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Well, shucks - Its just OK - maybe will get better soon with new content.
on 30 November 2012
27/05/13 - The Wii U is not getting much play from me. I think it has lost it's novelty factor and I haven't played any games on it for some time. Yes, the big update happened, yes it is slightly faster, but content is still 'meh' and until the games I really want arrive, I have a sneaking suspicion this will be another unused appendage connected to my home cinema. I will edit this review again when the Wii U does something worthy of my attention.
Oh yeah, the virtual console launched... Same stuff I have on my Wii and no, I do not feel the need to pay twice for the games to be played on the gamepad.
Still stuck at 3*'s... Here's hoping that soon I will be able to praise it a bit more. The price drop has really annoyed me as well, but that's the price of being an early adopter.
Oh, and for people that don't read the dates in my review (as this has been a rolling review) please do read carefully and base it chronologically. I am not going to write up on rather unimpressive new content, especially as I hardly touch the console anymore. I don't have a reason to play it much lately. Hopefully some magic will happen over the summer and I will certainly be updating this review when the ethereal magic happens. However, if you have questions, please do ask.
Older stuff I wrote follows below:
I'm gonna be silly here but hope you get it:
Imagine or remember that 'hot' person you took home from the bar last night or a metaphor similar to that. You ask the 'metaphor/noun/person' through a bunch of mumbles if you should get married and have a family... The 'metaphor/noun/person' says "yes!". You wake up in the morning and see said ________ and ask 'who the heck is that???' That metaphor/story/opinion pretty much sums my opinion of the Wii U. DO I want to get to know it more??? That would be your choice. It's a bit of a 'plain-Jane' but sometimes they are the best ones to get to know... The epithet of "diamond in the rough" can be or isn't applicable here... I'm in the mind that Jane isn't so plain, but beyond her good looks she isn't really that interesting, But she could be! Cue silly American YouTube video of Miss America talking about 'The Iraq'... I would post the link but Amazon forbids it - though the comparison is applicable!
Another update: (today is the 29th of April, 2013) - the April Update has sped things up a bit. This update took about 45mins to do. I haven't noticed much in the system except the web search now has a search provider button and things feel a slight bit quicker. The virtual console is now live as well - but I would have to say that if you did not take on the 30p game offers, silly you! The eShop games are going for much more than that! However, TVii is not working in the UK, but 3rd party game release are TRICKLING in... Lots of ports, but some gems out there as well! I am going to revise my score to 3.5*'s. Depending on the TVii function that is supposedly coming, I will then revise my review again and then update my thoughts on the console. I still firmly stand in the half-baked console release opinion. Now we shall wait for the rumoured summer system update and see what E3 (this coming June) shows to us early adopters...
I'm sad. I was so excited for the new Nintendo console. I'm still holding out hope, but I'm disappointed. Lots of promise, not a lot happening. Why? Well, well... I'm sure if you read the press you're aware that this console is a bit of a flop - with potential - but it sounds that even retailers are fleeing it at a loss. Nintendo stands emasculated and vulnerable, yet they still promise progress. I'm not convinced at this point. As the console seems to be half-baked and launched a bit too early, Nintendo really needs to sort it out. It is painful for me to say this, but I don't think I will be convinced Nintendo has it together, and I am actually looking at Microsoft or Sony's offering. I'm angry that Nintendo has disappointed me, and more angry at myself for diving in at a high price right in the beginning, believing in the promise. Please don't fail me Nintendo, I've been with you since 1985... I'm waiting for you to repair my opinion of your newest console... PLEASE SORT IT OUT!
My initial review follows below...
Wii U Review (32GB Deluxe Model)
Nintendo finally is in HD! Unfortunately it has some issues- but overall I believe it to be a diamond in the rough. 3.5 stars at time of writing 29/11/12 but hopefully will get up to 4.5 or 5 with system updates and more functionality. It seems to be an unfinished product like the USA release, but Nintendo aims to quickly plug these holes as the console matures. And this console has loads of potential, provided Nintendo gets it right. So here you go:
Superfast shipping with Amazon - my console arrived on the 29th! Especially when it appeared that my console was not going to be delivered until the 1st, and I pre-ordered it on the 13th of September. Pre-order price guarantee saved me some £££'s - not a huge amount though.
Setup and installation is easy - the instructions are super easy to figure out. Then you have a massive 2hr update to do (with caution as you can ruin your system if the power goes out during the update!)... After the update you have some more account, Mii & other setup to do - its easy enough. And then you are ready to get gaming.... Oh, both games I have needed system updates - Super Mario & Nintendo Land, perhaps in the future these will not be necessary - but you can play the games while the update is downloaded, just not while the update is being installed.
