back to article Nintendo Wii U Review

Six years ago Nintendo brought gaming to the masses with the Wii, now it’s hoping to repeat the trick. The Wii U signals not only Nintendo’s first foray into HD, but the arrival of a new peripheral for us to get to grips with in the shape of the Wii U GamePad and its ‘asymmetric’ gameplay. Wii U Playing the field: Nintendo's …


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  1. Stumpy

    80% ???

    From reading the review, it seems that there are many more negative points being raised than positive ones, so how on earth is this worth an 80% score?

    From the review I'd have expected no more than 65%

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: 80% ???

      Because it's Nintendy, and everyone loves them, they can get away with all sorts, compared to those evil people at Sony that took away OtherOS and inflicted rootkits on the world...

      1. asdf

        Re: 80% ???

        Funny hearing Barry accusing others of brand rubbishing when he is one of the worst on here. Hey Barry who long since you last mentioned MS Bob or the Kin?

    2. Dazed & Confused

      Re: 80% ???

      It's not about the number of points, it's about their weighting.

      This is not a hardcore gaming machine - to 99% of this console's target market the lack of 5.1 surround on 2D Mario is not going to be an equal negative to, say, the positive of playing on the pad while the TV is in use.

      I've had almost every console since the Megadrive, and the Wii has been a storming success with various members of my family who have never even uttered the word 'graphics'. This is the target market, and I know they will love the gamepad, the ergonomics, the style of games, etc.

  2. Citizen Kaned

    "No Dolby support and no optical output means that, unless your set-up supports LPCM 5.1 via a HD cable, you can forget about hooking the Wii U up to your surround sound system"

    so, any HDMI amp will be fine then? :)

    not that im interested. this is basically a slightly more powerful version of consoles that will be updated very soon. so it will be 6 years out of date in a year.

    i like the idea of the secondary screen though. i wonder if sony will allow people to use a vita in the same way?

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      i wonder if sony will allow people to use a vita in the same way?

      They certainly have plans for that. But MS have a better plan, allowing touch screen phones to take the place of the game pad. Neither option has the "100% of the installed base" guarantee that you get with a wii U and pad. Still, if wii U is a success expect ps4 and 720 to get a pad controller about one year into their respective lives. And hope they don't go the way of Kinect and Move....

      1. Citizen Kaned

        Re: i wonder if sony will allow people to use a vita in the same way?

        move is pretty decent for FPS and stuff like that. not as good as mouse but way better than console pad. pity not many devs make use of it.

        1. monkeyfish

          Re: i wonder if sony will allow people to use a vita in the same way?

          That's where nintendo have the advantage, all of wii U's customers will have the interface, so games will be made to use it. It's pretty rare that a later addition, or one that gets tacked on with another device later, ever makes it into the mainstream (light guns anyone?). Nintendo tried it before with the Gamecube/GBA, but the one game that properly supported it (Zelda four swords) required 5 consoles, 4 link leads, and IIRC 5 game copies to use it! The only notable exception I can think of is the PSX/PSone analogue pad, everyone and his dog bought one of those, so games were made exclusively for it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Consoles are losing their lustre for me

            Vita already does this, and of course has the avantage, that when the Vita is out of range of the PS3, it's a fine standalone console.

            You can already buy games that come with both versions at no extra cost, and allow you to take the game on the road with you, and then continue it at home. It uses the PS3's cloud storage functionality.

            1. asdf

              Re: Consoles are losing their lustre for me

              >You can already buy games that come with both versions at no extra cost, and allow you to take the game on the road with you, and then continue it at home.

              For as long as you will be able to buy games for the Velveeta. Considering that it barely sells more units than its largely obsolete predecessor that might not be for much longer (Sega Dreamcast anyone).

      2. 1Rafayal

        Re: i wonder if sony will allow people to use a vita in the same way?


        I think there is already some support for additional screens with the 360. I think there is an app you can install on your tablet or smartphone that allows you to use it as a secondary screen for some games. Forza Horizon is one that supports this, I think.

      3. Chet Mannly

        Re: i wonder if sony will allow people to use a vita in the same way?

        "MS have a better plan, allowing touch screen phones to take the place of the game pad."

        Yup, that's a better plan IMHO. Go to a party and instead of having to buy 4 controllers, everyone just downloads an app and joins in. Better for users, but MS may miss out on some accessory sales.

        Assuming the MS app is free of course, I haven't checked...

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      "i like the idea of the secondary screen though. i wonder if sony will allow people to use a vita in the same way?"

