Nintendo Wii U: Bullet point impressions

Sections: Consoles, Originals, Wii U

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Wii U Bullet Point Impressions

Remember the days when you could buy a game system, unbox it, plug in a game, turn it on and play? Good times…good times…

Now, you buy a game system, unbox it, spend 10 to 15 minutes setting it up and registering yourself, another half hour transferring data from the old system, over an hour updating the system software, and finally you’re able to play a game…until you get another warning that you need to download an update to that game. So, more waiting.

By the time this day drew to a close, I visited Rabbids Land, I visited Nintendo Land, and I got killed frequently by a bunch of British zombies. It’s been a full day with the Wii U, and I’m finally ready to tell you about it.

  • Not much excitement when I arrived at GameStop at 10:55 this morning. They opened early, so I’m not sure how many had already claimed their preorders, but there was only one other dude in there picking up a Wii U when I got mine. Plenty on the shelf behind the counter.
  • The hardware setup is incredibly easy. The Quick Start guide (in your choice of languages) does indeed lead to a quick start.
  • Software, however, is another issue. The system download took over an hour. Transferring Miis from the 3DS was very simple, but transferring information from the Wii was a mess of menus and app downloads. Some apps couldn’t be copied, including the original Lost Winds, which I found odd.
  • You can’t play Wii games on the Wii U as easily as you could play GameCube games on the Wii. You first have to launch a Wii app to access the old menu system. Strange.
  • And boy, when you do that, the difference between the Wii’s old graphics and the Wii U’s high def graphics are shocking apparent.
  • The GamePad has a nice, light feel to it that makes it comfortable to use, but getting used to looking down at the screen when you want to see things big on the TV takes some getting used to. Often, the games I tested had to remind me to look at the other screen.
  • As soon as they’re available, I’ll be getting a skin for the top of the GamePad. Far too many fingerprints on the glossy top, although the sides and back have a nice matte finish to them.
  • I’m finding myself nervous about GamePad vs. Wii Remote gameplay. I’ve come to love the Wii Remote + Nunchuck control scheme for first-person shooters and such, and flipping back to the dual joysticks on the GamePad feels extremely unnatural. I hope I’m not stuck with that just because developers feel they need to use the touchscreen.
  • Nintendo Land is another excellent choice to include with the system. Within five minutes, it had me using the GamePad in ways I hadn’t yet tried. But remember how you could pick up Wii Sports and just start playing? Not so, here. You’ll need game instructions, and you’ll need a robot guide to help you get started.
  • Setting up the GamePad as my TV remote was surprisingly simple. I told it I have DirecTV, and the connection was made. I told it have a Samsung TV, and after trying a couple different options, the setting was made. However, the software isn’t as clean as it could be for actually finding the channels/shows you want.
  • Each user gets his/her own account for save files, preferences, parental controls and such. As the master account, you can control access to each from your user. This good for preventing your kids from accessing unwanted material or making unwanted purchases, but more importantly, it means they can’t play your save files and mess them up if they don’t have your user password.

That’ll do for now. I’ve got to go figure out what I was doing wrong in ZombiU this afternoon. If you have thoughts of your own to add, please do. There’s plenty to love, and also some cause for consternation.

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