It was only a few short days ago that Nintendo revealed their new console, the Wii U, and whether or not you like the product’s name, it does offer something completely different from its current competitors.
The Wii U controller was the main focus at Nintendo’s press conference, and it showed off some very cool uses for the device which offer a lot potential for the next generation console. Luckily, Game Rant scored some hands-on time with the new controller, along with a wide variety of tech demos.
One of the main concerns that people have about the new controller is that it looks incredibly bulky. The controller is certainly larger than any other controller that has been available on the market (yes, it’s even bigger than the original Xbox controller), but it’s actually quite light and comfortable to hold. The controller itself has two circle pads, a gyro sensor, a 6.2 inch touch screen, and a stylus. Sure, the controller may sound a little too “busy,” but everything that players could possibly need to enjoy their games is by no means out of the reach of their fingers.
The first game that Game Rant was able to get our hands on was Battle Mii. In this game, one player uses the new Wii U controller to control the space ship from Metroid, while the other players use the standard Wii Remotes to control characters on the ground. These characters are donning Samus’ classic suit, and they are tasked with attempting to blow the ship out of the sky. Anyone who used the Wii U controller quickly realized that the game made use of the gyroscopic capabilities of the new controller, as gamers had to literally spin around the room in order to move the camera and get enemies lined up in their sights. This tech demo really did a great job at showing off how well the Wii U’s 6.2 inch screen and gyroscope work well together.
The next demo we were herded into wasn’t so much a hands-on demo, but a sneak peek at what the graphical limitations of Nintendo‘s next-gen console are really capable of. The Legend of Zelda HD was the demo being shown and it looked absolutely stunning. The lighting effects were brought directly to everyone’s attention via the sun pouring in from the windows and the demo actually allowed users to swap between night and day to see how the lighting effects work in the game. The water surrounding the area looked fluid and the boss monster looked horrifyingly gorgeous in high definition.
The Wii U controller had Link’s inventory viewable on the bottom screen. Presumably, gamers will be able to select an item on the bottom screen and then proceed to use it on their television. The game can also be played solely on the Wii U’s controller and the most surprising thing is that it retains every bit of its stunning visuals when being streamed from the console to the controller. Nintendo wouldn’t go into detail about the resolution of the screen, but it really was a form of visual ecstasy made portable on the smaller screen. The one disappointing thing to learn about Zelda HD is that it was just a tech demo, and is not currently confirmed to be in development for the new console. Although we know it will be.
The Wii U controller’s stylus seemed like an odd addition to the unit given the fact that the touch screen is already 6.2 inches, but Nintendo’s reasoning for including it all made sense once the drawing application came into view. The game used the Wii U’s touch screen and made aspiring artists draw shapes and angles as fast as they could. The game would then rate them and let players know how well they did at recreating what the game told them to draw. The stylus and touch screen combine to make doodling a lot more precise, and would surely offer up a great experience for gamers with titles such as Okami or Kirby’s Canvas Curse.
The last game that was made available to us on the show floor was Super Mario Bros. Mii. This demo looked nearly identical to New Super Mario Bros., but the graphics looked slightly enhanced. The key difference was the added option of using Mii characters to play through the different levels. The new controller rendered the game quite well, making it completely unnecessary to even looks up from the controller. Other than the ability to select a level with the touch screen, the brand new Wii U controller didn’t add anything new to the experience for this particular title.
There is a lot of potential for the Wii U, and you can be sure that Nintendo will capitalize on it. The previously mentioned games are only tech demos, but with confirmed titles such as Super Smash Bros. and Pikmin 3 coming to the Nintendo Wii U there is a lot to look forward to. What will really be interesting is to see how 3rd party developers make use of the new high definition system and its controller — which is currently only limited to one per console. The Wii U currently has a rather large launch window spanning from April to December of 2012, so expect a lot more information on the console as 2012 slowly approaches.
What do you think of Nintendo’s Wii U? What games do you think would take the best advantage of the new controller?
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