Published on June 24th, 2011 | by Remy Cuesta0
Preview: Wii U hands on
With Nintendo announcing the 3DS at E3 last year it almost didn’t come as a surprise that they unveiled their newest console to be making its way into homes soon. Officially named Wii U, the focus is not on the console itself but on the controller. They had playable tech demos along with some games to be arriving for the consoles launch next year, we got a chance to check out what this new device is all about at Nintendo’s booth at E3.
The controller boasts a 6.2″ touch screen, a gyroscope, accelerometer, microphone and speakers. It has a camera on the front, triggers in the back and standard buttons on each side making the whole thing resemble a tablet. The first thing we noticed was how light it was, weighting in at no heavier then the 360 controller. The idea is to have a seamless interaction between the TV screen and the controllers touch screen. We here at LVLONE played some of the early tech demos showcasing what the controller can do.
Pirates on a boat are trying to hit you with plunger tipped arrows and the only way to block them is by using your shield at hand. The concept behind this was to show and call out a set of actions on the TV screen which will then be executed while holding the control tablet. The pirate shouts out commands of where he is launching the arrows from at which point you need to place the control tablet in that section to reflect them, all at a timed beat. With the help of the controllers gyroscope you will almost get a 360 degree view of your surroundings which is how it allows you to block the attacks. As you progress it gets faster, harder and even asks you to dance. This showed an array of promise to games that would have you perform actions to neutralize enemy attacks and so forth.
This demo played like tag giving all the players the task to chase and catch one person. All of them were dressed like toad with mushroom hats, as the one being chased was dressed like mario. The concept here was how five players can play on one console effectively, while not all having the same experience. Everyone played with Wii-motes looking at the 4-player split screen, while I played with the Wii U controller. When I played the character that needed to be caught on the Wii U controller I not only had my own screen but it also had a map of where everyone was. Everyone was to communicate to catch me while I do what I must to stay away and survive. I don’t remember the last time I had five people play a game in my house at the same time if ever!
This demo had a Metroid style to it and it was a two vs one battle. The people holding the Wii-motes were these Samus styled shooters split screen on the TV, while the one holding the Wii U controller is a spaceship trying to gun them down in the air. Being the shooter on the ground first your able to collect power ups and turn into the ball to navigate around the arena easier while also trying to find the ship to shoot down. Being the ship with the Wii U controller felt a little awkward as you had to use the accelerometer to control the ships navigation. I got somewhat used to it but still felt clunky at the end.
Since the announcement of the Wii U at Nintendo’s press conference some people including myself had been skeptical on how this thing would play out. I see the promise and ideas of where Nintendo is trying to go with this. It is to early to tell if all gamers will accept the concept but expect more info and news of games to surface in the future. I’m thinking this is only the tip of the iceberg for the Wii U and the avalanche is coming soon!