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Nintendo Wii U Review

'Asymmetric gameplay', anyone?

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So it's probably easier to judge by the frames per second and resolutions outputted by its games. But then that’s difficult too given that ports of Darksiders 2, Batman: Arkham City and others are just that, ports. Therefore they aren’t necessarily coded to push the Wii U in the way it was designed to be pushed.

At least we should be able to rely on Nintendo to max-out its own hardware yet, for now, that hasn’t happened. No doubt the world will seem a little sunnier the day the first footage of a high definition Legend of Zelda, Star Fox or Mario Galaxy is released. But, so far, how the Wii U’s specs will measure up when PS4 and Xbox ‘nextbox’ appear remains hard to ascertain.

Nintendo Wii U

Five alive
Multiplayer with alternate pads

Sonically there are more questions. 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. If yours does, then lossless sound is your reward, but even then it’s not the whole story.

Some games such as Batman Arkham City, ZombiU, and Black Ops 2 (and note they are all third party titles) support 5.1; but Nintendo Land and Mario Bros. U don't.

I can just about forgive that of a 2D platformer and mini-game collection, but Nintendo must step it up. If a new Zelda launches without 5.1 then what point is there in Nintendo coming to the HD party at all?

Wii U

Put it on the tab

Verdict

There’s no doubt that the Wii U is pushing the boundaries of how users interact with games. Asymmetric gameplay is hopefully here to stay and seeing our Nintendo heroes in HD for the first time is a watershed moment. But then there are those simple design shortfalls too, such as the GamePad's relatively short battery life, the lack of a universally compatible 5.1 option and the absence of Wii upscaling.

What purchasers will receive, however, is the knowledge that they’ll be able to play new Nintendo games for the foreseeable future. And when put like that, £300, or thereabouts, seems a more than reasonable outlay. ®

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Wii U

Nintendo Wii U Review

Nintendo attempts to find a role for consoles in the tablet casual gaming boom - with some success.
Price: £260 (basic) £310 (premium) RRP

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