We Spent Over A Week With Wii U. Here’s The Good, Bad, And Battery Life.

By Spencer . November 19, 2012 . 12:30am

Nintendo turned the Wii into a phenomenon by creating buzz around motion controlled video games. Much to the chagrin of hardcore gamers, simple games expanded the Wii’s user base. Titles like Super Smash Bros. Brawl still made the console an attractive purchase for Nintendo fans, but the Wii was missing strong support from third party developers. Six years later, Nintendo has a new console and a different innovation. Let’s check out the Wii U.




Let’s talk about the hardware first.

Compared to the Wii, the Wii U is heavier, longer, and glossy black if you get the Deluxe model. A sliding cover on the front of the console hides two USB ports and SD card slot. Two more USB ports are on the back along with HDMI, sensor bar, AV cable, and AC adapter connectors. You can use the HDMI cable bundled with the Wii U or the Wii’s AV cable to connect the system to your TV. We tested both and the Wii component cables can output 1080i resolution.


The Deluxe model has 32 GB of storage space, but you only 25 GB is available for save files and downloadable games. Storage can be expanded with USB flash drives and external hard drives. The catch is you have to format these drives to work with your Wii U and you cannot create a separate partition just for Wii U data. SD cards hold Miis, but cannot be used to save Wii U software. You may want a SD card for Wii mode since it can store save game data, WiiWare and Virtual Console titles. The Wii U is backwards compatible, but Wii mode is in its own universe apart from the the rest of the system.


Since the Basic Wii U only has 8 GB of storage and most of that is used for the console’s operating system, we recommend the Deluxe Wii U. It also includes Nintendo Land and accessories like a charging stand which makes the Deluxe package a better value.




The tablet-like controller is Wii U’s defining feature.

What separates the Wii U from every other console on the market is the Wii U Gamepad and its 6½ inch touch screen. Sure, the Wii U isn’t the first console with two screens. Nintendo experimented with that when they made Game & Watch devices. We’ve seen some good ideas with the Wii U controller being used to expand game space when you look around the theme park in Nintendo Land. Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition turns the GamePad into the Batman’s wrist computer, which makes the game more immersive. Most launch window titles turn the Wii U’s touch screen into a mini-map or touch screen menu.


The most clever uses of the GamePad so far are seen in multiplayer games. Mario Chase and Animal Crossing: Sweet Day in Nintendo Land are examples of 1 vs. 4 game. ZombiU has a neat multiplayer mode where the player with the GamePad creates zombies and the other player has to shoot them. The idea of someone being a “game master” while everyone else with a remote in hand enters a player created world is intriguing. I’m also looking forward to using the touch screen for real time strategy games and seeing stylus controlled games like Balloon Trip Breeze on my TV. The addition of a touch screen gives game designers the flexibility of reconfiguring controls with custom layouts too. Nintendo also put features into  the GamePad like the camera, microphone and near field communication for developers to tinker with.


Being able to play console games while someone else uses the TV sounds like a novelty, but it’s quite useful if you share a TV. New Super Mario Bros. U automatically streams data to both screens while other titles like Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge have an option to turn the GamePad’s from a menu into a game screen. You can sit about 25 feet away from your TV before the connection breaks up. The Wii U GamePad can also control your TV like a simple universal remote. You can channel surf, turn the volume up or down, and power on your TV using the touch pad.


The GamePad is surprisingly light and the buttons are lined up like any other controller. This is a significant change from Nintendo’s last three consoles and it seems like Nintendo is trying to appeal to core gamers. The familiar button placement also makes it easier for third party developers to release multiplatform games. Wii U is also compatible with most Wii accessories. Wii remotes and nunchucks are required to play many games in Nintendo Land. The Classic Controller Pro is compatible in Wii mode, but I couldn’t get it to work with Wii U software like Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge which supports the Pro Controller.


The downside about the GamePad is you only get three and half hours of play per charge. Sure, you can plug an AC adapter in and keep playing, but adding a cord hampers games like Metroid Blast where you move the Wii U GamePad to aim. Charging the GamePad takes around two hours. The Pro Controller (sold separately for $49.99) which looks and feels just like an Xbox 360 controller lasts significantly longer – 80 hours after four and half hours of charging according to Nintendo. I charged my Pro Controller when I received it on November 7 and it still has juice in it.


Miiverse = Swapnote + Twitter.

