Brad Reviews The Wii U

The Super WiiNES.

The Super WiiNES.

The Wii U is the latest console system release from Nintendo. It is a system which has been championed by some and generally dismissed by others. Where ever you stand on Nintendo based products you should take notice because it is just a joy to play and experience. Oh donít get me wrong it has its foibles, itís weird Nintendo-y quirks, just as all their other systems had. When it comes right down to it though it's about what you play on the system that matters and this launch has a bevy of joys to be had. Before I go to far into depth with this review I should probably ask my Mom to pay the one time 50 cent child safety online block. Be right back.

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Okay my Mom has just informed me I am a fully grown adult man, well into his twenties, and to not call again. On with the review!

The Good

Familiarity: Much like the Wii before it we find ourselves at a simple white menu with tiles to choose where we want to go. Most of the settings are taken care of right on the initial setup so there is not much menu digging to go through. It is all right there and that is exactly the way it should be. The PS3 menus could learn a thing or two from this elegance.

Simple and familiar.

Simple and familiar.

The Games: I have heard a lot of whining and hand wringing about this and it just blows my mind what people are talking about. Let us think back to the Wii for a second if we could, (you know that system that outsold the competitors and planted Nintendo as a fixture in every other home.) and remember what it had to offer. A Zelda game and a pack in, ... that was about it, ... nothing else was even mentionable back then. The Wii U on the other hand has a pack in that is just great, a Mario game that is arguably the best that Mario that has ever been on a 2D plane, and a zombie game that delivers on atmosphere better than any other zombie game since Resident Evil 2. These are the games that are the cream of the crop never mind a reworked Ninja Gaiden, Scribblenuats, and few great downloadable games to boot. Ok, ok I gotta calm down or Danny will never let me write for the site again. My point is it has games, so quit your bitching!

Everything is downloadable: The dream of getting rid of that huge collection of clutter might soon be a reality. Every game from launch day is there to buy without going to the store and housing a boxed copy, instead the entire game is housed within the system itself. This leads to my next point.

Expandability: A small note but from everything I have researched it seems that an external hard drive can hooked up by USB and you can play your downloaded games right from there. A huge plus for people who plan to buy lots of games, at least I think so.

The Bad

LoadingÖ Loading, ... OK, this might be a little nitpicky, but for those of you who donít know the loading times for both the games and the Wii U menu are horrible. We are talking 30 seconds plus depending on what you are trying to reach. Considering that the Wii generally worked fine except if you were trying to access the store, this is just plain disappointing, hopefully itĎs just a quirk of a new system and will get better as time goes on.

Ports: Although I havenít personally tried any of them, (what am I made of money or something?) the story goes that anything that was straight ported over to the Wii U from the PS360 consoles runs at low frame rates and lacks anti aliasing. This is not an issue for me personally as I have a PS3 and a PC but it is definitely worth noting for the savvy consumer.

Gamepad woes: Personally the pad works as intended and is generally pretty nifty, (see ya later remote control the gamepad will take over from here) but its battery life is very suspect. Four hours is looking to be its battery length which is just not good for the power gamer out there. Also after one week itís already all smudged up, (I know I am greasy but I still try my best to go easy on it) and hopefully we still got 5 years to go so who knows how bad it could get. Lastly if for some reason the battery dies, it gets lost, or damaged, there really is no way to use the system without ponying up 160 dollars for another gamepad, (speculative since the pad is not even for sale right now in the US but it is what the gamepad is going for in Japan.) In fact I have gotten very hesitant of using the gamepad except if I have to which is not how you should to approach a new controller of a system. This is my experience mind you, if you have lots of money or know how to properly care for tablet like devices than your opinion might vary.

The Ugly

Wall gardens: So apparently the Wii U shop is separate from the 3DS shop and the Wii shop. And while you can do a one-way transfer of stuff from Wii to Wii U you still need to basically use the Wii app to access your Wii stuff which leads to a two to three deep menu just get to your Wii stuff. I am honestly holding off on transferring my Wii stuff as my family is using my Wii now so again its not to bad but stillÖ really Nintendo? Worse still is the fact that everything is still tied to the system instead of an account. This means if you lose or damage your system then say goodbye to all the games you downloaded, (damn I was really hoping to download all my purchases.) It is a shame really because there is a lot of potential in a lot of the things they are trying to do in terms of the e shop and what not but for every step forward Nintendo takes, they take one step back.

Lack of Storage: I know, I know, I said that expandability was one of the systemís pros, but hear me out. The Wii U comes in two flavors, the standard white model, which has 8GB of storage, and the deluxe black model, which has 32GB of memory. However the system hardware takes up a good deal of space, so in reality you only have around 3GB and 29GB of useable storage space respectively. The good thing is, like I said before, those in the know can make storage woes a thing of the past with a relatively low cost of an external hard drive. The problem is the vast majority of people buying the Wii U are oblivious to this detail. (Iím looking at you holiday shopping Moms and Dads.) So if you plan on downloading anything for the system get the deluxe version, or an external hard drive. Actually scratch that, with the average downloadable Wii U game taking up over 3GB a piece that 29GB of storage will get used up before you know it. So just get an external hard drive, youíll thank me later.

In Conclusion

As I said at the beginning the most important thing are the games and right now the Wii U has plenty of options. The Wii Uís future looks bright, if it can continue to expand its library, (more than one or two titles a year Nintendo!) Give it shot if you are even slightly interested, Nintendo consoles never disappoint in the end, (yes even the Wii).