Wii U Review



  • A few months ago I decided that my kids needed a new gaming system. They had had a Nintendo Wii for many years and used it a bit as it was loaded with little kid games (the only thing at all good on that platform.) So to make it easier to keep playing those and to have access to some newer games I decided to get them a Wii U since it has HDMI output and supports 1080p for video so that it can be used for Netflix and such. Our assumption was that even if there were very few games for it that with the cool touchscreen remote that it would make a good media center.

    Now having used the system for months I can honestly say that the Wii U is the worst console ever made. It is generations behind the competition, which is nothing new as the GameCube and the Wii were pathetic atrocities to video gaming. The Wii U, however, is worse for its time frame. And that is really saying something because the Wii was amazingly bad.

    The first thing is the game lineup. Never have I seen any console with fewer games worth playing. The Wii U that we chose came with Wind Waker HD which is good for a Zelda game with without the obvious caveat of "for a Zelda game" it's not a good game really. The story is boring, the graphics are updated but far from impressive, the gameplay is just sad and if my kids did not want to see me finish it, I would have stopped playing it long ago as it is not entertaining at all.

    Beyond the included game, the only game that we have purchased is Mario Kart 8 which is good, but little more than yet another copy of the last several Mario Kart releases. That's not necessarily bad, it just isn't special in any way. This is quite literally the only game that we have bought for the system and there is not a single additional game in which we have any interest. It is as if everyone has given up on the platform already. It appears to be dead. Not even any anticipated games of any value announced or rumoured. It's just, dead.

    The controller does not help the situation. It is awful. Huge and bulky it is effectively impossible to use for gaming. It actually makes the N64 controller seem like a good idea. Nintendo has built their reputation on not understanding how to make a good controller but this really takes the cake. It costs nearly $200 to replace and all you really want to do is throw it out of the window. The battery doesn't last long enough to do anything and using the controller is completely uncomfortable and annoying. Having a touchscreen in your lap is not a good thing, it means that things are happening outside of your field of vision and you have to check it from time to time to try to figure out if you have been missing something. It's bad. I have yet to have found any benefit to it. And it makes the whole system ridiculously expensive without adding any value to it. It is so poorly implemented.

    So, then given that this might be the relatively worst gaming console every make, it is great for media usage, right? With a touch screen it must make watching Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and Amazon VOD a pleasure, right? Oh heck no. It's the worst media platform I have ever used. Mostly this is because the Wii U does not have the horsepower to run the touch interface on the controller (which is required to do anything) so you have to press buttons over and over again (partially because some interface components actually require this and others just take ten seconds or more to respond to the button press so you have no feedback as to whether or not you've successfully used the flaky touch interface) and then it often starts playing movies that it never displayed and never ends up bringing up the application interfaces at all. Pausing a movie often takes three or more presses even when everything is working properly and similar to restart a show.

    Starting up an application like Netflix or Amazon is downright painful. You have to go through too many steps and the Wii U is quite simple slow. It is ridiculous that a product made in the last decade is this slow. I have no idea how they got it to be so unresponsive. This had to take some effort.

    To make things worse, the media applications that are available on the Wii U (which do not include DLNA for no good reason) have their interfaces altered so that, even with the huge touch screen input device, they are crippled and useless compared to their PS3 counterparts. Finding a show on the Wii U is much harder than on older devices and selecting a show is harder still because the touch interface is so bad that you can never tell what you have or have not selected or how it is going to behave or if the thing that you touched is the thing that the Wii U thinks is on the screen. And to make matters worse, half of the interface is in your hands and half is on the main screen so you are constantly looking at the wrong one for the action you are taking and trying to figure out why there is no response. If you can't see both the screen in your hands and the big screen at the same time it doesn't work as intended. It is one of the worst interface designs ever.

    The bottom line is that the Wii U does very little and everything that it does do it does horribly. It is an overpriced, underpowered, gameless disaster of a system. It's useless as a gaming system and useless as a media system. Skip it.



  • A next gen console with last-gen hardware, the same games Nintendo always has. I agree with your review.



  • @Mike-Ralston said:

    A next gen console with last-gen hardware, the same games Nintendo always has. I agree with your review.

    It's a "gimmick" system, just like the Wii was. While Sony and Microsoft pursue quality, Nintendo has given up and is depending on the gimmick of the odd controllers to make up for the lack of games and lack of quality hardware.



  • @ScottAlanMiller I think the gimmick of it worked "well enough" for the Wii, but it wasn't good enough to make a return for a second time. Whatever happened to Nintendo leading the console market in innovation and technology?



  • @Mike-Ralston said:

    @ScottAlanMiller I think the gimmick of it worked "well enough" for the Wii, but it wasn't good enough to make a return for a second time. Whatever happened to Nintendo leading the console market in innovation and technology?

