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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
CLICK TO ZOOM
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
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.
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
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.
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
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