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Nintendo Wii U Console 8GB Basic Set - White
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560 of 593 people found the following review helpful
Edition: 8GB Basic - White
There are a lot of places you can learn about the Wii U. So in the beginning of my review I'm going to talk about whether you want the regular or the deluxe. And I'm here to tell you: maybe you don't have to buy the deluxe.

I've checked it out and here is the deal.

The Deluxe gives you:
1) 24 GB more memory than a basic. Of course, you can add a cheap USB drive and duplicate this.
2) A cradle for charging, but, the battery on my video remote isn't lasting long so I usually have the video remote plugged directly into the wall (because you can't play when its in the cradle!). So the cradle is not worth any extra money.
3) NintendoLand, which you can buy separately. Nintendoland is a suite of mini games. Nintendoland does a good job of introducing you to everything the Wii U can do. If you love minigames, maybe you should buy the deluxe. If you just want dedicated titles like "ZombiU" or "Pikmin 3" then you might choose the basic Wii. After 2 weeks my daughter wants us to buy another game, because none of the mini games in Nintendo Land are very deep, and some are about as good as a $1 game you'd buy in an app store. (race game, balloon game, yoshi game: I'm talking to you)
4) The Deluxe also gives you 10% back on all digital purchases, for each $50 you spend. So to get $5 back, you have to spend $50. Most people I know prefer to buy hard copies of their game so they can resell or trade them. But if you like to buy software online then you would want to get the deluxe.

You would want to consider the basic Wii U if:
1) You don't like minigames (aka Nintendoland)
2) You only buy hard copies of games.

Otherwise, consider the deluxe.

In regards to the memory: A 32GB memory stick will run you about $15-25, in fact, you wouldn't even know this one was there: SanDisk Cruzer Fit CZ33 32GB USB Flash Drive (SDCZ33-032G-B35). And you get to keep that USB drive even if you get rid of your Wii U.

You will see in the comments that someone claims the SanDisk won't work on the wii, but, I'm using one right now. What can I say? One test is worth 1,000 expert opinions... Installing the SanDisk was easy. In my case, I inserted it when the Wii U was off. Then I turned the Wii U on and it said "There is a new USB drive... do you want to format it and yes it?" I hit the button that said "yes" and it was set up just like that!

I'm a positive person in general, so I will be happy with my 32GB, but, if you are considering the 8GB, take heed.

If you are on the fence about the wii U, here is my main review:

I remember that Nintendo came under a lot of criticism for not having an HD version of the Wii. HD was around when the first Wii came out, and a lot of people were a bit skeptical that they stuck to the lower resolution. As HD became common, Nintendo told fans that they had to do something "more" than just come out with an HD version of the Wii.

Well, thats just what Nintendo did. The Wii U is more than "just Wii HD". But Nintendo hasn't changed the Wii experience very much. You still use Wii remotes every time you play. The Wii U is not "completely different" like the Wii was when it came out. The Wii U is the Wii's younger, smarter brother. And if you liked the Wii, you'll like the Wii U.

The 3 main features of the Wii U are:
1) Its HD, which brings it (finally) up to speed with the Xbox and Playstation ... and everything else out there.
2) The Wii U has a single video controller. The video controller opens up new game experiences. Whoever is playing on the video controller sees something different than the other players. For generations people have wanted multiplayer games that didn't use a "split TV screen", and the Wii U gives you that in one console. This is a really big deal. The video controller is also a touchscreen which you use to flick something at the screen, or move things on screen. The new video controller allows for new control options ... just like the "Wii balance board" allowed Nintendo to sell yoga and ski games.
3) Videos, videos, videos. Netflix, youtube, TiVo, amazon instant video. It will keep track of the TV shows you want to watch, and when they will be on. You'll also be able to use the Wii U as a social outlet to chat about TV shows and movies. Nintendo calls this Wii TVii, and it would be a revolution in TV watching... if only all the features were available now. So you can use the Wii U as a control for all your Video experiences with your TV. The video controller will act like "PIP Picture in Picture in the palm of your hand". I use the Wii U with Amazon Video to watch movies for free, and the Wii remote lets me see information about the movie on IMDB WHILE the movie is playing. For sports, you'll be able to watch instant replays on the small screen... while the rest of your buddies continue to watch the big game on the main screen. So its going to be a remote controller on steroids. To be honest, this is going to be a really big big deal but since not all the features roll until "later" I can't give the WIi U a star for it yet. Maybe it will change your life, maybe not. Time will tell.

And that concludes the main appeal of the Wii U. We finally get HD, the video controller adds a new dimension to the usual Wii gaming, and it also serves as a "TV command center".

FAQ:::Some people have asked me about the Wii U, and the short answers are:
1) No, you don't have to own a Wii to have a Wii U.
2) You can only use ONE video controller with your Wii U. All other players use the old Wii remote.
3) 5 people can play at once, making it even more of a "game party" console than before.
4) You can't play DVDs or Blu Ray discs. Blue Ray is Sony Playstation territory, as you probably know.
5) You can surf the internet on it (why would you want to? I don't know)
6) Should I get the deluxe? Probably. You get 32gb of memory, which will become more important the longer you have the console, and the more you do with it. You get the Nintendo Land game. You get the cradle for charging the video gamepad. And until 2014 they will give you a store credit of 10% every time you make a purchase of digital content (games). If you buy digital content regularly, you might "earn back" the extra $50 you pay for the deluxe Wii U. (I tried this yesterday, read below for more info on the credit)

