Nintendo’s Wii U: The Good, The Bad, and The Strange

By: on December 7, 2012

The Wii U has been in my hands for several weeks now. I have spent hours with the system, going through the ins and outs, working out the kinks and learning exactly why Nintendo’s innovative new system is so fun.

As a die-hard Nintendo fan, I knew that I was going to purchase the Wii U the second an HD version of Zelda popped into my mind. It proved to be too tantalizing a prospect to pass up. What if you weren’t as easily convinced as I though, to purchase the Wii U?

The console has a multitude of great, not so great and just plain strange factors that you, the consumer should consider if you’re on the fence about purchasing Nintendo’s next generation system.

The Good

1) No more friend codes. If you played the Wii or the DS, you’ll know how cumbersome it was to add friends. Friend codes were a bulky and unwelcome nuisance that made a lot of gamers not even want to add friends on Nintendo systems.

Thankfully Nintendo listened to the fans and got rid of friend codes. The Wii U offers a friend adding system similar to that of PlayStation or Xbox 360, where you get a single Nintendo Network ID that’s tied to your system. Adding friends simply involves knowing your other friends Nintendo Network ID.

2) Wealth of titles available in the eShop. When I first unboxed my Wii U, performed all the system updates and booted up the eShop, I wasn’t expecting much. I mean after all, how much content could the Wii U honestly have that early in its life cycle?

Boy was I pleasantly surprised.

Not only is the Wii U eShop’s interface vastly improved over its 3DS counterpart, a good majority of the launch day games are available for complete digital download. This makes things a lot easier for gamers that want a variety of options in the digital department.

3) The Miiverse lives up to the hype. To say that Nintendo hit the sweet spot with the Miiverse is an understatement. Without a doubt, the Miiverse has set the standard for how gamers will interact with each other socially in the future.

The Miiverse consists of many communities where you can go and interact with people based on common interests. Love Assassin’s Creed 3 and want to chat about with other lovers of the game? Just head over to the Assassin’s Creed community and start interacting.

Stuck on Mass Effect 3 and in need of help? Just pause the game, head over to the Mass Effect community and make a post about what you need help with. What’s even cooler is that people helping can add in pictures or screenshots to make their message even clearer.

4) Remote play is siiiiiick. At first, I thought that the ability to switch gameplay to the Wii U gamepad so someone else could watch TV was a bit gimmicky. After trying it however, I have to admit it is one of the Wii U’s best features.

The transition from TV to Gamepad is virtually seamless, with little to no loss in quality. Often times, I even found myself preferring to play a game on the Gamepad rather than on my TV just because of how convenient it was.

The best part about the remote play feature though, in my opinion, is being able to switch to your streaming player and watch Netflix while saving the Mushroom Kingdom.

5) The Wii U is fully backwards compatible, and you can import old Wii game saves. The Wii allows you to import your old Wii save data, and play all the old games. This is really cool for people like me who invested a lot of money into the Wii eShop.

The Bad

1) The loading and update times are ridiculous. I know that this has been said by a multitude of websites already, but there is a reason. The Wii U loading times are absolutely garbage. There are times where I was literally waiting minutes for things to load.

Even worse then the loading times though, is how long it takes to update stuff. No joke, it took me hours to download the day one console update. Furthermore, the Wii U seems to have absolutely no idea how long it takes to actually update something. The timer bounced around from 10 minutes to 2 hours to 47 seconds and then stayed there for five minutes. Doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense.

2) You have to go into a separate menu to play Wii games, and the Wii U Gamepad is rendered useless.  I can’t even say how excited I was to learn that the Wii U was fully backwards compatible. Some of the excitement was dashed however when I learned that you had to go into a Wii menu that rendered the Gamepad unplayable to enjoy any Wii games.

That’s a bit messed up. Here I thought I’d be able to play Ocarina of Time or Bubble Bobble on my expensive new system.

3) The complete lack of a virtual console. One of the best parts of the Wii was its awesome virtual console. You could play all kinds of old games from your childhood and relive past memories.

