From the word go, I was unsure about the Wii U. I'd heard some of the hype but really, whatís the deal, what is Nintendo trying to achieve?
Directly after unboxing the hardware, my attention was diverted from the actual console straight to the Wii U GamePad. I was presented with a portable device that was to be used alongside the console, and I didnít know what to make of it. I found myself wondering exactly what Iíd be able to do with it, and how it would work.
Weíre given two analogue sticks at the top left and right hand sides of the GamePad, which at first glance I found a bit strange. The main buttons come in the forms of B, Y, X and A, as they have since the SNES. Start and select buttons are just below B, Y, X and A. The directional buttons are located just below the left analogue stick.
On the back of the GamePad, we have R and L as bumpers, ZR and ZL as triggers. Along the bottom we have the power, control and home buttons. Thereís a front-facing camera along the top of the GamePad, but to my surprise, there isnít a camera on the back.
Now that the buttons are out of the way, Iíll explain how the GamePad actually feels. Earlier I said that I found the positioning of the analogue sticks strange. Having them at the top of the pad didnít look logical, maybe thatís because Iím used to the Xbox 360 pad.
When I actually took hold of the GamePad, I realised how very wrong I was. The whole device feels so ergonomic. It sat in my hands perfectly with each finger in the right place. It was then that I realised; hold on, my thumb is up here on the analogue stick. Without moving my hand, how can I press B, Y, or A? (X is in an easy enough position to press without too much trouble).
When I first turned on the Wii U, I was asked to turn on the GamePad and hit the sync button on the console. When Iíd done that, I had to press the sync button on the GamePad which required a pen or something similar because the button was recessed. After hitting both sync buttons, I was given four symbols on the TV (clubs, hearts and spades) which I had to enter on the GamePad. This was my first experience of the touch screen, and I found it to be adequately responsive.
The Wii U GamePad was then ready for use, and I was told to tap the screen to set up my system. The first part of the system setup is to choose your language, closely followed by your country. Youíre then informed that you can now turn off the Wii U console using the power button on the GamePad.
Next comes setting up the date and time. Shortly after setting up the date and time, the display resolution of the TV screen will be changed depending on whether youíre using a HDMI lead or not.
Then you get the option to set up your GamePad as your TV remote (smart, I know). Youíre asked to enter the first letter of the TV manufacturer, then you select the correct one from a list. Next youíre showed some buttons on the touch screen, (volume and input) and youíre asked to test that theyíre working. If they are, you hit confirm and your TV remote is set up.
The sensor bar is the next part of the system setup. Youíre simply asked if itís positioned above or below your TV. We then come to setting up our wireless connection. Select your network, enter your password and confirm. We did a little test here. How far would the GamePad reach if you were to walk away from the TV and the console? If you allowed a direct line of sight to the console, you could reach about ten metres (we couldnít have walked much further and kept a line of sight anyway) before the sound cut out, shortly followed by the GamePad freezing up.
When thatís finished, you create your ĎMiií, just like on the original Wii. When youíve created your Mii, you are given the option to set up parental controls to restrict what children are able to access. After parental controls, youíre presented with your Mii on the TV screen, and a selection of apps on the GamePad, and that concludes your system setup.