The Wii U has a host of "lesser" features:
1) A person can play the Wii U without having the TV on. Expect a smack on your head if you want to play ZombiU while your wife watches a movie.
2) Its backwards compatible with all older Wii games (but maybe not dance pads!), which is nice if you bought Zelda Skyward Sword this summer.
3) Just as with the old Wii, you can download games from the Nintendo store. If you buy online content for your iPhone, Xbox, or PS3, you know that this is a big deal. I used to buy songs for guitar hero to add to the songs that came in the box. If you buy this DELUXE version, you get a 10% credit back for all online purchases, see more about this credit in "The Bad" below.
4) The Wii U video controller is like a universal remote. You can turn on your TV and change the volume from the gamepad which is a convenience.
5) Most of the old Wii hardware is compatible too, which is nice, EXCEPT that round "gamecube style" connector is not present on the Wii U. Games that use a mat like "outdoor challenge" and "Dance Dance Revolution" become history in your house.
6) There is a big, easy to find "download again" button for all digital content, so if your Wii U got fried by a power surge you wouldn't lose your purchases. That's always nice.

The bad:
1) The menus aren't intuitive. There are two menus... the Wii U menu and the Home menu. The Home menu is found by pressing the Home button. Note that now that downloads are automatic, the unintuitive menus aren't so bad. But they still seem redundant.
2) Transferring data from the Wii to the Wii U should be easier. In particular I didn't like that when I imported my Miis, I had to do a separate step on the Wii U before I could actually use them in the games. The day I got it the patch took way too long to download and install, and after I transferred my data from my Wii I felt like I had spent 2 hours on the whole thing. But, since then, there has been no problem.
3) Freezing. I did have a problem with NintendoLand locking up, but, that went away after one day. This will be something they fix and becomes a thing of the past. I wouldn't sweat it.
4) Long updates. I feel that the time that it takes to download stuff and install it has improved over time.
5) Installing downloaded content. I wrote a long rant about how annoying this was, but as of the most recent update you can buy items in the store and they download and install automatically, as they should.

Ok now that I'm done complaining...

Your decision matrix:
1) If you still like playing on your Wii, and you have the money to spend, buy a Wii U and sell your Wii. You'll enjoy it.
2) If you are considering between an Xbox+Kinect and a Wii U, I think its a tough call. I really like the "second screen" gaming, it really opens up a lot of possibilities. But most of the wii U stuff looks really juvenile. The kid down the street told me he still wanted an Xbox because the Xbox has games for teenagers. I said "whatev."
3) As a side note, every kid who has seen and played our Wii U in the last two weeks has put this as the top item on the Christmas list. Its the "next big thing" for them and you can be sure that the little things that I complain about in this review won't matter to them. Not at all.

Games: Nintendo now has decent amount of digital content to buy online. I paid .35 for "kirby's great adventure" or something like that. Its a grainy looking old game, but it was only thirty five cents. Nintendo has started offering games at the $2, $5, and $8 price points as well. I'm VERY pleased to see this, because I want to be able to log into the shop and grab a game for cheap when I want to.

I rate this item 3 stars out of 5 because three stars means "it's ok". Nintendo has made a lot of improvements in 6 months, and while they have fixed most of the problems with the system, I find myself reluctant to raise the review to 4 stars until some more exclusive games are released. Pikmin 3 has been delayed until August, for example.

The Wii U is getting better. I think it may turn into my favorite console of all time, if they can just get some good exclusive games out, and improve the use of the video controller in those games. I really don't want another game where the video controller shows a map. Gimmie a break.
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182 of 210 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2012
Edition: 8GB Basic - White
Plenty of people have given lengthy reviews on everything you want to know about the Wii U, so I won't rehash the basics here. I'll just share my initial reactions after unboxing my Wii U Basic last night.

The box for the Wii U contains an owners manual and "Quick Start" guides in English, French, and Spanish. There's also a card advertising Club Nintendo; you'll get a hefty 160 points for linking your Wii U to your Club Nintendo account, which is more than halfway to Gold Status (you'll get a calendar or some other crappy gift if you hit 300 points in a year). Nintendo giveth and taketh away; unlike previous systems there's no warranty extension for registering a Wii U with Club Nintendo.

You'll get an AC adapter for the Wii U console, as well as a charger for the GamePad. You'll also get an HDMI cable to attach to a TV (if you prefer to use your old component (YPbPr) cable or composite (RCA) cables from your Wii, you can do that as well). Finally, you get a new Wii sensor, but no Wii remotes. The Wii sensor is the same as on the Wii, so if you it set up for your Wii already, you can just swap your old one out and swap this one in (you can save the sensor in the box in case you need a replacement or you want to resell it).

The Wii U itself is sleeker than the Wii, with rounded corners and a slightly longer body. It's still much, much lighter and more compact than either the Xbox or the PS3. The unit has four USB ports and an SD card slot. A lot of people are decrying the fact that 8GB won't hold a lot, but you can effectively expand the memory by using USB jump drives, SD cards, or even USB hard drives that you probably already have for your camera or PC. From that sense, I didn't see the memory size as as much as a downside as others.

I wasn't sure what to expect from the GamePad, but my first impressions were very good. It's comfortable to hold, and the joysticks and buttons are easily accessible by your thumbs. I was impressed by the crystal clear picture quality, and the surprisingly loud and clear sound coming out of the two stereo speakers. There's a little slider on the back of the unit where you can adjust the volume, and there's a headphone jack. Something I missed at first was the stylus at the top of the unit that pops in and out of it like on a DS. While you can use either your finger or the stylus for most touchscreen interaction, the stylus does keep the screen free of fingerprints, plus it gives better precision on certain games.

