First Impressions of Nintendo’s Wii U

Nintendo Wii U First Impressions

Now that I’ve had time to recover after an exhausting field trip to the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo, I wanted to put in my two-cents about Nintendo’s Wii U. The revered gaming conglomerate has always been known to revolutionize the industry, but has the industry reached a peak? Could the Nintendo Wii U just be a fancy gimmick?

As you can tell from the header picture, I was given the opportunity to attend Nintendo‘s press conference at the Nokia Theatre. The meat of the presentation focused primarily on new Wii content, but not the actual system itself. Reggie Fils-Aime demoed a lot of new games and a few new interesting things about the Wii U community. But what I came to realize after I had left the presentation was how lackluster it all seemed.

Zombi U Zombie Creator

Where were all the big Nintendo tent-pole titles? Why isn’t there a new Star Fox, Super Smash Bros., Donkey Kong, or even the Wii U version of Skyward Sword? What we were shown was Nintendo Land, Pikmin, yet another Super Mario Bros.and the introduction of some third party contenders (Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition and Assassin’s Creed 3). This was a very unusual Nintendo conference because it just lacked so much energy than previous expos.

Nintendo Wii U Stylus

When I headed to the showroom floor, there I was able to test out the Wii U for myself. The gamepad is a decent weight. It’s slim, but still feels weird to hold as a video game controller due to its boxy form. I played Batman Arkham City Armored Edition. I have never played Arkham City in my life, so this was a unique learning curve for me.

The game has a lot of fun interactivity between what was going on the screen versus what you would see on the gamepad. My only complaint is how often you would have to look back and forth between the screen and the gamepad. It was quite frustrating and takes the flow out of the game. I would guess that once you get the hang of it, gameplay would become much more fluid. For beginners I could foresee this being a big negative against the console.

Aside from being a a giant Nintendo DS, I don’t really see what’s so special about the Wii U at the moment. I can see the fun if you have four other people to play with or if you are playing Madden so you can hide your plays, but the appeal isn’t there for me. Zombi U did looks quite terrifying, but I would have to check it out before I make any other judgements. It just depends on how often you would have to take your eyes off the main screen. I’m sure the amount of gamepad usage varies from game to game.

There is still no release date or sales price for the Nintendo Wii U yet, but expect it to come out sometime before the holidays.

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