As a certain 3DS title suggests, Nintendo is turning a new leaf with their consoles. They always seem to innovate, and that’s what they do best. However the real question is if the trade for graphics for an innovative controller worth it?
Going through stuff in the box will give you a perspective for what’s in store for your latest next gen purchase.
First, there is of course the tablet. The button layout is pretty nice and the controller fits pretty well in your hand. Non-tablet gamers will find this a struggle to get used to, being so large, but after about an hour of using it, it’s pretty much second nature. This will be your standard controller of play but you can still use your other Wii remotes for Wii U games for up to 5 players. A gripe I have, though, is that only one Wii U controller can be used (so far) for games. This is kind of disappointing because with multiple game tablets, split screen games will be non-existent.
Moving on to the console. The black version of the Wii U (the deluxe edition) is a moderate size. It’s bigger than a regular Wii and smaller than an Xbox 360. The system has 4 USB inputs and 2 SD card slots. It does have quite a lot of fans, and this is good since I had to replace my Wii twice because of overheating issues. The system itself as the premium version has 32GB of memory, and I personally recommend the extra $50 for the memory and the other features (see more below).
The Deluxe Bundle has a couple of extra things other than memory to sweeten the deal, but of course these aren’t really reasons to get the expansion. There are things like a gamepad charger, system stands and a gamepad cradle, which you won’t probably use as much as you think you will. The real deal breaker for me on getting the bundle was Nintendo Land, but that was just my personal preference.
So now that we’ve looked at the outside of the system, we’ll take a look at its built in functions. After doing a mandatory update that will seem like an eternity the console will start up. This will probably be your first introduction to clever gamepad use. The gamepad can show either your Miiverse menu (more on that later) or a familiar Wii-esque menu that shows your apps/ channels. It gives a good at home feeling to 3DS as well. Other channels include the shop channel, video channels like Netflix and Hulu, and video chat.
Most of the apps are, unfortunately, quite bland but Nintendo’s Miiverse is amazing, and dare I say up to standards with communities like that of Guild Wars 2 if not better.
The Community thrives on commenting and relating on all the games that you play, and even help with tips in game. You can befriend different Mii’s, save them and like their posts. This community is great and well filtered. However, expect some small stuff to get through. The community is friendly and extremely fun, but if you don’t know how to draw you will probably be intimidated by everyone else’s extreme talent, and feel the obligation to draw or write something memorable.
Despite all the innovations, the Wii U has many faults. Many developers. Being a new console, the system is expensive because of the new controller. I can understand this; however the lack of graphical polish leaves you wishing for just a noticeable difference. I’m not going to say graphics are the main priority, and they aren’t, but that isn’t an excuse to hide behind. Graphics are still needed in a console change. It also comes to your attention that the Wii U’s gamepad doesn’t have very good battery life, and this can be a problem as long play sessions will need the recharger close by. Also it pains me to see that third party developers don’t take use of the gamepad as they could. The only third parties that succeed in showing the gamepad’s innovative ways are Ubisoft and Warner Brothers. And to finish the main complaints, the loading times are brutal with about 30 seconds of waiting. The screen doesn’t even show progress and it makes you think that a glitch has occurred at some points. Nintendo has said that they will try to fix it, but for now we just have to be patient.
Thankfully, Nintendo still delivers the goods with this new console. The operating system works great and the games play well, and that’s what matters. Plus you can transfer all of your original Wii shop games on to the Wii U. The tablet is a dream to use. And the touch screen makes you feel like you are playing a more enhanced DS game. That friends, is a good thing. The games that understand the extreme pros of the gamepad are the more praised software launch titles. The networks are also great and apps like Nintendo TVii are a real way to show that consoles are not just for gaming anymore. There are also really cool things you can try out with your Wii U such as keeping the system in a backpack, plugging it into a power outlet and playing New Super Mario Bros U on the game tablet as you go on a train or airplane.
So wondering if the system is worth buying yet? To Nintendo fans waiting for another revolution, yes. It’s safe to say you spent your money well. For general audiences, it’s a great way to keep people entertained but it might be a little pricy for some being $350 for the deluxe edition. To gamers who want killer applications, wait about two months for Rayman Legends. The system is fun and you will find it hard to put down the controller. The system’s other functions just about cover for the lack of better graphics. All and all this system will not leave you disappointed.
The Wii U has had a good start — now let’s see what happens!