There's also a camera and a microphone built in--a clever differentiating move considering that Xbox and PS3 cameras are usually on the other side of the room. It'll be interesting to see what applications developers come up with for these. Nintendo has already released a small handful of cool applications that make use of the camera such as Video Chat and the ability to make a Mii from your real face (similar to the 3DS). One of the most anticipated features of the GamePad will be the ability to use it as a TV remote. RIght now you can turn your TV on and off, but in the future the TVii app (which will be a free download in December) promises to let you control your TV from your GamePad; if this means the end of confusing, esoteric universal remote controls, I'll welcome it.

Setting up the hardware was pretty simple, just plug in the AC adapter to the console, plug in your HDMI cable to the TV, and plug in either your existing or your new Wii sensor.

I wish I could say the software setup was as simple. Let's put it this way: I started the process at about midnight, thinking it'd take about 5 minutes. I ended up going to bed at 3 AM. It's not a terribly complex process (you actually get your first taste of "two screen action" as you use the GamePad to make your choices, while detailed instructions can be read on the TV), but it does drag on and has a few awkward moments. But it's critical to make sure the process completes without interruption; some people are reporting their units are getting bricked if they power down in the middle of the update.

You start out by syncing the GamePad to the console, which is simply a matter of pressing the red "sync" button on front of the console and the same kind of button on the back of the GamePad. Once you do this, you'll be able to control the console from the GamePad (including turning it on and off).

You start by setting the time and date, which was disappointing to me; it's the 21st century, and there's no reason they couldn't have put the Wi-Fi setup up front so the system could pull this from the Internet. You then confirm the resolution of your TV, which read a glorious 1080i. You can configure your GamePad to turn your TV on and off (I decided to hold off until TVii becomes available), and then as with the Wii you designate the position of your sensor bar. You, of course, have to accept the obligatory legal stuff, and then you get to the Wi-Fi setup.

Wi-Fi setup was a snap. The system found my Wi-Fi network right away, and unlike other devices I could walk my GamePad over to my router and key in the WEP key without running back and forth or using up Post-It notes. You do all your typing on the GamePad; the digital keyboard was a little small for my fingers, but I made do.

The next step is when the system asks you to connect to the Internet and check for updates. It took, I kid you not, a full hour for it to download the latest update and install it. So if you're giving the Wii U as a gift, you might want to open the box and set it up for your recipients first if you plan to play it with them.

The next step is setting up your user accounts. I found this part very, very confusing, but I figured it out. Basically, you have to create your personal account on your console first, including creating a new Mii with a nickname and month and date of birth. Once you're done with that, you'll have the option of linking that account to what's called a "Nintendo Network ID", which is a completely separate process where you set up a username, full date of birth, and e-mail address, and you have to confirm the account via e-mail. The Nintendo Network ID is optional and not required to play most games, but to get the most out of the online experience, as well as be able to download apps and make purchases, you'll need to sign up for it.

Now the burning question I had, which I couldn't find an answer to easily, is how can I get my Mii from my old Wii? After all, I spent a long, long time getting him perfect and I've grown quite attached to him (I tried to re-create him on the Wii U but it didn't quite look the same, and when I tried to create a Mii from my photo, it was a cool process but a little too lifelike for my taste :P). The good news is that it's possible to grab your Mii's from your old Wii, but the bad news is that it's a pretty convoluted process. You basically have to go to the "Wii menu", go to the Wii Shop Channel, download a Channel called "System Transfer", and follow some pretty complicated steps to transfer your old system data to a SD card (512K or greater) with both consoles attached to the Internet. I ended up doing this a few days later and it took yet another hour, which I wasn't thrilled with.

Which brings me to the second thing I found a little off, which was the fact that there's a "Wii U menu" and a "Wii menu". My guess is that they're trying to relegate all the gaming related stuff to the "Wii menu" and start positioning the "Wii U menu" as more of a general entertainment console (there are already pre-installed icons for NetFlix, Amazon Video, YouTube, and Hulu Plus). But I wasn't thrilled at having to deal with two menus and figuring out what goes where. Surprising, as Nintendo has usually been pretty good at user interface design.

One other annoyance is that there are times that the system will appear to hang for many seconds, even minutes at a time, particularly when going from Channels or games back to the Wii U menu. At first I thought it was something I was doing, but many others appear to be experiencing the same thing. Hopefully Nintendo is working on a fix, as this behavior can get really annoying really fast.

Since this review is on the console and not the games (which I'll post reviews for separately), I'm basing my review on my impressions of the hardware, the software, and the setup process. The hardware easily gets 5 out of 5 stars from me; you can see right away that the GamePad was an impressive feat of engineering, although there is a part of me that is disappointed that they didn't see fit to improve their motion controls (the MotionPlus is evidently the most advanced they'll take the Wiimotes for a while). My initial thoughts with the two-screen approach is that it's going to take some getting used to (I found myself fixated on the GamePad for most of the setup process and ignoring the TV), but they've proven with the DS that it can enhance gameplay.

The setup process and the user interface, on the other hand, could have been improved. Not to say that features are missing, but the interface is just a little confusing for my tastes, and since I work with user experience for a living, I think I have a higher tolerance than most. The good news is that since these flaws are in software and not in hardware, they're certainly things that Nintendo can improve over time.

A lot of people might be wondering whether to get the Basic unit, or to splurge and get the Deluxe unit for an extra $50. With the Deluxe unit, you get more built-in memory, the Nintendo Land game, and a charging stand for the GamePad. As I mentioned, you can easily expand the Wii U Basic with USB drives or SD cards at very low cost to meet or exceed 32GB, so that's not a huge deal. A lot of people are saying that New Super Mario Bros U is by far a better "showcase" game for the Wii U than Nintendo Land is, so I don't think missing that is a huge deal breaker either (especially considering that in a few months the secondary market will likely be flooded with used copies of Nintendo Land). And finally, a charging stand is a nice thing to have, but certainly not necessary. So at the end of the day for me, it came down to color: did I prefer white or black?

