Title: Wii U
Release Date: November 18, 2012
Manufacturers: Foxconn, Mitsumi and Nintendo
Price: $299.99 (Basic) / $399.99 (Deluxe)
Being the first of three major developers to release a new console is surely no easy task, yet Nintendo has managed to do just that rather successfully. Despite some minor system flaws, the Wii U is a spectacular piece of hardware and a great successor to the Wii.
At first glance, the GamePad looks massive in size. After using the controller, I can confirm this is true. For those with bigger hands such as myself, the size of the controller shouldn't be too much of an issue. From my experience, I found that playing with the GamePad for a while caused my hands to be mildly sore, so I can only imagine what it must be like for younger players. The system's menu is backwards compatible with Wii Remotes and peripherals as well as a brand new controller which bears a striking resemblance to that of the Xbox 360. Having all of these options makes for an ideal way to use the system.
Arguably one of the most captivating features about the Wii U is Miiverse: a hub about all things relevant to the system that acts as social network. Here, users can view and make posts via text and drawings. Not only that, but if a game is suspended, users can post the current screenshot from both the TV and GamePad in their posts. There is also in-game support for certain titles, and as a result you'll be able to view the experiences others are having with the game right from yours. Take New Super Mario Bros. U for instance, in which Miiverse posts can be seen from various levels on the world map. When the console is turned on, the first thing users will see is the WaraWara Plaza. This allows Miiverse posts to be seen right from the system's home menu, with the icon of the app or game displayed above various Mii characters. This simple yet brilliant concept is something that many Wii U owners will find themselves using a lot. I know I do!
Despite all the praise for the console, there also exists a few cons which may need some inspection. For one, the loading times are rather long and ultimately bothersome. You'll usually have to wait about 10-20 seconds between most menus and screens, and don't even get me started on the system update. The menu on the Wii U is great, but in contrast to that of the 3DS, there is certainly room for improvement. Where are the folders? Why doesn't the Daily Log have as much as the Activity Log? Again, these are only minor setbacks, albeit some that are certainly questionable. Lastly, the Wii U's controller is rather large as stated earlier, and as a result it easily attracts dirt and can thus be somewhat of a hassle to clean, regardless if it's used a lot or not.
The Wii U is off to a great start. Nintendo has once again introduced innovative ways to play as well as interact with other players worldwide. The system does have some minor flaws, but that's nothing a future system update can't fix. For longtime Nintendo fans, being able to play titles that may have been missed such as Call of Duty or Mass Effect is a nice gesture. Microsoft and Sony will likely showcase respective consoles of their own shortly, and odds are they'll be capable of handling much more power, but even so the Wii U is bound to hold up just fine. Nintendo isn't just about power despite what a popular quote from an old TV commercial may suggest. Their hardware is finally up to date, yet it still has the innovative side that makes it Nintendo.