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Feature: Our Staff's Thoughts on Wii U - Part One

Posted by Nintendo Life Staff

The beginning of a new era

Now that Wii U has arrived in both Europe and North America, a number of the Nintendo Life team have got their hands on the system and have been happily playing various launch titles. We've already produced a number of Wii U reviews — with more on the way — and provided a formal hardware review, but decided that it'd be worth giving some personal impressions of the system so far. The success or otherwise of Wii U will come down to a number of factors including the usage of the GamePad and its social platform, Miiverse, and there are plenty of opinions on these within the team.

With quite a few staff members joining in we'll split this into two parts; be sure to check back tomorrow for more of our individual opinions on the system.

Mike Mason

If you'd have told me six months ago that the best thing about a new Nintendo console would be a Twitter / message board hybrid, I'd have called you mad. As it turns out, though, Miiverse has very rapidly “Yeah”ed its way up to become my favourite function of Wii U.

I'm not a hugely social gamer when it comes to online, but Miiverse is such a generally pleasant place that I find myself wanting to use it as much as possible, which is something that I can't say for any other online gaming service. It's great to pick up the GamePad, check Miiverse and then set it down again, all without switching on my television.

Everybody is friendly, it's easy to hop right into a discussion and it's lovely to see users helping each other rather than cussing the world and its mother out. The other day I popped into the Trine 2 community only to end up chatting about old point and click adventure games before making friends with total strangers through this shared interest. You wouldn't get this on any of the other consoles.

On the other hand, the other consoles do offer faster operating systems. My primary problem with Wii U right now is the speed of entering and exiting software; it's not slow enough to ruin the experience, but I really hope it's made a bit nippier in the future. The second big firmware update seems to have smoothed things out very slightly, though there's still plenty of room for improvement.

I'm really impressed with Wii U as a whole. From the first time I picked up my very own GamePad, it just felt right. It's fantastic to see a high definition Nintendo console with a proper online infrastructure, and the way the second screen is integrated is completely different to anything else out there yet totally natural at the same time. I'm hosting my first Wii U party this weekend; I sense some very good Nintendo Land-fuelled times in my immediate future.

Ron DelVillano

Before its official launch, I had a pretty strained relationship with Wii U. I was underwhelmed by the tech demos and gameplay videos, and I wasn’t convinced that this was the next step that Nintendo, or the video games industry as a whole, was looking to take. It wasn’t until I actually got a demo unit in my hands that I realized how much I wanted to own a Wii U of my own, and it wasn’t until I finally turned my console on that I knew I was in love.

I’m a true believer in television. I think it’s one of the most under-appreciated storytelling mediums, and I think that more time should be spent watching TV shows in a critical capacity. That being said, I was really looking forward to Nintendo TVii. You can imagine my disappointment when it was revealed that the service would be delayed until later this year. Regardless, I was still excited to play Nintendo games in stunning HD.

Every time I turn my Wii U on and load up a game, I’m always taken aback at how crisp and clear everything looks, and it brings me an overwhelming sense of joy seeing Mario looking his absolute best. I’m still anticipating Nintendo TVii, and I’m hoping for a bit more social media integration as well, but for now, everything else that Wii U has to offer is enough for me. And besides, Netflix works, so my cravings for too much television are satisfied. For now.

Andy Green

I have to say I love what I’ve seen from Wii U so far. Surprisingly, what has impressed me the most about the new system has been the Miiverse - it’s an absolute joy. When it first got announced I have to admit I just shrugged it off as a gimmick, but it is far from that. I have spent such a long time delving into it, and I’ve become obsessed with just drawing random Nintendo themed pictures! I’ll finish a game on Nintendo Land and feel compelled to write or draw about it on Miiverse – it’s getting addictive now! It isn’t perfect as it appears that everything you say or doodle must be placed in a community and there isn’t somewhere for me to just draw a picture of a Pokémon and say “yep, there’s a picture of Charmander”. It’d be nice if Nintendo added an ‘off-topic’ area or something where I can just doodle to my heart’s content – and believe me, I would!

Above everything else, the thing that excites me the most about Wii U is the possibilities. Simply playing through the attractions on Nintendo Land makes you see just how magical the GamePad really is, and makes you think of ways it can implement new controls in future games. The prospect of a Wii U Zelda, Metroid, Pikmin, Donkey Kong and, dare I say, Star Fox on Wii U is absolutely tantalising! The possibilities just appear endless to me.

The only thing I would say that’s disappointed me is the way in which the applications crash, YouTube especially. It’s a shame as it is actually a fantastic application. Hopefully Nintendo can release an update soon, if it hasn’t already. Overall, the Wii U is a great piece of kit, it’s early days but I’m very impressed so far!

