Published on December 9th, 2012 | by Ethan

Wii U Impressions

After spending a few weeks with the Wii U, we talk about the pros and cons we have found with Nintendo’s latest hardware.

Things we liked:

The gamepad screen looks awesome!

When we first booted up into NintendoLand and saw the TV mirrored on the gamepad we were impressed. Even though the resolution isn’t 1080p, the colors were bright and full of contrast. Seeing something run at 60 frames on a small screen looks great as well.

Miiverse is surprisingly cool

Nintendo’s new social tool sounds a bit silly when it is explained. Yeah you can draw cool pictures (because apparently everyone with a Wii U can draw) and leave tips for your friends in game, but who cares? Well, we didn’t think much of it until we saw the variety of people’s comments showing up in game. Even communities for games we have no interest in is entertaining to scroll through.

Lots of cool and potential ideas

Playing through NintendoLand shows just how many different possibilities for gameplay the Wii U game console is capable of. Utilizing two screens or using the single screen to give a player more information brings a new level of gameplay not previously available on home consoles. Hopefully developers utilize this technology to make something more interesting than simply putting the map on the gamepad screen like several launch titles did.

Enjoyable to play games on the screen in another room

Sure it sounds gimmicky, but playing a full console game in bed or another room is great. It feels cool and there is no noticeable lag in another room. Its surprisingly nice to just stretch out on a couch and get some game time in the most comfortable position available.


Things we didn’t like:

Long load times for in the Wii U menu

Zipping around the Wii U’s operating system just doesn’t happen. Instead it takes a good 15 seconds (at least) to launch even the most minor applications within the menu. It’s just strange that something like Miiverse loads fairly quickly while the friends list takes a several times that. Even the Wii, which was no speedster, doesn’t have the same sluggishness that this console does. Inside the games load times vary, but are usually a lot quicker. Hopefully software updates can fix the abysmal load times on the menu.

Poor ports for current gen games

Nintendo boasted a large launch day line up of current generation games. Too bad most of the games are plagued with framerate issues. Mass Effect 3, Epic Mickey 2 and Batman Arkham City all do not run as smooth as their counterparts on other consoles. Of course this could be the fact that developers are not yet used to the new hardware, so optimizing for it could be a bit of a pain. Back when the PS3 first launched it a lot of its third party games suffered from framerate issues as well. This probably will be hammered out soon, but for now it’s disappointing.

No transferring of Nintendo ID to other consoles

When a player first starts up their shiny new Wii U console, they are prompted to make a Nintendo Network ID and a password. What they don’t tell you is that the account made is stuck to that particular Wii U. Nintendo Network IDs do not work like Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 accounts and that is a huge oversight. It is almost inconceivable that this idea was released in 2012, where online accounts have been transferable across devices literally for years now.

Weird bugs and other occurrences

For almost an hour we struggled with trying to connect our Wii U to our WiFi. No matter what we tried it just kept erroring out after a period of time. We learned from the internet (on another machine of course), that a fix was typing in the WiFi information manually. Not very intuitive and was a huge bump in the road in an otherwise smooth set-up process.

Another weird bug we frequently encounter is random connection losses from the gamepad to the Wii U, even though often we are well within the recommended range of the console. We have no idea what causes this and it happens so infrequently that it never really comes off as a huge issue, but its still pretty frustrating and removes us from our gaming experience.

Screen lockups have happened very rarely, forcing a forced reboot of the system (read: we have to pull the plug or it won’t turn off.)

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About the Author

Ethan Having long been an avid gamer, Ethan found his niche in the PC gaming market, while still occasionally dabbling in the medium that got him into gaming, consoles. Usually, he finds time to play his Xbox 360 and occasionally will dust of his Wii for a bit to play with friends and family when he isn’t found locked in his room playing shooters and strategy games. Follow him on Twitter: @ethanhawkes

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