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Wii U: First Impressions



So last weekend I found a new NSMB/Luigi deluxe set Wii U on eBay for $250 – a good deal, and since I was planning on picking one up eventually for Smash 4, Mario Kart 8, Zelda, and 3D Mario (among other games, of course), I ordered it. It arrived Thurdsay, I set it up yesterday, and I decided today to bore you all with my thoughts on it.


One of the first things I noticed pulling the system out of the box was the console's length – it's longer than I'd expected, which seems kind of a weird thing to notice now that I'm writing it down. Hm. I set the console up vertically using the provided stands. They're much sturdier than the Wii's, which is a plus. I also appreciated the inclusion of an HDMI cable – the only other HD console I own, the PS3, didn't come with one.


Setup was fairly simple until I got to the part where you have to make a user account for the system. Transferring my Mii from my 3DS took several attempts since I apparently didn't have the correct share settings selected for that particular Mii. Then it asked me if I wanted to link the account to a Nintendo Network ID. I said yes. It asked if I wanted to create a new Nintendo Network ID. I said yes. It said I couldn't because I had to install an update first.




I briefly postponed the installation of said update to sync one of my Wii Remotes to the Wii U. This process is much, much easier than it was with the Wii – whereas with the Wii you had to hold down the button on both the console and the remote simultaneously, with the Wii U you press the button on the console and then press the button on the remote. It may not seem like that would make a major difference, but it does.


I proceeded to scour the settings menu for the system update button. I found it and was told that the download would take 01:26. (At least that's what I think it was. Close enough.) At first I thought that this meant one minute twenty-six seconds, as that's how I've always seen downloads measured in the past. I soon realized, however, that this was one hour and twenty-six minutes. Not only is this somewhat counterintuitive (shouldn't it be 01:26:00?) but it's also pretty frustrating to have to wait over an hour for the console to update before you can actually use it.


Fortunately (unfortunately?) I didn't have something awesome like Mario Kart or Smash that I was anxious to play. I lost interest in NSMB after NSMB Wii – the only reason I bought the NSMB bundle was because at $250 it was $80 cheaper than the $330 Mario Kart 8 bundle, which means I could still buy MK and come out $20 and one game ahead. (The MK bundle also includes a Wii Wheel – haha no thanks). Anyway, I of course tried out NSMBU with my dad and my sister. Like all NSMB games, it's fun enough, but nothing special. Basically the same game with some new level designs and a fresh coat of admittedly crisp-looking high-definition paint.


One thing that bothered me though was the control options. You can play the game with the gamepad, the Wii remote held sideways, or the pro controller. What's not on that list is the control scheme I – and everyone else in my family – used for NSMB Wii: the remote + nunchuck. I realize that I'm probably in the minority in my appreciation for that particular control scheme but I don't really see any reason why it shouldn't have been included. I expect I would prefer the pro controller – but at fifty bucks a pop I don't see myself getting one anytime soon. So I decided I'd try out the gamepad – only to learn that, in multiplayer, you can't use the gamepad to actually play the game but only to assist the players in what the game refers to as “boost mode.” I really don't understand why you can't choose to do either.


I poked around Miiverse a bit, looking in particular at the Smash and Mario Kart boards. There's nothing wrong with it, but it's not something I see myself spending much time on.


Today I tried out offscreen play and found that my room is about a meter beyond the connection range between the console and the gamepad, which is quite disappointing. Kind of limits the potential there.


One thing I haven't done – and don't plan to do anytime soon – is transfer my Wii save data to the Wii U. The whole “your save data gets deleted from the Wii YOU CAN NEVER GET IT BACK THIS PROCESS CANNOT BE UNDONE seems a bit sketchy to me I dunno. Plus I still have a year to go before I can use homebrew on Wii U without having to worry about voiding my warranty so if I want to play Brawl Minus or something I'll have to use my Wii anyway so


So yeah owning a Wii U has been a bit of an underwhelming experience so far. I'll probably get MK8 sooner rather than later and look into picking up something like Nintendo Land to play casually with my family, both of which I expect will make the console more exciting.

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The Wii U is pretty long, that surprised me too. I think it's a pretty pleasing shape, though- not that it matters. The Nintendo ID thing worked flawlessly for me. And the update... Augh. I had my schedule all planned out, I only had a couple of hours yesterday but figured I could still get in a good chunk of MK8 time. Then I learn that there's an hour and fifty minutes of just sitting there and waiting. It was a bit frustrating. Syncing is fantastic. Love that redesign.


MK8 is wondrous, and I'm really hyped to download WWHD for free. I might pick up NSMBU off of Ebay on the cheap if I can, as long as there are folks like you who just get it with the system but might not want to keep it forever.

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