Orla Madden

It's barely been a week, and all I can say is it's incredible. I'm most impressed with Miiverse, it has connected me to so many Nintendo fans worldwide, including the Nintendo Life staff. I've spent most of my time with Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition, so if you think you can challenge me, hit me up!

An area I find most annoying is the loading time of apps, it's a bit slow and sluggish, but it doesn't put me off completely.

I look forward to the Wii U's future, as I have no doubt it'll be a great one! Well done Nintendo!

Morgan Sleeper

My little white Wii U has been sharing shelf space with its console forebears for almost two weeks now, and it's amazing how quickly it's become the living room's main attraction. The asymmetrical multiplayer and cooperative attractions of Nintendo Land are a big reason for that - everyone wants to play as soon as we get home, and the same-couch co-op experience on Wii U really is unparalleled. I've never gotten so much laughter out of a console! But the big surprise for me has been Miiverse, possibly the Wii U's coolest feature. It makes playing alone feel social and connected, and I absolutely love the friendly, positive, and ridiculously artistically-gifted Miiverse community.

I've also been amazed at just how comfortable the GamePad is. It looks unwieldy, but after using it over the last few weeks, it might be my favourite controller since the Dreamcast pad. And as fun as the VMU was, the GamePad's screen feels like a sea change in console gaming. It was a revelation the first time I took my GamePad into my room to grab my wallet to pay for an eShop game, and then realized I could sit on my bed and buy, download, and play right from there. Being able to run through "a few" levels of New Super Mario Bros. U or Chasing Aurora in bed might be terrible for my sleep schedule, but it is genuinely exciting - the kind of thing I would've dreamed of as a kid.

The only disappointment I've had so far is with the walled-off Wii Menu. It works, but I was hoping for backwards compatibility similar to the 3DS, where DSiWare coexists transparently with eShop and retail titles on the home screen. And I'm gutted that I can't play VC games on the GamePad (yet?) - the revolution will well and truly come when I can play Magical Drop III comfortably in bed! In the meantime though, I couldn't be happier with the Wii U. It's a beautifully designed and thoroughly charming console in every aspect, from the soothing menu music to those lovely rounded disc edges, and I can't wait to see where it goes from here!

Check back at the same time tomorrow for more opinions from Nintendo Life staff. In the meantime, let us know what you think in the comments, below.

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User Comments (49)

Birthday_Boy

#3

Birthday_Boy said:

Miiverse is one of the many features Nintendo's consoles have that speaking about it will never do it justice.

Shiryu

#5

Shiryu said:

I find it hard to explain to people why the Wii U is without a doubt rapidly climbing to the top of my favourite home console ever, so it's best not even try to. I just sit them down in front of it and make them play. Then, they understand. :)

Kirk

#6

Kirk said:

On the whole I'm still not that impressed with the system.

It's got some cool features, just the like Wii before it, but just like the Wii before it the overriding sense I get is that it's going to leave me disappointed for the most part.

Not because it's a bad machine by default but more that Nintendo will do it's utmost best to gimp it in ways that really aren't necessary, meaning it will never live up to it's full potential or fully deliver the types of experiences it ultimately could.

Kosmo

#8

Kosmo said:

My personal liking of the Wii U was no surprise, as I always have been a great fan of Nintendo consoles, but what really surprised me was my family's reaction. I brought back the Wii U home, and was immediately told to shut the blasted thing down so people could watch some TV.
It was a matter of minutes before everyone, my dad, mom, sister and girlfriend were around the TV, fighting to see who would be the next Ghost in the Luigi's Mansion attraction. I bet if Nintendo had filmed us, they could use the footage as a TV add. We played all together for 3 hours before stopping.
And then the next day they came to me and asked to play some more.
I think the Wii U really has a huge potential of bringing people together for a fun moment, even more than the Wii did. The simplicity of use for the GamePad and the convivial games really are a hit. I greatly hope to see more, and very soon too!

Doge

#9

Doge said:

I am very impressed, even though i was one of the ones who thought it would jot sell

LEGEND_MARIOID

#11

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

I love it more than I thought I would. Eased the pain greatly of the extotinate cost of the dconsole (IMO)

IAmSpike

#12

IAmSpike said:

People keep telling me how epic the Wii U is and I'm stuck here with this dang old Wii.

Why won't Christmas come sooner? MISERY

PixelatedPixie

#14

PixelatedPixie said:

I'm glad you guys are enjoying it so much. I know for a fact though that had I bought a Wii U I would have been far more critical of the technical issues then you guys are.

Will-75

#15

Will-75 said:

The Wii U is to me the best Nintendo system ever and easily my favorite system to date , the web browser was a surprise for me it is the best web browser on any current console and Miiverse is a blast. Nintendo you have outdone your self's my hat is off to you.

