Wii U Review

Over a month ago the Wii U was released to the waiting hands of gamers in the United States. Since then I have had a chance to play the console both by myself and with friends. So what is my opinion of the system? Are the games fun? And is it worth your money?


If this is you owned a Wii I have great news for you. Your old accessories will work with the new system. Wii Motes, nun-chucks, and your balance board will all work with the new system. And since it comes with a gamepad you, overall, will save a bunch of money since you won’t have to purchase all new equipment. The console, finally, has an HDMI out and as such is capable of high definition output. This is a step up from the Wii, which few of us ever understood. On the downside the system seems to have long load times, especially when loading a game to play. That or I am just really impatient. The big hardware difference that most people will notice is the controller and its built in touchscreen. The screen is responsive enough for games, or at least the ones I have played thus far. Nintendo Land has the largest variety of uses for the screen while ZombiU has the most integrated gameplay between the TV screen and the gamepad that I have experienced. I can see great things coming from this combination, but only if people are creative enough.


The Wii U came with an overhauled UI when you boot it up. Once you have created a Mii or imported one the system asks which Mii you will be accessing the Wii U with. From here you can see other Mii’s in the Miiverse (more on that later) and access your games / entertainment applications. Control is, as expected, done with the Gamepad. If you want to interact with what is on the TV just hit the B button and it swaps. Pretty intuitive overall. As expected you still have access to Netflix and Hulu Plus for entertainment. Now is the point where I talk about how awesome the TV integration is, except I don’t have a TV subscription and only use Netflix and Hulu, so lets just skip that feature.  Finally, if you happen to be a Wii owner and have an SD card with a spare 512 MB of space then you can copy the game saves and store purchases directly from the Wii to the Wii U, keeping your previous purchases from going to waste.

This brings us to the Miiverse. Nintendo’s new social network for gamers. At first this system irritated me as my gamer tag, Assimilator, is banned on the system due to the profanity filter (you should be able to figure out why). After breaking out the backup tag I got my Mii setup. Access to the Miiverse is setup on a per Mii basis, allowing parents more control on how public they want their kids to be. Once setup the TV screen, by default, will be populated by the Mii’s in the Miiverse. The posts others place will popup as speech bubbles. It is also integrated into a number of games. Nintendo Land uses the Miiverse to populate your amusement part. ZombiU allows other players to place hints in the form of pictures for other players that can then be rated as useful or not. And Super Mario Bros U allows you to vent how frustrated you are getting with a level or share your victory about passing it. The Miiverse makes a more obvious gamer community then Xbox live is. While Xbox live is great while in game, it is not really possible to interact with your fellow gamers outside of it if they are not on your friends list. The question that will take more time to answer on this is, will the Miiverse actually become a cohesive unit, or will it turn into an ignored feature on your way to play Mario?


Finally we get to the bread and butter of a new console. Is there anything worth a damn to play? The system came out of the gate with a number of sequels and ported games. Pikmin 3, the mentioned Super Mario Bros U, and Wii Fit U are few of the sequels. Then we also have Darksiders 2, Batman: Arkham City: Armored Edition and Mass Effect 3 for those that missed these games earlier in the year. And then there are the original games for the system such as ZombiU and The Wonderful 101. All these are decent games and make for only a small fraction of the games that are available for the system. Nice to see a strong launch, not that it was needed, but it sure helps. The only thing that disappointed me about the launch was there were not any games that I felt I had to have. Mario is fun, but there is nothing really new about it. ZombiU is innovative, but in the end it is a zombie game. And I have never played Pikmin so it is not a game I have been waiting for with bated breath. To sum all this up the game are good, but nothing so far is standing out as the game that makes this system a must buy. It was very smart to get existing blockbusters, but they need an exclusive that people are excited about.


Despite my complaints it is a fun system. The games are entertaining, more so in groups. It is nice that I can connect it with HDMI instead of those blasted component cables. The Miiverse gives you a reall sense of community with such a large collection of gamers on and communicating when logging on.  If you are looking for something as a family entertainment system I would suggest you go for this system full force. However if you are someone whom is an individual gamer then stay with the 360 or PS3. As of yet these systems seem more well placed for you.