Archive for the ‘ZombiU’ Category

ZombiU’s first patch is live! (Opposite of zombies in the game?)

March 27, 2013
ZombiU menu showing old version number, and new post-patch version number.

Coffee Beans
ZombiU released with the Wii U on November 18th, and it was the first Wii U retail game I purchased with our console on launch day. I really enjoyed my first play-through of ZombiU, and disagreed with some of the early “professional” critic reviews of the game, that I found lacking basic information and the reviewers failed to answer simple questions (still). While I didn’t experience any game-breaking bugs or glitches in my first play-through of the campaign, I do know some Wii U owners that did (my neighbor being one of them).

If you experienced any of the game-breaking glitches in ZombiU, perhaps you have been waiting and hoping for a patch to fix some issues. As the title tells you, the first ZombiU patch is now live (at least in the U.S.)!

If you want to see how long the ZombiU patch took me to download and install, the patch size, as well as a few fixed issues, then grab your cup of coffee and hit the jump!


The Brew
ZombiU’s first patch apparently does fix the nursery glitch (mentioned here & here). The nursery glitch was probably the most famous (or, infamous?!) ZombiU bug/glitch, at least one that caused players to have to start completely over.

Other than fixing the nursery glitch though, there have not been any official patch notes released yet, letting us know what exactly has been fixed.

Since there are not any patch notes telling us exactly what the patch addresses (and doesn’t), here’s a list of ZombiU bugs and glitches that I’m aware of, and what has/hasn’t been fixed:
1) Nursery Glitch – Mentioned fixed with patch (Mission 12 below).
2) Supermarket Glitch – Mentioned fixed with patch.
3) Arena Glitch – Said to be fixed (Mission 14) below.
4) Falling through level/map in certain areas. – Not known if fixed.
5) Missing gas canister – Said to be fixed (Mission 13) below.

*Update: I had reached out to Ubisoft when writing this post, to see if they could provide an “official list” of what the patch fixes, and I just received a response. Here’s a list from a Ubisoft representative of the issues the patch addresses:
.       On Mission 12, in the Nursery MAP, the interaction with the door in the basement of nursery was missing at rebirth if specific steps were followed.
.       On Mission 13, in the Gas Station MAP, a Mission object that is mandatory to complete the objective was missing if specific steps were followed.
.       On Mission 14, in the Circus MAP, if the player died right after recovering his Backpack, and rebooted the Wii U console, the objective was not updated.
.       On Mission 15, in the Bunker MAP, the Panacea disappeared after the Player died while downloading it. However the objective remained the same (download Panacea).
.       On Mission 10, in the Tower MAP, the Objective “Secure landing site” was not validated if specific steps were followed.
.       On Mission 15, in the Bunker MAP, if specific steps were followed, the Player might get stuck in the Bunker after he took Doctor’s eye / Panacea because a Ladder disappeared.
.       On Mission 16, in the MAP Safe House, the iron curtain in the Safe House lacked of collision during Mission 16. This Bug could lead to a scoring exploit on leaderboards.
.       In the Safe House MAP, the Player saw a placeholder text when he dragged & dropped an item from the Blue Box to his holsters following certain steps.
.       On Mission 12 or 15, in the Nursery MAP, the game crashed if the Player burned the Zombi Nurse while she died.
.       Zombies animations transitions.
.       Online messages spawned in the first section of the MAPs.
.       Scanner’s start volume.
.       Uplay cricket bat Cast Shadow has been removed.
.       Optimizations of the framerate

Once I see what the patch addresses, either from official patch note(s) released, other gamers playing and confirming issues fixed, or from when/if I play through the game again, I’ll update the list above appropriately.

If you’re concerned the patch might be a few GBs and take up precious HDD space, don’t worry! The image below shows the ZombiU patch size, and how much room the “Update Data” requires:

Only 18 MB, so not a large patch compared to other Wii U games’ patch sizes.

Caffeinated Thoughts
I have written a few different times about my experience(s) with ZombiU, which you can read here, here, and here. If you were concerned with some of the early “professional” critics’ reviews of ZombiU, I would suggest you take a look at my “Critics vs. Customers! ZombiU reviews, or zombie reviewers?” post from December.

There’s a phrase that’s pretty popular for when people are late to events, “Better late than never!”.

I think this phrase can be applied to ZombiU’s first patch. With Nintendo of America just releasing the new Wii U ZombiU Deluxe Set (includes Nintendo Land via download, ZombiU and the Wii U Pro Controller), I’m glad to see that Ubisoft did get a patch out for the game resolving at least one issue in it. Hopefully the patch addresses the other bugs/glitches I mentioned above, and again, I will update that list when it is confirmed what exactly the patch fixes.

Questions
Did any of you experience glitches in ZombiU, and perhaps not finish the game because of them? If so, which bugs/glitches did you experience, and now that a patch has been released for the game will you be trying to beat the game (again)?

If you held off on buying ZombiU because of the reported bugs and glitches, does the fact the game has been patched make you more likely to buy it now?

You can purchase the new Wii U ZombiU Deluxe Set from GameStop.com, or the game itself from Amazon.com, both linked below:
  

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Critics vs. Customers! ZombiU reviews, or zombie reviewers?

December 18, 2012

Coffee Beans
Do you like zombies? Do you not like zombies? Do you feel like a zombie when you wake up, and generally throughout the day?

