System: Wii U

Tarvis

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I've had the system close to a week, and I thought I would go over my impressions so far.

First off, I flat out love this thing. The main feature, the gamepad, feels pretty good and has a beautiful screen. The screen's colors aren't as vibrant as my TV, but I wouldn't really notice if I didn't look for it. The trigger buttons should have been analog buttons, especially for the gamecube games when we get those (note: the pro controller doesn't have analog triggers either as far as I know). It's also sort of awkward at first moving between L/R & the trigger buttons, but I've gotten used to it now. Otherwise button placement and everything feels really nice for someone with big hands.

Battery life on the gamepad is ok, I usually don't play long enough for it to die completely without it being at the stand on some point. I'm glad the way to charge it isn't built into the system itself, as I have the charger on the stand next to my bed, which is convenient for when I want to play in bed or at my desk as I can easily move the stand in between them. Having the charging cable attached to the Wii U would have limited where I could sit and play. Apparently there is room for a much bigger battery, so hopefully they will release one in the future. I am used to having to have my xbox 360 controllers plugged in almost 90% of the time because of their crappy charging packs, so that may be why I have no real complaints in regards to battery life on the Wii U. Another note about the gamepad is that I usually find myself preferring to play the games directly on the gamepad itself when the games support it (Mario, AC3, Tekken).

The system is far smaller than the xbox and the ps3, but looks a lot bigger next to the Wii. Otherwise it looks pretty similiar to the Wii and I don't feel I need to go into details on what it looks like since we've all seen pictures by now. I will say that it does have a white led on the front that stays on when their is a disc in the drive - even when the system is off. It's small and not bright by any means, but I'm not sure why they even bothered with this.

The system main menu is the best looking I've ever seen. On the main screen, the gamepad controls and displays the main menu, while the TV displays what's going on in Miiverse. The layout for games and apps is fairly similiar to how it was on the Wii in that it has tiles for each app or game, and you just select which you want to start. Pressing the home button, will show shortcuts to your friends list, Miiverse, eShop, internet browser, tvii (not released yet) and your current downloads. The friends list has awesome music, and I like to leave it up while I'm not playing just because of that. If you are in a game, clicking on Miiverse will automatically take you to the community for that game - not a big deal, but kind of nice. About Miiverse...

Miiverse is one of the greatest thing I've ever seen on a console. Miiverse is a community on the Wii U that has forums for games, the ability to message your friends, where you can receive notifications, and also rate other people's posts and/or drawings. On the main screen you see random drawings and posts, and a rough estimate of how popular games are - by how many Miis are currently standing around that game's icon. In the actual Miiverse menu, you can read the forums which have spoilers hidden by default and also seem to be free of trolling and negative bullshit you put up with on any other forum on the internet. It's quite refreshing and it's one of the biggest reasons I like to leave my system on.

The system has been turned off maybe twice since last Monday, and it doesn't run hot or loud even after all that. Some people are reporting crashes or lockups, but I have experienced exactly 0 of these. My only issues has been with the downloads stopping twice, but resuming with no problems after I manually restarted them. Installing games sucks ass, as it took 30+ minutes each to install Assassin's Creed 3 and Tekken. These games were both 15GB to download, which also took quite a while at around 15 hours on a 5mb connection. Overall downloading and installing were slow, but thank god I have the option to download games on day of the release - especially since Nintendo games are usually released on a Sunday and I hate driving to the store.

The other slow part of the system is switching between games or applications. It takes quite a while - probably 30 seconds or more. Supposedly there is an update coming soon to fix this, so we'll see if that still rings true after the update. In terms of negative things, they really REALLY need to build in a notification system. Half the time, I haven't even noticed that Logan or Bayli have sent me a message as the only way you can know is if you open the home menu, and happen to notice that Miiverse is glowing slightly. The home button is supposed to light up for notifications, but the only thing I've seen it light up for is Wii U chat. What the hell?

The last thing I want to talk about is range. I believe the max range the gamepad is supposed to go is 25 feet according to Nintendo. Well thats not true at all. From where it sits in my room, to out in the hall, down the stairs, and into the kitchen, the gamepad never loses it's signal. The kitchen is directly below my room, but the bottom of the stairs is roughly 40-45 feet at least. However, if I take it to the room right next to mine, it will have trouble with the signal quite a bit at times - but this may be because there are two walls here separating the rooms here. From what I've found the magic number seems to 3, as in I will lose signal if it has to go between 3 walls, or 2 walls and a floor. Or two walls and a body. This is general statement, but I can take it out into the hall, into my bathroom and close the door and the signal will stay as long as I don't get between the pad and the signal. It will get kinda finicky at the back wall of the bathroom with the door closed, unless I keep it pointed in the general direction of the Wii U console.

Overall, I am definitely impressed with the gamepad range, miiverse, and how I never want to turn the console off. Nintendo has done a lot of great things here, and some bad things (how the fuck do I voicechat?), but it's definitely a work in progress. I've bought games for it that I had no interest in buying for the xbox 360 or PS3 such as Assassin's Creed 3 and Tekken 3, and I'm glad I did. Right now, I feel a desire for more games to release on the eshop - especially VC games even though I haven't even finished these. It just makes me want more, more, more. I'm hoping that they will rework the older VC games to work on the gamepad and not just leave them in the Wii mode menu as I would love to play the older Zeldas on the gamepad itself.

This system is great, and if you can afford it, definitely spring for it - hell Logan and Bayli each bought their own they enjoyed it so much. I am definitely excited to see what is going to come henceforth.
 

Logan

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I love it too. It's a lot of fun to play with friends. I can't wait to see what Nintendo does with its first party stuff. I know they're gonna do some creative things with that pad.

I think it was a hard sell considering all it really sounded like was another screen to look at, but it has some really creative uses.
 

Bayli

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Yeah! I was really skeptical but i've had so much fun with it so far. I've been trying to beat Paper Mario before moving on to any other games, but I can say that I'm so tired of the New Super Mario Bros. franchise but the one of the wii u is SO fun. Can't wait for more games!
 

Joe

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I played one of these for the first time at a game store the other day. It was New Super Mario Bros Wii U Whatever The Fuck It's Called. Didn't realize how fucking small the system is. I've had bigger shits. Game was alright, game pad pretty neat. Still not gonna buy one!
 

Joe

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I didn't mean for that to come across as bashing the system, I was just surprised at how small it seemed at least compared to the gigantic fucking xbox one and more moderately sized PS4.
 
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SuperAfroBoy

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Well, I don't have an Xbox One or PS4 so I can't really compare to those. I've spent more time with games on Xbox 360 and PC, but even with such a small library the Wii U still has that Nintendo charm that I can't seem to resist. I just wish I could afford to get more games for it right now.
 

Tarvis

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I have a PS4, but honestly it seems like it has less games than the Wii U, at least to me. This generation has been very dry and we are already gearing up for the next one already??

Maybe it's because back in the Xbox 360 days there were a lot of dumb games I bought just to play with Logan and whoever, whereas on the Wii U there are very few online multiplayers and hardly anyone on here has a PS4.