To sum up, I'll give the system in itself a solid four stars--it didn't give me the knock-my-socks-off experience that unboxing the original Wii gave me, but I see a ton of potential if game developers can truly use the new features that the GamePad (combined with other peripherals like the Balance Board and Wiimotes) offer. I will definitely be a fan.
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130 of 158 people found the following review helpful
Edition: 8GB Basic - White
Okay, first a little background, and then I'll get to the review: I'm not a Nintendo fan. Yes, I'm in my 40s, and I owned a Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo Entertainment System in the 80s and 90s. I enjoyed both quite a lot, but then, didn't everybody? Nintendo really had it going back then.

When they introduced the N64, however, I was nonplussed. Mostly, I was ticked that they stuck with cartridges in an era when CDs were king. This choice limited what they could do with the N64, and I still cringe when I think about how much more awesome games like Mario 64, Conker's Bad Fur Day, and WWF No Mercy would have been if they had a little more room for data on a CD. Still, I did enjoy those few games, and a couple others got my attention. Ultimately, though, the N64 was a flop for me. I was unimpressed with the game lineup.

When Nintendo threw the GameCube at the public, I held off. It seemed like it was "too little, too late" and for the most part, I was right. The games didn't impress me all that much. The forced jump to 3D for Metroid didn't make me happy. The lack of third party titles was glaring. The choice to use proprietary discs made me wonder what could have been if they'd used DVDs instead, like the PS2 and Dreamcast. Eventually I picked one up, used, and played with it for a while, but ultimately sold it because there were no games I wanted to play.

And then, finally, the Wii arrived and I totally skipped it. I wasn't into the gimmick, and I was really not interested in another standard definition console after shelling out the big bucks for an HDTV when they were first out, and still quite expensive. As the years went by, a few games piqued my curiosity, but I still never jumped at the Wii.

In-between all this, I enjoyed the original Game Boy, the Gameboy Advance, and even the Virtual Boy. I messed around with the DS, but didn't keep it, and didn't transition to the DSi or 3DS.

So basically, I bailed on Nintendo in the late 90s because I felt that they were losing touch with what I wanted as a gamer. They always seemed late to the party with new technology, or if they were first with something, it was kind of gimmicky and I just didn't see the appeal. When they announced the Wii U, I said pretty much the same thing: "A gimmick controller, and they're release all the same games again. I really don't want to play another Mario, Zelda, or Metroid title."

Boy, was I wrong!

I got a Wii U because I happened to be in the right place at the right time, and figured that if I could decide later whether to keep it, or sell it. Eventually, being the gadget freak I am, I had to hook it up and give it a try, and I was pleasantly surprised.

THE SETUP
The first pleasant surprise was that the box contained some nice things. This was just the Basic Set-- The white one-- And it was still packed with an HDMI cord, a nice, low-profile Wii sensor bar, and of course the GamePad and console along with all the necessary cords. It's packaged smartly, with everything neatly wrapped and in its place. It reminded me a bit of a 1990s Apple product in this regard-- Simple, elegant packaging with everything you'll need to get started. The HDMI cable was almost like a little apology from Nintendo for making us wait for an HD console.

There are two AC adapters with the Wii U. One is for the console, and the other is for charging the GamePad. The Deluxe Set comes with a charging cradle, too, but in the Basic Set the charging cable is plenty to keep you gaming, and if you want the cradle I'm sure there will be tons of them on the market soon (aside from the first-party version that's already out there, I mean.)

Once everything was connected, I powered on and was taken through a very simple start-up procedure which included a system update after establishing an Internet connection. On the screen (despite what some "journalists" might have told you) is a message telling you not to remove the power supply while the system updates. Even if you do, though, the system is dummy-proof. You'll get a black screen while it finishes the update (in a "recovery" mode) and then it will apply the update and come back to the Wii U menu. If you see the black screen (if you're stupid enough to unplug the device while it's doing a system update, that is) then don't panic. Your console is not "bricked"-- It's just fixing your mistake.

For most of us, this will not be a big problem.

After the update (1GB, not 5GB as some people are reporting) the system is ready to go. You're encouraged to make a Mii, which is pretty easy and done on the GamePad, and then you're let free in the Wii U menu to start playing. You'll be greeted by a screen full of Mii characters, all popping up little messages and drawings. Oh, yes... you can send drawings done on the GamePad's touch screen as messages in the Miiverse. Kinda nifty.

THE ENTERTAINMENT EXPERIENCE
As I have the Basic Set, I do not have NintendoLand. It sounds cool, but I'll wait for that one. Instead, being a big fan of zombies, I picked up ZombiU. I also picked up Super Mario Bros U because I was told it's fantastic. Without getting into game reviews here, I'll just say that I'm very pleased with both games-- Especially with the integration of the GamePad's touch screen into regular gameplay. It's very cool. Nintendo has lots of practice doing this sort of thing, too, with the Nintendo DS systems.

Rather than talking about individual games here, I'll talk about the other things that impressed me about the Wii U. Namely, the Web Browser, Netflix, and TV Remote functions.

WEB BROWSER
The Wii U has one of the best TV Web browsing interfaces ever. Via the GamePad, you can surf the web seamlessly. You have a keyboard on the touchscreen for when you need it. You have the ability to smoothly zoom web pages in and out and pan them left and right via the analog sticks, as well as handling basic up/down scrolling the same way. You can save bookmarks, open multiple tabs, and do anything on the Web that doesn't require Flash. Apple fans will feel at home, and really, anybody still reliant on Flash these days (as opposed to HTML 5) is just dragging their heels.