      The PSP could be used for remote play and video / music with the PS3. The main limitation was that since it had only one nub there weren't a huge number of games which explicitly supported it. I suppose the Vita could act as a full controller so maybe it could remote play any game with some firmware support.

      I wouldn't be surprised if Sony has a lot of patents on the remote play and if Nintendo has licenced them.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I wonder if the new powerful consoles will be huge, noisy, run hot and consume 5 times the power of the Wii U?

      Many people these days will consider that sort of hardware to be out of date.

      My guess is, the others will compromise. Expect a massive price tag if they go for mega power (which is what the whingers seem to want). The Wii U is the same price as the SNES and N64 with inflation.

  3. Ojustaboo

    Will be interesting to see how this does in todays climate.

    Most people I know that bought the Wii that already owned other consoles, found it to be a 5 min wonder. Very few ended up buying more than one or two more games for it.

    Most of those that liked the Wii were the more casual gamer but even then, many I know have only bought a handful of games or use just just for Wii Fit etc.

    But that was then. Now most people have powerful phones or tablets. Since the day I first got my iphone (then android tablet, then ipad) my PSP and DS have never been turned on as there's simply no need for them.

    Most of the people that found the Wii to be a 5 min wonder are hardly likely to buy the Wii U (which is the vast majority of Wii owners I know).

    Many of the casual gamers that fell in love with the Wii now enjoy things like facebook type games just as much and I doubt that many will be in a rush to have the next gen Wii

    I could be wrong (have been many times before).

    1. CCCP

      Not wrong...

      Just not representative of all. In our house I'd say Wii gets the least game use compared to 360, iPad or iPods. However, it does get used regularly for dance, tennis and balance games, i.e. the stuff our other platforms can't do.

      I avoid the Wii board like the bloody plague as it just keeps reminding me how porky I am. Damn thing.

      I can't see us getting a Wii U soon. There's enough clobber with Wii remotes/nunchuks/wheels/board etc

    2. Obvious Robert

      The Wii is still used daily here. Maybe you just don't share a house with a 9 year old Mario/Zelda obsessive ;-)

  4. Robert Grant Silver badge


    I think I missed half of the review. This seems to basically be a rundown of the hardware features, which you could've done the day it came out, or even from a hardware preview. Any experiences of actually playing asymmetrically (quotation marks not needed)? Or really of playing anything at all? Other than the sound technology the games use?

    1. trashbat

      Re: Er

      I still don't know what asymmetric gameplay is. I could guess, but I could guess whether it's any good or not and then guess a percentage to give it at the end.

  5. Rawling

    'Asymmetric gameplay', anyone?

    Or "asynchronous" gameplay, as the Telegraph has it.

  6. MrXavia

    I don't generally play console games, I brought the WII for its innovative controls, at the time it was the only way to really get off the sofa and enjoy a game, and it is great fun with a few mates and beers, or with the kids.. this seems to be moving back towards sitting on the sofa playing games... If I want that I have a quad core phone in my pocket that can play 3D Games with ease wherever I am not just within 5 meters of a box...

    So this is definitely a fail from nintendo for me..

    I am now going to wait for the XBox replacement to come out, hopefully with an improved Kinect as I am quite keen on actually standing and playing a game rather than sitting on my arse, I do that all day at work!

    1. Eponymous Cowherd
      Thumb Up

      Moving backwards

      "I brought the WII for its innovative controls, at the time it was the only way to really get off the sofa and enjoy a game, and it is great fun with a few mates and beers, or with the kids.. this seems to be moving back towards sitting on the sofa playing games..."

      That was, pretty much, my first thoughts on the WiiU.

      I had considered one as an "upgrade" to the Wii, but as it appears that the thing has to be rebooted in some kind of low resolution compatibility mode to play legacy Wii Games there seems little point, and I see little attraction with the Game Pad.

      The original Wii offered something different to the siiting-on-your-arse-twiddling-your-thumbs "traditional" gameplay, which is why people bought into it. This does seem a step backwards and while the Game Pad is different, it doesn't have that "Hey, Wow, want one!!" appeal I felt when I first saw the original Wii in action.

  7. David Gosnell

    Upgrading and compatibility

    Looks promising that they have included a facility to transfer data across. Hopefully that applies to paid purchases as well as saved game data. Shame it looks like compatibility is a bit of a mode-based fudge though - this could have been a real winner if designed so that it was essentially an original Wii with some extra oomph, which could have meant that any title could seamlessly play on any generation device, but with extra features, detail etc enabled on the U. With consoles typically sold as loss leaders, that could have played very nicely into the hands of Nintendo, and ease across a customer base that might take a little bit of persuading to make the jump otherwise.

