Wii U impressions

#1 Posted by isomeri (1275 posts) -

Earlier today I got a chance to play a few of the launch-window titles including Zombie U, Batman: Arkham City, Assassin's Creed III, Wii U Fit and Rayman Legends. I was skeptical of the console going in, and I was left with a load of new concerns afterwards.

Most of the game kiosks featured games where you were meant to use only the Wii-remote and the Wii U controllers themselves were sitting on tables. I tried out one of these games with Wii U Fit, but the game crashed mid-game so I'm not going to pass judgement on it. When I finally did get my hands on the new Wii U tablet-controller, it did feel sturdy and hefty. At first it felt strange having your hands so far apart while playing, but this is probably something you can grow used to. The other thing that must take some getting used to is the controllers button layout. The four face-buttons are labeled A, B, X and Y just like with the Xbox, but the buttons are in completely the "wrong" places. So when I got a button prompt on screen indicating that I needed to hit X, I ended up punching Y instead and so on. But again, this is probably something you can get used to rather fast. Also, the buttons are located directly below the right thumb-stick. This meant that I had to physically move my hand down in order to hit those buttons. I may just have big hands or something, but the button layout didn't seem intuitive at all. Also I don't know if the sticks are too loose, or if games like Zombie U and Batman aren't calibrated properly but I had a hard time with my aiming.

The controller is also really heavy. I don't think that I have dainty hands or anything, but my hands grew tired after 20 minutes of playing while standing up. The worst part was when Rayman made you use hold the controller with one hand while fiddling around with the stylus on the other hand. There is no good place to hold the controller directly from the bottom, so you have to hold it on the side with just one hand. I would definitely have to be sitting down on a couch to play more than one level in a row.

The screen is OK. It's low-contrast and doesn't feature multitouch, but it didn't fail me once in my session. However it was really confusing to have to constantly switch between the TV and the gamepad screen while in-game and a lot of the time I didn't understand when I was supposed to be looking at the controller and when I was supposed to look at the TV. None of the games I tried really put anything of substance on the screen, mainly just maps and inventory. I did feel kind of sad having to play Rayman on that small screen, when I could see how much better the game looked on the TV that was right in front of me.

Which brings me to the visuals. None of the games looked as good as the "modern consoles". This was especially evident with Batman and Assassin's Creed, both of which I've played on current consoles. The frame-rate in Batman was really poor and texture quality was a lot lower. The same goes with Assassin's Creed, which did look slightly better overall. Probably the best looking game out of the bunch was Rayman Legends, which looked almost as good as Rayman Origins on the 360 or PS3. None of these games were final software to my knowledge, so visuals may improve in the retail copies. Also it's clear that with time developers will learn to utilize the power of the consoles more efficiently.

I'm interested in comparing notes and hearing your experiences with the Wii U so far.

#2 Posted by l4wd0g (1952 posts) -

I saw the Wii U kiosk at Target today. Unfortunately, due to time, I couldn't play it. There was no line and no interest. I wonder how it'll do. The controller was a lot larger than I thought it would be. The body of the Wii U was about the same height and width of the Wii, but it was about double the length. I did like how the edges were rounded.

#3 Posted by l4wd0g (1952 posts) -
#4 Posted by Nightriff (5082 posts) -

@l4wd0g: That's how long the damn thing is? Shit, Nintendo is compensating for something...

#5 Posted by TruthTellah (9076 posts) -

@l4wd0g: Woah. I hadn't seen how long the console was. I thought it would be about like the Wii. Their promotional shots have made it look so tiny.

#6 Posted by snowninja845 (43 posts) -

@isomeri said:

The controller is also really heavy. I don't think that I have dainty hands or anything, but my hands grew tired after 20 minutes of playing while standing up.

Either I'm really strong or something cause i think the gamepad is extremely light.

#7 Edited by ripelivejam (3962 posts) -

my initial thoughts

#8 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8699 posts) -

Wait, heavy? I'm kind of a pussy when it comes to lifting stuff but to me it felt really light when I had a go at it.

#9 Posted by isomeri (1275 posts) -

@snowninja845 said:

@isomeri said:

The controller is also really heavy. I don't think that I have dainty hands or anything, but my hands grew tired after 20 minutes of playing while standing up.

Either I'm really strong or something cause i think the gamepad is extremely light.

It's probably only around a hundred grams heavier than a 360 controller, but you can really tell the difference after a longer play session. Especially with games which require you to hold the controller with only one hand. Just for context, I preferred the Duke to the S-controller.

#10 Edited by adam1808 (1496 posts) -

@TaliciaDragonsong said:

Wait, heavy? I'm kind of a pussy when it comes to lifting stuff but to me it felt really light when I had a go at it.

Anything heavier than an ordinary 360 controller is too heavy, especially if you're expected to hold it with one hand.