The Web Browser interface of the Wii U simply shines. I've used Web TV, MSN TV, PS3, Dreamcast, and a variety of other methods to access the Web on my television (including an HTPC with a standard web browser), and by far the Wii U outstrips them all in ease of use. Some have a bonus mark due to Flash compatibility, but the Wii U's GamePad interface makes up for that omission in a big way. I didn't expect to use the Wii U as a web browsing device, but now I could see skipping the HTPC or PS3, and going straight to the Wii U if I need to get online on the TV.

And here's the kicker: You can also access the Web on the GamePad screen itself. You don't need to rely on the TV at all. If you want to walk away (to within about 25 feet of the console, anyway), the GamePad will act like a tablet and let you get online via the wireless connection with the console. Very cool.

NETFLIX
Again, the Wii U beats the pants off other devices. I have a PS3, HTPC, Sony Set-top "Smart TV" box, and have used several other Netflix devices (Roku, WDTV, Xbox 360, etc.) and I'm here to tell you that the Wii U's Netflix integration is beautifully done. You can scroll through titles on the GamePad, control movie functions on the GamePad, and even have the video transferred to display on the GamePad so you can watch as if it's a tablet. When watching a movie on the TV screen, the GamePad provides information about the film you're watching (cover art, title, length, summary, scrubber/time bar, controls, etc.) -- It's the best way to watch Netflix, hands down. The only negative-- one I hope will be fixed in a future update-- is that the GamePad screen does not shut off after a while, so you're burning a couple hours of battery if you watch a movie with it unplugged, even if it's displaying the movie on the TV. I suspect this was an oversight, and that future versions will offer a "turn off GamePad screen" option due to popular demand. Right now you can turn off the GamePad screen, but when you tap a button to bring back your movie, the GamePad screen wakes up.

Still, this is the best Netflix device out there. I stand by that. I'm not the only one saying it, either. Go ahead and look it up. I'll wait. . .

See? Pretty cool, huh?

TV REMOTE FUNCTIONS
Right now, this is very basic, but it's just so easy to use! You pick your TV's manufacturer from a list, and test the settings until it works. For my Zenith TV, it worked on the second try. Once you do this, hitting the "TV" button on the GamePad turns it into a TV remote. You can change channels, adjust volume, and change inputs (to switch between Wii U and TV shows, I'd suppose!) all from the GamePad screen. No more juggling two remotes to jump between console and TV!

Here's a tip: The "A" button on the GamePad works as the "Enter" button for the TV Remote functions.

In the future this mode will be made even more useful with Nintendo's TVii service. We won't know what's up with that until December, but Nintendo seems pretty stoked about it.

OTHER THINGS

[*] The Stylus: It's cool that they have a nice little stylus built into the GamePad, much like on the DS.

[*] Rearranged Buttons: It takes some getting used to, but the four buttons on the right side don't respond in American style, with the bottom button as "Yes/Enter" and the right button as "No/Back". Instead, they're Japanese/European style, with the right button (A) being "Yes/Enter" and the bottom button being "No/Back". At first this seems an odd choice for a market that Nintendo themselves spoiled with the rearranged American-style buttons, but it becomes obvious that they made the choice because they put their right analog stick ABOVE the buttons, instead of below or to the side of them. This means that when you reach down from the analog stick, it's easier to hit the right button than it is to hit the bottom button. Just bear in mind that you may need to get used to a change if you come from any other American console.

[*] Wii Remote: The system does not come with a Wii Remote. You need to pick one up separately. Until you have one, you can't enter the Wii Menu or play multiplayer (local) games on Wii U. Luckily, the Wii Remote is ubiquitous these days, and you can find them dirt cheap if you shop around. Once I acquired mine, I was pleased to see how easily it synced and then worked to control the Wii U's cursor in Wii U and Wii modes. I was also very pleased with the way it worked for Super Mario Bros U as an old-school NES-style controller.

[*] Nintendo's Store: The online store is frankly a little sparse right now. There's no Wii U Virtual Console at the moment, though if you go into the Wii Menu and enter the Wii shop, you'll find the Wii Virtual Console games are still available and seem to be perfectly capable of functioning on the Wii U, in Wii mode. This leads me to address the way they handle backwards compatibility... This is not like the PS3 or Xbox 360. When you inserted a legacy title into those consoles, they'd just start the game in an emulation mode. With the Wii U, you have to actually enter the Wii Menu to find the Wii games. In effect, you're switching the Wii U to Wii mode and then loading games from that mode. When in this mode, it's just a Wii, without Wii U functions. I found this to be a strange choice, and no doubt it will curtail the use of the GamePad's advanced functions for any Virtual Console titles bought from the Wii mode. Sadly, when in Wii mode, the Wii U will not do anything fancy with the GamePad. That is saved only for Wii U games and software.

[*] Storage Questions: A lot of you are saying "Why did you get the white console? The black one has more storage capacity!" and my answer is pretty simple: Because Nintendo intends for us to use external storage with the Wii U. Hooking up an external 500GB hard drive was no problem for me, and now it sits quietly in my entertainment center with the Wii U as its eternal partner, doing its thing. Why bother spending extra and getting the fingerprint-prone black version when I could have a nifty white Wii U and end up with approximately the same amount of storage space? The 32GB will be burned through quickly enough, and I suspect Deluxe Set owners will be connecting hard drives to their Wii U shortly after they buy the console. If you're worried about storage, you're fretting over nothing. Unlike Microsoft, Nintendo was kind to console owners and let us use our own hard drive to upgrade without needing a special caddy or partition. Just connect the drive, and let the Wii U format it. Voila, you're done.

