STAFF OPINION: Early Wii U Impressions

Monday, November 26th, 2012

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What are your opinions on the Gamepad?

Wii U

Steven Boaz, Admin:

It feels like a normal controller with a touchscreen in the middle. The touchscreen looks great, and many times I prefer to look at the gamepad over my TV. Having the right thumbstick above the ABXY buttons is a little awkward.

Devin Kotani, Review Staff:

The gamepad is light, as people had reported, but it’s a bit awkward if you need to hold it in one hand, say, if you’re using the stylus. Also, my hands are a bit small to be able to comfortably switch between the buttons and control-sticks easily or quickly.

Jonathan Higgins, Editor:

When it was first unveiled several E3’s ago, I thought it would feel weighted down, awkward to hold, or something else slightly jarring/displeasing. Now that it’s in my hands: my initial apprehensions were completely misguided. It’s light, it’s comfortable, and it feels just like a conventional controller should. Almost like a handheld, which I guess…is the point!

I could do without the freezing and stuff when the system is in Gamepad mode (in NSMBU, for example), but if they fix that and iron out the kinks, I see myself using my console as a handheld for years to come!

How about the console itself?  Anything you particularly like or dislike?

Steven:

The physical console is small and sleek. The smooth contours of the Wii U make the Wii look clunky and old. Menus are easy to use and navigate, and Wii U definitely has the nicest user interface in a gaming console to date.

Devin:

It’s small and quiet. I don’t like how the console attracts dust and fingerprints.

Jonathan:

Miiverse is absolutely outstanding. Posts in the plaza itself or in games are sometimes helpful, sometimes offer talented artistry, and are often random enough to still pique my interest. And I’ve been playing the console for hours on end over this holiday week without running into anything…lewd. Yet?

Has anything about the console given you trouble?

Steven:

The initial update took about an hour to download and install over my home wi-fi connection. A few of the games required an update when first booting up, which only took about a minute per game.

Devin:

No real problems. I guess the first update took a while.

Jonathan:

The Wii Menu has to exist in its current form to prevent hacking, but still allow for the greatest possible backwards compatibility. But… why does the transfer use such time consuming methods? And why in the world do I have to redownload the hundreds of games I kept on my SD card from the Wii Shop Channel? I’m grateful to be able to play the games I downloaded before, but… redownloading those games is going to take hours!

What do you think about the Friend Codeless online features?

Steven:

While I think the system still needs some tweaks and refining, overall this is a giant leap forward for Nintendo. Miiverse is freaking awesome and incredibly addictive.

Devin:

I’m very pleasantly surprised. While it needs a bit of work, I never thought Nintendo, of all companies, would come up with a great online system. Miiverse is a brilliant invention.

Jonathan:

Why is the Friend List in the home menu? Why do Friend Requests have to be “activated” versus being there from the moment you connect your system to the Internet? I know several DEVELOPERS I follow on Twitter were experiencing problems with this system, let alone run in the mill podcast hosts that had to resort to IGN or other gaming sites to…figure it out.

But hey! Once you figure everything out, it’s pretty intuitive.

Is there anything about the Wii U that’s particularly surprised you?

Steven:

The fact that a lot of it lived up to the claims made by Nintendo. I kept a lot of my expectations very low, so I was pleasantly surprised at many things, such as the ease of transfer from Wii to Wii U, the picture quality of the gamepad, and Miiverse.

Devin:

The online system, as I mentioned.

What games have you had a chance to play so far?  Any early favorites?

Wii U

To no great surprise, New Super Mario Bros. U has proven to be a popular early choice.

Steven:

I only picked up New Super Mario Bros. U and NintendoLand came with the console. I really enjoy both of those games and my next destination is the eShop to get my hands on Little Inferno and Mighty Switch Force HD.

Devin:

I’ve played NintendoLand, New Super Mario Bros. U, and Darksiders II. NSMBU has a certain addicting quality about it, and I love relaxing and playing it on the gamepad.

Jonathan:

I’m going to be reviewing New Super Mario Bros U, so I’ve played more than my fair share of that. I’ve also dabbled in Scribblenauts Unlimited, insofar as messing with the game’s dictionary to create Nintendo characters and obscene situations…not actual progressing. And I played Nintendo Land with a bunch of friends. There are some fun solo games, but, like Mario Party, it’s much less entertaining to play alone.

Early favorite would have to be NSMBU. Definitely worth my $60, despite its flaws.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Steven:

At the moment, Wii U is really for Nintendo fans eager for more Mario, Wii-exclusive owners ready to play some ports they may have missed on 360 or PS3, or PS3/360 owners that missed out on the Wii (as the Wii U has full backwards compatibility with Wii games). I think the real system sellers are going to be here within the next few months, with hits like Wonderful 101, Pikmin 3, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, and Bayonetta 2.

Devin:

I’m very interested to see what the future holds for the Wii U. I want to see what Nintendo or third-parties can do with a really ambitious game, and I want to see how well it can hold up against Sony and Microsoft’s next consoles.

Jonathan:

Um. What the heck is going to be on this “Wii U Virtual Console”? And how long ’til Nintendo of America lets it gather dust? </shamelessfrustratingjab>

*****

So there you have it, folks.  If you’re a fellow early adopter reading this, what are your thoughts so far?  Let us know in the comments!

 

About Justin Graham

Justin joined Oprainfall through…belligerence. (Note to others: This is not a good way to get noticed. This sort of thing only works once.) When he’s not writing about games or waxing nostalgic about anime older than a large portion of the site’s audience, he can be found playing JRPGs or beating up lots of dudes in Dynasty Warriors.


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