It was delivered about lunchtime and it took a while to set up – seriously Nintendo, WHYYYYYYYYY-fi? Anyway, with that minor criticism on board and three games to have a go at, here’s what I think of my first six hours with Nintendo’s latest little bundle of fun and games…
Let’s take this one step at a time shall we?
DOES IT HAVE THAT NEW PRODUCT SMELL?
Disappointingly, no. It doesn’t have that quite strong musky plastic aroma that usually accompanies new products mostly because the packaging is compartmentalised and is divided by cardboard sections, to that Styrofoam-based reek that most of us have been enjoying in our products for some years now is sadly not a part of the ritual opening of the Wii-U. The sticky plastic is still quite satisfyingly squeaky though.
HOW EASY IS IT TO SET UP?
Quite easy, the U-Pad is sensation for this sort of thing because it makes it quite straight-forward. The actual firmware update took in total about 75 minutes, and there is sometimes a little delay between the U-Pad and the Wii-U on the setup. I have noticed none since then though.
SO GO ON, HOW IS MIIVERSE?
Perhaps it is the fact its really new but everyone is enjoying the freehand drawing options and there have been some cracking displays of talent already. And it’s everyone yeah!-ing and just generally being nice and awesome and friendly and making decent jokes and doing some cracking artwork, like a full-on image of Link pulling the Master Sword from its resting spot, or GLADoS teaching Nintendo Land’s host how to properly “test” their visitors, or a guy being chased by zombies. It needs some new features but what we have for the moment is actually a lot of fun and is a social network you can spend some time in and not come away wishing harm on the human race – that’s a plus point, no?
AND THE ‘U-PAD’ ?
Again, quite nice. It will take some minor adjustment but there’s nothing inherently strange about it. Indeed, it makes navigation a breeze, lets people draw and write and generally is very good. I see absolutely no noticeable slow down between TV and U-Pad either. So that’s really good.
HOW ARE THE GAMES?
Nintendo Land – Nintendo Land is a curio and not much more. Those who did not buy it are not inherently missing out on a lot; it’s like Mario Party made babies with Wii Sports. There are some great options and all, but the really good stuff I’m afraid to say is multiplayer and requires that all-important “Asymmetrical” configuration, as well as the friends to go with it. Which is great for Christmas Day with the family all gathered around to enjoy it, but sadly on your own there’s not a lot to be said for it. It’s nice. Not essential.
Zombi-U – Despite my inherent clumsiness with the new U-Pad, Zombi-U is actually really quite a looker and a really tense, thrilling sort of survival horror title. And it IS a survival horror. There’s none of this gung-ho muck here, no sir! Your task is survival. And I have found flares to be the most useful tool in the game… go on zombies, go towards the pretty light muahahahahahahaha *sneaks behind them* Think outside the box, this is easily one of the best games of the year. Treat it as an FPS… well… you will die. Lots.
New Super Mario Bros. U – I like the nostalgia involved in this retro-inspired trip into Mario Past, but there is just enough new ideas and concepts to just keep it from feeling completely stale. Unfortunately, some of the concepts don’t click quite right, but what NSMB:U does amply demonstrate is the speed of which your game can go from TV to U-Pad. There is barely a whimper in the transition, and as such it’s a good technical exercise as well as a nice, albeit not perfect, homage to Mario and Nintendo of old.
I will write about more games when I have played them.
ARE YOU PROUD YOU GOT IT ON RELEASE? AND PAID OVER THE ODDS?
Uhh, yeah. I saved up, I bought it, I’m having fun thanks!
NO MAJOR BUGS OR ISSUES YET?
Nothing serious to report yet but if I find any, believe me, I’ll say something about it.
I think right now that’s Miiverse. It’s not perfect but it’s just so nice and fun right now that its easy to get sucked into it.
The Wi-Fi. After some time with cables connected to my fiber-optic broadband, the lack of that option is frankly a little depressing. I can understand it with the 3DS. But not the Wii-U.
NEEDS MOST WORK?
The e-Shop Interface. A little crazy and cluttered right now, everything is there but really it’s just too much of everything right now.
NEEDS LEAST WORK?
The App system is surprisingly good. A console that can multitask! Oh my word that is a novelty!
WHAT FEATURE DO YOU WANT MOST?
The option to upload and play stuff from my 3DS on the Wii-U. Or at least have the two machines linked.
WHAT FEATURE DO YOU WANT LEAST?
Achievement apps. But some people want achievements. So eh, I guess I can’t win there.
SO IT’S GOOD?
Very good. Surprisingly good, actually. I still had concerns but it’s a very lovely machine with a lovely controller and a lovely social network (for the moment!). Zombi-U is the killer title for the machine, and Nintendo Land is what it is. Something… that probably should have been Wii Sports HD, really. But eh, they’ll learn. And that’s the great thing; I am sure Nintendo will learn. What they have is nice, safe and unusually stable considering its a new system. You can build, but rarely can you take away. Thankfully, there’s nothing major you’d want to take away and an awful lot that I want to see expanded on.
So yeah, I’m happy with my purchase. Not perfect, but still just fun enough to not leave me feeling cheated.
And that’s a good start.