NintyMan

#16

NintyMan said:

I mostly agree with Mason here. I wasn't crazy about Miiverse at first, but now I greatly enjoy how clean and respectful it really is. I saw the potential, but I just didn't clearly understand until now. Nintendo gamers can chat about games like never before.

ogo79

#17

ogo79 said:

cant seem to fit my nes or snes games in this...is mine defective?
please someone help asap

Arianabtd

#18

Arianabtd said:

I still really want a Wii U... but it's gonna take me forever to save up for one >_<.

gojiguy

#19

gojiguy said:

VC and Wii Mode is killing the Wii U for me.

I wan integration, gamepad support, and a system wide update enabling aspect ratio selection and button configuration.

Wildfire

#20

Wildfire said:

Miiverse is amazing and whenever I can I will draw or write something related with the game I'm playing at the time. I also got to say that I like the youtube app, it really surprised me. Just let me end this by saying that Wii U is an outstanding machine that already made me spent hours in front of it just like the good old days playing Mega Drive and Nintendo 64.

farfromsleep

#21

farfromsleep said:

I'll have to go with the crowd here and sing MiiVerse's praises.

It's genuinely refreshing to find such a fun, helpful community in the online gaming space. I got sick of multiplayer some time ago on the other systems, even if you mute everyone there's still that feeling in the back of your mind that you're wasting time with jerks you'd cross the street to avoid in real life, and my schedule's too much of a mess to play with friends. Nintendo's community just feels so much more welcoming, it's like the anti-Xbox Live. You go on MiiVerse and you just want to draw silly pictures and give people yeahs. And a nicer community leads to nicer players. It's turning out to have much more of an effect than I thought it would.

There's still issues to be worked out, of course. I agree that menu loading could be a bit snappier, wii integration could be a lot better and we could really use a native VC as soon as possible, but hopefully those aspects will improve over time. As it is, it's still a great start.

ToxieDogg

#22

ToxieDogg said:

The Miiverse modding is a little too heavy handed at times (I received a warning about posting spoilers because a couple of people asked what was different about Mighty Switch Force HD from the 3DS game and I told them about the 21 extra Hyper levels that can be unlocked....nothing was really spoiled for anybody and I think I might've actually helped sell a few more MSF downloads) but it's genrally very good and Miiverse as a whole is probably my favourite feature of the Wii U. As for playing VC games in bed? I've had a modded PSP for years that does the job just fine already. :D

SCAR392

#23

SCAR392 said:

The only thing I hate about Miiverse, is that people are constantly posting questions that are being answered right underneath it, or just posting useless stuff. People that really have a question or have something interseting to say usually get flooded out. There's probably a million 'Should I get this game?' posts on there. If anything, they need to make a search bar for text made posts, or hand recognition so you can still search for handwriting.

BossBattles

#24

BossBattles said:

I'm happy that the Wii U has SUPRISED me as much as it has...I've been buying Nintendo consoles since the beginning, and this is the first time it's really delivered MORE than what i expected. That is saying a lot.

SCAR392

#25

SCAR392 said:

I think Miiverse is great for kids that aren't allowed access to the internet by parental controls, but flooded posts(usually ALL the same) make the app more of a SPAM collection.

BossBattles

#26

BossBattles said:

If Miiverse is a spam collection, then what is twitter? What is facebook?
It's all the same. At least Miiverse has a positive community feel, which is not something i can say for the rest of the internet.

also: ARTWORK.

SCAR392

#27

SCAR392 said:

That's exactly why I don't have a Twitter or Facebook actually... Like I said, it would probably be great for kids that parents don't want to go on the internet for your exact reasoning: negative. As for the artwork, they need to make an app or seperate community section for that, at least for original drawings. I see the same exact posts every time I go on there, all asking the exact same question.

farfromsleep

#28

farfromsleep said:

If you want to filter out the noise on there, just start following the good posters and artists and use your personal feed more, I find that works well. It can also help to hang out more in the quieter communities. Nintendo Land's a madhouse at the moment.

kyuubikid213

#29

kyuubikid213 said:

Nintendo, all I want for Christmas is two things from you.
That "Off Topic" section of Miiverse to exist...
And NintendoTVii.

rjejr

#30

rjejr said:

Nice write up. Good to see people talking about actually using the system rather than worrying about what it may or may not have which may or may not affect you anyway.

TheDreamingHawk

#31

TheDreamingHawk said:

I like miiverse, but there isn't enough mods IMO... the rabbids land community is filled with bad drawings of drugs and other stuff, and I often have to report like 50 posts for spam every time I hunt for a honest post.:(

ClassicJetterz

#32

ClassicJetterz said:

It has such amazing potential. I'm loving my Wii U, and I can't wait to see 3DS integration.

