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One month with the Wii U

Sections: Consoles, Wii U

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Wii U GamePad

I purchased a Wii a little over a month ago. In my time with this console, there are things I’ve grown to like and dislike about it. Considering how low Wii U sales are right now, I hope this piece can help you decide whether this is something you want to buy right now. So without further ado, let’s let into it.

What I Don’t Like

Hard Drive Limitations

The cheapest Wii U costs $299 with an 8GB hard drive. Once you download the updates, you’ll have access to maybe around half that. The 32GB version leaves you with around 26GB. Such limitations these days are unacceptable. I guarantee you will need to purchase an additional hard drive at some point within the Wii U’s life cycle. I know some people have extra external or internal hard drives sitting around, but we shouldn’t have to resort to that. Flash storage is cheap and Nintendo should have indulged a bit more on its hard drives.

Reliance on Ports

I’ve got nothing against ports, but the Wii U needs to do better than that. Like my fellow editor Jenni Lada said, “Players deserve new, fresh content designed specifically with the console and Gamepad in mind.” That’s the whole point of the Wii U isn’t it? It’s not a graphical powerhouse, and it doesn’t push the boundaries of anything without the GamePad. If Nintendo doesn’t get third-party developers to really implement some cool GamePad features, the Wii U is in trouble. It needs games that are built from scratch with the GamePad as the central focus. Very rarely do we see ports show that kind of dedication. My hat goes off to Criterion and Ubisoft for helping make the GamePad shine in Need for Speed Most Wanted U and ZombieU. These games should be used as examples to show developers how to make the GamePad relevant.

Battery Life

The GamePad’s battery life is pretty bad. You’ll get around two and a half to three hours of life out of the GamePad. Thank goodness you can charge the GamePad while the Wii U is sleeping. If you couldn’t, you’ll hardly ever unplug it.

What I Like

Miiverse

I usually cringe when “social” features make their way into games, but I like what Nintendo is doing with Miiverse. I like how you can sit back and navigate forums that are specific to a single game. I like seeing cool drawings from the community, sharing screenshots and being in an atmosphere that isn’t hostile. Oddly enough, Miiverse seems to be the most mature network of any console. That’s mostly due to Nintendo’s policing, but I like not having to weed through racist, sexist and downright annoying posts from idiots around the web.

The GamePad’s Potential

When done right, the GamePad can change the dynamics of a game. In ZombieU, the GamePad is what connects you to your character. He/she sees what you see. If you’re looking at your backpack’s contents when zombies are on the screen, both you and your character will undoubtedly panic. I also love how some games can be played either on the television or the GamePad. Need for Speed Most Wanted U can do this, and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate will get that update this month. This is a feature that is truly awesome in practice. It makes bathroom time infinitely more enjoyable.

First-Party Offerings

Nintendo is lagging behind on first-party games for the Wii U, but that’s expected to change. We will see another Zelda, Mario and Kirby game. We just don’t know when this is going to happen. If there’s one thing we can be sure of it’s Nintendo’s ability to make excellent in-house games. I think these games will certainly be must-buys for any Wii U owner. I’m really looking forward to learning more information about these games on the road to E3.

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