Naturally, it was bit disheartening to know that the Wii U didn’t have anything in the form of a virtual console.

I really hope that Nintendo plans to release one. If they didn’t, it would be a serious injury to the console that would be very hard to recover from.

Oh, and if they do get a virtual console, Nintendo needs to offer Gamecube games on it. (coughWindWakercough)

4) The Wii U’s storage space is just too small. The Wii U, simply put, doesn’t come with very much storage at all. All these updates are seriously chewing up the space, which is even worse if you have downloaded a couple games.

Owners of the Wii U Basic Set have it even worse. They only get 8GB of storage out of the box, which is enough to download maybe 2 games after taking into account the Wii U’s OS, which takes up about 4 GB of space.

5) The Gamepad’s battery life is atrocious. You would think that for something so important to the function of the system, Nintendo would try and give the Gamepad at least a decent battery life. Think again.

While I’m not sure on the exact battery capacity of the Wii U Gamepad, you should plan on charging it 1-2 times a day, especially if you’re a hardcore gamer. What’s even worse is that there is no on screen notification really (not counting pressing the home button) to tell you if your controller is about to die. So, if you’re really into a game, and haven’t looked down at the controller in a long time, you run the very real risk of your controller dying out of nowhere. Something to keep in mind.

The Strange

1) Nintendo TVii not available from the start. I found it a bit odd that Nintendo’s really cool sounding TVii wasn’t available with the day one update. Currently, TVii is set to release in North America until 2013. Yet, in Japan it will be available from the console’s launch on the 8th of December.

Nintendo TVii could be a viable reason for people to buy the Wii U, so hopefully it comes out here in US sooner than later.

2) The Wii U Pro Controller doesn’t have a headset or mic slot. So, let’s get things straight, the entire reason that Nintendo made a Wii U Pro Controller was to appeal to more hardcore gamers? Gamers that are more used to the PS3 or Xbox 360, correct? Yet, the controller doesn’t have a jack to plug in a headset or mic? That makes a whole lot of sense.

3) No folder option. Nintendo is clearly and aggressively advocating the purchase of digital content on their systems. If a gamer is to buy a lot of games digitally, then they need some way to organize all those purchases.

They recognized that with the 3DS and pushed an update that added folders.

So, why did they decide to not include folders with the Wii U? It’s a bit baffling. Perhaps they’re waiting until they get more content on the eShop. Or, perhaps they’re waiting until the Wii U has a designated virtual console. Either way, they need to include folders.

4) No voice chat for Miiverse. For some reason Nintendo decided it was a good idea to just include voice chat on a game by game basis, and not where it would obviously be useful. The entire point of the Miiverse is to interact with other gamers and connect socially. Clearly voice chat would be awesome for something like this. Nintendo needs to make voice chat available in the Miiverse. There’s really no excuse for it not to be there.

Final Thoughts

As with any new system release, there’s a wealth of reasons why you should and shouldn’t spend your hard earned money. In my personal opinion, Nintendo has crafted an awesome follow up to the Wii. The good more than outweighs the bad (and baffling) facts about the console, and it is definitely worthwhile of a purchase.

Plus, eventually there is going to be an HD Zelda. How could you pass something like that up?!

About Christian Miller

Christian is a lover of the three R's: reading, writing, and RPG's. He lives in a historic town in northern Utah where he loves playing video games and trying humorously to become an author. When he isn't spending time with his family or writing, you can probably find him battling Darkspawn, trying to catch em all, or attempting to get a headshot on a Chimera.
  • Guest

    Yeah I agree. Hopefully something gives though. Thanks for your comment!

  • aSMiLoN

    Good read, I agree on all of the mentioned issues. I am not sure how Nintendo could fix any of the mentioned bad things, as they seem all with the exception of the Virtual Console, tied to the hardware and configuration of the system.

    • Yeah, I agree. Hopefully something gives though. Thanks for your comment!

  • Pingback: Stuff I Did This Week! | The Musings of a Nerd()