Released just hours before the Wii U’s launch, Miiverse is Nintendo’s take on social networking. After registering a Nintendo Network account, you can post public messages in communities like New Super Mario Bros. U and Netflix. So far, every Wii U title, even download-only ones, has its own community. Tap on a community and you’ll see a stream of messages or pictures of Sonic the Hedgehog if you click on Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed.


Like a comment? You can tap on “yeah” to show your appreciation or follow users to see what else they have to say. Miiverse lets one account follow 1,000 users and have 100 friends. While online multiplayer was a painful process on Wii, it’s a piece of cake on Wii U. You can search for friends via their Nintendo Network name or add them straight from Miiverse. Nintendo also added a helpful option for users to self-censor spoilers. Nintendo plans on moderating Miiverse to keep it clean and friendly. An admirable goal, but I wonder if it’s possible given the nature of the Internet. Word filters might solve some problems, but communicating through scribbles is what makes Miiverse unique.


The downside about Miiverse is there isn’t an “off topic” community yet and the service has been buggy all day. Sometimes I couldn’t connect to Miiverse and other times I couldn’t check my feed. If you care about trophies or Gamerscore, you might be disappointed to hear that Wii U does not have a global achievement system. Nintendo left it open for developers to create achievements, but these are game specific like Nintendo Land’s stamps.




The hardware has potential, but every console needs software that utilizes it.

Wii U has more third parties supporting the system at launch than any other Nintendo console. Want a fighting game? There’s Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Wii U Edition. Mass Effect 3 covers the role playing genre and Darksiders II ticks the action RPG box. The problem is most of the Wii U launch day titles are expanded ports of games already available on other consoles. Assassin’s Creed III adds a mini-map on the controller, but that’s not enough of a reason to buy or play it again.


Right now, the current Wii U lineup doesn’t have enough unique experiences or a game with the intuitive appeal of Wii Sports. Yeah, New Super Mario Bros. U is a blast, but you’re not missing out on much if you wait a few months to get a Wii U. Pikmin 3, Game & Wario, and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate are slated to come out in spring  2013. We’re not sure how easy the Wii U will be to get during the holidays and if your only option is to get the Basic set we recommend that you wait for a Deluxe bundle. If you already have a Wii U consider playing these games:


  • Nintendo Land is the best showcase of what the Wii U can do so far. It’s fun to play with friends and has that Nintendo novelty quality. You probably have this already, though!


  • While it doesn’t reinvent Mario, New Super Mario Bros. U is an excellent platformer and has some memorable levels.


  • ZombiU’s multiplayer mode is interesting. There’s something satisfying about creating a horde of zombies and the single player is essentially a FPS roguelike.



The Wii U is a promising console and has enough power under the hood for two screens. Like most Nintendo hardware, it’s going to take time for developers to utilize it. Nintendo Land shows the potential of having a second screen, but doesn’t define Wii U the same way Wii Sports did for Wii. While Nintendo marketed Wii towards people who never bought a video game console before, from the familiar button layout to the Bayonetta 2 publishing deal Wii U feels geared towards core gamers.

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  • hiroshroom

    This will be great for Dungeons & Dragons. Gamepad for Dungeon Master!!!! 

    • LunarKnite

      I had the same idea! Would be amazing if they could make a way to have D&D sessions online and integrate it with the Wii U video chat later down the road.

  • JustThisOne

    Hmm, I guess that last point is the most important then, huh? I really hope to see some creative uses for the WiiU’s tablet. I think the Scribblenauts game and ZombiU is the most impressive so far, in that regard. The tablet seems well integrated into the gameplay.

  • GreekGod88

    a lot of people are reporting freezes even in the settings menu lol
    you can only pull the plug to shut the console down then..

    • badmoogle

      Yeah i just checked NeoGAF and the amount of freezes reported there are insane.Hopefully Nintendo will solve this problem soon with a patch.

  • Suicunesol

    “…you can post pubic messages…”
    LMAO do something about that, Spencer. Do it quick. :P

    Sounds like the usual console release. I say don’t buy until all of the kinks are ironed out. Also, there are no games I’m interested in yet, so… I won’t be buying it anyway.

  • Sergi Marimon Santamaría

     “The Wii U is a promising console and has enough power under the hood for two HD screens.”

    Tablet screen is not HD.

    • how do U know that?

    • Tony

      um it is , also play some games in 3d

  • ResidentMetroid

    Anybody who has the Wii U here care to comment how the online is compared to XBL/PSN?

