First off, let’s get started with some specs and pricing. I purchased this at my local Gamestop for $300. What’s in the box you ask?
- Wii U Console (black)
- Wii U GamePad (black)
- AC adapter
- GamePad AC adapter
- HDMI cable
- Sensor bar
- GamePad cradle
- GamePad stand
- Console stand
- Nintendo Land
As you can see, there is a lot that this comes with. I especially liked the charging cradle for the GamePad. When it comes to specs, the Wii U has the following under the hood:
- IBM Power-based multi-core CPU
- AMD Radeon-based HD GPU
- 32GB of internal storage with support for external USB storage
- Four (4) USB 2.0 connectors
- 802.11b/g/n wireless adapter
- Video output supporting 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p
- Audio output supporting six-channel PCM linear output or analog output
Build Quality & Setup
The build quality of the console is great, feels sturdy, and doesn’t feel cheap. The piano black finish looks nice, but is prone to scratches and other marks (much like the Xbox One). The GamePad has plenty of features, including a touchscreen, camera, and mic, but feels a little cheap while holding it. As for setup of the system, it took minimal time to set everything up in the entertainment center.
The software setup however left much to be desired. The installation of patches and updates after the device’s manufacture took roughly 1.5 hours to complete and the system was unusable during that time. Furthermore, there were so many steps to complete initial setup that I felt frustrated during setting up the device. I think Nintendo can improve upon this in the future.
The Wii U sports a lot of impressive software features right out of the box including Miiverse, Nintendo eShop, Nintendo TVii, Wii U Chat, and an Internet browser (which isn’t that great). The eShop is extremely impressive as it boasts (pretty much) the entire Nintendo library going all the way back to NES. I purchased Super Mario Bros. 3 and the original Mario Kart and tried them out using their “Virtual Machine” software. Both ran fairly smooth and it was a great throwback to gaming past. The store also has sales from time to time where you can get great prices on software.
This is really what I wanted to spend time on. We purchased Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. when we got the console. When we popped in the game discs, we were again greeted by a hefty update which took roughly 15 minutes to complete. After the installation of the update we got started. Both games ran fluidly and we did not experience any hiccups or frame rate drops. The graphics for both games were impressive, especially when you consider the hardware supporting it. I have spent several hours playing these games and I can say that if you are a fan of Nintendo software, the Wii U will not give you a disappointing experience for your gameplay.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with the Wii U. The console gives me the ability to play games that I haven’t touched in years. Nintendo continues to output solid titles for the Wii U and will continue to do so. I do feel that the system is a bit overpriced. Nintendo should consider toning down the GamePad as I have found I don’t really do anything with the touchscreen or use it to its full capability. By removing the GamePad or by toning down on the GamePad’s features, they could reduce the price and make it a bit more attractive. I think that $200-250 would be fair for the console. Additionally, the software update process is frustrating and slow. I’m not sure if the servers were just taxed that day or what, but I really did not enjoy waiting about 2 hours to play my games.
So, in conclusion, I would state the Wii U is a buy for any Nintendo enthusiast, causal game lover, or Smash Bros pwner.