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Wii U review

By Stuart Andrews

Updated:

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Wii U: Interface and Firmware

Nintendo took a lot of stick for the Wii U’s early slow, rather lumbering firmware, but has enhanced and improved it quite dramatically since launch. The Wii U now boots fast and gives you a quick-start menu on the Game Pad, allowing you to rush straight into the games or applications you’ve been using most recently. There are features for organizing games into folders, while you can now download games while the console is in standby.

Entertainment apps have never been a focus for Nintendo, and the TVii concept never had a chance to take off in Europe. You can get iPlayer, Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, but media streaming and playback is not exactly a key Wii U strength.

What is though are games. Faced with a dearth of high-quality third-party titles, Nintendo has worked hard to make its eShop an online games store worth exploring, with indie titles bolstered by smaller scale first-party titles and an ever growing selection of classics in the Virtual Console section. There are classics here not just from Nintendo but from Capcom, Sega, Bandai Namco, Natsume and Konami, making it a bit of a treasure trove both for retro fans and for younger gamers keen to explore gaming history.

And while Nintendo’s own remasters, like Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, have enhanced and updated classics, the Virtual Console prides itself on accurate reproductions. You can play these games the way they were originally played, only with a smoother frame rate on a better controller with better sound on better screen technology.

Related: Best Games 2015

Nintendo Wii U Interface

Wii U: Games

If you’re thinking about buying a Wii U, buy it for the games that it already has. Mario Kart 8, Bayonetta 2, Super Mario 3D World, Super Mario Maker, The Wind Waker HD, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U are all fantastic and a worthy match for nearly any title you can mention on PS4 and Xbox One (with some notable exceptions like The Witcher 3 or MGS 5: The Phantom Pain).

We’re not 100% sold on Splatoon or Xenoblade Chronicles X, but many people would say the exact same thing about them. If you’re looking for something different from the norm, something that evokes nostalgia for the way games used to be, or simply something different from the endless run of first-person shooters, RPGs and throat-stabbing, blast from cover action games, the Wii U has you covered. It’s also still the most family-friendly console of the lot.

Related: Best Wii U Games 2015

Legend of Zelda

For the future, however, things look more gloomy. Anyone with any sense will be excited at the thought of the new, open-world Legend of Zelda, but rumours abound that this will be a cross-platform launch title for the Wii U and NX, just as Twilight Princess was for the Gamecube and Wii. That game is itself due for its own Wii U remaster, coming early next year, while Starfox Zero – after delays which should make it a stronger title – is also due around the same time. That’s basically it as far as the big hitters go. While less than three year’s old it’s clear that the Wii U’s best years are already behind it.

Verdict

Does this mean you’d be mad to buy a Wii U now? Well, no. How bad can things be when you can play games of the quality of those listed above, especially when many can now be found at bargain-basement prices? But were I just a gamer looking to drop my own money on a new console, I’d be looking for a deal on or saving up for an Xbox One or PS4 rather than opting for a Wii U at this late stage. These are consoles with their own growing library of great games – and consoles with a future, not just a short but brilliant past.

Overall Score

8

Matt GB

October 1, 2012, 1:26 am

I'm just not convinced by this new Nintendo console. The tech is dated even before it is released.

I bought the Wii and unlike my Game Cube it spent most of its time gathering dust in my loft. Other than the Nintendo exclusives there seems very little to attract gamers to Nintendo's consoles nowadays.

krencey

December 2, 2012, 7:44 pm

Hey guys, could you please correct your misleading info about adding memory with SD cards? The fact is, you cannot use the extra space for Wii U content, only content meant for the original Wii software, Virtual Console, etc.

Also, the review says next to nothing about the infrared TV remote capabilities. You might want to update the review with that. It might be interesting to note how the web browser handles online content, videos on youtube, facebook...

Last but not least, you forgot to mention that the HD era Nintento is bringing is not always full HD. Many games run natively only at 720p and are upscaled in a similar fashion XBOX360 games are to 1080p.

sm1130

December 20, 2012, 2:36 pm

Zomibi u?

Jay

December 25, 2012, 1:09 am

Was not convinced by reviews to buy one, but as always I couldnt go without, let me put it this way the console isn't bad, I like the handheld game pad and the game are as the Wii should have been, I think the console has a lot to offer in the future, the verdicts still out as we need to see whats coming next from Sony and Microsoft, as it stands the Wii U isnt a bad machine, but maybe more expensive than what were used to from Nintendo, but I think the next gen from Sony and Microsoft are going to be £100 more.

So if you are looking for to replace your Wii and you want more but better then the Wii U has got what you are looking for.

8/10.

disqus_mEwrae7IIT

December 31, 2012, 8:14 pm

I bought the deluxe set on 12-2-12. I've had no end of weird little issues with it, along with the several hours of updates just to get going out of the box. I am not impressed; it appears to me that the system was rushed out the door before it was completely stable. 1/10

RetardedSpot

January 1, 2013, 1:56 am

I kinda like this console the only reason I would not buy one is because of the CPU but the gamepad games and mobility makes me like it.

Ssaqwe

January 1, 2013, 5:18 pm

You may be right, but you obviously didn't think much of the original Wii either and that ended up becoming the most successful console of its generation.

Jerome M Hobart

January 11, 2013, 9:29 pm

I have had the same results. It takes 9 minutes to load Mario every time I want to play it. I have an 8 year old, nothing says grumpy like a kid that has to wait to play! Who tested this in the factory an eighty year old in no hurry?