ZombiU released for (and with) the Wii U on November 18, 2012, basically as a brand new IP. The game was developed and published by Ubisoft, and received an ESRB rating of “MATURE” with “Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language” listed as content for gamers and parents to be aware of. It released with a MSRP of $59.99 in the United States, and can be purchased either via a physical retail copy from stores, or a digital “copy” through the Wii U’s eShop.

With a full month of “professional” critic reviews and customer reviews for ZombiU to look at now, and having completed the game myself, is ZombiU a Wii U title you should play (if, you are of age)? Have Wii U owners agreed with the “professional” reviewers on ZombiU? Brew yourself some coffee, and let’s take a look!

How a zombie smiles, before reading reviews of ZombiU?

The Brew
While reviews for the game were under an embargo, GameSpot “leaked” their ZombiU review in a professional fashion (see: sarcasm) a few days early by publishing it on their site, then removing it. The damage was already done though, and their review score quickly spread around different message boards and video game websites.

The first “professional” review scores for ZombiU started being published on November 18th, the day the Wii U launched and the day the ZombiU review embargo was lifted. ZombiU currently has a “professional” review score average of 77.09%, based on 43 reviews on GameRankings.com. Its MetaCritic.com Metascore is currently 77 out of 100, based on 61 critic reviews.

What about customers though? What have gamers, perhaps like myself that ignored the early reviews, who have played the game thought about it? ZombiU currently has a review score average of 92.77%, based on 36 customer reviews from Amazon.com. The game had a review score average of 88.43%, based on 2,149 gamer reviews directly from the Wii U’s eShop rating.

ZombiU’s eShop ratings.

Note: All of the review scores for ZombiU were captured around 4:00PM EST on December 18, 2012.

Caffeinated Thoughts
I chose to not read most ZombiU reviews, until I finished the game. I didn’t want to see “problems” with the game before playing it for myself, and I was also afraid some of the reviews might have contained spoilers, so I didn’t want to read or see anything that might have given something away in the game.

One average is a C, one an A, depending on the grading scale.

After I completed the game, I decided to read the “reviews” of the game and see what some of the problems were, and what did I discover? Apparently, the problem many early “reviewers” of ZombiU had is they were too busy to finish the game (see: complete it), before slapping a score on it. Apparently, the proper way to “review” games these days is to watch a few trailers, read a few impressions of it, play it for maybe an hour; then decide if you want to go positive or negative in the “review” and stick with it.

What “reviews” of ZombiU contain either outright incorrect information, or show the “reviewers” apparently didn’t finish the game? Here’s my short list, for now. IGN. Nintendo Life. Game Informer. Then there is Game Spot’s reviewer, who went into the game knowing (I guess) it is a survival horror title, but thinks it should have been an action game instead? GameSpot’s reviewer though, and many others, did seem to like ZombiU’s multiplayer options, which Mrs. Coffee and I did try out one evening together.

Here’s a video of Mrs. Coffee and I playing ZombiU’s local multiplayer. Mrs. Coffee was using the Wii U GamePad to place zombies around the map, and I was the survivor running around with the weapons, trying to survive for as long as possible:

Is the audio synced up correctly? It seems off on YouTube, but right in my player. Feedback?

I just don’t understand reviews having incorrect information, as two of them above do, and leaving that incorrect information published. Perhaps the sites were taken over by zombies? I contacted both sites with reviews containing incorrect information. One site didn’t want to address a larger problem with their “review”, and chose to leave incorrect information published; the other site apparently didn’t care their “review” contained bad information and has left it published as well. Then, one of the reviewers hasn’t answered a simple question about the game that he was asked, “How long did it take you to complete it so I have an idea?

ZombiU gives you that information. The game tells you how many hours (and minutes and seconds) it takes you to finish the game, and how many survivors it takes you to finish the game as well. Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo is the only reviewer of ZombiU I am currently aware of that provided the number of hours it took him to complete the game, and the number of survivors it took him to get through it. His review of ZombiU is HERE.

My “Playtime” and survivor count.

As for myself, I completed ZombiU in 24 hours, 40 minutes, and 10 seconds according to my game’s “Playtime”, and it took me 34 survivors to complete the game. I have many ex-survivors wandering the streets, sewers, and general areas of London still, so please add my Nintendo Network ID of Coffees to your Wii U friend list if you want more zombies wandering around your ZombiU game.

Should you play ZombiU, if you are above the recommended age? I recommend giving the game a try. Whether that is buying it, renting it, or borrowing it from a friend (my copy is currently loaned out right now actually). I think you will enjoy the game if you don’t go in expecting a FPS game, or an action game, and understand that the melee combat is designed, I believe, to keep you on your toes. You shouldn’t expect to get 100 hit zombie combos in the game, and understand that ammunition for guns is scarce. Many of my hours playing were spent exploring different areas in the game. There are small alternate paths in a few areas that you may miss if you are just running through the game, and sometimes those areas contain weapons and ammunition, and even story pieces. I believe exploration is encouraged in the game.

So, based on the review averages for the game so far, I side more with the “customer reviews” averages than the “critic reviews”. I think ZombiU is another perfect example of why there should be basic video game review standards on sites, as I have written about in the past.

Questions
Did any of you perhaps not purchase ZombiU, because of the early reviews on the game? If you have played ZombiU, what do you think about the game?

If you have played and beaten ZombiU, how many hours and survivors did it take you? Also, have any of you attempted to beat Survival Mode yet, and possibly completed it?