I have more of a problem with the length of the thing, it's enormous. I don't know about you but I prefer my controllers not to be the size of dinner trays.

#11 Edited by isomeri (1275 posts) -

@adam1808 said:

I have more of a problem with the length of the thing, it's enormous. I don't know about you but I prefer my controllers not to be the size of dinner trays.

The dinner tray example is actually a pretty good one. Think of having to hold a small dinner tray with one hand while drawing on it with the other. It's always been slightly uncomfortable for me on the DS, but the problem is a lot worse with this controller.

#12 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8699 posts) -
@isomeri said:

@adam1808 said:

I have more of a problem with the length of the thing, it's enormous. I don't know about you but I prefer my controllers not to be the size of dinner trays.

The dinner tray example is actually a pretty good one. Think of having to hold a small dinner tray with one hand while drawing on it with the other. It's always been slightly uncomfortable for me on the DS, but the problem is a lot worse with this controller.

Not sure what kind of dinner trays you folks got over there then, but I was really surprised by its weight. 
I think it's mostly just getting used to, the Wii mote + nunchuck was rather weird too at first.
#13 Posted by Oscar__Explosion (2298 posts) -
@l4wd0g
I saw the Wii U kiosk at Target today. Unfortunately, due to time, I couldn't play it. There was no line and no interest. I wonder how it'll do. The controller was a lot larger than I thought it would be. The body of the Wii U was about the same height and width of the Wii, but it was about double the length. I did like how the edges were rounded.
If your target kiosk is the same as the one in my town those Wii U demo stations don't have anything playable. Just gameplay videos.
#14 Posted by Cold_Wolven (2220 posts) -

I think wrist strain could be alleviated by sitting down and resting the gamepad on your lap. Man I wish the Target in Australia would have a Wii U kiosk or maybe it does since I haven't been there in a week.

#15 Posted by hwy_61 (922 posts) -

I really disagree with the controller being heavy. I spent some time with one at GameStop, playing rayman, and fiddling around the menus. The first thing that came to mind was how goddamn light the thing was. The only complaint I have is the touch screen. It worked and all, but I feel that its way more responsive with a stylus, which they're including with the gamepad.

All in all, the system was OK. People waiting for next gen should definitely hold off until Microsoft and Sony unveil their next systems. At the end of the day, you're not buying the Wii U for next gen, you're buying it for Mario, so I guess the graphics don't really matter.

#16 Posted by l4wd0g (1952 posts) -

@Oscar__Explosion: That's a bummer. I was hoping to go back in a couple of days to try it out.

#17 Posted by l4wd0g (1952 posts) -

@hwy_61 said:

I really disagree with the controller being heavy. I spent some time with one at GameStop, playing rayman, and fiddling around the menus. The first thing that came to mind was how goddamn light the thing was. The only complaint I have is the touch screen. It worked and all, but I feel that its way more responsive with a stylus, which they're including with the gamepad.

All in all, the system was OK. People waiting for next gen should definitely hold off until Microsoft and Sony unveil their next systems. At the end of the day, you're not buying the Wii U for next gen, you're buying it for Mario, so I guess the graphics don't really matter.

From what I saw, the controller was too big and looked unwieldy. if it's heavy, Nintendo has failed.

#18 Posted by Phatmac (5726 posts) -

This things comes out real soon.

#19 Posted by SathingtonWaltz (2053 posts) -

@l4wd0g said:

@hwy_61 said:

I really disagree with the controller being heavy. I spent some time with one at GameStop, playing rayman, and fiddling around the menus. The first thing that came to mind was how goddamn light the thing was. The only complaint I have is the touch screen. It worked and all, but I feel that its way more responsive with a stylus, which they're including with the gamepad.

All in all, the system was OK. People waiting for next gen should definitely hold off until Microsoft and Sony unveil their next systems. At the end of the day, you're not buying the Wii U for next gen, you're buying it for Mario, so I guess the graphics don't really matter.

From what I saw, the controller was too big and looked unwieldy. if it's heavy, Nintendo has failed.

Most people that have actually used the controller have stated that it's both comfortable and light.

#20 Posted by Brodehouse (9949 posts) -

The way that thing is designed screams boondoggle to me.

Do the button prompts have specific colors? Ie; green, red, blue, yellow on Xbox and blue, red, pink and green on PS3? Your eyes track color faster than shape.

#21 Posted by isomeri (1275 posts) -

@Brodehouse said:

The way that thing is designed screams boondoggle to me. Do the button prompts have specific colors? Ie; green, red, blue, yellow on Xbox and blue, red, pink and green on PS3? Your eyes track color faster than shape.

Not on any of the games I played. The buttons aren't colored on the controller.

#22 Posted by BjornTheUnicorn (356 posts) -

With the whole button layout thing, that's how the SNES layout was, and same with the wii classic controllers, Xbox controllers have the buttons switched for whatever reasons.