[*] Disc Playback: This is my biggest gripe. Nintendo decided, once again, to use proprietary discs. What this means is that the Wii U can't play DVDs or Blu-ray Discs. While this doesn't affect me personally (I have a PS3, after all), I suspect there will be people out there who only justify having one gaming console, and it would be really nice to integrate disc playback so that the number of HDMI ports taken by hardware isn't continually expanding. I don't dock Nintendo any stars for this decision, but I do think it was a cheap choice.

[*] GamePad Concerns: The GamePad is a great controller. It's not as heavy as you'd think, and it's not what I'd consider bulky, though it is big and unusual. As a controller, I like it. However, as a tablet it suffers. The GamePad is limited by range and line-of-sight with the Wii U console. If you put a wall between the GamePad and the Wii U, the signal is in danger of dropping past about ten feet. That's unfortunate, because being able to wander all around the house with the GamePad to play SMBU or watch Netflix would be very handy. As it stands, unless you have your Wii U in a wall-less zone, your mileage (or footage, rather) may vary. The other concern is battery power. The GamePad lasts about four hours, give or take, depending on what power-saving settings you choose. Remember to dock/plug in the GamePad whenever you're done using it! Hopefully, better batteries come along in later years.

[*] Fun Factor: When it comes down to it, Nintendo knows how to make a console fun. Little touches like Miiverse really add to the experience. The fact that the console comes with a camera, motion detector, touch screen, and discrete wireless speakers is a testament to Nintendo's understanding of small things adding up. Some tiny omissions, such as the lack of a TOSlink/optical audio port (meaning you MUST be able to pass-through surround from your TV or have a surround receiver that handles HDMI if you want surround sound), are a detriment to this fun factor, but ultimately Nintendo hits most of the right highs and avoids the lows that drag a console down.

FINAL VERDICT
I am a former Nintendo owner who never quite became a "fan", per se, of the Nintendo brand. You could even say that I was disgruntled by the time the N64 launched. The Wii U turned that around. I may not be a "fan" yet, but I do like the hardware and the software that goes with it. So far. If third party developers continue to show up, and if Nintendo continues to do cool stuff with the GamePad and services like TVii, Amazon Video on Demand, and Hulu Plus, then the Wii U will be a must-have console for a family of gamers. Not just for the kids. Not just for grandma and grandpa. Not just for mom and dad. Not just for hardcore gamers. It will be the console for everybody in the family, no matter how seriously or flippantly they take video gaming. Even when viewed as just a Web browsing console with Smart TV functions, the Wii U is a winner.

So as it stands at the moment, Nintendo managed to turn this nay-sayer into a yeah-sayer. We'll see if they can maintain this level of happiness with future updates, software releases, and other goodies. For now, the Wii U remains in my entertainment center, and I'm certain it will get much use.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2013
Edition: 8GB Basic - White
The Wii U is a good console that offers multiple functionality, it has a simple design, easy to setup, has neat games in its early run since it was released.

I must admit that I bought the Wii U to play one game, and that is Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for the online functionality, and I did not regret doing it.

I was really skeptical about buying the Wii U for just one game, as it would seem stupid in doing so. That's what I thought at first. I found that it has some neat features such as the Mii Maker virtual cartoony version of yourself, that relates to the MiiVerse, which is a social gaming network for Nintendo. It's easy to navigate, but is a little slow to start up for such a simple program. You can choose to favorite a community for a specific game and just just to it next to open up MiiVerse.

The graphics are alright, kind of the same as PS3/360's. Game line up is good for now. A lot of games have been already out for the other consoles, but is a good thing for Wii U owners who doesn't have those consoles, because it made it accessible for Wii U owners.

Hardware-wise, the Wii U is not really impressive, but delivers for what a gaming console should. No lags while playing a game as far as my experience goes. It is also backwards compatible with Wii games, although I don't have a Wii, I would just like to point that out.
I find this console to be more game centric which is a great thing.
Although it has terrible memory space, you can just use your external memory devises, which should be available in almost every household at this current day and age.

The gamepad is the thing that I really liked about the Wii U, because it allows me to play my games without having to connect to a TV and allows me to move around the house. My only gripe with it is the range you can stray from the console. Nintendo should have made it rangier and not easily blocked or disrupted by walls and electronic devices (conducted an experiment on this).

Overall, if you have a PS3/360, and don't really have a reason to buy this console, like a game that is only available to it, then I wouldn't recommend buying it. And just save your money for the other next gen console.
If you have a family with young children, then this is a good gaming console for them and for you as well. It has parental control features.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2013
Edition: 8GB Basic - White
This is by far one of the best platforms I have ever owned. We have had original Wii and Xbox but the new Wii U has got to have the best realistic looking graphics I have seen so far with any game platform I have had. The price is compatable with Xbox and Playstation. Graphics are by far better that Xbox and playstation at least from my point of view. Wii U positives are:
1 Plays all of Wii U and Wii games so if your Wii platform is breaking this would be best bet so you do not have to get Xbox or playstation and get all new games again
2. more advanced Graphics, very realistic looking
3. Affordable games
Cons:
1. Has limited games being so new, but you can play all your old Wii games on it. The wii discs work just as good as wii u discs

I am really happy with my Wii U system. My old Wii has had trouble for about a year now and its time to get rid of it. I am very happy I get to keep and play all my wii original games on a new Wii U platform. I definately recommend this if you have an old wii platform.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Edition: 8GB Basic - White
The Wii U is the next generation of Wii.. The Next Generation System from Nintendo.. and going by what I have seen.. the Next Generation is looking good... now on to the pluses and minuses...

