70

A promising console that's still half-baked

70

Nintendo promised consumers a modern HD gaming console, and the Wii U delivers on that promise ... in some respects. Games look gorgeous (HD Mario!); the risky controller is another successful control innovation; and there's a ton of promise on the horizon. But there are also some major missteps and half-baked ideas: a befuddling Friends List/Miiverse connection, a complete lack of many system-wide console standards (group chat, achievements, the ability to play non-game disc-based media) and a game controller that lasts only 3.5 hours.

It's for these myriad reasons that we can't suggest buying Nintendo's Wii U just yet. It's a complex, innovative console that feels a few months short of prime time -- what's there is compelling, but its novelty will likely wear off with folks used to their consoles doubling as media centers; Nintendo promises its TVii functionality will launch next month, which could change this equation dramatically. For now, it won't hurt to wait a month or two until the stocks replenish and Nintendo finishes its launch.

Buy It:

$300.00

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Critic reviews

7.8
26 reviews
  • Game library
    7.2
  • Graphics
    7.6
  • Controller(s)
    7.5
  • Design and form factor
    7.9
  • Other features (media, online, etc.)
    7.4
  • Noise
    7.8

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User reviews

8.4
39 reviews
7.0
Engadget Nov 18, 2012

Nintendo promised consumers a modern HD gaming console, and the Wii U -- what's there of it thus far -- delivers on that promise. Games look gorgeous (HD Mario!), the risky controller is another successful control innovation and there's a ton of promise on the horizon.

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8.0
Joystiq Nov 18, 2012

The GamePad, even if it doesn't feel like the linear progression of game console technology we'd expect, does feel like a futuristic leap. It's rooted in classic experiences, but adds weird new possibilities. Nintendo has always excelled in taking unexpected steps, and this is one of them.

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8.0
Ars Technica Nov 18, 2012

Svelte hardware design is much smaller than competing systems. HD graphics are easily the equal of the Xbox 360 and PS3. GamePad is comfortable, sturdily built, and not too heavy. Large touchscreen looks better than its low resolution would suggest.

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8.0
PC Mag Jan 4, 2013

The Wii U, Nintendo's first step into high-definition gaming, is an ambitious console that's brimming with potential, even if that potential hasn't quite been realized yet.

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7.0
CNET Nov 17, 2012

In almost every other department, save for what Nintendo TVii is supposed to provide, the other consoles on the market have the Wii U beat: network and offline media playback, diversity of streaming services, exclusive games, and speedy operating systems.

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7.0
Gizmodo Nov 18, 2012

While technologically, the Wii U sort of feels like the step you'd take before you get to motion controls in the Wii, that doesn't mean it doesn't totally fit into Nintendo's ethos of interaction. It's fun. It's something your family will enjoy using.

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7.0
AllThingsD Nov 20, 2012

Nintendo deserves credit for creativity. But like a player who can’t seem to get through a difficult level in a videogame, the Wii U’s faults hold it back from success.

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9.0
Kotaku Jul 8, 2014

We are recommending the Wii U in the present. We are recommending the console of surprise feature-adding Pikmin 3 patches...the console of the wonderfully weird and eminently crowd-pleasing Nintendo Land ... Do we finally feel like the system has hit its stride? Yes.

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8.0
ABC News Nov 18, 2012

Wii U has major potential and if Nintendo plays their cards right, the system can become a major player, especially once the media capabilities and game options are fully stocked. The second-generation Wii might not be as game-changing as the orginal, but it certainly is a lot of fun to play with.

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8.0
Time Nov 18, 2012

Unless Microsoft or Sony have more than burlier hardware up their sleeves, and assuming third-party developers can match Nintendo’s skill utilizing the second screen, the Wii U already has a lock on the future of big-idea gaming.

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8.0
Pocket-Lint Nov 30, 2012

Would we buy a Wii U? Yes, definitely - if only to play Mario, ZombiU and some of the expected future titles. Would a Wii U replace an established PS3 or Xbox 360? No, probably not.

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8.0
The Guardian Dec 1, 2012

The Wii U is not a perfect console...If Nintendo can iron out the wrinkles, there's no reason it can't be another massive success.

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7.0
Eurogamer Nov 19, 2012

What's more, the quality of these unique, untouchable games will only get better as the Wii U matures. Nintendo is the Pixar of video games, and despite the odds stacked against the console, for many prospective buyers, that in itself will be more than enough.

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7.0
Kotaku Nov 18, 2012

Having played a batches of games on the Wii U and having had the system in my home for nearly a week, I can confirm that it is a good machine that makes one's console gaming life surprisingly more convenient and luxurious. I just can't tell you that you have to have one now.

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9.0
Chicago Tribune Nov 20, 2012

The Wii U does prove one point that all tech developers and game designers should heed: Smart devices are nice, but ones that connect are better.

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8.0
T3 Nov 16, 2012

The Wii U once again sees Nintendo plotting its own course and the results are as unique as they are satisfying.

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8.0
Digital Versus Dec 7, 2012

Despite huge improvements since the first Wii, the Wii U may not be a freak of performance, but it has once again innovated the gaming experience with a well-designed, well-thought-out controller that's fun to use. The touchscreen brings a new dimension to the concept of gaming.

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8.0
Boys' Life Feb 22, 2013

The Wii U takes some getting used to. You want it to be an easier experience, especially with the more complex games. And yet you’re happy to have a new console ... You’ll be rewarded by putting in the time to learn — even though it’s kind of a pain.

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10
Expert Reviews Dec 20, 2012

It may not have the same wow factor as the original Wii, but the Wii U represents a matured take on home consoles that we’ve never seen before from Nintendo, both in its approach to online gaming and its hardware design.

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9.0
Business Insider Jan 25, 2013

So if games are more about escapism for you, the Wii U is a great fit. If you'd rather get bogged down in the minutiae of hardware specs and pixel count, look somewhere else. Fun is probably a bit of an alien concept to you anyway.

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8.0
NY Daily News Nov 19, 2012

Unless you need to play New Super Mario Bros. U right now, you don’t need a Wii U. But it’s hardly the worst thing to find under your Christmas tree.

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8.0
The Inquirer Jan 29, 2013

We're very impressed with the Nintendo Wii U. As with the Wii before it, Nintendo has bet big on innovations in gameplay rather than hardware.

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7.0
USA Today Nov 18, 2012

Whether the Wii U reaches the incredible heights of its predecessor remains to be seen ... Until we see Nintendo Network fully functioning with the TVii service and additional games that take advantage of the GamePad, it's hard to say whether Wii U recaptures the console magic.

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9.0
Trader Trader

Great Nintendo Quality, with a decent launch lineup. Nintendo Land shows how amazing the new GamePad Controller is. Should be even more amazing as soon as new games come out in 2013 and new features are in place.

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