12 days of Wii U: Console review

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Ho Ho Hoe, Merry Commercial Holiday! rawDLC has decided to help you with your Xmas shopping by doing the research for you. For the next 12 days we’ll break down every aspect, both good and bad about Nintendo’s Wii U launch. First up, the console itself.

Are U ready to Wii U?

What’s in the box!?

There are two models available.

Basic Pack

2012_HW_1_imge01B__1583647aI don’t understand why anyone would consider this version. With a mere 8GB storage, it also lacks the charging dock, a stand for the console and the sensor bar. This seems like a terrible thing to do as all of the multiplayer games use Wii remotes and need a sensor bar, which costs $25 dollars. Also, considering I’ve downloaded 6GB worth of updates so far, the storage is a joke.

DO NOT BUY THIS VERSION OF THE CONSOLE.

Premium Pack

originalDoes it come in black? Sure does! The Wii U Premium Pack is a far more sensible option. Everything you need is in it, controller and console stands, sensor, HDMI and controller charging docks are all present as well as a copy of Nintendo Land which comes as a free bonus. The sexy black finish is far more appealing and this bad boy has a beefy 32GB storage capacity which can hold all your updates and still give you room for your DLC games and extra content.

Taking Control

The biggest change is the new Wii U gamepad and one of the unit’s best features. The gamepad is light and comfortable to hold. It allows access to all of the main buttons though switching from the thumbsticks to the touchpad can be a major distraction. Some games capitalise on its functionality, while others have attempted to split use between the control and the pad, which just feels awkward. Its success really hinges on how developers utilise it and only time will tell with this one.

The Pro controller

The Pro controller is a solid investment for those who prefer more traditional gaming. It feels like the odd love child of both the Xbox and PS3 classic controllers. While the housing feels a little light and on the cheap side, the controller is a solid addition for those that need more control under pressure. Analog sticks work fine and can be clicked and used as extra buttons when needed. Also, it’s wireless this time, thank God.

Do not try this at home

Under the hood

For those of you who enjoy opening up new hardware more than playing it here’s a breakdown of the specs.

The Wii U console

Processor: IBM “Expresso” tri-core processor  reportedly clocked at 1.24ghz
RAM: 2GB
Storage: 8GB or 32GB (expandable via SD card up to 32GB or USB HDD up to 2TB)
GPU: AMD Radeon HD  reportedly clocked at 500 MHz
Ports: SD Memory card slot, 4 USB ports, HDMI, AV “Multi out” port

Wii U Gamepad

-6.2 inch touch screen
-Dual analog sticks (clickable)
-9-axis motion sensors (3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, 3-axis geomagnetic sensor)
-IR Sensor  (for remote funtions)
-Front facing camera
-Speakers, microphone and headphone jack
-Volume control
-NFC (Near Field Communication)

The best of the rest

Wii U home screen

Basically a slightly updated version of the 3DS menu the Wii U interface follows Apple in the pursuit of an clean, single button interface. Icons can be rearranged and set up on different pages for those who like to organise and customise. On the main screen your Mii character and a selection of other Miis will prattle on about what they have been up to and what is popular at the time. All the usual bels and whistles are there, Internet browser, friend list, game store, it’s nothing revolutionary, just functional.

Web browser

Funnily enough, this is one of my favourite features. The browser is fast and easy to navigate. Videos come down in a tab which can be moved to the screen or the tablet. No HTML 5 or Flash support (not that I could see), though YouTube works just fine. Pages load quickly and though it all feels a little low in resolution, it’s nice for those lazy moments you can’t be bothered getting your laptop.

Applications

Missing a few of the best ones out there, such as HULU and Netflix, this aspect of the console is a little bare. Games primarily dominate the store so far and none of the social systems (Facebook, Twitter) are present. In fact, there isn’t really anything worth installing right now. Hopefully this will change.

Games

Nintendo should be congratulated for dropping a great launch line-up. Over 20 games are kicking around and the selection is great. As the week goes on we’ll be covering some of the more prominent titles. at this point the games available include:

007 Legends, Assassin’s Creed III, Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Darksiders 2, Mass Effect 3: Special Edition, Just Dance 4, New Super Mario Bros. U, Nintendo Land, Rabbids Land, Skylanders Giants, Scribblenauts Unlimited, Transformers Prime and ZombiU.

Verdict

The Wii U is chock full of interesting and unique concepts not well supported at this time. Updates take hours to download and many games don’t utilise the touchpad for anything more than an interactive menu. The console needs a little more tinkering before you should run out and buy it. Sure the unit does a fine job at most of its base functions, but without options like DVD support, it fails to become a multi-media entertainment package like many of its competitors. Other controllers are available for those that find the new touchpad too hefty. Considering you could spend less and get an Xbox or PS3, this console lags behind missing the few features that could have made it competitive. That may change but without a few more ‘must have’ titles the Wii U aims high and like the Wii, doesn’t entirely stack up for those wanting something next gen.

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Joshua Philpott

Tech MacGyver
Games writer, podcaster and tech wizard. Obsessed with obscure horror films, crazy gadgets and caffeine. Passionate, argumentative and open minded. Freelance writer and co-founder rawDLC.

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  • LBrize

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