It's going to be a good generation for Nintendo fans. I can tell.

Emaan

#33

Emaan said:

I love my Wii U. I love Miiverse. That last entry really hit the nail with what's so great about the Wii U, its charm. This system has personality!

farfromsleep

#34

farfromsleep said:

People complain a lot about the system not having that initial 'wow' factor to pull in casuals that the wii had, but I can see it being more of a sleeper hit.

Kind of like it was with the original DS. People didn't really see the point when it launched, everyone said the more powerful upcoming PSP was going to slaughter it, but it gradually built up some decent support and eventually got distinctive games that played to the system's strengths and broke it into the mainstream in a massive way. Maybe it won't happen to quite that extent, but I wouldn't be surprised if we got something similar.

BossBattles

#35

BossBattles said:

Miiverse is a great start. They indeed could make adjustments to it, expand it, and offer more options. They could do A LOT with it, and i hope Nintendo doesn't rest on its laurels with all this potential they have with Wii U.

Capt_N

#36

Capt_N said:

I still have to even find one in my local store kiosks setups to play, & try. Like I told a family member back at Thanksgiving, I kinda (want), but don't (really/absolutely) need to have one, since I haven't even played it; I might not like it. That would be a serious waste of money. (See,) If I try it in a store, or at a family member's/friend's house, & like it, I might then want it, save for the price putting me off. Otherwise, for right now, I am only mildly interested; this is furthered by the fact, that I have had a Wii that needs repair to it's disc drive, & therefore hasn't been able to play disc-based games, since around mid-late 2010. If the problem is something inside, that I can fix on my own, instead of buying a full disc drive replacement, I will have to get around to it, before this Christmas(I do not believe in console hardware modding, but in home repair, if possible). Anyway, my point being, I still have to complete some Wii titles(SMG, SMBW, polish off collecting things in the original Force Unleashed.).

NintyMan

#37

NintyMan said:

My only gripe is there's too many bells and whistles for playing Wii games on the Wii U. The complexity of booting up the Wii Menu and having to convert all of the Wii game memory to the Wii U has held me off from doing it, and I really feel like playing some of my Wii favorites like Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii U, especially after I've read that Wii games look smoother on the Wii U.

But that's just a small issue. Otherwise, this system has impressed me and I get excited whenever I think of Super Smash Bros. 4 and Mario Kart U using Miiverse. That, my friends, is when Miiverse will truly shine.

CharbroiledEwok

#38

CharbroiledEwok said:

Similar to Morgan, I initially thought the Gamepad was too unwieldy, opting instead to play NSMBU with a Wii Remote. However, after spending more time with it in other games (mainly, Sonic Racing), I've grown quite comfortable platforming with the new controller. I'm glad I did, too: playing on the smaller screen when someone else wants to use the TV has brought much-needed peace to our home... ;)

DerpSandwich

#39

DerpSandwich said:

@SCAR392

Dude, I'm with you there. I'm basically certain that people are asking if ZombiU is good just because they like to get yeahs and replies. There's no other reason.

Fuzzy

#40

Fuzzy said:

Got one today. Looking forward to setting it up tomorrow and having a play around.

Ichiban

#41

Ichiban said:

I love my Wii U, my PS3 had been demoted to a media player now lol
I have been playing my Wii U non stop since i got it, something I havent done since the N64. Wait until the big 'uns arrive, its gonna be epic...
I must say that I hated the 3DS, so I wasnt really expecting much. But here I am, madly in love!

WuuU

#42

WuuU said:

After 3 days of sneaking around behind the back of my family and playing this at night, I said "Ah, screw it!" and called Early Christmas so we can all play. LUL.

Ganmaku

#43

Ganmaku said:

I'm finally playing games in HD am its amazing. The systems innovative but what I really hope is that 3rd parties really get behind it. Nintendo really needs that killer must-have game soon to ensure the system is in as many homes as possible.

manic221

#46

manic221 said:

Wow... I'm surprised that everyone is gushing about MiiVerse i sadly don't own a WiiU yet so i haven't had first hand experience... But i don't see the big deal i guess it's just one of those things you've got to experience like most things Nintendo do? I can deal with that already counting the days till i can get a WiiU (27 days haha)

Doge

#47

Doge said:

Wii U is like 3 times more powerful than the Wii was, telling from the features and flash memory

Dogpigfish

#49

Dogpigfish said:

Like the tips on miiverse, posting while I play is a huge success too. People are hilarious in ac3 always posting the graphic hiccups, minime's, horses on fences, and sticking your arm through a wall is a riot. Can't wait until a sonic game comes out and people take shots of falling through oblivion.

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