* Nintendo in glorious HD - and it looks fantastic!
* Small console size, not a huge box in your living room
* Functional and innovative controller, nice 6.2" screen on gamepad which is responsive & no noticeable lag - an impressive feat.
* Dual/split screen gaming (asymmetric play), watch TV and play a game on the controller as well -though this is game dependent.
* TV universal remote, though could do A LOT MORE (hint hint Nintendo or developer)
* web browser works quite well but flash support is missing - though HTML 5 is - still a work in progress
* Good indie game development, good pricing on the indie games as well.
* great for multiplayer gaming, Nintendo Land shows this up nicely
* no paid subscription needed for online services,
* third party development (`hardcore' games), I am not too bothered by this as I am a casual gamer but my mates are excited to come round and play some `real' games; ported games on par with other systems for the most part (improved in some cases),
* HDMI cable in the box,
* YouTube, Netflix & Lovefilm at the get go...
* Miiverse experience so far, seems too family friendly - it is TOOO cute and adorable - tough it up to attract those seeking a 'badass' console
* Gamepad wireless range, ok for me but bad for my neighbour in his house.
* another sensor bar for Wiimotes (if you keep your Wii connected),
* resistive touch screen,
* not really suitable for small children/hands as the gamepad is a bit big for them (which may be a good thing as some kids like to or accidentally do break things),
* updates, updates, updates... which add functionality - but why so many updates??? It ain't windows!
* Dust & fingerprint magnet; especially the gamepad! Oh no! Dog hair too!
* frequent system updates, which is frustrating & time consuming
* lag time between apps, sometimes it seems it crashed but hasn't
* TVii not supported yet here in UK, sometime in 2013 they say
* analogue sticks can get 'slippery' after playing for a while,
* gamepad battery life,
* needing 2 mains plugs for the system,
* Wii emulation & experience (why I am keeping my Wii connected), can't import your homebrew stuff...
* eShop games same prices as retail (more expensive in most cases!!!!!),
* headset issues (Bluetooth???), the chat feature is also naff in games - this is game dependent though
* no USB 3.0, only powered hard drives are supported or sacrifice 2 USB ports to run off of bus power - Max 2.0TB but that is LOADS!
* no Ethernet,
* No DLNA/uPnP support right now, network media playback is no-go right now - not impressed with this at all - All other consoles did - including Wii with homebrew apps...
* Seems underdeveloped at release, so you feel like it is half-baked...
* Bricking potential (powering off whilst updating system software) - be cautious!
* THAT 2HR MASSIVE SYSTEM UPDATE! BOOOOOOO! (I have Sky Broadband at 1.2MB/sec)
* No demo games playable on the eShop - yet (30/11/12)- so no "try before you buy"... FIFA 13 is now playable. Thanks for the heads up guys.
NINTENDO CAN IMPROVE IT BY:
* Creating Logitech Harmony Remote type app (would be a killer universal remote!!!!),
* add DLNA/uPnP support for media playback,
* Add Skype to apps, not everyone is going to have a Wii U to video chat...
* reduce price of digital distro games on eShop in line with retail pricing, £49.99 for games when you can get physical discs for far less (ex Super Mario U £49.99 in eShop, Amazon £42 and even less elsewhere)... That poxy 8% rebate thing is rubbish... 8pts to the £ = too confusing and bleh - not a good incentive to shop on the eShop for retail titles.
* Miiverse needs some tinkering (possible Facebook integration?), improve online experience (engage the `hardcore' gamers better), maybe adult it up more to attract the hardcore gamers
* Enable Bluetooth headset use, it is quite simple to do and would improve the chat experience instantly! A geek like me knows this is possible!
* Anti-bricking/brick-prevention software in software updates, no-one wants £300 paperweight - or add a recovery tool for download - so you can resurrect you bricked console from the netherworld - though I do see if this happens it could open the door to pirating the system??
* gamepad battery life.... There are better Li-Ion batteries out there that can be used...
* the novelty factor is wearing off rather quickly, especially as I KNOW the Wii U can do much much more!
I know this is a new console for Nintendo and there are always issues & bugs for early adopters. I just hope Nintendo learns from it mistakes in the past and listens to the user wants to make this system a success; but even if they stick to the Wii formula they do have a good system here, but there is loads of room for improvement that can make this console AMAZING!
I recommend the Wii U right now for those who are diehard Nintendo addicts or hardcore gadget geeks; it is a great system with loads of potential. However, for those who prefer to wait a bit - I would say wait for a little while and see what happens. Right now I feel awarding the Wii U 3.5 stars as fair and honest, and I will re-review this decision in the coming weeks. Buy now (if you can find one) if you are an impulse buyer and have done your research and are happy with making the purchase, but it would be OK to hold off for a bit longer and let the console mature a little bit more, which I imagine this console will do very nicely - much like a fine red wine. I do have to add that it seems a bit pricey for what you get... but again these are early days. I AM certain that this will go down in price in the future - but I don't think the price is an issue here. I am a gadget geek and I fork out loads for things - mostly on impulse - but for what I paid, this is worth it (almost)...