You can purchase ZombiU below from Amazon.com, and find out how long you will survive!

Read other Critics vs. Customers pieces here and here.

November Brewed – Coffees consumed, games played, & a Wii U game finished!

December 8, 2012


Coffee Beans
November is gone, and with it millions of turkeys. (For a few of those missing millions, start HERE.) If you had a busy November, here are a few posts you may have missed:
     1) Halloween candy laced with the t-Virus making people zombies? Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles Data Report
     2) Vote? Don’t vote? Gamers vote? Everybody votes? Did you vote? Everybody Votes Channel Data Report
     3) Nintendo’s U.S. Wii U TV advertising. Marketing genius, or marketing failure?
     4) Call of Duty? Conduit? GoldenEye? Metroid? What is the most played FPS Wii game in the U.S.?
     5) Caffeinated Thoughts on the Wii U

While I didn’t post as much in November as recent months, I did get a good bit of gaming done and drank lot of coffee during the month. What coffees did I consume, and which Wii U game did I complete? Brew yourself some coffee, and let’s take a look!

Coffees Consumed
We finished using the Gevalia Espresso Roast very early in November, and enjoyed it while it lasted. November then consisted of us using our coffee grinder a good bit. We ground up some of the Kona Blend Coffee that was another birthday gift to me back in October, from my brother and his family. We have enjoyed the Kona Blend and have enough to last us a little while longer, if we start grinding it up. We finished the month of November using the Maxwell House Master Blend coffee and the Maxwell House Original Roast coffee; both the 200+ coffee cup containers.

Games Played
The skimmer list for games played in November is: Rage of the Gladiator (iOS and WiiWare), Mario Kart Wii, Super Mario Bros. 3, BIT.TRIP RUNNER, Mutant Mudds, Max & the Magic Marker, Nintendo Land, ZombiU, Trine 2, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

Rage of the Gladiator – If you don’t know, Rage of the Gladiator is now available for your iOS devices and soon to be Android devices as well. The game has a price of just $2.99, and has all of the WiiWare content/bosses included, with some improvements. The game was ported over by a different developer though, Gamelion, while Ghostfire Games remained involved in the process. Ed, from Ghostfire Games, contacted me over the summer and asked if I would be interested in helping test it out, and help some on the community front. Gamelion seems to be very active on the developer community front though, so I was able to more of less help out with the testing of it, and see how it progressed through development.
Mario Kart Wii – Bean 1 randomly requested this one I think in October, and he kept playing it early in November. He has now graduated to Mario Kart DS though, since our New Super Mario Bros. DS cartridge randomly freezes in levels now; which results in a very sad Bean and me randomly finding the game cartridge shoved under his door.
Super Mario Bros. 3 – This was another one Bean 1 and I randomly played early in the month, but not very much of it.
BIT.TRIP RUNNERI. SURVIVED. THE GAUNTLET! So, I started this from Mrs. Coffee’s gift from my birthday, the BIT.TRIP COMPLETE set, and I am in the third world so far (I think the last as well). I’m really enjoying my time with the game, and it is definitely challenging. I can see why some people might not like these type of games, due to the difficulty, but when everything flows together so well, it really is a great experience.
Mutant Mudds – Could I complete the main levels before IncompleteGaming? It wasn’t meant to be! But, I am still enjoying my time with Mutant Mudds, and find myself randomly trying to beat the levels from time-to-time, sometimes with Bean 1 watching. Other times, I’ll be voluntold by him to play the game; even if it’s a delay tactic right before he goes to bed, sometimes I’ll play a level a few times trying to beat it.
Max & the Magic Marker – This was one I hadn’t played in a long while, but Bean 1 found it on our Wii’s SD card and fired it up one day. I showed him a few things in the game, and he actually got the hang of drawing/erasing pretty quickly, and was soon off running around the level having fun. I didn’t play it much, but it did make me hope that we get a Max & the Magic Marker HD sequel on the Wii U now. Not only could the game still support Wii Remote and Nunchuk controls, but I think using the GamePad to draw in the game would work very well also.
LittleBigPlanet – This is another game, like Super Mario Bros. 3, that I find myself playing most often with Bean 1 watching and/or being voluntold by him to beat a level in it. We have made pretty good progress in the game, but Bean 1 has discovered how to find the user created levels, and watching him run around in the Nintendo-Mario themed levels is a lot of fun, and some of them are incredibly well designed.
Fat Princess – This is a demo I had downloaded on our PS3 for a long time, but never played it. Bean 1 randomly requested I give the game a try one night, so I did having no clue what to expect. After not winning the first night, and just running around the battle losing, I turned it off defeated. After figuring out what to do the second night, winning became a lot more achievable, and I can see why this game was pretty popular when it first released. If you haven’t played Fat Princess, you should be able to still find a demo for it on the PSN store, and give it a try.