Also no multitouch is a drag, but it seems like Nintendo's really trying to push the "close to zero" latency on the gamepad, and multitouch devices can have pretty bad reliability and lag.

#23 Posted by isomeri (1275 posts) -

@BjornTheUnicorn said:

With the whole button layout thing, that's how the SNES layout was, and same with the wii classic controllers, Xbox controllers have the buttons switched for whatever reasons.

That's right. I never used the "classic" Wii controller, so I hadn't used that button layout since the SNES. I'm sure that you can get used to it relatively fast.

#24 Posted by metroidmen (17 posts) -

I tried one today, the only reason it felt so heavy was because of the massive cord holding the controller down.

#25 Posted by algertman (852 posts) -

@l4wd0g said:

@hwy_61 said:

I really disagree with the controller being heavy. I spent some time with one at GameStop, playing rayman, and fiddling around the menus. The first thing that came to mind was how goddamn light the thing was. The only complaint I have is the touch screen. It worked and all, but I feel that its way more responsive with a stylus, which they're including with the gamepad.

All in all, the system was OK. People waiting for next gen should definitely hold off until Microsoft and Sony unveil their next systems. At the end of the day, you're not buying the Wii U for next gen, you're buying it for Mario, so I guess the graphics don't really matter.

From what I saw, the controller was too big and looked unwieldy. if it's heavy, Nintendo has failed.

Oh, so you haven't played with one yet.

#26 Posted by rpwll (76 posts) -

Played with one last night. I was actually pretty impressed with the controller, it's light enough that I can hold it in one hand and the screen on it's pretty good, better than I expected. I only got to play New Super Mario Bros. U, NintendoLand and Darksiders II on it, I also saw a little bit of ZombiU, but there was a massive crowd around that demo unit at all times so I didn't bother lining up to play it. Overall I really like the new controller and all the games I played were tons of fun, the Luigi's Mansion part of NintendoLand being a highlight.

I checked out Darksiders II because it's a game I've poured a lot of time into and therefore a good way to get a feel for how comparably powerful the Wii U's hardware was. Notably, it was running at 1080p according to the Nintendo rep there and the textures did look a little sharper than the PS3 version, also the framerate felt like a solid 60fps throughout the whole demo. Pretty impressive.

New Super Mario Bros. U was also pretty great, I had a fun time griefing other players by blocking off their jumps with the gamepad. I've seen reviews complain about the gamepad's limited role in multiplayer, but I feel it's a great way for less experienced players to play along with everyone else and still feel useful.

Overall I liked what I saw and I'll probably pick up the premium pack within a month or two of the launch. Probably going to grab Scribblenauts, Rayman Legends, New Super Mario Bros. U and ZombiU for it, maybe Assassin's Creed III too seeing as I haven't picked that up yet.

#27 Posted by BigDaddy81 (328 posts) -

I took mine in for a refund today. Had a nice little defect where my TV display and sound would start cutting out while I was browsing the different menus, mainly the eShop. The display and the sound on the gamepad stayed constant, but the TV's display would just start flickering off and just get progressively worse. Did some troubleshooting of my own and then tried Nintendo's technical support (which was far less thorough than my own troubleshooting I might add). After a while of fiddling around with the Wii U they concluded I had a defective unit and I would have to send it in. After some thought I decided I just didn't want to deal with it anymore and just turned it in for a refund.

And thus ends the harrowing account of my brief Wii U ownership.

#28 Posted by Kerned (1170 posts) -

@BigDaddy81: I imagine your story will play out over and over and over again in the coming weeks.

#29 Posted by JeanLuc (3583 posts) -

I really like it so far. The Gamepad is kind of awesome.

also this...

The online is already 20 times better then the Wii's
#30 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (2775 posts) -
#31 Posted by BigDaddy81 (328 posts) -

@Kerned said:

@BigDaddy81: I imagine your story will play out over and over and over again in the coming weeks.

I hope not. I think the Wii U has enough of an uphill battle without technical shenanigans getting in the way. Hopefully the other early adopters have better luck.

Now I'm starting to wonder if I should even bother with the other consoles next year. Stuff like this just dampens my already low enthusiasm for next-gen systems. Being a consoletard is getting harder and harder these days.

#32 Posted by Kerned (1170 posts) -

@BigDaddy81: Yeah, I know what you mean. I'm sure that MS and Sony are watching this launch very carefully. It's not in anyone's best interest to have a botched console launch, so hopefully they will have their shit a little more together come this time next year.

#33 Posted by Erronium (8 posts) -

I don't think that technical issues at launch really determine the overall success of a console. The Xbox 360 was rife with problems only months after launch and that still sold incredibly well throughout. The problem Nintendo has right now is the woeful lack of killer launch titles.

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