I got a Wii U! Here’s what I think!

Posted: December 7, 2012 in Miscellaneous
Tags: , , , , , , ,

wiiu

So I recently came into possession of a Wii U. In particular, the swanky Deluxe Set pictured above. I’ve been having fun with it so far. The only two games I’ve played on it so far are Nintendoland (Which comes with the Deluxe bundle) and New Super Mario Bros. U. I’ll blurb briefly about some of the big talking points of the system and what I think.

The System Itself

wiiu1

The system itself is oriented differently than most other systems. Whereas most systems have more width in the front than length on the sides, the Wii U system has a more narrow front/back and longer sides. I find it to be a bit more convenient because of my limited shelf space. The door that houses the media ports (1 SD card slot and 2 USB ports) has a nicer feel to it than the cheap-feeling hinges on the original Wii that came off so easily. The Wii U supports the original Wii A/V cables and sensor bar. Although the Wii U comes with a sensor bar of it’s own (for use with the Wii remotes), it does NOT come with standard A/V cables. Instead, an HDMI cable is packaged in. Convenient if you have an HDTV (which I don’t). Otherwise you’ll need to track down some Wii A/V or component cables (in my case, I still have old Wii, so it was only a minor hiccup).

The Game Pad

wiiu2

What a comfortable controller! This guy is pretty darned ergonomic! The design and buttons feel solid and not cheap. The glossy finish will leave some fingerprints behind, however. The TV remote function is really awesome, easy to set up, and even works when the system is not on (which is cool because my universal remote is missing)! The screen in the middle is high-def and is my screen of choice when playing NSMBU (like I said, older-ish TV. Plus, no aspect ratio or resolution setting looks right on my TV). As a result, battery life on this thing is not good at all. 3 hours maybe while gaming, 4 hours if watching Netflix. While watching Netflix (if you’re viewing on your TV) the Game Pad will display your current show/movie along with episode/movie information, pause buttons, and progress bar. The screen will auto-dim after a while, but considering how short the battery life is, I would have liked to see it shut off after a while on auto-dim. Luckily, the charger cord is of a decent length and total charge time doesn’t seem to be that bad.

The Pre-Installed Apps

wiiu3

Right out of the box, the Wii offers you 4 different video-watching services. Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, and Amazon Instant are all included right from the start. I don’t have a Hulu Plus or Amazon account, so I was unable to view anything via these services, but I did take a look at Netflix and YouTube. Netflix is a decent app. You can watch on your TV or the Game Pad. Switching between the two is seamless and there is no delay at all. I just wish the Wii U’s Netflix app had the auto-play feature for TV show viewing, where a new episode would automatically start at the conclusion of the current one. That would be my only gripe with the app. HOWEVER! The YouTube app is completely terrible. I don’t know if I’m missing something, but this thing was completely impossible to navigate properly. I hope this thing gets updated soon.

As for other non-video apps, the Miiverse app is pretty cool and easy to navigate. It’s like a simplified Facebook. Pick a community to post in, whether it’s an app or game, and you can comment on it, draw a picture, or give a “Yeah!” to a post you like or agree with (think Facebook “likes”). The eShop is alright the way it is… for now. I have a feeling it will need to be updated as more games get added to it. Two pages of games is not difficult to navigate at the moment, but as more games and apps are added, some clear division will be needed. The 3DS eShop has this problem. There is no way to view certain games unless you specifically search for them.

The Mii Maker is pretty much the same as always, but you can transfer your Mii from another system if you so choose. I transferred mine from my 3DS. That Mii is then tied to your brand new Nintendo Network ID! No more friend codes! Yay! You can also create a Mii from scratch or use the camera on the Game Pad to take your picture and build one from that.

The Games

nsmbunintendoland

Like I said earlier the only two games I’ve played so far are the ones pictured here. I really like both of these games. New Super Mario Bros. U is nothing revolutionary, but as a Mario nut, it sufficiently gives me my fix. Plus, it’s actually a bit challenging! Multiplayer can be played with multiple Wii remotes and/or the Game Pad. However, the Game Pad in multiplayer can only be used for Boost Mode, where you can tap on the screen to create blocks to help your 2nd player (and/or 3rd and 4th players). I would have liked to have the option to use just the Game Pad and Wii remote when my girlfriend and I played 2-player, but it wasn’t a big deal. There are also some neat challenge modes, similar to the coin rush mode on New Super Mario Bros. 2 on 3DS. Some are timed speed runs, some have you competing in endurance challenges.

Nintendo Land is the Wii Sports of this system, but so far seems to be so much more than what Wii Sports was. Unfortunately since I lack a Wii Motion Plus (merely setting for regular remotes) I wasn’t able to experience all games. I’m not sure I would have paid $60 for this (as those that purchased the Basic Set will have to, should they choose to play this game), but for a pack-in game, it’s perfect. Mario Chase and Pikmin Adventure are two of my favorites so far. I haven’t played all that were available to me, but we seemed to have the most fun with those ones out of the games we played.

Overall Impression

wwp

This is a fun system as it is and it has the potential to be so much more than it already is. I was a bit skeptical when it was first announced, but playing one could change your mind, if you’re wavering on buying one. The big annoyance out of the box is that EVERYTHING NEEDS AN UPDATE! The system itself (the infamous 5 GB download), each app, and both disc-based games so far. Some technical hiccups are to be expected with a new system launch and I try not to get upset about these updates (and I didn’t!) but it’s a bit frustrating when you’re excited to pop in the latest Mario adventure and you have to wait another 10-15 minutes for the update to download and install. I forgive it though. Just like every other system, it’s not perfect out of the box. It’ll get better with age. But as it is, it’s pretty fantastic. I’m not saying you MUST go out and get one, but if you were at least considering it… do it!

Hey, you there! Did you know I’m on the Facebook? I’m also on the Twitter! Guess what? I got that Nintendo Network ID too! Send a friend request to FiveDollarGamer on the Nintendo Network if you have a Wii U!

As always, thanks for reading!

 

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