"Morning After" impressions of the Wii U

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Paul1231
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"Morning After" impressions of the Wii U

Postby Paul1231 » November 18th, 2012, 2:28 pm

My local Fred Meyer store stayed open an extra 15 minutes for the holders of Wii U pre-order slips to pick up their systems in peace, which was awesome.  I walked in through the back entrance, where the first of no less than 5 different employees met me at each junction to point me in the right direction, as they shortcutted me through back areas in order to get me directly into the electronics section without risk of me slipping off and hiding in the store, I assume.  I picked up my Wii U Deluxe console, in black, with the included NintendoLand game, and a copy of New Super Mario Brothers U so my kids would still love me, and was out in 5 minutes. 

Unpacking the console reminded me of the first unpacking of my original Wii console, mostly because the cords are all the same brown color (even the included HDMI) and there was a longer version of the original Wii sensor bar, which I left in the box because I have the wireless one made by Nintendo which is even longer still.  The console itself is longer and a bit thicker than the Wii, and feels solid.  The little feet that allow it to stand vertically are much less obtrusive than the thing that came with the Wii, which I love.  The power and eject buttons look good sitting flush with the face of the console, and have a nice soft feel when pressed.

This is my first time actually seeing the controller in person, and I have to admit I was a bit taken back by how wide it is.  And the funny thing is that it doesn't look like Nintendo tried very hard to keep its size under control, because it looks to me like they could have easily moved things together a bit tighter and shaved some extra bulk off the sides of the controller.  That being said, holding the controller with your thumbs on the sticks and fingers on the appropriate back buttons feels EXTREMELY comfortable to me.  Each finger feel like it is sitting exactly where it is most comfortable, and you don't really need to even curl a finger to have it in the ready position, they're already there.  After an hour or so of using the tablet controller I grabbed my Classic Controller Pro from my original Wii and held it for a minute to compare.  While it is definitely a comfortable controller, it did not have a natural, neutral feel like the tablet controller did.  I was completely expecting the tablet controller to feel awkward, so this is a bit of a relief to me.

The screen on the controller is of good quality, but certainly not the best.  It feels more like an upgraded version of the DS touchscreen than the kind of "real glass" screens we are all getting used to from our phones and tablets.  It had very good touch sensitivity.  I didn't feel like I had to "press", which would be my first concern with that kind of screen.  I think I am going to be putting a screen protector on this thing as soon as possible, though.   I rather expected that Nintendo would use that kind of screen in order to keep costs down a bit for people wanting to buy multiple tablet controllers for the Wii U.  Other things of note on the controller are the front mounted camera, which allows the Wii U to take a picture of your face and try to replicate it in the form of a Mii character, a feature which had my wife and 3 kids laughing up a storm this morning.  The tablet also has the ability to control your TV (volume, power, input), which is a nice feature, but not something I will personally need or use being a home theater nerd with a fancy universal remote.

I think the sound of the system is worth noting.  Nintendo put good quality little stereo speakers on the front of the tablet controller, and then did some cool things with the surround sound of the system to make it blend with the tablet sound and create and almost surreal effect.  The audio effects that play while you are on the system menu and doing anything other than playing a game (similar to the ones the Wii has) fill the room and almost treat the speakers on the controller as an extra set, independent of the surround system, and the effect is really cool.  But it isn't always in effect, like when my kids were watching preview videos of downloadable games and the controller was just playing the same thing as the surround system, with just a hint of a delay, causing us to turn the volume of the controller down until the video was over.

The only other details that I think are worth noting right now:  1. The systems graphics are beautiful, and the step up to HDMI is more subtle than people pretend it is, but it's definitely noticeable.  I won't say anything about the graphical capabilities of the system until I have played something besides NintendoLand and NSMBU.  2. The black controller and screen and fingerprint MAGNETS, and it's a bit annoying.  3. The charge cradle that comes with the Deluxe system is nice.  The contact points stay hidden until you actually place the controller on the stand, and it does a good job of automatically positioning the controller as you put it down so you won't be fidgeting with it, trying to get it to make contact.  4.  Load times between system screens are annoyingly long.  For example, loading up the Mii creating program or the Miiverse (online gaming community) takes a noticeably long time compared to what I was expecting.  I'm not sure yet if this had anything to do with the fact that this is the first time my console was being asked to do these things.  5.  The controller feels light, but sturdy.  All I can say is that I don't feel nearly as nervous about its well-being as I thought I would.

That's all I'll say for now.  But so far, so good. 

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"Morning After" impressions of the Wii U

Postby VideoGameCritic » November 18th, 2012, 3:39 pm

Paul,
Thank you very much for taking the time to write this!  I found it very interesting.  So I take it the old wireless Wii sensor bars work with the Wii U as well?

I did not pre-order this, so I guess I'll just have to hope I get lucky and find one.  I'm not holding my breath though.


Paul1231
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"Morning After" impressions of the Wii U

Postby Paul1231 » November 18th, 2012, 8:36 pm

I accidentally said that the cables were brown.  They are gray.

A few of the games in NintendoLand made it obvious that the Wii Motion Plus-style sensor in the tablet easily takes the place of sensor bar compatibility, which I am thinking the tablet may not have after all.  Playing the throwing star game with the side of the tablet facing the screen was as accurate as it would be with the Wii Remote, and the reticule on the screen had me assuming, at least for a few minutes, that the sides of the tablet had sensor bar sensors on them.  But it was just an extremely accurate motion sensor knowing exactly where I was pointing thanks to a few quick ninja stars it had me throw at a barrel on the screen right at the beginning, which seemed pointless and weird at first, until I understood why it was necessary.  If you have played Skyward Sword with a Motion Plus controller on the Wii this will all make more sense to you.

