PAX Prime 2012: Wii-U Impressions


Despite its debatable name, the Wii U seems somewhat promising. The only issue, however, is whether or not it’s truly the console Nintendo needs to win back core gaming audiences. The Wii U GamePad complements multiple titles, the new HD graphics makes games look sharper than ever, and the overall game experience is highly entertaining.

But again, is Nintendo really jumping out and breaking into the core scene again? We had a chance to glance at some of these games and figure out where Nintendo’s going with the Wii U.

New Super Mario Bros. U

So this was an excellent Super Mario game. But that’s the problem – it’s always an excellent Super Mario game and nothing more.

I was initially intrigued with certain features, including the concept of baby Yoshis we haven’t seen since Super Mario World. However, I was hoping this would be the New Super Mario Bros. with an extended challenge we’re waiting for. Then again, maybe this challenge simply comes later on within the game. But aside from the aforementioned baby Yoshis and flying squirrel suit, there isn’t too much more.

The Wii U GamePad also didn’t seem to add a significant amount to the experience, as players may also choose to simply play with the regular Wii remote. Unlike the Scribblenauts title I played, there wasn’t as much of a reliance on the new remote, which made me question what it really complements in the first place.

Project P-100 (working title)

In this build, players command a group of other would-be heroes and combine their energy to unleash powerful attacks against waves of enemy mechs. The visual presentation is even smoother, and features a sharp top-town 3D perspective as you save a city from inevitable doom.

The overall experience was a bit fast-paced, which sometimes made turns and maneuvers feel awkward. Getting started with the weapons UI seemed a bit inconvenient since you’re required to glance at the Wii U GamePad, make your selection through touch actions, and then confirm your action as battles wage on. It’s probably easier to adjust as you progress, but starting out feels more frantic than it should.

Since it’s still a fairly early build, this project really shows some promise. On a side note, some of the camera angles could also use some work (especially during bonus rounds where your view changes to the gamepad).

Scribblenauts Unlimited

In all honestly this is probably the most fun I had with the GamePad. There were times where I would even forget about the TV altogether and perform most of my actions on the touchpad itself.

Like other games in the series, Scribblenauts Unlimited gives you total control over objects you create, properties assigned to them, and how they’ll either help your friends or completely screw them over. For comic relief I decided to create a zombie when I saw a cosplayer dressed like an infected British guard. Everything went out of control after this, and I sincerely felt terrible about the Boy Scout troops I plagued.

The relationship between the GamePad and TV was amazing in this game, which gives me the most amount of hope for the console. Compared to Super Mario (which felt unneeded) and Project P-100 (which felt forced), Scribblenauts Unlimited is easily one of the best displays of the Wii U GamePad’s technology.

Overall, it feels like Nintendo hasn’t changed much. Though the Wii U games I sampled were highly entertaining, visually impressive, and simple to control, the entire experience still felt like so-called “casual” Nintendo we’ve adjusted to. We initially thought Nintendo was done with Wii era (regardless of the Wii name drop, but their “next-gen” moves with the Wii U proves they’re only looking to continue their current legacy in the way they’ve been doing it since 2006.

Regardless, the weekend is young and there are still plenty of Wii U titles to sample, including the supposedly intense ZombiU.

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Reader Comments (1)

THE WII U GAMEPAD does NOT have to be incorperated every single time

in fact its better they dont look at the ds

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertanto
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