    • DKL

      I have this, but I actually can’t comment on it too much since I don’t have games that utilize it too much…

      I’m actually scavenging the internet for Call of Duty WiiU impressions, but no one is talking about the game surprisingly.

      All I’ve pulled out so far is that people seem to think that it looks better than the PS3/360 counterparts…

      Nothing too extensive on the online stuff, but I think you can get chat to work if you have a headset or something.

      •  Frame rate is better.

        • DKL

          Some people are saying worse…

          I have no idea what’s going on with this game right now and I may end up buying it out of morbid curiosity…

          • Andrew

            The Wii U is worse than the PS360 at handling multiple objects on screen at once .. such as multiple enemies, like in CoD. My guess is that when there aren’t many other guys on screen the frame rate is better than the others … but when there are loads of guys around you it may be worse. 

    • PoweredByHentai

      If you break your Wii U, you can say good bye to your Nintendo Network account.

    • AyaisMUsikWhore

      Right now it’s flaky. Long load times especially to get to the Miiverse. The community however is really good. Everyone is just Nintendo nostalgic and some even drew crazy pictures like it’s amazing. As for playing online, haven’t tested it out yet since I don’t have a game other than local multiplayer games but I still have to take a look when I get one. But so far so good. Only thing it needs is an off topic community instead of just game specific

  • Alfy Masamune

    only way i’d ever buy one is if it had some exclusive rpgs.

    • Arrei

      Mmmmmonster Hunter?

      • Elvick

        I bet MH4 will be up-ported to Wii U at some point.

    • Shuga Suenaga

      Xenoblade sequel anyone? or any Monolith RPG lol

    • OneOkami

      This the first Nintendo console since my first (the SNES) that I have practically no interest in (yes, I own a Virtual Boy).
      The console would need multiple highly attractive exclusive RPGs for me to consider buying one, and right now it looks like Monolith Soft is Nintendo’s best hope making a Wii U customer out of me.  Right now, I feel like I can easily pass on this console and wait for PS3’s successor.

  • Pao Ram

    Anxiously waiting for a WiiU version of Mario Kart and Super Smash :D

  • TheDarkEmpress

    Getting a Wii U just for Bayonetta 2, don’t let me down, Nintendbro.

  • KHSoraKeyBlade

    I’ll be waiting until this launch window of games come out and they announce the next batch. So basically I’ll more than likely pick one up next summer. However my sole reason to pick up the system is to buy Smash Bros. I know that there will be other great games for the console but Smash is the only one important to me as of now. 

  • Peeka Chu

    I’m too much of a technophile to care. I understand that true Nintendo-devotees don’t care about the specs, or graphics to some extent, and more props to them, but some of us have invested in expensive tvs and PC with tv-out solutions and we do. Really not a troll comment, but the recent teardowns are out and it looks like Nintendo are being, well Nintendo.



    Looks like an overclocked, triple core version of the Wii CPU (brilliant for compatability’s sake) and a 4770 or thereabouts. The RAM bandwidth is quite low, lower than current consoles, but the read speed on their media disks is higher and there is an unspecified (for now) RAM buffer. I really wanted them to just make it a bit more aggressively specced with whatever MS and Sony will release (which will surely trump this, going off the rumour-mill). I’m afraid that once those consoles are out, we’ll end up with a Wii>PS360 scenario all over again.

    If the JRPGs start rolling in, I might pick one up. Otherwise its a pass. They should fix the battery life on that tablet controller thing too, 2ish hours is a detriment to really playing on it for any length of time.

    Edit: Spencer, the second screen is not HD, you need to fix that.

    • malek86

      Like I said before, I think the Wii U is more powerful than current consoles, but not nearly as much as some people initially expected.

      Should be good enough for me though.

      • Peeka Chu

        Better GPU, worse almost everything else. Memory bandwidth is the real kicker, and they’re outputting to two screens in some – not all, and this is clearly why – cases.

        It’ll be about the same power and output as the 360 and PS3. Don’t expect anything more, and possibly a bit less. They basically made a CPU gimped, GPU buffed, Xbox 360 with additional overhead for their fancy controller.

        Again, I’ll get it if the software library starts filling out according to my interests, but I’ve no burning launch day desire. 

