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Nintendo Wii U review roundup

The Nintendo Wii U launched over the weekend, and while critics generally like the new Nintendo machine, a few key features fall short. 

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As we noted last week, Nintendo is launching the Wii U with traditional fare, such as the new Super Mario game, Super Mario Bros. U. But the bulked-up Wii U is also capable of playing big-budget titles such as Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Assassin's Creed III, both of which are scheduled to hit shelves this week. And that's mostly a good thing, writes Andrew Hayward of TechRadar. 

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"Since multiplatform games take up such a large chunk of the launch lineup, its success depends a lot on perspective," Hayward writes. "If you're upgrading from a Wii, you'll find a large number of fantastic HD experiences that simply weren't possible on that dated hardware. For owners of Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or a capable PC, a lot of the lineup may seem like a retread, with only a handful of titles beyond Nintendo's own games really delivering fresh experiences."

And then there's the "Miiverse" – a social network where Wii U games can create custom avatars, chat with buddies, brag about scores, or post messages to Twitter. There's no subscription fee for the Miiverse, but unfortunately, as Matt Peckham of Time found out recently, the whole place is a bit of a ghost town right now. 

"I’m genuinely upbeat about Nintendo’s two-screen approach to gaming, but the online angle is a little disappointing," Peckham writes. "A bunch of stuff is still missing, the stuff that’s there has stability issues and when it works, load times are annoying. Now that we’re getting a clearer picture of how the Wii U works with the rest of its features enabled, it’s hard not to see Nov. 18 as overly optimistic – Nintendo corporate putting its 'in time for Black Friday' foot down."

We're going to give the last word on the Wii U to Stephen Totilo of Kotaku. Totilo likes the Wii U, but at this point, he counsels, it's not exactly a must-have. 

"Wait until the 'launch window' closes at the end of March and the likes of Pikmin 3Lego City Undercover and a slew of interesting download-only games are available," he writes. "With any new console you might be wisest to give it a year, especially if you want to be able to compare it to what Sony and Microsoft have coming next. And if they don't put screens in their controllers, know right now that Nintendo will have at least that excellent advantage over them." 

For more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

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