Nintendo Land – I briefly talked about my time with Nintendo Land in my Caffeinated Thoughts on the Wii U piece, and I have since played it a bit more. I actually put more time into Metroid Blast and The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest. I am really enjoying Metroid Blast, and The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest is surprisingly better than I was expecting using the GamePad controls. Bean 1 and I completed one of the Battle Quest missions together, with me using the Wii Remote+ and him using the GamePad. So, while he figured out the GamePad controls I was able to swing away and help keep us going for a bit. It was actually a lot of fun, and we completed the mission we did together.
ZombiU – This is the Wii U game I completed in November. It kept me coming back to it, night after night. If you can go into ZombiU not expecting it to be perfect, but expecting a different experience, I think you will enjoy it. Go in thinking survival horror, even with a sense of survival terror thrown in; and don’t go in thinking you will be burning down rows-after-rows of zombies with guns, and don’t think your melee weapon will be wielded like a lightsaber (for SHAME!) delivering you up 1,000 hit combos. I really don’t understand the mindset of some of the early reviewers on ZombiU, complaining about things like the melee combat in the game, since the melee combat is one of the very things that helps deliver the mood of the game. It’s as if the “reviewers” were expecting a guns-a-blazing game, grabbed the wrong game and perhaps realized they got ZombiU only after getting home. Reading some of the reviews appears they were expecting to get Resident Evil 5 or 6 action based game instead; I just don’t know. Also, many of the early reviews have incorrect information (entire paragraphs in some), and leave out alternate, relative, information (if you tell me the game has “Low” replay value, but fail to tell me if you beat it, how many hours it took you, or how many survivors, I can’t really judge much on the replay value). One even complained about scanning with the GamePad via motion controls, but FAILED to mention an alternative default control option for doing the same exact action in the game.
Trine 2Is this The Princess Bride of video games? It’s told via storybook like the movie was, and the game definitely has a good assortment of characters from the start. The sense of humor in the writing is there so far, and the way the characters interact with each through dialogue randomly as you progress is a nice touch as well. Have I said how incredible the game looks? I really hope that NSMBU looks this good, or there might be a “Caffeinated Thoughts! Nintendo is LAZY!” post incoming. I actually now pretty much use only the GamePad when I’m playing Trine 2, not even looking at the TV. Perhaps once we get a new HD TV, that will be remedied? The GamePad play is really great though, and very convenient for lounge playing late at night on the couch. I haven’t tried the online yet, but Bean 1 and I did complete the first section together, and I have since made pretty good progress in the game (I think), playing through about one section each night this last week. If any of you have Trine 2 on the Wii U and want to play it online, feel free to add my NNID to your Wii U friend list: Coffees.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 – That’s right. The future is black coffee, and Black Ops 2. I have been playing Black Ops 2 on the Wii U, though most of my time with it in November was the very last night of the month. I have played a bit of the single-player campaign and the multiplayer, and the streaming of the game to the GamePad is done very well. Now, I will say for some reason the game doesn’t use up the entire GamePad screen display when it streams to it. I’m not sure why it displays the way it does, but it works very well nonetheless, and I found myself using the GamePad streaming feature quite often my first night with the game.

Questions
Did any of you get a Wii U in November, and if so, what games have you been enjoying on it? If you didn’t get a Wii U, but have been gaming in general, are there any games you would recommend that you played during the month?

Again, if you missed my “Caffeinated Thoughts on the Wii U” piece, my Wii U ID is Coffees, and feel free to add that to your Wii U friend list, and I’ll add you back!

As always, if you have any questions about the coffees I consumed or games I played during the month, feel free to leave a question below or send me an email to: Scott(@)CoffeeWithGames.com.

Caffeinated Thoughts on the Wii U

November 30, 2012
How many beans can you count?

Coffee Beans
So, the Saturday night before the Wii U released on the 18th, I attempted to find a Wii U at a midnight release in town, but having no such fortune I ended up just getting our reserved Wii U system on Sunday as was originally planned.

I brought the Wii U home, but didn’t start setting it up until a few hours later (about 3:30PM), after making sure the Beans were down for their naps.

With almost 2 weeks with the Wii U system now, what do I think about it? Brew yourself some coffee, probably a whole pot for this post, and let’s take a look!

Caffeinated Thoughts
What’s a good way to go about my thoughts on the Wii U? How about the bitter, sweet, and bold!

Sad coffee face. 😦

Bitter
1) Initial Patch – While getting system updates is something I’m quite used to doing on the PlayStation 3, it’s not something I particularly like having to do. Hopefully Nintendo will start shipping Wii U units with the update already installed, so new Wii U owners can just plug-and-play on day one. I actually think having to patch the system as it is now, might keep the system from gaining popularity with the casual market the Wii initially grabbed. I know that my parents would have a time trying to figure out how to connect the Wii U to their wireless setting, so hopefully it is something that can be remedied quickly. My initial patch/update took about an hour, but I did use a USB Ethernet port to have my Wii U connected directly the internet.

2) Disc drive – The Wii U’s disc drive is constantly reading the disc when one is in the drive, even if the game is not being played and another system function is being used like Miiverse or Netflix. I think Nintendo might have patched the original Wii to solve this issue on that system, as I don’t believe the disc would be spinning when using Netflix on the Wii, so I’m hoping they solve the problem with a patch. As of now, I remove any game from our Wii U when it is not being played, but I know others don’t think it’s a big issue.

3) Poorly designed YouTube App – The YouTube App window, which is like the Netflix and Amazon Video Apps on the system, appears on the home page of the system. For whatever reason though, the GamePad is used in very minimal ways with the YouTube App. From my time with the app, the YouTube videos can’t even be switched to streaming from the GamePad, which is very odd. You have to basically be looking at the TV to search and use the YouTube App in any decent way. Fortunately, there is a better way to use YouTube on the Wii U, which I’ll get to below.

