When Nintendo flabbergasted the game world last year with its concept for a successor to the Wii (now formally titled the Wii U Gamepad), it’s safe to say a lot of jaws dropped and thumbs itched to have at the new gaming gadget. While Nintendo’s shares plummeted from the launch of such a gutsy replacement for the Wii, the prototype began to grow, and grow, and grow on gamers as a downright piece of genius. Word has it that the Wii U Gamepad may in fact be the Nintendo’s best move since the Super NES.
Let’s take a look at Nintendo’s final handiwork, which is more than impressive, followed by a few of the games and features you can expect to toy with on the new console. The Wii U Gamepad has turned out to be a bit wider than its prototype, features two analogue sticks, and sports a deeper contour than its predecessor. Additionally, the console dons a near-field communications area that is sort of a mystery right now since Nintendo is being sheepish about what exactly this feature is for. (All the more to lure you in, you cryptic game lovers!) You’ll also find a “TV” button that permits the Gamepad to take on the alias of Television Remote.
Of course, you can expect to find all of the staples here, when it comes to a Nintendo controller – i.e. two large triggers with lots of legroom, a cozy feel, shoulder buttons, et al. – as well as a camera in front of the gadget, two speakers and a stylus. The best part, the Wii U is light as a feather with a contour that just feels too good to be true – including cozy grip-points and a diagonal ribbing on its underside. And by the way, this gadget will suit south paws as perfectly as the right-handed majority (Holy adaptability, Batman!).
So, let’s take a ride aboard the fun train now – with a look at some new games, revamped classics, and other nifty things you’ll be able to do with the U.
First stop: NintendoLand. Akin to the role that Wii Play held when it came to the Wii, NintendoLand’s overall objective is to demonstrate to users the Wii U’s assorted capacities. In other words, it’s a conglomeration of 12 games, each reminiscent of some Nintendo classics.
For example, game freak or not, you’ve certainly heard of – and probably even played The Legend of Zelda. The Wii U brings the timeless game back with Zelda: Battle Quest which basically launches both you and co-operative players into a realm clearly Zelda-esque where one player uses the Wii U Gamepad, while others wield Wiimotes. The key characteristic of the new console demonstrated by this game is that the view on the screen of the Gamepad-user differs from those using Wiimotes. While your characters slide along rails, the Wiimoters can wield their gadgets as swords, while the Gamepad-er uses his device to launch arrows (which is accomplished by pulling back and then releasing an analogue stick – and to restock your arrow supply: simply maneuver the Gamepad in a right or left direction).
Other games in NintendoLand include Takemaru’s Ninja Castle which requires users to hold the Wii U flat, point it at the TV and swipe fingers across the touchscreen in order to launch ninja stars, and Donkey Kong’s Crash Course, a single-player game that features a similar crossbeam-arrangement as the original game, but with a spin. Instead of playing as Donkey Kong, users regulate an apparatus composed of your Mii in a plastic bubble on wheels. The objective: tilt your Wii U Gamepad and allow gravity to take its course as you diagonal your way across the girders and down the screen.
Next stop: Batman: Arkham City Armoured Edition. As if the original Arkham City game wasn’t awesome enough, this tweaked-for the –Wii-U version is simply outstanding. There is a substantial amount of new, Wii-U specific elements, particularly that which incorporates the console’s touchscreen such as tapping icons to activate Batman’s weapons, an entirely new mini-game (all touch-activated) to manage Batman’s Cryptographic Sequencer, and even a new BAT Mode, which when galvanized, juices up the superhero with extra muscle for a limited period.
Have a peek at the revamped Dark Knight here: Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition
Next and final stop on the game track: New Super Mario Bros. Nintendo-addicts would suffer some serious withdrawal without a good dose of Mario and Luigi – and the Wii U delivers a sufficient fix with this renovated version of what’s probably been the most popular game since Nintendo was born.
While New Super Mario Bros.is little to speak of in the way of graphics (although it is HD, making for image quality that is a touch crisper) it certainly showcases the new console spectacularly. The game graces Mario with a new power called Acorn Glide: he dons a cape, while you shake the Wii U as he glides to help perform a super high leap. Also, the new game can be played in four-player mode, with one on the Wii U Gamepad and the others Wiimotes. Even better: the Wii U wielder can use the console’s stylus to tap and swipe the screen in order to create additional planes that co-operative players can use to jump to higher levels or dodge enemies.
Aside from rejuvenated games, the Wii U Gamepad delivers a new feature called Wii U Panorama View which is essentially a collection of 3D videos that were filmed using a new technology that allows players to pan scenes as though they were actually standing in the virtual realm, simply by oscillating the console around for a full 360-degree look-around, as shown in the clip below…
It seems promising that the Nintendo Wii U Gamepad delivers a mystifying array of capabilities and games that have the potential to bring virtual gameplay into an entire different universe of fun. The learning curve required by the new gadget is certainly worth it – and both Nintendo-fanatics and new-to-Nintendo gamers alike are sure to be swept away by the new gaming experience that this console will deliver.
Consumer Priority Service stands guard to supply you with a warranty for your console when it is released – and of course, you can find a warranty for any console – as well as gaming accessories – you may be playing with before you get your hands on the new Wii U Gamepad.