Wii U Launch Guide
Wii U Basic Set With 8GB: $299.99
Wii U Deluxe Set With 32GB: $349.99
What It Is
The Wii U is the successor to the Wii, featuring HD graphics, a touchpad controller, and a suped up processor. There are two versions of the Wii U available: one with 8GB of flash memory, and one with 32GB, but both come with the GamePad and are compatible with your existing WiiMotes. While the new Wii U offers HD graphics, it does offer backwards compatibility with your old Wii games in standard definition. Although you will be able to play Wii titles, the machine doesn't have the ability to up the resolution to HD.
The Wii U GamePad is the console's touchpad controller that you can control with either your finger or a stylus. Like the Nintendo DS, the stylus is preferred for gameplay, but for menues and other functionality, you can work with just your hands. The GamePad also has a player-facing camera, a microphone, a d-pad, triggers, and two thumbsticks. While you can use the GamePad to play all the new Wii U games, you can also use it as a universal remote for your television, which Nintendo hopes will prompt you to make it the center of your living room entertainment setup. The Wii U also offers a Pro Controller, similar to that of the Xbox 360 and PS3, with a more traditional control scheme.
Notable Launch Titles
The Wii U offers an impressive slate of games, including Nintendo-specific content, as well as many big name remakes for the new system. The stand outs are NintendoLand (the game that comes with the system), New Super Mario Bros. U, Rabbids Land, Assassin's Creed 3, Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Transformers: Prime, and Mass Effect 3: Special Edition.
With the GamePad, and the ability to control your TV and play games at the same time or independently, Nintendo is taking aim at the home entertainment marketplace in a big way. The Wii U offers a variety of online functionality to make it a real contender for being your one-stop-shop for TV, Internet, Movies, Games, and TV.
MiiVerse: MiiVerse is a built-in Nintendo social network that allows you to connect with friends, see what they're playing, and interact with other Wii U owners in your area. There's a news feed, just like Facebook, and there are also communities that are focused on specific games, allowing you to connect with others who share your passions.
Streaming Video Options: The Wii U comes equipped with Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant Video.
Games: The Nintendo eShop is available for downloadable titles.
TV Options: In addition to Netflix, Hulu Plus, and other outside apps, the Wii U also offers Nintendo TVii. TVii was supposed to be a feature available at launch, but it has been pushed back until December. When it's available, however, it promises to offer a mash up of DVR functionality, live TV, and streaming video services, allowing you to manipulate and combine different features to watch what you want, when you want to.
The Wii U is an impressive system, even if it is playing catch up to its big brothers the PS3 and Xbox 360. For Nintendo fans, it definitely represents a step in the right direction, but not without some set backs. Despite an impressive launch slate and online functionality, the thing that will really set is apart from the crowd -- TVii -- has been pushed back. The Wii U does have a better processor, but the console seems sluggish. Long load times for menus, apps, and games seem out of place for a new piece of hardware; however, this family-friendly option has a lot to offer a new generation of Nintendo fans.
See It In Action