Nov 23, 2012

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The Wii U In Review

Nintendo’s latest system, the Wii U, launched this past Sunday, November 18th. Many a Nintendo fan and gamer alike preordered the system hoping for the best. And from many reports,  retailers sold out of the system within a day or two of the system’s price and date announcement. However, on launch day, the system seemed to be in stock in several places.

The system itself is not exactly a cheap investment, especially with two other consoles of equal power already on the market. With Black Friday Deals, one has to wonder how they system will sell. The Wii U comes in two versions, the Basic set at $299.99 with 8 GB of flash memory, and then Deluxe set at $349.99 with 32GB of flash memory. The former coming in white and the later coming in black. There are some differences between the two versions as to what each system comes with as well.

The Wii U Basic set comes with a Gamepad, stylus for the Gamepad, sensor bar, AC adapters for both the console and the Gamepad, and an HDMI cable to connect your system to your TV.

The Deluxe set comes with all of the aforementioned items, but also includes a few extras, most notably a copy of Nintendo Land, a stand for your Gamepad, as well as a charging cradle for the controller as well. And lastly, the package includes a console stand so you can have your system stand up vertically instead of lying flat.

First Impressions | The Gamepad and System | The OS | The Apps | Final Verdict

First Impressions

 Getting the box in my hands, the Wii U packaging was a bit heavier than expected. Setting down to open, it was similarly packaged like the Wii, with individual cardboard trays for all accessories and cables. Setting up the system was a something else, however.

After plugging in the console and turning it on, you are greeted with a start-up screen and a setup process, all navigated through the Gamepad screen. One of the first things that it has you do is setup your internet connection, connecting to your WiFi access point. Immediately following its connection test, I was prompted with a firmware update for the Wii U. That whole process took over an hour to download. I was not too happy having to wait for the update. Know that going in, straight off the shelf, the Wii U cannot do what is advertised on the box: connecting to the Miiverse, playing your old Wii games, or browse the eShop to download games. If you don’t have an internet connection, your Wii U is more or less stuck in the initial firmware release, with limited functionality.

Apparently the Wii U–at least the launch systems and the systems that were given to press before the launch date–did not have the Miiverse, Nintendo eShop, the Wii backwards compatibility, and Nintendo Network on the system. So then you may ask, just how big is that update? Browsing around the internet it seemed to be an estimated 5GB. This left my Deluxe Wii U with an estimated 25GB leftover for storage of games and save files.

Once the massive update in done downloading and installing, I was allowed to move forward with creating a Nintendo Network ID. This ID is what you will use to connect to the Miiverse and will be the name you go by when playing games online. Friend codes are gone! That process was quick and painless!

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About Benjamin Baker

A gamer for nearly 24 years, he was hooked the second he started playing Metroid on NES. Now he is aspiring to write about video games, is a bit of a tech geek, and an amateur experimental photographer.