+ The Wii U system is nice and compact..the design is really good and small

- Well the AC adapters for everything takes up a little room.. and there are a lot of wires...

- The game pad is huge and can be uncomfortable to work with when you first use it..

+ The Game pad actually starts feeling almost like second nature quickly...and becomes a awesome piece of hardware to work with... it serves as a second screen.. to some games.. a map and menu screen to others.. and has some great special features in others...

+ Instant Video from Net Flix, Amazon, You Tube and Hulu Plus works as good if not better on the Wii U as your PC..

+ The Game pad can go wireless.. and can be used from a distance

- Well pending on where you are in the room.. and the setup that distance can be 10 feet or less..in addition the Game Pad needs to be charged and can only last about 3-4 hours max..

+ The graphics on this machine is awesome.. and clearly leaves the PS3 and 360 in the dust..and compares nicely to what I have seen on the PS4 and XBOX One..sometimes looking even better than the others..

+ The Sound and everything from this machine is wonderful.. and frankly the machine is very quite...

+ The Internet cruising is pretty fast to boot up and go...

- It's still not as fast as the others...

- The menus are not as good as on other systems...

- The memory on this thing no matter this package or the 32 Gig.. is entirely to small... by the time the OS and everything sets up.. it cuts the memory down by at least 4-5 Gigs.. you will need extra memory instantly.. Especially if you Dload games(DLC)... and sometimes game updates and saves.. can take a lot of memory too...

+ The memory constraints are easily countered by simply hooking up a external HDD..

+ The Disks that games come on is tight and compact...

- Well the Disks are still not Blu Ray/DVD so the Wii U will not play movies like the others...

+ The E shop is nice.. and has some good games

- The E Shop is small.. and will disappoint a lot of people..

+ This is backwards capable with the Wii and most accessories.. as thus.. you will not have to buy games and everything brand new..

- Like the Wii before it.. this will be the least powerful system this generation.. (Brace yourselves.. The Frat Boys will come and taunt you)

+ but like the Wii before it.. it will perform and have games that look as good.. if not better than the other consoles from the next gen.

- The Current Game Library is severely lacking..

+ The Game Library will get better.. and will be getting a lot of juice this summer.. and after... well into next year

So at the end of the day is Wii U worth buying... yes.. it's a fantastic little machine.. and a huge upgrade from the Wii.. as long as you don't depend to much on the E Shop..and can work around the Internet and Memory disappointments.. overall this is a must buy for true gamers...

Games I would recommend

Mario Bros Wii U of course(also buy Luigi DLC pack)

Monster Hunter 3 (The best version of a great game)

Zombie U (While far from the best survival horror game.. still worth checking out)

Lego City Undercover

Lego Batman 2 (If you don't already have the Wii version)

Batman: Arkham City Armored Addition

Future games

Batman Arkham Origins

Pikman 3

Wonderful 101

Mario Kart 8 (2014)

Bayonetta 2 (2014)

Zelda Windwaker HD

Rayman Legends

Games to watch

Young Justice.. (Looks to be a X-Men Legends, Ultimate Alliance type game)

Other notes concerning the HDD to use

Nintendo suggests using a External HDD with it's own power supply.. because a hard drive that plugs into the USB may not work properly.. however I currently have a 2.5" IDE Hard drive in a case that plugs into the USB.. (Lap Top Hard drive) and it works beautifully.. so if you have a spare 2.5" Hard Drive lying around.. just get a case... and plug it in.. it should work fine..
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2014
Edition: 8GB Basic - White
We have been Wii owners for the last 7 or so years and I had actually decided to buy a PS4 or Xbox One this christmas. On examining the launch titles for PS4 and Xbox I realized that I would be purchasing them for myself. There really was very few titles that I would like my children to play. So I decided to go for the Wii U despite the mixed review. So whats it like?... Frankly I love it and have had a lot of fun hours with my son this christmas playing Skylanders and Rayman. We can still play all the old Wii titles which is nice because there is still a lot of play value in our old collection. My wife and I are using Wii fit U and have gotten a fit meter each. It is actually very motivating towards being more active.
Another thing about the console which I like very much is the amount of peripherals that can be plugged in. Our current setup includes the Wii U gamepad, 2 Wii remotes plus with Nunchucks, the balance board and 2 fit meters. It does make interacting with the system much more varied and interesting.
I think it's a fantastic product and that it is also cheap, noiseless and pretty makes it a mystery to me why it doesn't sell better.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2013
Edition: 8GB Basic - WhiteVerified Purchase
Seriously Wii U really put a lot of time and craftsmanship into this machine. It does WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY more then the xbox one and the ps4. It's hard to fathom because the wii wasn't a huge hit(sadly , just because it didn't come with hdmi) but it is to me the most impressive and essential system to own. In other words, I'm sold on the Wii U, I want to by there next console whenever it comes, no longer into xbox or ps4......besides, the only fun i had on xbox was whn i played halo4...that was it...and whenever friends were online.
The main reason i chose to buy the Wii U was because I work out on the Wii Fit Plus and ended up loosing 20 lbs my frist 2 months. I heard about there being a Wii Fit U and so I jumped on this immediately, not to mention the mario games look like really fun and joyful to play, AND i ordered me the new COD Ghost.....and the wii classis controler just looked sick so i had to buy that too lol.

