Nintendo is a company known for taking chances. While not all of these endeavors have been successful, enough have for the company to thrive. The Wii U is Nintendo’s next big risk, but does it pay off?

Seeing Nintendo franchises in HD is as beautiful as you’d expect. The bright colors truly shine, showing a wonderful contrast to the constant greys many games have adopted. Though this is fantastic in it’s own right, there’s a reason Nintendo touted the gamepad like it’ll be the next big thing. This claim is obviously a little exaggerated, but the controller has earned some of its praise. Not only is it lighter and more comfortable than expected, but there’s little touches that help it feel even better to use. I’m particularly fond of the ability to turn on my TV and the Wii U with the same controller. My biggest gripe with the gamepad is the one I thought I’d be least worried about, but the battery life is truly atrocious. The estimate is currently 3-5 hours of operation time, but it honestly doesn’t feel that long.

Internet on the Wii U feels like walking into an orchestra that’s almost learned its song.  The areas that Nintendo got right – they create this beautiful symphony, but there are moments you can see they haven’t practiced certain ideas. Miiverse is like a heavily moderated forum, with which anyone can post anything from intricate drawings to in-game screenshots. Yet something so small as being able to message your friends from your Friend List wasn’t included. The Nintendo eShop is fairly amazing, with all retail games available for download. It’s unfortunate then that the Wii U doesn’t have much memory, even with the Deluxe model.

In essence the Wii U feels like a stronger Nintendo DS with a little bit of the Wii thrown in for good measure. Let’s just hope it doesn’t turn into the shovel-ware storm that those systems endured.