4) No NINTENDO CHANNEL DATA – Sure, I can still track Wii games on my Wii’s Nintendo Channel, but the Wii U does not provide averages played on games as the Wii does. The Nintendo Channel cannot even be downloaded to the Wii menu section on the Wii U, which means we are keeping our Wii. (Please fix this Nintendo, JUST like the Wii had it.)

5) Hard reset doesn’t hard reset – This is very odd and baffling to me. I have had my Wii U console freeze up on me twice now (twice too many!). Okay, not terrible I guess considering I have used it quite a bit so far, but still it’s a bitter experience when it happens. Your TV will most likely sound like a police car, fire truck, and ambulance sirens have gotten stuck in a high pitched squeal. But when you think, “Easy FIX! I’ll just hold the power button and get rid of that annoying sound.”, you are hit with a wall of disappoint and failure upon trying. Somehow, the Wii U made it out to the masses without the typical hard reset option working. Most of the time on electronics devices, if they freeze, you can simply hold the power button down for a few seconds and get it to turn itself off. Not with the Wii U right now. Nope. I have to crawl into the dungeon behind our entertainment system that is housing a 200-300lb beast (see TV), and unplug the system from what outlet. How in the world an electronics device got out without the typical hard reset option working, is baffling. Apparently though, Nintendo is going to patch that up for us in the next few weeks, which will hopefully make it a distant, if bitter, memory. I’m not holding my breath waiting on the patch though, because there is a lack of history from Nintendo with providing decent patches even on their games.

Happy!

Sweet
1) Finding Friends – If you own a Wii U, feel free to add me to your friend list. My Nintendo Network user name is CoffeesNintendo has improved finding and adding friends greatly over the Wii’s method. You can add “friends” directly from Miiverse, meaning just a random person you don’t know. You can search for new friends based on people you have played with in online games as well. The system’s ability to send messages to friends, and see what games they are playing (or app they are using) is a great improvement over what was offered (or not offered) on the Wii. There are some finicky things though, like my Mii not displaying the game I was playing to another friend for a while, and we’re not sure if it was on my side or his side of things (or Nintendo’s side), but overall adding and communicating with friends is a huge improvement over the Wii.

2) Video Chat – While only briefly trying this out one night with Brad, from WhoBurnedMyToast, it worked well when we used it and he was able to see the Beans (well, the older one at least) being super hyper right before their bed-time. He even spelled out “Coffee” on the GamePad and Bean 1 correctly identified the word. The drawing on the GamePad during video chat is something that I think could become a big hit with younger children and perhaps grandparents, and just doodling on the GamePad for fun during chatting as well. I guess if somebody figures out a way to do math tutoring with video chat on the Wii U, they can just do their math equations on the GamePad.

3) TV button on GamePad – This is an awesome little button/feature, and I have used it quite a bit in my time with the Wii U to turn the volume up and down in games. It works very well, though you do need to be pointing the Wii U GamePad at the TV when trying to use the TV controls; meaning if there is an object between you and the GamePad, or the GamePad is stored on top of an entertainment system above the TV as ours is, you will need to point it at the TV like a normal TV remote.

4) User Interface (UI) & Operating System (OS) – The Wii U’s UI is an updated version of the Wii’s with the tile boxes on the screen, but the OS behind it has had a good bit of overhaul to it, allowing for more features and functionality. Hitting the Home button during a game will pull up a menu, allowing you to jump to your Friend List, Miiverse, Nintendo eShop, Internet Browser, Nintendo TVii, Download Management, Controller Settings, or Manual for whatever game or app you are using. The ability to switch back and forth from displaying things on the TV to the GamePad with different apps like Netflix, Amazon Video, and YouTube within the browser is very nice. Bean 2 (the younger Bean) is now famous for finding the power button on the TV where we have it set up and last Monday night (the 19th) Bean 1 and I were sitting on the couch watching a cartoon on Netflix (probably Bob the Builder). Bean 2 found the TV power button and pressed it off, and what usually results in “Put him in jail!” from Bean 1, was instantly averted by switching Netflix to streaming on the GamePad we had on the couch with us. Bean 1 was surprised by it, but Bean 2 didn’t know any difference and went about pressing the TV power button.

5) Browser – The browser on the Wii U is very functional from my time with it, especially with the GamePad’s keyboard implementation. Typing with either the GamePad’s stylus or my fingers has worked very well for doing quick Google searches. My favorite thing about the Wii U’s browser though, is YouTube on it works incredibly well. You can choose to watch the YouTube videos on the TV, but use the GamePad to search and select more YouTube videos to play directly off of the GamePad. Or, unlike the App, you can actually choose to stream YouTube videos directly off of the GamePad. Also, this could fall under the OS and UI maybe, but if you are in a game and need help you can hit the Home button to bring up the Home menu. Then what? Well, if you select the Browser button, it will launch the browser for you and already have the game you are playing ready to be “searched” if that’s what you’re wanting. You can search, while the game is still paused, for guides on how to beat a boss, where to find an item in the game, or how many hours you can expect it to take you to finish the game. Or, you can even use the browser while the game is paused, go to YouTube and find a walk-through video on the game (if you do that) if you get stuck. The browser also has a little “curtain” that you can use to hide what you’re searching for from the TV, and I have found this actually pretty useful with keeping Bean 1 from requesting 20 different YouTube videos. After we watch one on the TV, I can put up the curtain, find another video, and hit play without him requesting a video that might not be really relevant, but the image on it just looks shiny and interesting.