Jm5150

February 1, 2013, 3:27 am

the wii was succesful only because everyone wanted one...once they all had one they ALL collected dust

Marichka

March 30, 2013, 11:33 pm

We like our Wii. The only reason it sometimes collects dust is because there aren't enough great games for it and we get sick of the ones we've had for years.

Chris

November 15, 2013, 3:15 am

Sorry I wasted 350.00 on this. regular Wii much more fun. Not enough games at all

Matthew Bunton

November 21, 2013, 7:47 pm

I really liked the Hardware especially the controller but mine suffered from multiple game freezes and system crashes even after all the patches and updates. Sadly I had to return 3 of them all with this issue. Maybe I will pick up one again in the future.

Another major issue with this console was the HDMI's colour the gamma is way too high and often games had a blue hue and blacks looked washed out.

No name

November 30, 2013, 9:30 am

No you sould have given it 9.8/10. PS4 and xboxone are rubbish compared to it. it is the best console to date and can people just stop giving it a bad time cause its nintendo.

Skbwolf

December 3, 2013, 2:39 pm

I just got WiiU yesterday, first Nintendo system in decades. i have to say i am very impressed, especially with the controller and its features. Bravo Nintendo, cannot wait for the big hits in 2014

<3gamez

December 11, 2013, 8:31 pm

I just got a Wii U two days ago, as an early xmas present from my girlfriend, for me and my 4 year old daughter. My daughter is just starting to really be able to grasp some of the simpler video games i own, and she has taking a real liking to Super Mario Galaxy 2 the past few weeks, she loves playing as player 2 and helping me collect stuff and kill the baddies. i am extremely impressed by the Wii U so far.. This review talks about lag in the interface and stuff, but i have not experienced any of that.. i think they may have patched it since release. It runs smooth as butter, and the graphics on Super Mario 3d world are absolutely beautiful.. I am really looking forward to all the nintendo staples on this new console, HD Zelda? Yes please.

Mike

December 15, 2013, 9:02 pm

Just wait until Smash comes out. I'll buy a $300 console just to play it and I bet a lot of other people will to.

David John Leach

January 1, 2014, 4:11 pm

I just ordered the Wii U 32GB Deluxe. Waiting for it in the mail. This will be my first console since the Sega Genesis! From what I read it looks good but we will see. I have a 46 inch LED 1080P TV and so I hope it looks good...

CutieLover

January 11, 2014, 9:28 am

Tell it to Nintendo. Mine was corrupted a bit and they returned it with Earthbound pre-installed ^.^

Colin

January 31, 2014, 4:03 pm

Video games is something I've grown up with and have no problems letting my kids enjoy. Unfortunately it seems as though all the other consoles offer is adult titles. I can't in good conscious (I think I'm in the minority in this one) just let my kids play Assassins Creed or COD or Grand Theft Auto. Nintendo has always done a great job offering a variety of kid friendly titles in addition to the adult titles. The parental features are great, still allows me to enjoy the titles meant for older crowds without worrying about the kids getting into them. Even the Nintendo store can be locked down so that only kid friendly content can be seen. I'm sure the other consoles have these capabilities and I know they are superior pieces of hardware. I just feel like Nintendo always goes out of there way to accommodate a wider audience. We've had the Wii U now for over a year and I'm really impressed with all the features it offers. Great system, solid as a rock, quiet a great addition to any home entertainment system, I encourage any family who is looking for a gaming system to seriously consider the Wii U.

Juss Sheena

May 29, 2014, 12:52 pm

The wii u sucks. Have had mine for 3 months exactly and the game pad dies while my kids aren't even touching it while watching netflix. The gamepad alone costs 189 bucks. Thankfully I have a warranty. PS the xbox 360 is great and a great buy. Dont waste your money on a wii u.

Juss Sheena

May 29, 2014, 12:54 pm

Hope you bought a warranty. You will get to enjoy 3 months of game play before the game pad dies. PS dont invest in a lot of games

Daniel

June 8, 2014, 6:31 am

I've had my gamepad for a year and it works fine and I get roughly 3 hours out of it. You cannot purchase another gamepad at retail for $189 so I'm not sure what you're talking about. Also, no game requires the use of a second game pad, and the cost of the gamepad is factored into the console package. If your gamepad died, then it should be under warranty and get them to replace it. The Wii U is the best console out at the moment compared to the PS4 & XBOX1 which both have few exclusive titles and not many quality games to choose from. If you want an entertainment hub, get an xbox or PS4. If you want a games console, get a Wii U (especially if you have kids).

Zakk Kaye

July 21, 2014, 10:43 am

Don't be so narrow minded! Just because your unit broke quickly does not mean every single wii u in existence will. In fact the vast majority of them won't! David can do whatever without some woman he probably doesn't know dictating what he does.

Miyako O'Conner

October 23, 2014, 12:48 pm

Thanks for the article Stuart. Just want to inform all folks who live outside US that Nintendo Wii is a great media Player. If you want to access Netflix and other streaming stations on your Nintendo Wii you can use UnoTelly as I do to get around the geo block.

AHYL88

January 29, 2015, 5:56 pm

I totally agree actually; I'm only in my 20s myself and even I think that a lot of games these days are being far too serious and realistic for their own good. I'm so sick of the number of FPSs, zombie post-apocalyptic setting games and such that have been released lately, cos they're all pretty much the same as each other anyway. It made me ask the question: what do we play games for? For fun? Or to be so serious? It's why I went for the Wii and will go for the Wii U soon, cos the games on there, while colourful, look so much fun while still deceptively challenging.

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