First Look: The Wii U Has Arrived!
After what felt like an incredibly long wait, Nintendo’s new machine has finally arrived in the grasp of gamers across the globe. Whilst it will take a couple of weeks to gauge consumer response to the device, the current crop of reviews from the usual outlets are mixed at best. The general consensus seems to be that the machine is underpowered, confused in focus and underwhelming.
Today’s news stories concern a hacker project entitled HackMii which claims to have found that the WiiU’s CPU runs at a mere 1.24GHz. That figure is incredibly low, coming in a half the speed of the Xbox 360 and PS3′s 3.2GHz chip. These suggestions are worrying indeed.
But this is Total Revue and I’m here to give my first impressions of what I think about the Wii U.
Having received my machine a day early thanks to an online pre order with my retailer of choice, I don’t have to face the daunting prospect of midnight store openings or any such inanity. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the packaging and the machines general presentation. Whilst unboxing the device it seemed as if I would be removing bits of plastic from polystyrene for the rest of the afternoon, my significant other even commenting about the sheer amount of “crap” that I was piling up ready for installation.
So what’s in the box of the WiiU ZombiU special edition set?
My evenings experience with Wii U can be summed up in one word. SLOW. A brand new machine to set up with a repeatedly failing day one update patch to download and install. Server overload is the only thing I can imagine made the update so unreliable and slow. This was followed by updates to each of the games I attempted to play. Then there is the fact that the consoles OS seems very slow. Load time between different parts of the menu system seem bizarrely long when compared to the slick interface that is Xbox 360s dashboard.
I hope that this is an OS software problem that will be rectified via ongoing updates and not indicative of the true nature of the machines power, or lack thereof. Long gone are the days of pulling the new machine from the box, plugging it in, ramming a cartridge into a slot and instantly being in the game. In sharp contrast to my first joyous experience with Super Mario World all those years ago, my opening experience of New Super Mario Bros U was that of around an hour and a half of waiting to play the game, truly frustrated.
Other things that were worthy of note during my brief evening of “play” were that on two occasions the WiiU informed me that the inserted disk was “unreadable” suggesting that maybe I had put it in upside down or that it was dirty. This was obviously not the case as they were brand new disks and I am not 4 years old. I wasn’t drunk either, so now I’m left hoping I haven’t received a machine with a duff drive. The WiiU also crashed during my brief attempt to use the built in Wii emulator. It hung on the Wii opening screen, rapidly scrolling left and right and accepting no input whatsoever. I restarted the device and decided against trying that again.
On a more positive note, New Super Mario Bros U is a delight for any Mario fan. It truly does seem to be living up to its current billing as the best 2D Mario since Super Mario World. I only hope that the first party big hitters aren’t too far from the launch window as to be honest, I’m not planning on buying any of the third party cross platform titles for Wii U. Xbox360 is still my platform of choice for anything none exclusive.
The GamePad is really a great piece of kit, bright, relatively light and comfortable to hold. I have enjoyed the short time I have played with it so far. Whilst being no competitor to the sort of screen resolutions Apple’s retina display produces, the images are still sharp and lag free. In fact I suspect that the GamePads display might be faster than my televisions.
I’m afraid that’s about it for now. I have a lot of gaming to get on with.
Check back in a week or so for my more detailed findings on New Super Mario Bros U, Zombi U the hardware and maybe a couple of download titles.