6) Wii U GamePad stand/cradle set – These are included with the Wii U Deluxe Set, or can be purchased for the Wii U Basic Set for $19.99. I do recommend them, and if you are looking for Wii U accessories for your Christmas list and only have the basic set, these can be very useful. One of the stands allows the GamePad to sit in it and be charged, and while you can’t really play it like that, it’s a good place to store it and keep out of the hands of little Beans that might want it. The second stand is just a GamePad stand, with no slot for the charging cable to be plugged. I use this one quite often when sitting on the couch playing ZombiU, leaving the stand on the coffee table and putting the GamePad in the stand if I get up to go grab some more coffee, snacks, or just to check on the Beans in the middle of the night.

7) Games – So far, I have played three Wii U games. Those being Nintendo Land, Trine 2, and ZombiU.

  • Nintendo Land came with the system, and we have played it a decent amount. Bean 1 really enjoys the Mario Chase, Luigi’s Ghost Mansion, and Yoshi’s Fruit Cart mini-games the most. When you play the different mini-games, you are awarded coins and you can spend them in a Coin Game, where you have to aim the coins to fall in certain directions. If you complete the stages in the coin drop game, you are given gifts for your Nintendo Land plaza that help make it more lively, and Bean 1 enjoys the Coin Game and finding the gifts around the plaze as well. I think Mario Chase and Luigi’s Ghost Mansion are a lot of fun, and show the fun that can be had with asymmetric gameplay, and I particularly like Luigi’s Ghost Mansion the most right now. Takamaru’s Ninja Castle mini-game is a lot of fun from my time with it, but I haven’t put nearly enough time into Metroid Blast or The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest, and a few of the other mini-games to really have impressions of them yet.
  • Trine 2 is an eShop title, and the developers were kind enough to provide me with a code for it, even knowing I don’t do typical reviews on games. I have said it on a few other sites, but Trine 2 is the first Wii U game that really made me realize how dated our SD TV is. Why? Trine 2 looks incredible, and it plays on the TV and/or on the GamePad, but the game looks brighter, crisper, and just more vibrant in general on the GamePad than our TV. It made me realize even more it is time for a HD TV upgrade; which we are already looking  for (recommendations welcomed)! I have made it through the first level so far, and I am really enjoying the story-telling aspect of the game. The way Trine 2’s story is told, the setting for the game, and humor used so far remind me of the movie The Princess Bride; which is a very good thing.
  • ZombiU – I purchased this day one with my Wii U system, even knowing the “reviews” published by some sites were not positive. I have now completed the game, and I will say if you are wanting to play a survival horror title, even with some sense of terror thrown in, I recommend you pick this game up and give it a try. So yes, please ignore the early reviews on this game. What was my time with ZombiU? 24+ hours, I’m above average, I know! Seriously though, I am glad to see this game get developed and published, and I have had a lot of fun with it so far. Mrs. Coffee does not like zombies (in general), and would prefer to not play FPS games due to the controls. She did try and actually enjoyed ZombiU’s local multiplayer modes though, as she used only the GamePad while I was using the FPS controls with our Wii Remote and Nunchuk. If you can go into ZombiU knowing it’s not a perfect game with perhaps some glitches to be experienced, and you enjoy survival horror type games, you should find it well worth playing.
Trine 2, ZombiU, Nintendo Land.

Bold
1) The GamePad – While maybe not as revolutionary as perhaps the Wii Remote and Nunchuk combination, I think the GamePad has a lot of potential for fun and unique gameplay elements in games. The asymmetric gameplay in Nintendo Land, and even the different gameplay mechanics added in games like Trine 2 and ZombiU make me glad to see developers already using the GamePad in very different ways. I have been very impressed with how each game I have played, uses the GamePad and its features in unique ways. I really think it will be interesting to see which developer (if any) uses every single feature on the Wii U GamePad, in some fashion in a game. The speakers on the controller are actually better than I was expecting, and the volume output has been high enough from what I have experienced so far. The two little grips I wrote about from my time with the demo haven’t been an issue for me, and I have enjoyed not rushing out just yet to grab a case for it…though the Nerf GamePad cases look like they might provide the best protection from what I have seen. I really do hope that Nintendo is able to get the cost of the Wii U GamePad (and even console) down quickly, so that if Wii U owners break or experience any problems with their GamePads, they can replace them quickly and affordably.

2) Miiverse – What is Miiverse? Awesomeness. Think of Miiverse as a message board or forum, or even an ever flowing comments section for Wii U games and apps. This very feature will probably either create new jobs at some companies to help monitor Wii U owners in the game communities and help them with questions, or add a bit more of a burden to community managers at companies now that might need to start being active in the Miiverse communities. Each Wii U game and app has its own separate Miiverse community (at least of now), and I have used Miiverse in ZombiU several times; sometimes to answer questions, and a few times to get questions answered about the game. Instead of stopping the game and coming to the computer and searching, or using the Wii U’s browser option, I just hit the Home button and hop into the ZombiU Miiverse community, ask my question, hop back to the game, and check back a few minutes later to see if my question has been answered. I really, really, really like this aspect of the Wii U and that Miiverse is up and running on the system already is great to see. Miiverse allows users to use a standard keyboard input with ABCs, or hand written notes and drawings for messages using the stylus or your fingers. I have actually found the hand drawing aspect to be extremely useful in ZombiU when I got stuck somewhere. I was able to hop into Miiverse and draw a rough (very rough) map of the building I was looking at, and let them know what I was looking for. After a few back and forth comments on Miiverse, I was able to figure out what I had done wrong and continue with my game.