  8. jnewco81

    I have a feeling that this is going to tank. I hope i'm wrong.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " a thrill for those who have yet to experience the joys of, say, an iPad"

    Joy of an iPad.

    You need to get out more and maybe open your eyes!

    1. Dana W

      Because the millions of people who enjoy them are strictly figments of your imagination?

  10. Lloyd

    As we wave a fond farewell to Nintendo

    When no one buys this console and they inevitably get swallowed up by another manufacturer (probably Sony). It's a shame, they've made some brilliant consoles but this just smacks of desperation.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: As we wave a fond farewell to Nintendo

      Did you just copy that from a six year old wii thread? Sounds familiar...

      1. Lloyd

        Re: As we wave a fond farewell to Nintendo

        Nope, I thought the wii was innovative but the wii-u brings nothing new to the table.

        1. sabroni Silver badge

          Re: As we wave a fond farewell to Nintendo

          The tablet controller is new..

        2. Chet Mannly

          Re: As we wave a fond farewell to Nintendo

          "Nope, I thought the wii was innovative but the wii-u brings nothing new to the table."

          As a fan of the motion controllers, I'd argue wii-u brings less to the table.

          The motion controllers were the key innovation in the wii, hard to understand why they got rid of them...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: As we wave a fond farewell to Nintendo

            "The motion controllers were the key innovation in the wii, hard to understand why they got rid of them..." the Wii U still uses the same motion controllers as before, they've not gone anywhere.

            This is an upgraded Wii U, with a new funky controller, PS4 will be a better PS3, XBox 720 will be a better XBOX. Is anyone expecting anything else from this generation of consoles?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    question, does the UK version of the Wii U require the oversized day-one patch? Or did Nintendo have the time to pre-patch the UK version (or include a disc with the patch in the box)?

    Regarding the processor speed, the article indicate that it is 3GHz. To my knowledge Nintendo never released the processor details, the closets we have to the processor details is some twitter posts by a hardware hackers who put the speed at 1.2GHz, and the GPU speed at 580MHz.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Pre-Patch Download

      Yes its needs a massive patch, this is a real fail for Nintendo mine took a couple of hours :( though that could be VMedia on a Friday night though....

      Love it so far otherwise, (Got the wife to play/help with Mario Bros. so thats a first!)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I may be wrong, but I think I read somewhere that Nintendo only need to sell one game title per Wii U to break even. I think they'll probably survive. As for me, I'll wait and see what the other consoles are like. Within the next year we'll see an XBOX, a Playstation, an OUYA and maybe even something from Valve.

    Interesting times.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      I'm surprised they even need 1 game to break even.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        re: I'm surprised they even need 1 game to break even.

        I think they're scared of another 3DS price drop debacle so they're actually selling wii Us at just under cost. Whether that'll save from having to drop the price is another matter...

  13. Robert E A Harvey
    Thumb Up


    The teardown looks interesting. Lots of straightforward components and connectors, nothing state-of-the-art, simple box construction. Low cost high volume = happy happy. Probably pretty reliable too.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Probably pretty reliable too.

      They are renowned for it, comes with being kid friendly I guess. My launch wii is still running fine, and before all the haters chip it yes it has been used pretty much continuously since I bought it! Had to get a lens cleaner so it'd play Sakura Wars a few years ago (it's dual layer) but apart from that it's a rock solid piece of kit.

      Be interesting to see if 720 and ps4 learn from their predecessor's teething problems and are similarly robust...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Probably pretty reliable too.

        My launch 60GB PS3 is still perfect and is 100% bang upto date after 6 years. Not sure what PS3 teething problems you refer to...

        It's the best money I have spend on ANY gadget. It's used every single night of the week, for either Blu-Ray, movie streaming, gaming, Loveflim or iPlayer.

        1. sabroni Silver badge

          Re: Probably pretty reliable too.

          Google YLOD. It's not the massive problem MS had with the 360 but some users did experience issues with early ps3s.

  14. MartinB105

    I paid £199 for the premium

    "Suggested Price: £260 (basic) £310 (premium)"

    I paid £199 for the premium on Amazon.

    I got lucky and happened to hit the site during a pricing error in mid-September. The error was fixed literally minutes later when my friend tried to order one at that price. I half expected them to cancel it, but my order dispatched yesterday and it should be arriving tomorrow. :)

    I would not have paid £310 for the Wii U (or £260 for the basic for that matter), but I do enjoy some Nintendo franchises.