    The Wii was truly awful. Horrible graphics, horrible controls and, most importantly, because every game was based on the gimmick no one put any effort into the games and the console existed with any respectable titles. There was nothing to play on it of any value.



  • @ScottAlanMiller The only good Wii games were ports (Twilight Princess) or continuations of a series with basically no changes (Mario Kart, Mario Party, Super Smash Bros.).



  • @Mike-Ralston said:

    @ScottAlanMiller The only good Wii games were ports (Twilight Princess) or continuations of a series with basically no changes (Mario Kart, Mario Party, Super Smash Bros.).

    Good seems like a stretch. I've played Twilight Princess and it was one seriously weak game. Bad as an action game, pointless as an adventure game. It didn't have any redeeming qualities like a compelling story or good graphics. It was a general fail all around, from my perspective. It was a gimmick title just to make use of the controller.



  • @ScottAlanMiller Twilight Princess was a port of the Gamecube version that Nintendo tried to bury when they launched the Wii version, making it seem like a new game. And for the Gamecube, it had fairly good graphical fidelity, and as a Zelda game, it was fairly standard. It wasn't anything too ambitious, but it wasn't bad. And you also have to remember that Nintendo games don't have that Cinematic Action feel to them, that's never what they were about. I think maybe you're being a little harsh on the bashing of Nintendo, but I still think that the Wii U is a system that should be avoided. I think that Gamecube was really the last Nintendo console worth buying (and my guess is that it will remain true for quite some time), and before that, the SNES.



  • @Mike-Ralston said:

    And you also have to remember that Nintendo games don't have that Cinematic Action feel to them, that's never what they were about.

    But what were they about? Not about story, not about gameplay, not about graphics Sounds like they were just about marketing.



  • Twilight Princess was released for the Wii a month before it was released for the Game Cube.



  • @ScottAlanMiller It seems you're correct. So it was built to be limited to the Gamecube, it still majorly affects the quality of the Wii version. And it's about being like the other games. Because god forbid that Nintendo do anything new and estrange the Weeaboos :P



  • The Wii and the GameCube were basically the same under the hood. So the Wii version was not very crippled to make it work on the GC. And the GC version didn't have the gimmick controls so was arguably better.



  • @ScottAlanMiller The Nintendo Wii hardware is similar to the Gamecube, as a gaming PC is similar to a Windows 95 word processing computer. Different hardware utilized in a different way. Similar, yes, but not the same. And the GameCube version was better. But, I'll just do something that someone else we know (Hint Hint, Nudge Nudge) does, and leave this here.

    Master Race



  • @Mike-Ralston said:

    @ScottAlanMiller The Nintendo Wii hardware is similar to the Gamecube, as a gaming PC is similar to a Windows 95 word processing computer. Different hardware utilized in a different way.

    Actually it was basically the same CPU and GPU. Same architecture, same design, same makers. Yes the CPU was a little faster but nowhere near what the speed increase should have been during that time frame and the GPU was the same, same design but highly clock speed. Memory was increase but not by a dramatic amount.

    It was faster because it was newer, but the overall system didn't change. GameCube games ran on it, unaltered, for a reason. It's the same architecture.



  • @ScottAlanMiller Have any Game Consoles since the jump to 32 bit really made any sort of crazy leaps? Nintendo seems to be bringing up the tail end of the pack, but Consoles have yet to compare with their PC counterparts.



  • @Mike-Ralston said:

    @ScottAlanMiller Have any Game Consoles since the jump to 32 bit really made any sort of crazy leaps? Nintendo seems to be bringing up the tail end of the pack, but Consoles have yet to compare with their PC counterparts.

    Isn't that kind of the point? Aren't consoles to supposed to be the cheaper/easier alternative to PCs? They've lost that edge in recent years though...



  • @Mike-Ralston said:

    @ScottAlanMiller Have any Game Consoles since the jump to 32 bit really made any sort of crazy leaps? Nintendo seems to be bringing up the tail end of the pack, but Consoles have yet to compare with their PC counterparts.

    Consoles never did, not from the very first Atari 2600 rolled off the lines. There is no way that they can. They cost too little and take too long to develop. They are appliances. They are easy, they are simple, they are a different market.

    What makes Sony, Microsoft and previously Sega systems good was that they were solid gaming machines that were fun to use and had libraries of great games. Nintendo gave up on that three generations ago. It stopped innovating and trying to make a good gaming platform and instead trying gimmicks. All they make now are gimmicks. They remake old games over and over again and release them on "new" platforms that are basically just their old platforms with new, ridiculous controllers. They don't make these controllers because they making gaming better, they make them because they are easier than making gaming better.