Overall, I have enjoyed my time with the Wii U so far, and if you have any questions about the Wii U that perhaps I didn’t answer or address here, feel free to ask in the comments below. I may have even forgotten a few of the “bitter”, “bold”, or “sweet” things I was going to include, and might be able to clarify some. If you have any questions about the games I have played so far, feel free to ask below as well.

Questions
Did any of you grab a Wii U yet, and if so what do you think about it so far? Do you agree, or disagree with any of my points?

Have you played any Wii U games you would really recommend others give a try? Are you interested in seeing any footage from the Wii U games we have right now, Nintendo Land, Trine 2, and ZombiU? If so, let me know what game you would like to see footage of in the comments below. Also, feel free to share your Wii U user name below in the comments.

Caffeinated Thoughts on the Wii U GamePad (demo unit).

November 17, 2012

Coffee Beans & Brew
There have been Wii U demo stations popping up in Best Buy, Game Stop, and even Wal-Mart stores around the U.S. for the last several weeks. We ventured out a few weeks back, but didn’t find a Wii U demo station on our first attempt.

This past Monday afternoon, after checking Nintendo’s Wii U demo locator, I ventured out to a Best Buy to give one a try. Upon entering the Best Buy the Wii U demo station was easy to spot in the middle of the store with the Wii U logo being lit up on top, helping draw attention to the unit. The Wii U demo unit on display was the white Wii U console and GamePad, which I believe is the standard color for the demo stations.

What did I think of my short time with the Wii U and the Wii U GamePad? Brew yourself some coffee and read my thoughts on the GamePad, and even find out one thing I found to be uncomfortable about the GamePad!

Caffeinated Thoughts
Wii U GamePad Weight – When I picked up the GamePad, I was actually surprised at the weight of the GamePad, as it was a little heavier than I was expecting it to be. The weight of the GamePad wasn’t an issue during my time with the demo unit though, but it does make me wonder if young children like Bean 1 might have trouble holding it up after a while though.

Wii U GamePad Screen Display – I thought the screen on the GamePad was very nice, better than I expected really. It displayed text and images well, and the screen was very bright and crisp, displaying text and images well. The video streaming to it from Rayman Legends worked well, and I found the game content displayed on the GamePad to be very good quality.

Wii U GamePad Screen Response – I knew Rayman Legends was available to play on the demo, so I scrolled through the list of games, which worked extremely well via the touch screen, and selected Rayman Legends. The touching of the screen worked well on the basic menu selection, and the use of the touch mechanics in Rayman Legends I thought were put to good use. I was able to use my finger(s) to tap, tickle, swipe, and drag enemies and objects in one of the levels, and all the touch input from my finger(s) to the GamePad screen was recognized without issue.

Wii U GamePad Comfort – While I was trying out the Rayman Legends demo, I noticed something about the Wii U’s GamePad that I found to be uncomfortable. Take a look at the image below, to see the one thing I found to be uncomfortable about the Wii U GamePad while playing Rayman Legends.

Click for full image size.

I’m not sure if the little ridges are there to add a bit of a “grip” to the controller, or if they are there due to design specifications and the GamePad needed them to make it all fit together nicely without any issues; but I did actually feel them against the sides of my palms while playing Rayman Legends, and not in a comfortable way. I’m not too concerned with the ridges though, as we will be fitting our GamePad with a protective case of some sort (still debating which one), but if you notice the ridges as I did it may be a good enough reason to buy a protective cover.

General Thoughts – The volume on the demo unit TV was very low, and being that the game wouldn’t let me stream it only to the GamePad, I’m not sure how loud the speaker output would have been from the GamePad’s speakers. Also, I did notice that the Wii U demo station looks like every game listed has an option to be a playable demo, but only Rayman Legends is the current playable Wii U game to demo, which I do find very odd. Rayman Legends isn’t scheduled to release for nearly another 4 months (if Amazon.com’s date is correct), so why Nintendo chose to not demo an actual Wii U day one launch title I find odd. I think if Nintendo wants to improve the Wii U demo stations moving forward, having more than one game available to demo would be a great place to start, and choosing a game that allows the GamePad to stream it for hearing the speaker output would be great as well.

I have just over 24 hours left as of writing and posting this piece, until I’ll have a Wii U that I won’t have to worry with hogging on a store demo. With basically a day left, I’m still debating on which game(s) I want to go with, and it might end up being a last minute decision, but I’m definitely leaning toward ZombiU right now.

Questions
Have any of you tried the Wii U demo station, or perhaps demoed the Wii U at an event, and noticed the ridges I found to be uncomfortable?

If any of you are in North America, are you planning on going to camp out for a Wii U if you don’t have one reserved yet, but want one Sunday? If you have a Wii U reserved, what game(s) are you getting with the system?

Nintendo’s U.S. Wii U TV advertising. Marketing genius, or marketing failure?

November 9, 2012

Coffee Beans
There are now four official Wii U commercials for the United States. There is the official “Wii U Advertising Campaign Launch Video”, which is the only one minute Wii U commercial so far; and New Super Mario Bros. U, Nintendo Land, and SiNG Party each have their own 30 second commercial.