  15. jason 7

    The future?

    Collecting dust under the TV by February like most Wii's.

  16. DrXym Silver badge

    They do this every time

    Mutton dressed as lamb with a high price and some gimmick. You'd think people would get the message to at least wait until the second iteration comes along to resolve the design issues, but no.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: They do this every time

      So when was the second iteration of the wii released? And what exactly were the design issues? Or is wii U the second iteration and your post more confused than I give you credit for?

  17. Great Bu

    Missed the boat ?

    My elderly PS3 has on-board storage (160 Gb - not much, but quite a bit better than 8 Gb...), supports BD, DVD and optical 5.1 output, HD video and allowed me to get rid of all the other boxes under the telly except for the Sky box ( content streamer for networked stuff, DVD player et al) and play games too.

    Why would I replace it with a Wii U when I could just go and buy an actual iPad for the same money ? Is assymetric gameplay worth that ? I haven't tried it but I struggle to see how it could be all that good.

    1. JaimieV

      Re: Missed the boat ?

      "Replace"? You might choose to *supplement* your existing setup with a Wii U if there are games for it that you want to play.

      I'll get one when Pikmin 3 comes out next summer or so, I expect.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Missed the boat ?

      Your PS3 actually supports 7.1 audio.... And BD, and one of the best DVD upscalers on the market, and the latest 3D and HDMI specs...

      All amazing considering it's over 5 years old... Just shows how antiquated the 360, Wii and Wii-U really are.

      Have they got the Wii-U playing DVD's even yet?

  18. MacroRodent Silver badge


    Funny you did not mention whether it runs old Wii games, and how well. A year of Wii ownership together with a 6-year old kid has resulted in a surprising number of titles in our household. And what about old Wii peripherals like the balance board?

    1. JaimieV

      Re: Compatible?

      It runs existing Wii games perfectly, apparently.

      There are moves afoot to let you move your existing Wii download/VC/Wii content over to it too.

      But if you just want a Wii, get one - they're a third of the price of a Wii U (and will also play Gamecube games if you get the older, squarer model).

    2. Eponymous Cowherd

      Re: Compatible?

      It IS compatible with original Wii games, but has to run in a compatibility mode.

      So the old Wii games will look exactly like they did on the Wii, which is a real shame.

  19. Leona A

    whats the point?

    I failed to see the point of this when it was announced and I'm non the wiser now, I have the original Wii and do not see the point to the new one, I thought they would do more with motion control, since they started the whole thing. But we've gone from bouncing around the room, to sitting on one's ass with a tablet, I think its going backwards, sorry, no sale.

  20. Mike Brown

    i hope this is reasonably succesful

    but only so the the ps3 and vita can have games that are ported to the wiiu.

    It does seem a strange tho. almsot as if they ran completly out of ideas after the motion controls and in desperation looked at an ipad, and went "aha"!

  21. Lamont Cranston

    Does this have any "media centre" functionality?

    Given that it's not going for the same market as the PS3/Xbox360, it'd be quite nice to be able to use it to stream media off the network, or play DVDs. I've recently persuaded an old Wii to do this, and I cannot for the life of me see why Nintendo didn't enable this "out of the box" - didn't Sony do quite well out trumpeting the PS2/3's DVD/Blu-ray playback abilities?

  22. JustaBod

    What about short or long sighted people?

    I am short sighted so glasses on when looking at TV, look down at the pad and I won't be able to see it properly.

    This will be a problem for those that are long sighted as well.

    This is normally not an issue if looking at pad for information etc as there is time to remove/change glasses, but during a fast paced game - deal breaker for the likes of me.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The GamePad’s screen at 854 x 480 and 158ppi, while not as sharp as the iPad, still looks bright, vibrant and near enough to HD to mean you won’t miss it.

    That's nowhere effing near HD and given you can get better screens on £60 knockoff Chinese Android tablets, it's an utter insult to anyone shelling out 2-300 quid for one of these.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Seems comparable to iPad

      Troll, I know but...

      Also this is the controller for the console, not the whole thing.

  24. SpaMster

    So the basic model dosnt come with a sensor bar so you can use the old Wii controllers with it?

    Can you use the old Wii one with it?

    1. Mark 125


      See title

  25. armyknife

    The 4th Console War

    About time too, we need a new installment of the console wars, the whole apple vs the rest was getting So stale on here. :-)

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it just me...

    ...or does anyone else think that the whole screen-in-the-controller thing is a bit "Yo Dawg"?

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