      • AyaisMUsikWhore

        It’s not. I got mine yesterday and after I finally sat through that update and fiddled around with Nintendo land (Which is awesome), I put in Batman and it was not more powerful at all. Actually, the other versions looked way better but it could be it was just a bad port. Either way, the graphics are on par, they are not above par. Nintendo gave that extra ram for the OS system, for things like switching into home from in game or using the Internet Brower or Netflix without an issue. But game wise, it’s just the same as Xbox and Ps3

        • Solomon_Kano

          Give it time. We won’t be seeing what this thing can really do just yet. At launch we have a bunch of ports unlikely to have been given a lot in the way of optimization and a few games Nintendo themselves put out that aren’t out for pushing the envelope.

          I don’t think you can expect Ninty to start cranking out how much power this thing’s got until they announce a Zelda game or the first 3D Mario. That real-time tech demo they showed off most certainly looked better than anything this gen, even if not by such a wide margin as from PS2-PS3. As for the 3rd-parties, like PS3 and 360 before it, they’ll need time to get used to the hardware before they can start pumping out stuff to wow us. If they can, of course. It’s entirely possible that this really won’t amount to much more than what we’re seeing on PS360, but that Zelda tech demo… that gives me hope lol.

  • really hope we get some RPGs for the system

    it’d be a shame to have what happened to the Wii, happen to the WiiU

  • Elvick

    Spring 2013 for Pikmin 3? Pfft. I guess that makes not caring at all about the console it’s on less of a problem. I will buy the game itself when it comes out though, to support Pikmin.

    And I don’t buy for a second that Nintendo understands where they went wrong. I won’t get into that though. Don’t feel like being attacked for my opinion atm.

  • malek86

    “We tested both and the Wii component cables can output 1080i resolution.”

    What happened to 1080p on Component? The 360 can do it, the PS3 too, why would they limit it? The Wii U can’t even play BR movies so it’s not like they would get pressures from the movie majors.

    • OathkeeperSoraXIII

      Component cables can only ever go up to 1080i as far as i’m aware of, you need to have an HDMI cable to reach 1080p

      • Digoth

        component can absolutely display 1080p. it’s AACS that prevents analog sources from displaying more than 1080i  (usually blu-rays)

    •  Just use HDMI cables…

  • the lineup of games is stellar

  • I want to buy this day one for Europe – but… I don’t know… something tells me I should hold of until spring to see how things go. Like 3DS, I think this is going on be a piece of Nintendo hardware I don’t by at launch… which is kinda sad for me.

  • Scott

    im waiting on the waitlist. i think the mentality behind the ported games is for people who only owned a Wii and couldnt buy these games because of that. or at least that’s one part of it.

  • Thanks for your impressions, guys. 

    Will I be buying a WiiU? Certainly, but not at launch. Burnt my fingers buying 3DS at launch, not repeating the same mistake twice. Once the initial kinks and patches have been ironed out and some lucrative bundles are available alongside more games I am personally interested in (more on that in the next paragraph) I will pony up the dough.

    But Europeans are screwed once again. Those prices will make European Ninty fans’ wallets cry. I’m waiting until the library grows significantly with Nintendo’s exclusives; If I wanted to play 360 ports I would’ve bought a 360 by now. Give me a new 3D Mario game. a new LoZ, Metroid, Smash Brothers, F-Zero and a brand-spankin’ new IP by Retro and I’m on board.Great to see 3rd party publisher though, boy am I excited for the next couple of years. Nintendo are finally showing some love to guys like me, who don’t give a damn about Wii Fit or similar software. I want pure, unadulterated gaming fun. That’s where Ninty delivers big time.

  • Skyer Ist

    Since Nintendo own part of Fatal Frame franchise, can’t wait for Fatal Frame 5.
    Also, new Monolith Soft game, Pikmin 3, SSB U, Bayonetta 2, new Retro game, ohhh. It’s going to be great!!

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) I’m loving it……….

  • DKL

    While I’ve pointed this out in the open thread forum, Miiverse is actually irrelevant when you can just pause the game, open the web browser and go to an online forum and post like you were on a computer.

    The web browser is that good and I’m surprised not many people are talking about it (I actually posted in the open thread last night from Sonic Racing).

    • malek86

      You can only share your screenshots on Miiverse, though. So there’s at least that.