The U.S. Wii U commercials have received mixed reactions from fans, and for various reasons: the music, the presentation, the information (or lack thereof). The video above is the slightly updated version of my original updated version of Nintendo’s “Wii U Advertising Campaign Launch Video”, that Nintendo of America revealed last Thursday.

Do the U.S. Wii U commercials do a good enough job at addressing the fact that the Wii U is a brand new console, with a brand new controller? Will the way that each U.S. commercial is worded be a genius marketing strategy, or a marketing failure? Brew yourself some coffee and hit the jump to take a look at the commercials, and specifically listen to the way the Wii U is talked about in each commercial.

The Brew
Here’s the first U.S. Wii U commercial, “Wii U Advertising Campaign Launch Video”:

The second Wii U commercial to hit Nintendo of America’s YouTube account was this New Super Mario Bros. U commercial, last Friday:

The SiNG Party Wii U commercial was originally released by the production company behind the dancers in the commercial, and then Nintendo added it to their YouTube account this past Monday:

The last U.S. Wii U commercial to be released, so far, is this Nintendo Land commercial that they released on Monday as well:

Caffeinated Thoughts
I don’t think the Wii U commercials do a good enough job of addressing the fact the Wii U is a brand new console, and instead I think they give the impression the “Wii U” is just a brand new controller that works with existing Wii consoles.

In the Wii U campaign launch video the line used is, “With the all new Wii U…”, and that’s it. Not once, in the entire one minute video are the words “console” or “system” spoken. I also think the commercial is lacking a few key details that would help clear up that the Wii U is a new console and not just a new Wii controller, and I added a few of those details in my video up top. Instead of just focusing on the Wii U console and the Wii U GamePad, they show people sitting around in the rooms participating in gameplay using Wii Remotes and Nunchuks as well.

What about the New Super Mario Bros. U launch TV commercial? It has the same issue. The lines are, “This is how you’ll play next. Using the all new Wii U GamePad controller…”, and it ends with “New Super Mario Bros. U, only available on the all new Wii U.” It lacks the specific words “the all new Wii U console” or “the all new Wii U system“. Like the Wii U launch video, they show other people playing with Wii Remotes in the commercial.

What about the SiNG Party Wii U launch TV commercial? Same thing! It’s a 30 second commercial, and the first voice-over line in the commercial is, “Face the crowd and get the party started with the all new Wii U GamePad controller.“, followed up immediately with the next line, “SiNG Party, only available on the all new Wii U.”

Nintendo Land’s commercial? Same thing. “With the all new Wii U, this is how you’ll play next.” There is no focus on the Wii U console by itself, and it shows other players using Wii Remotes (and Nunchuks) to play the game along side the GamePad.

The commercials all end with an image of the Wii U GamePad in front of the Wii U system, and the games being sandwiched between them (on the game only commercials). The problem with this? The Wii U console looks a lot like the Wii console. Hiding it in the back without ever showing it up close with the logo on it, and never showing the price of the two bundles (or that it comes in two bundles), I don’t think is helping customers/viewers understand this is an entirely new system. To see what the Wii would look like behind the Wii U GamePad, I edited the following image:

Also, while I understand Nintendo is wanting current Wii owners to understand their Wii Remotes and Nunchuks will work on the new Wii U system, I don’t understand why they are showing the Wii Remotes and Nunchuks being used for gameplay, instead of showing the Wii U Pro Controllers being used instead.

I really do hope I’m wrong and that the Wii U commercials provide enough information for your average consumer, but I fear for the retail employees that will have to explain to the customers showing up in stores expecting only to buy a new Wii controller, that it’s not just the controller but an entirely new system they need. Having worked in retail, and seeing how the U.S. Wii U commercials are worded and lack information such as price, I can see this being an issue.

Perhaps the commercials are worded the way they are to purposely get consumers thinking this is just a new Wii controller, and then when they show up in stores they will get to demo the system live hands-on instead? Maybe Nintendo is betting that hands-on with the system in stores will help sell it, and that consumers will also do the research before heading out this holiday season to buy a Wii U?

If the marketing strategy with the U.S. Wii U commercials is trying to get the mass market to think the Wii U GamePad is just a new Wii controller though, I think they are doing it the right way, even though I think it would be odd if that’s their goal. Maybe this will be the best way to get consumers to look up information on the Wii U, and I just hope that providing less information to consumers initially, ends up selling more Wii U consoles for them.

I don’t think the European or Japanese Wii U commercials have the wording problem that the U.S. commercials do, so I think it will be interesting to see which marketing strategy works out to be the best. Will more basic information equal more sales, or less basic information equal more sales? Is less, more? I guess we’ll find out within a few months if Wii U units are flying off store shelves in the U.S., or if Nintendo of America changes the marketing techniques.

Questions
If you have a cable TV or satellite TV subscription, have you seen any of the Wii U’s commercials? If so, do you think the commercials do a good enough job explaining that the Wii U is a brand new console, with a brand new controller?

Do you think the lack of information such as the Wii U being available in two bundles, at two different price points, and the wording in the U.S. commercials is a genius marketing strategy, or a marketing failure from what you have seen?

You can pre-order New Super Mario Bros. U, Nintendo Land, and SiNG Party on Amazon.com below, as well as see the outrageous prices of Wii U consoles from third party sellers because Amazon.com is still not carrying the Wii U directly: