoles next year that will probably produce prettier games, in addition to the Wii U. That being said, as with getting the Wii as well as the PS3, I know Nintendo's console may not be as powerful, but the experiences I will have on it (i.e. both Mario Galaxys, both Zeldas, MarioKart, Metroid, even Punchout and WarioLand on the Wii) far exceed that of other consoles in my opinion.

I don't know if I'm considered hardcore anymore, and genuinely I don't care. I love games, and I cannot wait to experience them on the Wii U and the sense of community from likeminded gamers in Miiverse.

:)

Jaz007

#55

Jaz007 said:

I'm supprised with the gamepad range they came up with. I go out of my room, then go to the left a little and go down 5ft on my stairs and the connection breaks and tells me to go to closer to the Wii U.

Sonomin

#56

Sonomin said:

This review makes me long for a Wii U even more! Why I didn't preorder, I don't know..

Rapadash6

#57

Rapadash6 said:

US Wii U owner here. My living situation changed earlier this month, and because of that, my time with the system has been minimal; at least not as much as I'd like anyway, but I really am enjoying it quite a lot so far.

I'm very fortunate that I haven't experienced any of the connectivity and/or lock up issues that seem to plague others, but I've mostly only been playing NSMBU. I find the relatively slow OS a minor annoyance rather than what it has been overblown to be, and I'll bet dimes to dollars it will speed up as more firmware updates become available. I mean, let's face it, this has been pretty much the case for every system with any kind of OS like, ever, so I'm a bit perplexed as to why Wii U is being heavilly criticized for this fact by the broader media and gamerdom in the extremes that it is.

That's not to say I can't recognize where improvements are needed, and the Wii U definately has it's share of faults. Most glarring for me is the hardwares handling of digital audio, which bypasses most of the matrixed surround options available to me via my A/V reciever and will only output sound from the front left and right speakers in MOST cases. Of course when it is outputting true 5.1 channels it's as good as it can possibly get because linier PCM audio is second to none quality wise, but we should have more options for games not encoded with this type of audio. Most likely this is an oversight, but it affects not only new games but my entire Wii software collection as well. It feels like a step backwards when I can't enjoy the ambient surround effects in games like Skyward Sword on this newer and technically more capable machine. What's worse is surround sound isn't an option at all if you aren't using an HDMI connection for audio.

Other than that, which will likely be remedied in a future update, the system is solid as far as I'm concerned. The games I've played are fun, Miiverse is an incredible implimentation of social networking into a console environment and the gamepad offers tons of deversity and potential to the systems future library. I look foward to seeing what the future holds for this new system.

gojiguy

#58

gojiguy said:

I'm gonna wait for price drop, wii mode integration, VC integration, bug fixes, performance issues, and a better bundle...

I'll probably be waiting for a while...

Emaan

#59

Emaan said:

Great review, I love my Wii U. So excited for what's to come on this wonderful system. :D

ianmage1

#61

ianmage1 said:

Seriously, the Wii U is the console that Nintendo should have released back in 2006, not the Wii. I absolutely love the Wii U.

dananlau

#63

dananlau said:

@Rapadash6 I think the majority of gamers can look past rectifiable start up issues too.

It seems to be quite part and parcel these days with the amount consoles are trying to achieve on top of simply playing games!

Miiverse I find pretty exciting - I'm keen to get into an online community based on gaming experiences (past and present) rather than kill streaks and the rest of it lol

Moshugan

#64

Moshugan said:

I'm very pleased with my Wii U, albeit the aforementioned crashes and freezes. They are a sign of times, something past generations of Nintendo products just didn't have, but we can be sure that they'll be fixed with an update or two.
BTW, I love the GamePad!
The best invention ever!!

Moshugan

#66

Moshugan said:

@Jaz007 Yeah, I'm a bit dissappointed too, but the fault is not on the tech side.
We have stone (or concrete) walls and it works pretty good even with two walls between, but there's this one corner which is just too thick or something! :D
The plus side is that you can set the little box up anywhere in the house with ease, since it doesn't necessarily require a telly. ;)

madgear

#67

madgear said:

I think that's a pretty fair review from what I've heard of the system. It won't convince me to buy one, but I'm still interested to read about any new Nintendo console good or bad.

Since you're reviewing a UK Wii U, I'm curious as to how certain VC games function via a HDMI connection. In the UK, certain Virtual Console games refused to work via a HD connection (Castlevania, Gunstar Heroes, Toejam & Earl, R-Type 3 etc). Since the Wii U uses an HDMI connection, are these games even playable on the console?