If anyone has questions, I am more than happy to answer them (provided I have time to do so) - this review wasn't written with all probabilities or possibilities in mind - If I have forgotten something, please feel free to ask me! I didn't review the games here as they are in a separate category - though Super Mario U is a great rehash of the same formula - its fantastic (but how many times can Princess Peach get abducted??? Restraining Order???) - Nintendo Land is good but I haven't had much multiplayer time with it, so can't write an honest review about it yet. And that computer-woman voice that Nintendo Land has is annoying - like a hybrid Stephen Hawking meets robot eastender posh-spice voice. My satnav is more personable! anywho - this is a review about the console, not the games! Hope it informs you and helps you out with deciding to buy or not... NOW, see above paragraph...
Update: I am going to have to go on a little 'what-if' scenario here as I see so much potential in this console. Lots of folks have moaned about the CPU/GPU power the Wii U has. To be honest, I couldn't care less about the power - it is more about potential. These are early days with this system so it is unfair to judge the system based on numbers. Having said this, all consoles are exploiting the ability to become the centre (hub) of home entertainment, and the Wii U seems to have ignored this a little bit (hopefully TVii will rectify this). DLNA/uPnP is common - it is in my Blu Ray player, my telly, and even my AV receiver! when I bought my PS3 it was the blu-ray before it was a gaming machine. For the Wii U to be released without this support is troubling. It certainly has the power to provide this service, and the Gamepad has so much potential to do so much more [you need to remember that the Gamepad is NOT the console, it is simply a controller] that it would be a tragedy for Nintendo if they don't exploit this possibility. To be able to control your cloud of media via the gamepad would be revolutionary! That is the selling point of the Wii U - the fact you can play games on it, video chat with it, etc. seems to be almost ancillary... I desperately hope Nintendo opens this console up to exploit its potential, if they fail here - it may be the end of the company (as much as I hope this doesn't happen). Playing games on a console is almost secondary - I use my iPad for much more than playing music on it yet it is a (albeit much more) glorified iPod. If the Wii U is based on Blu Ray - then make it a blu ray player that does so much more. I have a Kenwood Chef that does everything - I hope the Wii U becomes a Kenwood Chef of sorts. Nintendo MUST focus on the media centre possibilities of its new console, I am a casual gamer - but a media JUNKIE... Lots of people are like me. We aren't all kids that want the next toy! The Wii U isn't a toy though it is being marketed in a way as one. The Miiverse cuteness is OK to an extent - but the console is (and can be) much more than a petting zoo for casual gamers. This console is next gen in a way - but it can become THE next gen of home entertainment provided Nintendo focuses on getting it right. Sort out that media hub potential and you have a real winner here - a year up (estimated) on it's competition... don't lose this opportunity Nintendo!
***UPDATES UPDATES UPDATES***
uPlay is downloadable in the eShop - though I have not been able to use it, but was able to register an account (1/12/12)
Trine 2 is gorgeous and at £10.99 it's worth it! (1/12/12)
Fifa 13 is a playable demo in the eShop - thanks for the heads up folks! (1/12/12)
Super Mario U is great fun, though seems to be a HD remake of Super Mario Wii (I am only on World 2 so far) (30/11/12)
Nintendo Land is still a bit 'meh' maybe when I have a friend come round it will be better. (pending)
The novelty factor wears off rather quickly! But I still have faith! TVii MUST impress me or I will be VERY disappointed (2/12/12)
Another big update happened in the last few days - I haven't noticed any changes in the system - but apparently it stabilises the system more (6/12/12)
I asked Nintendo about what they thought of the issues I raised and was given a fob off. Wasn't impressed, they referred to me as third party instead of end user. Nintendo also said nothing over their eshop pricing. I am disappointed with their lack or seeming lack of care towards end user. (10/12/12)
Super Mario U is still great fun. (11/12/12)
Novelty factor has worn off a bit, sad to say. Nintendo might have whoopsied here! It could be their rude response to a very kind set of questions.
Add me in the miiverse if you'd like - I'm "russelluk" - then I can try out the video chat & social features a bit more!
Hmm, I have noticed that I am not playing it very much these days... Novelty factor wore off rather quickly. Nintendo is now hinting that a price drop is coming soon as sales haven't been very stellar. Also, eShop games still way overpriced... I'm not very impressed to be frankly honest. (18/01/13)