10 Things About The WII U That We're Loving Or Hating

We're playing the Wii U here at Kotaku. We've got this new Nitnendo console. And as we play, we're scribbling down a lot of thoughts, big and small, pro and con.

We thought we'd just start keeping a running list of them. That's what you'll get here, with links to our larger impressions pieces. Check back later. We'll have more (and will mark any updates clearly for repeat readers).

  1. Love. Playing on Two Screens: It can sometimes be confusing. Mock me all you want, but I am sure that new Wii U players will, like me, sometimes look at the wrong screen. But as you get the feel for it, it's really quite refreshing to have a secondary view. With some game, that second screen — the one in your GamePad controller — simply duplicates the visuals on your TV and lets you decide whether it's more comfortable to look at the TV or down at your hands. But It already am really enjoying the added map and inventory views I can get on the GamePad in single-player games. And multiplayer games that let one player do one thing on a GamePad while others do stuff on the TV feel very good: they free up TV screen real estate; they allow for different types of control inputs and interactions to influence one game (you tap out some blocks on your screen and I'll use a controller to make Mario jump on them on mine, for example). This is not just DS gaming super-sized. It's something different that feels like it's brimming with potential.
  2. Love. Not Having To Play Console Games on a TV: Who knew we wanted this? Sony? Apple? Nintendo's delivering nicely here. Our Jason Schreier's loving it. I've already figured out how this will let me play console games in rooms I don't have a TV in.
  3. Love. The Length of the Cords: Seriously. The Wii U GamePad charge cord and the charge cord for the Pro Controller both easily reach from my wall or console to my couch. Eight-foot cords! I think I'll be using that Pro Controller cord on my PS3 the next time my DualShock is running low on juice.
  4. Hate. Too Many Sockets Required: Plugging the Wii U in is no big tragedy. The thing needs electricity. Plugging the GamePad's charge cable into the wall separately? Annoying, especially considering that the GamePad needs a re-charge after or even during long sessions of play. Two sockets aren't enough for the Wii U, though. The system will support external USB drives for added storage. If those have to be powered drives (I'm honestly not sure), then there goes socket number three. Ugh.
  5. Hate. The Nagging: Because you didn't demand it... Wii U games, like Wii games, will sometimes suggest that you take a break. Just to rest the eyes and breathe fresh air, I guess. Nice try, Nintendo. It didn't work last time, either.
  6. Hate. Now You're Consuming Too Much Power: I keep looking for a Wii U game that will let me turn off the screen on the GamePad to save power. Just let me turn off those nifty second-screen options if my battery light is blinking, please? I haven't found one yet.
  7. Love. Nintendo Graphics in HD: The launch game Nintendo Land is essentially set in a theme park where Mii characters dress up as Mario, Samus or other Nintendo heroes. High-definition graphics help sell that concept by letting you actually see the seams of these costumes, and even the LittleBigPlanet-esque stageplay prop aesthetic of the virtual playing fields. The Zelda game looks like it is being played in a world that was sewn together; the Balloon Fight game looks like it's been crafted with curtains. This is a lovely development for those of us who already loved the standard-def artistry in the Wii's Kirby's Epic Yarn.
  8. Love. New Super Mario Bros. U's Boost Rush Mode: Our video editor is smitten.
  9. Love. Teeny-tiny Good Game Design Ideas: Hey, this Zelda co-op game in Nintendo Land is hard to solo. I keep getting the hearts beaten out of me. But look at that skull on the ground. That's wasn't there last time. I'm going to shoot at it. It gave me a heart! That's nice. Later... the game is loading up a new Zelda level and it's mentioning something about those skulls which — oh! — they show up where I last died in the level. So they were my skull. I was scavenging my corpse. What is this, Demon's Souls? Great idea.
  10. Love. Different Instruments From Different Speakers: I'm going to need Kotaku music expert Kirk Hamilton to test this but I could swear that some of the nifty Wii U music I've been hearing this week plays in concert across my TV speakers and the speakers on the GamePad with different instruments playing out of the different speakers. For example, I think one piece I heard put its violins on the GamePad. Most of the rest of the instruments were playing from the TV. If my ears weren't deceiving me, that's really cool.

Note: There's plenty more to say and we will add to this as we keep playing. Please be aware that there are some things we simply can't write about yet. Some of the launch games we have are embargoed by their publishers until closer to launch day, meaning we can play them but not cover them yet. Some of the Wii U's basic functionality, such as MiiVerse or Wii backwards compatibility has not yet been activated by Nintendo. So there will be more loving and hating to be done. You'll also begin to see reviews from us starting November 15 with a full hardware review on launch day, November 18.


    Super Mario 3D Land told me to take breaks and stop playing.

    So I did. And I stepped back and realised how crummy the game was. And I've never bought a Mario 3DS game since.

    Good work Nintendo!

      Never played it but I thought this game was pretty well regarded?

        Yeah, but it's very, very easy and you can finish the game in about 3 hours.

          You can do the game four times to unlock a bonus level, and I got halfway through before realising I was an idiot.

            Ohh I see. Dont have a 3DS but always thought I would get this if I ever purchased one.

        it is a good game... just a lil easy... reminds me of mario 64 (which is still in my opinion the best 3d mario game ever made)

          ummm i guess you all dont know about the extra levels and the fact that you need to get all coins for even more levels?? it gets hard...quite hard. Plus the level design is second to none. What are you all talking about?

          talk about hard to please. best mario game since mario64

            Agreed, it's easy to get through the levels but hard to get three stars in them. That's where the challenge is.

    Hate: 5 years too late. Bring on Playstation 4!


      It's more powerfull than current gen. And if you think the ps4 will be miles ahead of wii u than do some reasearch because it won't be that much of a graphical leap like this generation of consoles were.

    Really? The Controller charger doesnt plug into the Wii U?
    What a pain. With such a massive brick as it has on the cable, don't tell me it's too hard to suck in some more power.

      Actually it's kind of a good thing. Wii U's plugged into the power mess over under/behind the TV. You're sitting across the room on the lounge, with the Pad plugged into the wall next to you. Cable's just going over the armrest out of the way instead of pulling across the floor then getting tripped over when someone walks past.

        Yeah this was what I was thinking. Definitely suits me.

          Yup. That was my thinking too. I'm happy with that

        That makes a lot of sense, I didn't think of it that way :D

    I got to play the WiiU on Monday and something that I'm really wondering with Nintendo Land is if you can select the number of players you wish to play with? The demos Nintendo had setup didn't allow you too, but I'm praying this is just for the demos. Can kotaku confirm if you are able to choose 1 or 2 players + for all the games? or are they locked for each one?

      It would be pretty bad if they didn't. But aren't some of the games actually designed to be single player only?

        I know some like the Donkey Kong one are meant to be single player and that's cool, just at the event everything had locked amount of players, I notice in this article he speaks of the Zelda one being single player which wasn't even an option in the demo so it gives me hope! Just trying to find out how many players each game can have 1 to 5 etc.


          This does not actually say right out how many players for each game there is, bu the descriptions can give a vague idea at least.

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