Review by leeko_link
"A New Generation Comes New Ways To Play"
It's not too long ago that I had my hands on the Nintendo Wii, it was a unique and innovative console for its time, it didn't focus on the graphics that much and what it lacks in powers, it makes up in gameplay and a lot of its games proved that. Well it's 2012 now and Nintendo had finally launch its successor, the Wii U for the holiday season, the first ever Nintendo console to be in HD. I didn't had a chance to get one at launch cause for one I never pre-order one, two I hate waiting in line, and three I was so freaking broke that I had to work overtime just so I could get one in time for the New Year. So let's get down to some Wii U goodness.
Whats in the Package?
The Wii U was launch in two models, an 8GB model and a 32GB model, the 8GB comes in an attractive white shell and the 32GB comes in a more sleek black shell. The white one sells for $300 and the black sells for $350, eventually both were priced the same though the black one does come with a free game of Nintendoland so that's a plus and for the moment that was the model I got. The package I got came with a Wii U console, a Wii U Game Pad, a Wii U wire Game Pad battery charger, some charging dock for the Wii U Game Pad, a few handles to hold the Wii U, an HDMI cable, a wired sensor bar and a free copy of Nintendoland. I had to say that's a pretty sweet deal.
Now the design of the Wii U is sleek, it uses the front disc tray just like the Wii, it got all the necessary plug-in on the back which includes plug-in slots for the sensor bar, HDMI, AV cables (if you still use SDTV) or component cables and two USB ports. There are also two USB ports on the front of the unit as well as an SD card slot for using SD, SDHC, and SHXC memory cards. The console is very light weighted and had circular edges on the front side so it differ from the Wii a bit plus putting on side by side, the Wii U does look kind of longer in length than its predecessor but other than that the console design looks great.
The Wii U comes with only one Wii U Game Pad. The Game Pad itself is a more improved version of the Wii Classic Controller with your standard d-pad, diamond layout action buttons, START (+) and SELECT (-) buttons, power buttons, a backlit touch screen, L, R, ZL, and ZR triggers, and home button. One notable feature about the Wii U Game Pad is that it also includes a new TV button turning the Wii U Game Pad itself into a TV remote. Now that was something that I was kind of surprise Nintendo did considering the Wii remote which came out last gen for the Wii was perfect for this kind of feature but it never got that support, it's weird too that they implemented this feature here though as the Game Pad wasn't as ideal to be use as a TV remote (to me anyways) compare to the Wii remote. Also as a nice little extra, some games such as New Super Mario Bros. U also allows the player to not only play using the Wii U Game Pad but also play the full game on the Game Pad (provided the console is still on) even when someone else is watching or playing something else with the TV so that's something I look forward to in future Wii U games too.
Like the PS3 and Xbox 360, the Wii U could be play in 480p on standard television with no problem and with the included HDMI cable, it shines with its HD presentation as well. The Wii U could handle not only 720p but also 1080i and 1080p HD resolution as well. Games like New Super Mario Bros. U and Zombi U looks fantastic on Wii U, showcasing some of the best special effects and animated sprites on an HD console. In third party multiplatform games like Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge and Tekken Tag Tournament 2, the visual details surpassed a bit from the other versions with good lighting effects and superior render colors.
Nothing too surprising, New Super Mario Bros. U offer some good classical tunes playing not only from your HDTV but also within the Wii U Game Pad as well so if you're playing it with that you will hear some crystal clear tunes and sounds that you often won't with the original Wii. Voiceworks in some game sound realistic as they should though chat feature was not implemented with the controller yet so that's something I'm looking forward to try with any future Wii U games.
Yes the Wii U could not only play the newly released HD Wii U games but it could also played the hundreds and hundreds of already released Wii games in glorified HD. No I'm not kidding, the Wii U could actually play Wii games in upscale HD, this is something a fan like me never thought Nintendo would do. Nintendo even admit that the Wii U wasn't capable of handling this kind of feature but I try it and it was indeed possible. Standard Wii games like Monster Hunter Tri, Super Mario Galaxy, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Rayman Origins, The Conduit, and Donkey Kong Country Returns all look more smooth and detailed than before when play on the Wii U. The Wii U is also 100% backwards compatible with all Wii controllers and accessories as well. Unlike the Wii, the Wii U doesn't support GameCube games or accessories but those Wii enhanced GameCube ports like Resident Evil: Archive, Metroid Prime Trilogy, and Pikmin 1 & 2 are still compatible and wonderfully presented.
Besides gaming, the Wii U does come pack with a lot of apps for your entertainment needs. At launch most of those apps are near useless but since I bought mine a month late, most of those apps like Amazon Plus, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, Tvii, and Miiverse all work as they should. I won't be making any subscription on those service yet but I would say their service is okay at best, they give you a free month to try and watching movies and TV shows on the Wii U is quite entertaining but there aren't any wide variety of films or movies added to the selection yet aside from Netflix so I say give it a month or so until more selection are added. Most of the other features like the Wii U chat are already up in the air, they work okay for the most part but had no significant in gaming as of this moment. Perhaps one of the only complicated thing I found with the Wii U feature was that you are required to installed a large mandatory firmware update in able to use any of these feature (this includes the ability to play Wii games on the Wii U). Also another minor but complicated feature was the Wii playback issue, in able to play a Wii game, you'll have to click on a Wii menu channel and go to the Wii menu in able to play a Wii game, the standard Wii U menu won't accept Wii game as part of a playback. Not really a big issue but it does get annoying how you had to flip-flop between menu just to play different library of games between the Wii and Wii U.
Library of Games:
Since the Wii U had just launch, there aren't that many great variety of games other than those that were announce by Nintendo and its affiliates. At launch only 18 games were released with Nintendo Land being the pack-in (if you bought the Deluxe bundle that is). There are some more core games coming in the future though such as Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Dragon Quest X, Rayman Legends, Bayonetta 2 as well as an HD Super Smash Bros. sequel so Wii U owner had a lot to look forward to, in the mean time there are still a ton of great original Wii, VC, and Wii Ware games Wii U owners could buy and play until the good games arrive.
Is It Worth Buying?
For now buying the console new is not a bad thing but it isn't actually a comfortable one too. Getting the console and playing it out of the box is amazing but to use any of the extras and backwards compatibility playbacks, you had to download and installed the mandatory firmware update which I think most gamers will had hard times getting through that. I say if you still had a Wii, keep that for another few seasons or so until the games started coming then you could buy a Wii U. Surely by then Nintendo would re-sell the Wii U with that mandatory update already there out of the box but for now if you do buy a Wii U and wanted to play some hot Wii U games I would say you won't find many other than New Super Mario Bros. U, Nintendo Land, SiNG Party, and Zombi U, everything else are either sequels, ports or re-release of multiplatform games already released on other consoles so the choice is up to you. I didn't regret getting this console at all but I could say, getting this to play all my old Wii games never look better and New Super Mario Bros. U is indeed a fun game too so that'll probably hold out until all the new games comes out in the coming years.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/07/13, Updated 03/04/14
Game Release: Wii U (Deluxe Set) (US, 11/18/12)
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