      • DKL

        I didn’t even know you could do that lol; I should try it…

      • DKL

        I take it back: I just learnt of Sonic Racing Boost Challenge glitch via the community forum…

        Thing is actually useful for getting specific feedback from other owners x_x

  • GreekShadow

    I really can’t wait for Fatal Frame 5.I hope that this time they will release it in Europe not like Fatal Frame IV >:/ (Although i bought it and it is my favorite Wii game,holy english patch *_*).

    AT least they released the remake of the second one here in Europe,that’s a motivation for me to hope :)

    The reason why i will buy WiiU is Fatal Frame V.

    • Skyer Ist

      I don’t think they bought part of the IP just to leave it in Japan only. *___* Let’s believe. This time they can’t dissapoint(( And, btw, 2 was released in Europe even with understanding of low sales (Wii age, etc).

      • GreekShadow

        Well FF2 remake didn’t arrive in America.Why?
        Imagine using the Upad as the camera!Wow :P
        Actually i respect Nitendo of Europe,they released FF2Remake here,they didn’t forgot us :)

  • Junko Enoshima

    There better be some good JRPGs on here. I’m looking at you, ATLUS!

    • Zeik56

      Honestly, I don’t expect much from Atlus on WiiU anytime soon. The reason we haven’t seen much from them on HD consoles so far is because of development costs, and I would expect it would be cheaper/easier to work with the PS3/360 at this point than the WiiU.

      I do really want to see a new Trauma game on the WiiU though. That tablet would work so perfectly with that series.

      • Peeka Chu

        Someone hacked the Mii list already and found a Soul Hackers title, so that is either the 3DS version or a Wii U game. The fact that it was hacked so easily is lolworthy, but that is another issue altogether.

        • Zeik56

          I’d say there’s about as much chance of getting a new Soul Hackers on the WiiU as it getting Lunar 3. I really don’t see them doing any more with that property beyond the 3DS port.

        • malek86

          If the Miiverse is shared between Wii U and 3DS (likely), that could just be it. If anything, though, it might point at a localization.

          • Solomon_Kano

            That’s most likely. Nintendo did say that they have plans to bring Miiverse to 3DS and that it’ll be one connected thing like PSN across PS3 and Vita or XBL across all of MS’ stuff.

        • Junko Enoshima

          That’s most likely the localization of the 3DS version, but a Wii U version would be cool. :P

  • “While online multiplayer was a painful process on Wii, it’s a piece of cake on Wii.”
    Any other English nazis stop at this point?

  • Herok♞

    Honestly, with a Nintendo anything I am fine rushing in blind which is why I hope I am able to get one around Christmas. I know with Nintendo even if they do cut the price quickly again they won’t leave people screwed over.

  • Theofratus Joseph Lester

    1st generation consoles, never trust them.  It starts crashin’ from time to time, without playin’ Wii U games.

  • I am blown away so far. Miiverse is pretty addictive. I really hope to see something of the equivalent in the next Sony and Microsoft consoles.

  • Solomon_Kano

    I can’t wait to get mine. NSMBU (that’s a mouthful) is probably the only game I’ll be getting until Game & Wario or MH3U since my PS3 is there for all of the multiplat stuff. Or, at least that’ll be my only actual Wii U game. Lots of Wii, VC, and WiiWare stuff I wanna get. I figure all of that should keep me plenty busy.

    Right now the Wii U is looking like the Vita for me. Bought at launch even though there’s not much for the actual platform I want just yet, but because I have faith in what’s coming next and because I can use it for games I missed on the previous system until that time comes. I mean, Xenoblade’s still my most wanted RPG this gen and Bayonetta 2 is a pretty nice carrot to have dangling in front of you, after all, so I’m down to take the plunge for Ninty on this one.

  • Anthony Black

    I have my WiiU, and so far my only complaint is the joysticks.
    Not the placement. The joysticks themselves. I hate them. They’re too imprecise. I just hope most games with Pro Controller support will also support Wii Classic Controllers so I can use the superior joysticks on those.

    Other than that, its pretty cool.

  • protofox

    but..ive been playing smash brothers for over a decade with the gamecube controller… so after this long we’re gonna be force to switch controls? -_-;

  • Shane Williams Sr.

    The lack of BR play doesn’t bother me. The streams like Netflix are pushing BR out  the door anyway. The key is going to be who can integrate everything into a single unit. Instead of having TV, PC, Game Console, Stereo and DvD player, the winner will be the person who integrates them all and conserves the most space and then includes portability. With the WiiU control pad being a good start to a tablet PC, they seem to be leading the way.

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