Atarifever1
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"Morning After" impressions of the Wii U

Postby Atarifever1 » November 18th, 2012, 9:46 pm

So. Very. Jealous.

ActRaiser1
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"Morning After" impressions of the Wii U

Postby ActRaiser1 » November 19th, 2012, 10:02 am

Thanks for the write up.  Very cool feedback.  Enjoy!

Weekend_Warrior1
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"Morning After" impressions of the Wii U

Postby Weekend_Warrior1 » November 19th, 2012, 12:07 pm

You plan to do any online gaming with this system? I'm still curious how their online service compares to Xbox Line and PSN since there hasn't been much talk about that yet 

Paul1231
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"Morning After" impressions of the Wii U

Postby Paul1231 » November 19th, 2012, 2:02 pm

I will definitely use the online features.  It looks like Nintendo has really gone all-in with online capabilities.  While certain online features like YouTube and Netflix and Hulu are not actually useable yet, they are at the forefront of the users options with the system, as much as anything else, so they appear to be anything but an afterthought.  As I went through the process of signing up for the Nintendo Network so I could use these features, there were frequent mentions of online accountability and civility, which tells me that Nintendo appears to be opening the door all the way with online, and are just praying that the community stays a little more tame than it is on the other consoles.  In other words, they are not tying your hands in any way like before, just nicely asking.  Not sure if that will do much for them.

Also forgot to mention that Nintendo has released an app for the Wii and Wii U that lets you transfer all your channels and Virtual Console games and stuff from the Wii to the Wii U.  That is freaking cool.  I was a little worried about that one.  Now if it will just allow me to transfer my Wii Homebrew Channel my joy will be full.

Back to the online topic, you can tell that Nintendo is REALLY pushing to get their customers to opt for the online purchase of games rather than physical media.  Every game that I could have bought at the store is readily available for download from the Tablet controller, including a decent array of smaller, less-expensive download-only games, as cheap as 10 bucks.  Heck, New Super Mario Bros U is at the top of the download screen, available for immediate download at full retail price.  There is also an "Indie Games" section with some interesting looking prospects.

One definite issue I have noticed so far is that, at this point, I have a VERY limited distance that I am able to take the tablet controller from the console before it tells me I am out of range.  And I am not talking about taking it to the bathroom, either.  My couch is about 20 feet from the closet where all my equipment is, and I usually lose connection on the side of the couch that is just a few feet further from the console.  Now, being on that side of the couch also causes the TV itself to be in between the tablet and the console, and I currently have the console sandwiched between my PS3 and my Wii, on a stack of alot of other equipment, so I am going to do some experimenting tonight and see if this is just a matter of rearranging things, like it can be with WiFi or RF.  I'll keep everyone updated on that one, because I think that could be a SERIOUS issue for the system if it's range is really that sensitive...

ActRaiser1
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"Morning After" impressions of the Wii U

Postby ActRaiser1 » November 19th, 2012, 4:43 pm

[QUOTE=Paul123]

One definite issue I have noticed so far is that, at this point, I have a VERY limited distance that I am able to take the tablet controller from the console before it tells me I am out of range.  And I am not talking about taking it to the bathroom, either.  My couch is about 20 feet from the closet where all my equipment is, and I usually lose connection on the side of the couch that is just a few feet further from the console.  Now, being on that side of the couch also causes the TV itself to be in between the tablet and the console, and I currently have the console sandwiched between my PS3 and my Wii, on a stack of alot of other equipment, so I am going to do some experimenting tonight and see if this is just a matter of rearranging things, like it can be with WiFi or RF.  I'll keep everyone updated on that one, because I think that could be a SERIOUS issue for the system if it's range is really that sensitive...[/QUOTE]

Here's an interesting link on the Broadcom Wi-Fi / Bluetooth chip.

Looks like it uses the 5 Ghz spectrum to communicate with the tablet and the 2.4 Ghz spectrum to connect to your Wi-Fi router.  Interesting, it's using both as a host/client solution.

Paul1231
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"Morning After" impressions of the Wii U

Postby Paul1231 » November 21st, 2012, 11:57 pm

Time for an update. 

      1.  I am definitely enjoying the system, even though I am currently still not able to use it for the video streaming services, which is one of the things I was most interested in. 

      2.  There are four negatives about the system that I have noticed so far.  First, the tablet controller has frozen on my twice.  Now, that is twice out of probably 15 hours of use, and only when using the Marketplace (not during a game), but it HAS happened.  Second, the range of the tablet is still an issue, and I have experimented a bit with console placement, trying to get rid of any possible interference.  I am still not able to have problem-free use of the controller on the far side of the couch where the TV is almost between me and the console, and the console is 20 feet away at the most.  Third, battery life on the tablet is fairly weak at this point at 3-5 hours, depending on what you are doing with it.  Luckily you can have it plugged in and charging while you play, even when you first boot it up, but this is not ideal.  Fourth, there are occasional issues with the Wii Motion Plus-style sensors losing their bead on where the console is and, therefore, where "forward" is in the room.  This has been talked about by the president of Nintendo and has been blamed on less expensive sensors that were used to keep costs down.  He says they will be updating software with a "Reset" button that will automatically fix the issue whenever it arises, which should be OK.  Not ideal, but OK.  It is important to not that there is really only one mini game in NintendoLand where this is a factor, so it has only happened to me once. 


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"Morning After" impressions of the Wii U

Postby VideoGameCritic » November 22nd, 2012, 12:08 pm

Paul,
Any issues with system updates?  I hear some can be quite big and quite long to sit through.  And of course you don't want to unplug during the process or risk "bricking" your system.
VGC


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