ToxieDogg

#68

ToxieDogg said:

On the one hand, I think it's been needlessly difficult and fiddly to port all my Wii stuff over and I seem to have spent almost as much time watcing update bars and loading screens in the last 12 hours as actually playing games. On the other hand...LOVE the GamePad, Miiverse is excellent, the EShop is extremely nice and user friendly and even though it's yet another twin stick shooter...Nano Assault Neo has to be easily the best twin stick shooter I've played in an age, which bodes well for future exclusve indie games. With the right support and games that suit the machine, I can see Wii U producing some phenomenal experiences over the next few years :)

GamecubeMan

#69

GamecubeMan said:

Pretty Solid Review.
Like @3Dash said before, Nintendo will probably release some updates and then it will be a done deal. Hopefully they will fix the WiFi connection thing before I get mine next summer.....

triforcepower73

#70

triforcepower73 said:

I'll buy one when I get the money. Also I don't think people can emphasize how light the controller is. I tried it out yesterday and wow! I had heard how light it was but I didn't think it was going to be THAT light.

rodoubleb

#72

rodoubleb said:

People with problems are far more likely to be vocal than people with no problems.

Mike1

#73

Mike1 said:

Does the premium eidtion come with a stand so you can see it up horiontally or vertically?

MAB

#75

MAB said:

Ha ha! only took a half hour for me to download the update and installation was a breeze... Best console out ;) 10/10

defrb

#76

defrb said:

Got mine, and im very happy with it. Now i have to wait till there come some nice games.
Its diffrent and next gen, lot of options for gamemakers to make a game special for wiiu, cant wait for the serious releases :P

seronja

#77

seronja said:

got mine yesterday by a very huge suprise =D i was planning on buying a wii-u myself sometime in the first half of april, but when i went to school afternoon, got a 5 ( or A if your in america ) on my exam, came home and i saw my brother playing the zombie U and i was very suprised to see that he bought the zombie U limited edition Wii-U, and he bought darksiders 2, batman arkham city: armored edition, nintendo land, NSMBU and ninja gaiden 3 razor's edge =D i must admit nintendo innovated the gaming again the Wii-U is awesome hehe

1wiierdguy

#79

1wiierdguy said:

I can't remember ever being so happy with a console at launch. The Wii U makes feel like a kid at Christmas. :)

Nibelilt

#80

Nibelilt said:

/nodnod
I agree with this review fully.

Two stands are supplied for the GamePad - one which charges the battery when docked, and another which allows you to rest the pad on a flat surface

I thought that was to hold up the Wii U itself? I can't see how it fits the GamePad?

Nibelilt

#81

Nibelilt said:

For the record, I also prefer resistive because, from my experiences, they're far more accurate and have way less issues.

c1pher_c0mplet

#82

c1pher_c0mplet said:

@Nibelilt As an avid DS/3DS player, I've experienced no issues whatsoever with the handhelds' resistive screens. And I'm glad they chose this tech for the GamePad as the Wii U would've been more expensive with it. A gaming system doesn't need to be bleeding edge to still be entertaining - a notion Nintendo understands fairly well. ^.^

potomas

#83

potomas said:

The range of gamepad in my house is rubbish can't play in bed.in fact six feet down hall and it starts breaking up.Apart from that loving everything about this console

Residentsteven

#85

Residentsteven said:

Not impressed with mine so far it could not find my wifi which my ps3 & 360 can find very easy and I got called away from my wii U before setting it up and powered off big mistake it's now total knacked.
I know not to power it off when it's updating but setting it up this is silly, anyway I've sent it back to game to replace it hopes its back soon I even took the day off work for it to.

Sup

#90

Sup said:

Very happy with my purchase. Lots of great little features, like being able to send video or pictures to your TV while continuing to surf on the gamepad. And the video chat works very well.

redclow

#92

redclow said:

Is the HDMI cable what makes it HD? Cause I have a 'box' TV and I have to use the old Wii cable on it.

Tsuchiya

#93

Tsuchiya said:

CoD lag free, smooth framerate and performance*, excellent controls all on a gameboy on steroids! . Bliss ;)

  • Dunno what the fuss was about!
skjia

#94

skjia said:

I've had the console since US launch and I've enjoyed it quite a lot. According to the daily log i've played over 50 hours (admittedly half of that was Netflix lol) and i have not experienced one crash or freeze or anything of the sort. It's a really great system and a lot of fun.

My only two issues are the long load times of the UI, waiting about 10-20 seconds just to open up settings is a little too long and the Wii Mode is rather silly but I'm hoping they will eventually update both of those issues. And they are very minor issues that just require a little more patience. Which is ridiculous to ask gamers to be patient! :P

Sun

#95

Sun said:

I like the article because it's objective. Wii U might be slow, but Nintendo games will make the difference, as always.

Sun

#97

Sun said:

I agree with you guys saying it's a shame it does not feature a Ethernet port. Lame.

Iggy

#98

Iggy said:

@Tsuchiya
From what ive read it does have a lesser frame rate then the 360/ps3 version at times. Unless your playing super competitive it honestly doesn't matter just sit back and have fun. Most of the people that are talking smack about it obviously don't have it for wii u and don't realize its just a port.