Nintendo has my loyalty!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2014
Edition: 8GB Basic - White
Everyone has meticulously detailed the contents, so my review will focus on my experience as a consumer and gamer with the Wii U. I've been playing video games for over 25 years now. I've owned just about every console that's ever been released, and have a broad experience to judge from an objective standpoint. With that said, I am really satisfied with the Wii U. If you're an avid gamer and have chosen an allegiance to one console, I implore you to consider broadening your gaming horizons, and here's why...

Nintendo has been making video games for a long time. Most modern gamers are only familiar with Nintendo's older, retro games of the 8 and 16 bit eras, or the Wii and DS from last generation. The Wii was a popular console, and thrived off pick-up-and-play games that required little skill to master. The Wii U, however, is a return to form in many respects. In case you didn't know, you buy a Nintendo console for one reason- Nintendo's own first party games. You won't find many modern mega budget western AAA games (like Grand Theft Auto) on a Nintendo console. What you will find, however, is a mother load of excellent, high quality Nintendo exclusives that cannot be found on any other gaming device. The games make the system, and Wii U is holding them in spades.

Games like Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, New Super Mario Bros U, Pikmin 3, Wonderful 101, the almighty Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Rayman Legends, Super Mario 3D World, Zelda Windwaker HD, Pushmo World, Lego City Undercover, Sonic Racing Transformed, Mario Kart 8, Wii Sports Club (an HD, online remake of the ever-so-popular Wii game that started it all), Sonic Lost World, Bayonetta 2, Smash Bros, Hyrule Warriors, Sonic Boom and Captain Toad are all games you will have access to if you own a Wii U. And next year is looking even better, with Yoshi's Wooly World, Mario Party 10, Xenoblade X, Splatoon, Star Fox, Zelda U, Kirby Rainbow Curse, Mario Maker (first ever level creator for Mario), Devil's Third and a Shin Megami Tensei crossover with Fire Emblem.

There are still a few AAA games on Wii U, just for good measure. A number of classics were ported including Assassin's Creed 3 and 4, Batman Arkham City and Origins, Call of Duty Black Ops 2 and Ghosts, Splinter Cell Blacklist, Deus Ex Human Revolution, Resident Evil Revelations and the blockbuster Watch Dogs releases Nov 18.

The Wii U also hosts a "Virtual Console", a digital selection on the eShop of classic retro games from the NES, SNES, Gameboy Advance and other platforms to follow in the near future, including DS games (made possible by the 2nd screen on the Gamepad). You'll find titles such as Super Mario Bros 3 and Super Mario World, Super Metroid, Street Fighter 2 Turbo, F-Zero, Zelda Link to the Past, Mega Man 1-7 and Mega Man X through X3, and many others too numerous to list. The system is also backwards compatible with the Wii, allowing you to play any gems you missed last generation like Xenoblade Chronicles, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Zelda Skyward Sword and Super Mario Galaxy- all some of the highest rated games of the last decade.

As for the console itself, it's fantastic. Nintendo hardware is notoriously built to last a lifetime, and you should expect nothing less with the Wii U. The gamepad is an excellent addition, offering off-TV play on every game in the library, as well as dual screen mechanics in many games. You'll hit a golf ball with a Wiimote off the gamepad screen on the floor into the fairway on the TV, you'll solve dual screen puzzles, you'll fly through space on the TV while simultaneously warding off intruders inside your space ship on the gamepad screen, you'll free up TV screen real estate by having maps and inventories on the 2nd screen while you play, you'll race against somebody and each have your own screen while you play... You get the idea.

I will say this- sometimes, in certain games, you may find yourself not using the second screen. In instances such as these, you may find yourself wanting to use a smaller, more traditional controller. Well, fear not because most games are compatible with the Wiimote/Nunchuk, or at the very least the new Wii U Pro Controller (which rivals the Xbox controller IMO and gets around 80 hours battery life btw). The upcoming Smash Bros game will even let you use old Classic Wii Pro Controllers, or even a 3DS handheld for a controller if you like!

Gaming his changed a lot over the last 15 years. The majority of third-party games are now mega blockbusters focusing on realism and mature content. These games can be fun, but there's so much more out there than just that. I own a PS4 and an Xbox One, and they're great consoles, but my Wii U sees more playtime than either of them, and there's a reason for that. The console doesn't see nearly as many total games released every year, but the ones it does get makes it count. The online is still free, and external hard drives are supported. I really have nothing bad to say about the Wii U. I'm totally satisfied as a gamer with this console.

The best part about the system though, besides the games, is Miiverse. It's like an integrated social site for Wii U owners, like a mix between Facebook and Twitter but with gaming communities. Post screenshots, even YouTube videos in Mario Kart 8, post, comment, ask for help, draw pictures, etc. Miiverse is the central online hub for gamers to interact, and I'm rather surprised that neither of the other two console have anything similar. It's a great addition, and very addictive. I find myself posting screenshots every time I play now.

That's not to say the Wii U is perfect. Apps on the menu load slower than say, apps on the PS4 do, and there isn't any system-level in-game chat feature (though most online games have chat built in, and there is a video chat app that can be used while not playing games). The system is also region locked, so do take note of that if you plan on importing games. Western third-party support is rather slim, but again, for every Western AAA title you won't see, you'll have a Pikmin, or Mario Kart, or Donkey Kong Country, or Smash Bros, etc. Games you'll still be playing a year from now, 5 years from now... That's the mark of a truly great game.

I recommend this console to anyone who likes fun video games. I would be surprised, no, I would be AMAZED if anyone reading this does not genuinely have fun playing the Wii U. You'd have to hate video games to not like this console.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2013
Edition: 8GB Basic - WhiteVerified Purchase
Much more appropriate for my 5 year old than an Xbox which is all about how much blood and guts they can fit in.
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