So Christmas is past and through no fault of Christmas I have my hands on a Wii U. I’ll document some of my initial thoughts here.
- Hardware is nice. Really nice. I liked the Wii as just a piece of technology (and one that Nintendo really didn’t re-release like the slimmed-up Xbox 360 and PS3), and the Wii U continues the trend of really nice, slick, hardware that might not need a major revision in the future. Granted, the console itself is bigger, but it is quieter than the original Wii … so points on that. I do like the separate LED to show that a disk is loaded. A nice, simple touch. Bringing the sync button outside of the hinged door is another small change but makes it much easier to use the console.
- The Wii U GamePad is going to take some time for me to get used to. After the Wii Remote + Nunchuck of the Wii, the GamePad seems very rigid because … it is. Not a knock against it, but it is something different. The screen looks really good and I can understand why they used resistive instead of capacitive touch for as well. No, it is not HD, but it works well enough for a controller with eleventy-billion different sensors on it.
- I’m starting to think of the Wii U as a more powerful Wii plus the addition of the dual-screen nature of the Nintendo DS. I wasn’t even thinking that way before, but after using the console for over a day, I can already see what Nintendo was going after. The GamePad really opens up some avenues before restricted to just the mobile-focused DS and 3DS, which could be exciting. It took almost the entire generation of the Wii to get to a game that really harnessed the motion controls in such a way to deliver what everyone was hoping for in the beginning (I’m looking at you The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword), and the DS took a good, long while before games started to really take advantage of the dual-screen nature of that device. The Wii U will take some time as well as developers try and put the two together, but I think Nintendo has provided a decent game to showcase some ideas (Nintendoland), and I have a feeling that hey will be pushing things forward as they usually do. This is why we need a strong Nintendo and I cringe every time someone says that Nintendo should stop making hardware and start just publishing games for other platforms. How quickly we forget about Sega.
- It is nice to see Nintendo properties in HD.
- I’m very interested to see what Nintendo is going to do with the Zelda series. So far Zelda, Metroid, and 3D Mario have not been announced or even shown off … but with the GamePad, Remote, Remote + Nunchuck, and Pro Controller you have a plethora of options for controlling those games and who knows what will happen with the second screen available. I’m hoping they keep the 1:1 controls from Skyward Sword around but refine them just a little bit. The future will be interesting.
- I’m planning on picking up one of the big-name 3rd party ports to try and get an idea of how those might do on the system. There is a huge backlog of high-quality ports that could now be brought over to the Wii U and probably do quite well. Mass Effect 3 is on the top of the list for now.
I think that is about it for now. Overall, I’m highly impressed with the system and even just the two games I have so far (Nintendoland and Just Dance 4). Having an HD Nintendo system should not be underestimated.
One thing I have not dug into is any of the online components. That will be for later (and for games that feature online play more prevalently).