Also its not lag free your going to experience lag maybe not today or tomorrow but you will and it might not be your fault either.

ToxieDogg

#100

ToxieDogg said:

@Tsuchiya Most people complaining about Wii U game framerates haven't even played any games on one and are just bandwagon jumping on news they've heard about the CPU, etc. Asides from Epic Mickey 2 (which you could tell had slowdown even just by looking at Youtube vids....I went with the original Wii version in the end like Legend_Marioid did), the game framerates are hardly any different at all to their Xbox 360/PS3 counterparts. I loved Assassins Creed 3 on PS3 for instance but it suffered frequent noticeable framerate drops. And my copy of Batman Arkham City on 360 doesn't even boot up a quarter of the time...still have that issue to this day. Fanboys of other consoles do sometimes tend to get a little jealous when a new system they can't afford comes along though ;)

Iggy

#101

Iggy said:

Once I get a Wii U I might try out COD if there are frame rate issues I doubt there as severe as people say. Even then I doubt ill be able to notice them. Main reason ive never played a COD yet is I play Halo and dont want the controls to throw me off switching between games. Good time to start with Nintendos new console.

@Tsuchiya
Im not saying you will lag but it will happen. There will be a situation were your shooting at someone and there moving all over the place. Or when someones host with a bad connection which can get annoying. Doesn't happen a lot but it does happen just giving you the heads up.

Tsuchiya

#102

Tsuchiya said:

@Iggy
Say what you want, My matches online have been flawless. Guess your internet is junk coz I'm just fine here ;)
Not sure why you keep coming back at me saying I will lag, when I just won't and I haven't. The only problem with blops2U is lack of gamers online. It beats the 360 version hands down and yes, I have played it. In fact I still have it. Unused obviously. ;)

When my matches lag into oblivion, I'll letcha know but till then I'll play some faultless blops.

Tsuchiya

#103

Tsuchiya said:

First doodle reported. Taken down and reviewed in about 2-3 seconds roughly. Impressed :D

Iggy

#104

Iggy said:

@Tsuchiya
I wasn't saying your internet sucked. Was just telling you not to have unreal expectations of lag free online or convince others. I play halo a lot have 30 mbps internet way more then you need for console gaming and I experience lag in some form or another on occasion. Wasn't being rude or insulting you in anyway just saying lag happens.

Tsuchiya

#105

Tsuchiya said:

I'm lag free. Sorry but it's true ;)
54mbps. I'm just telling you how I'm experiencing it. End of. ;)

LeasTwanteD

#107

LeasTwanteD said:

The only real downside seems to be that it doesn't have any USB port on the back of the console. That would be better if you plan to permanently plug in an external HDD imo.
Anyway, i hope the crashes are fixed soon and TVii becomes available in the very near future too.
PS: Also hoping for nl reviews of the Pro pad and headsets. :)

ToxieDogg

#108

ToxieDogg said:

@ziLToiD There were 2 USB ports on the back of my Wii U last time I checked....yep, they're still there. I'd be happier if the Wii U allowed me to actually install an internal hard drive like the PS3 does, but it's not a huge issue.

DarkNinja9

#109

DarkNinja9 said:

i noticed you cant move the stuff in the main wii u menu like you could do on the wii or the 3ds and you cant make folders either like on the 3ds =|

Grodus

#110

Grodus said:

I didn't have any problems with internet connection, and I think the crashing was initial hype, mine crashed 6 times in the first 3 days and then stopped (you read that right, most of it was playing the heck out out if it with friends... luckily, we all had our 3DS's.)
EDIT: also, my GamePad loses connection when I hide it from cheating toads in Mario Chase. I also lost connection playing beside the couch (cheaters are everywhere) about 2 yards away from the console. I is confused.

Roachant

#111

Roachant said:

Hi gamg, well i have been playing with my "U" for a few days now... No crashes or lags or anything. Also, one thing Im noticing is that netflix looks better on it than my ps3. I find the user interface, although similar is clearer on the wii u than ps3.
I really hope this console does well, not simply because I invested money in it but just because I am loving the gamepad experience.

skjia

#112

skjia said:

@DarkNinja9
You can move things around the menu to organize it the way you want. Just drag and drop like you do on the 3DS. But no unfortunately there are no folders.

HaastMK7

#114

HaastMK7 said:

You have completely convinced me to get the Nintendo Wii U, If only I was allowed to get it :(

chiptoon

#115

chiptoon said:

I also had huge problems getting online. But manually inputting the settings did not fix it. In the end i turned off security to run the update, and after that was installed the manual entry approach worked. Give that a try if you're really stuck.

Varia01

#116

Varia01 said:

Hey what? This review is WRONG! I enjoyed the wii u though I haven't done much yet.

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