Nintendo’s Wii U has launched across Europe today, and for once we’re in the same launch-day boat as our readers. While we were supplied with a retail unit some time ago for review purposes, we were under strict instructions not to connect it to the internet until today.
We’re working, of course, on a detailed review of the hardware and its features, to be published next week. Today, however, we thought we’d try something different. Over the course of the day we’ll be updating this story with our impressions, and we’d like yours too. Sign up if you haven’t already, and leave a comment below, on our Facebook page, or through Twitter, and we’ll add the best ones to this story.
To kick off, though, here’s a round-up of all our coverage to date, along with reviews of the key launch titles:
Well, we’re not off to the best of starts: it’s taken us all day to get it connected to the internet. Looks like we’re not the only ones having connectivity problems, either – this Kotaku post suggests it was a widespread issue at the US launch earlier this month. If you’re having problems connecting, you’ll need to manually configure your Wii U’s IP address, default gateway, subnet mask and DNS addresses – the Kotaku link above will tell you how.
On, then, to this firmware update we’ve heard so much about.
And they call this progress.
Nearly there, now. Seems we’re not the only ones having problems. On our Facebook page, Mathieu Lanz writes: “Well, i started by having to manually configure my internet settings because it wasn t working automatically. And now I m doing the gigantic system update. can t wait to play games though…” You and us both, Mathieu.
We’re having a little poke around – and it’s certainly a much more vibrant operating system after the update. Nintendo’s just sent over a few photos from last night’s official midnight launch at HMV on London’s Oxford Street. Have a gallery.
Early impressions are that Nintendo’s GamePad is the finest way to navigate a console operating system yet – more immediate that a controller and less flighty than the Wii Remote’s skittish movement. There are two menus types, one suited to the Wii remote (first image below) and one to the GamePad (second image), but they can be swapped over whenever you like. All of this is let down, though, by the Wii U’s glacial loading times. It takes, for example, 16 seconds to load the eShop from the Wii U menu, and another 16 to quit back out. Loading system settings takes about as long, while the parental control menu shows its face after a comparatively zippy 12.
We’ve become accustomed to the swift loading and navigation of smartphones and tablets, and while it would be unreasonable to expect the same from a console, the Wii U feels slow even compared to the PS3 and Xbox which offer much more immediate feedback. While we’re on the subject of tablets, it’s worth noting the GamePad is far happier, at least when navigating menus, with a stylus than it is your finger – our attempts to utilise our digits resulted in jumpy, staccato movement.
“Wow, you were lucky,” says Over The Distance in response to our firmware update time. “It took me 90 minutes when I got it home this morning! All up and running now. Haven’t looked at any of the system stuff yet really as after 90 minutes of progress bars I just wanted to play some games.”
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