Wii U Console Review - www.impulsegamer.com -
Wii U Console
Reviewed by
James Wright
Wii U Console Review For now, the Nintendo Wii U is for gaming enthusiasts and for those kids wanting Santa to bring the best Nintendo console since the GameCube.

Features 8.5
Graphics 8.5
Sound 8.5
Value 8.5
Distributor: Nintendo
Review Date: Dec 2012


Nintendo Wii U

Welcome to the next evolutionary step from Nintendo, the brand new Wii U console which has released in Australia on the 30th of November 2012, just time in for Christmas. With backward compatibility, the introduction of a touch screen gaming tablet (GamePad Controller) and FULL HD (1080p) graphics, the Nintendo Wii U is definitely innovative and now a player when compared to the PlayStation 3 and XBox 360. 

In terms of appearance, the console resembles the Wii, however is slightly larger and measures at 1.8 inches high, 10.6 inches deep and 6.75 inches long. Even though it is larger than its predecessor, it is still smaller than the PlayStation 3 and XBox 360. It's actually quite a good looking console if something like that exists.

Besides its shiny jet black design, the biggest change on this console is the inclusion of a HDMI connection. It should also be noted that the Wii U comes in white as well... and given Nintendo's track record, I'm sure we'll see some other funky colours in the near future like pink!

This also means that Nintendo have finally gone into the FULL HD territory with the console supporting 1080p graphics. As a result, colours are more vibrant, graphics are sharp and all in all, it looks far superior than the Wii. This is due to the GPU inside the Wii U which is a AMD Radeon High Definition card. The console also has a AV multi-out connection and four USB connections.

The CPU of the console is a IBM PowerPC 750-based tri-core processor and has 2GB of memory to assist with creating next generation games. It should also be noted that a portion of this RAM has been set aside for the operating system and as a result, navigating is relatively fast.

In terms of storage, there are two models available, the basic Wii U with 8GB ($348AUD) or the premium (reviewed) with 32GB ($428AUD). What's cool about the storage of the Wii U is that you can increase this via a SD card up to 32GB or even better, connecting an external USB drive of up to 2 terabytes.


The Nintendo Wii comes with everything you need to install the console on a FULL HD TV. Once the power, HDMI and sensor bar are connected, we needed to pair the console with the GamePad. This is done via the sync button on the console and the GamePad and once paired, you need to setup language, country, time and date. There is even an option to use the GamePad as your TV remote as well but unfortunately we could not sync our 50" Samsung Plasma TV.

The next step was to install your wireless connection and this is done by entering your wireless security key. Just be warned that once you have connected your internet, the Wii U will ask you to update the operating system and depending on your connection, you might need to wait a little longer. I have a broadband 2 connection and it took around 60 minutes to update. You don't have to install the update straight away but it is good to ensure that your console is up to date with the latest patches.

Games... games and more games! The Wii U has a healthy collection of games available upon release that include titles such as Black Ops II, Mass Effect Special Edition and Super Mario Bros U. The only draw back with launch games is that the majority of titles are ports from the PlayStation 3 and XBox 360 such as Mass Effect 3 which really doesn't push the consoles capabilities, although using the GamePad on these games is quite fun!

However where the Wii U differs from the PlayStation 3 and the XBox 360 is with the new GamePad Controller. As Nintendo stunned the gaming world with their Wiimote and Nunchucks for the Wii, the Wii U supports something very interesting with the GamePad Controller.

Firstly, the GamePad Controller allows you to experience games in a totally revolutionary new way that expands how you play games. Second and this is my favourite aspect of the GamePad Controller is that if your TV wants to be used by someone else, you can in essence transfer the video from your TV to the GamePad to continue your gaming.

As I'm familiar with the iPad and Android Tablets, using the new GamePad Controller for the Wii U was not that much of a foreign experience. Initially I thought it may be a little strange controlling your games with this huge tablet-like device but interestingly enough, it actually feels quite good to use and is relatively light weight.

It does take getting a little use too, especially how far the buttons and analog sticks are apart but it works well. Another interesting aspect of the GamePad is that it supports near field communication (NFC) which means the tablet can detect if something is in front of it. This opens up the console for some interesting possibilities down the track as the real-world interacts with the virtual. Add in a camera, microphone, stereo speakers and a rumble feature and you have everything you need to play games.


Gaming with additional screens has been available on the PC for several years now and it's interesting how Nintendo have successfully merged the "tablet" or GamePad with the Wii U console. Games such as ZombiU and Nintendoland heavily rely on the second screen to complete integral parts of the game. In terms of graphics, I've yet to see a game that blows me away but it's nice to see the Nintendo games in high resolution. Sound is equally impressive, especially with the combination of the TV and the GamePad.

Even though you have to look down at your tablet and take your eyes away from the TV, it actually works. As a result, I'm seriously eager to see Aliens Colonial Marines for the Wii U which I'm sure the developers will use the tablet as a motion tracker which will definitely increase your gaming angst when the aliens start attacking. The GamePad also boasts gyroscope controls which means when you tilt the unit, it will move something in the gaming world.

As mentioned, the Wii U is backward compatible with the Wii which means almost all the previous games can be used on the Wii U and more importantly, the controllers. As it uses a HDMI cable, older games look considerable better.

The operating system of the Wii U is reminiscent of the Wii and more recently the 3DS which is almost like a child like version of the Apple iPad... not that this is a bad thing mind you. Everything can be found quickly thanks to the icons and tiling interface used. It's a treat to use the GamePad to navigate the operating system.

You can even customise your very own Mii which is basically a gaming avatar of yourself. As with the PS3 and 360, the Wii U allows you to easily surf the net from either the GamePad of your TV but unfortunately like the Apple, it does not support Flash. One thing I did note about the Wii U operating system is that there is way too many updates and restarts when you install them. Hopefully these will be rectified soon.

Another new feature of this console is the Miiverse which is an interactive network for gamers from around the world to communicate about all things Nintendo and Gaming. In this online universe called the Miiverse, your Mii character basically acts as your avatar as you interact with other gamers from around the world which is like a huge multiplayer lobby.

Best of all, if you are stuck in a game, you can simply pause the game and then jump into the Miiverse to ask for help. While we're still discussing online, the Wii U also supports video chat and of course the excellent Nintendo eShop where you can download trailers, demos and games.

Final Level
Nintendo are definitely onto a winner with the Wii but it is a shame that many of the games available on the console have already been released on other formats and they've only been tweaked for the new GamePad.

However, Nintendoland and ZombiU are the two most impressive games on the console as they both show the user what the console is capable of and more importantly, they are actually two fun games.

For now, the Nintendo Wii U is for gaming enthusiasts and for those kids wanting Santa to bring the best Nintendo console since the GameCube. Is it worth buying now? That depends if you own a 360 or PS3 as the launch games were not that great! Nonetheless, try before you buy!


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