So, being an up-to-the-minute new games journalist (who uh, just had a birthday) I of course recently got a Wii U. Yesterday I ran down what I liked about the machine, but it’s not all roses in Nintendo’s new garden.
Hit the jump for some of my issues with the Wii U, as well as my final verdict on the new system…
Note – Again, this is just a general review of the hardware. I won’t be delving into specific games to any great degree.
Stuff I Don’t like
The “U” in Wii U Stands For Updates, Updates, Updates
We’ve all heard tell about the big, required operating system update new Wii U owners are hit with right off the bat, and it is big — over an hour to download, then another 20-minutes or more to install — but that’s not the half of it. Every new game you pop in, as well as pre-installed stuff like the YouTube and Netflix channels also require lengthy downloads and installations. Then there’s all the other set-up — you have to make a Mii, set up your Nintendo Network ID and on and on.
Basically, you need to set aside a solid six-hour block to set up your Wii U before you can actually start delving in. I can just imagine eight-year-olds across the world crying bitter tears on Christmas day as clueless parents fumble through dozens of menus and loading bars.
I…I’m sorry I bothered you ma’am.
The GamePad Is Too Beautiful
Yesterday I waxed poetic about the beauty of the Wii U GamePad, but honestly it may be a little too pretty. I’m not used to actually giving a crap about a video game controller — this is not a controller you can hold in one hand as you eat fried chicken in the other then shove under the couch cushions. Every mote of dust that touches the GamePad pains me deeply. Basically if you’ve got a touch of th’ ol’ OCD like me, it might a good idea to invest in a nice electronics polishing cloth before you get a Wii U.
The GamePad Can Complicate Things
I like to think I’m a fairly tech literate guy and yet despite owning this system for four or five days now, I’m still not entirely comfortable with the Wii U’s menus. I don’t really know how to use the Wara Wara Plaza, aspects of Miiverse still confuse me and I don’t exactly know how to save or check high scores in Nintendo Land. The extreme simplicity and usability of the Wii’s “channel” layout is long gone.
A lot of the confusion arises from the fact there doesn’t yet seem to be standardized guidelines for what kind of stuff gets displayed on the GamePad and what kind of stuff gets displayed on the TV. Frequently you’ll be searching around for a menu option only to find it’s hidden away in a small button on the GamePad, or you’ll be using the GamePad only to discover one random, important scrap of info is only displayed on the TV. I’m sure this will all be sorted out eventually, but for now the Wii U has a knack for making me feel pretty tech dumb sometimes.