Nintendo Wii U Review
Much maligned Nintendo is back with the Wii U. The company that released innovations to gaming such as the use of a stylus, microphone control and motion based gaming is adding another way to game: The rather large, but appropriately named “GamePad.”
Looking rather similar to the original Wii with the exception of rounder edges, the WII U console now features an HDMI port(HDMI cable included!) to go along with its added horsepower. That added horsepower comes in the form of an IBM Power multi-core processor as well as a custom AMD Radeon GPU.
While the original Wii had limited storage, the Wii U will have no issues with that as the $300 model has 8GB of storage and the $350 model has 32GB. Not enough space? Both models support flash drives as well as external HDDs, through any of the 4 USB ports located on the side of the device.
One look at the GamePad controller and you’ll see that it’s pretty much a descendant of the Nintendo DS/DSi, from the touchscreen, front-facing camera and microphone. Also borrowing from past Nintendo controllers, the GamePad also has two clickable analog sticks as well as a D-Pad/button layout reminiscent of the old SNES controller.
The GamePad gets its power from a rechargeable battery, that when connected to the console takes about 2.5 hours to recharge. On a full charge, you should expect about 3.5 hours of gameplay before having to plug it in.
If you’re familiar with the original Wii, then you’re famliar with the Wii U’s mostly unchanged UI. The Daily Log is back, as well as the MiiVerse. The Mii Maker is now more like the 3DS equivalent, which takes an image of your face to make your Mii look more like you. Or, you can create your own from scratch.
Backwards compatibility isn’t as easy as one would think though, as you have to fully restart to get the virtual Wii up and running. You would hope this would be fixed sometime soon with an update, but this is probably just the way it was meant to function.
While the Wii U is a nice upgrade from the original Wii, the HD graphics and fancy controller notwithstanding, the lack of functionality of some items at launch time(such as TVii) as well as some not so well thought out ideas(lack of group chat, a confusing friends list to name a few), the Wii U isn’t quite there yet. It would be best to wait a month or two, and with updated firmware, the system may be everything Nintendo has promised.