Consoles are hard to judge on their launch day. Developers usually need a lot of time to get used to the hardware before they can make their best games on it. The machine you can get on day one is therefore a vessel of potential, but seldom the conveyer of an instant masterpiece. Consoles are also no longer static. They evolve through firmware updates, gaining new functionality by the month and year. The Wii U is a product of these factors. It has a strong but not stunning launch line-up and it starts its cycle with the instant blemish of one promised feature—the vaunted Nintendo TVii service—not being available on day one.

The Wii U is a capable machine. For once, we have a Nintendo console that doesn't feel like it is pocked with omissions. Gone is the era of GameCube controllers with three shoulder buttons when the competition has four. Gone is the era of the Wii that couldn't send HD graphics to an HD TV. Gone are most of the excuses and exceptions that placed new Nintendo consoles immediately out of step with other game consoles.

The Wii U meets the standards of modern console gaming, while also supporting Wii Remotes and therefore serving as an HD version of the Wii. It does all of these things and introduces some well-realized new features to modern console gaming.

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