Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wii U - First Impressions

It's been quite awhile since the Wii U was announced, and since then the locations which you could play it at have been pretty limited. Sure Nintendo has held some events here and there, but the thing is, I don't live anywhere near them places. Well anyway, long story short, yesterday I finally got to check out the Wii U first hand, and I just wanted to tell you guys about my first impressions!

Well first of all, when I went to play the Wii U I was a little bit shocked at how there were so many people around, yet NO ONE was even bothering to look at it. If you remember when the Wii first came out, you would see lines of fifty or even one hundred standing in line waiting to play it (especially at GameStop), but with the Wii U that wasn't the case. I'm not really complaining about that, since I'm happy I didn't have to wait to play, but I still thought it was pretty strange.

Anyway after walking up to the Wii U the first thing I noticed is the funny size of the console. In just about EVERY picture of the system, Nintendo has positioned the system to make it look thin and short; a really nice compact system that will fit anywhere... Yeah that's just a camera trick. By taking a picture of the console at a slightly angled perspective they were able to make the Wii U look much smaller than it really is.
The system's front is in fact nice and thin, but the system is at least twice to three times as long as it is wide. Basically It looks like a log. I get why they would do this since most people will have their Wii U in an entertainment center (in other words the longer part would jet back to the wall and make the console appear like it is taking up less room), but it still looks pretty funny when it's just sitting there in the open.

The second thing I noticed about the system was at how nice yet strange the tablet controller felt. The grips were great, and it was shockingly light, but the way the buttons were placed and how far my hands were apart kind of bugged me. It's no major issue, but it basically felt like I was driving a car with a square wheel. As for the buttons though, I know that'll take some time to get used to.

If you have ever played a SNES, DS, 3DS, PS1, PS2, PS3, PSP, PSV, Xbox or a Xbox 360, then you'll be used to the standard four face buttons. A top button, bottom button, and one to the left and right. Well, what would you say if I told you that you had to reach to the left to hit the top button, down and left for the left, down and some to the right for the right, and much farther down to hit the bottom button? Well, thanks to the button layout, that's what you have to do.

It's just really strange reaching down to hit these buttons, and I can also see it being a problem for kids with smaller fingers. Still even if that is the case, there is the Pro Controller which is much easier to use. Still this isn't too big of an issue, and is more of one of them "keep playing till you get used to it" type of deals. It's something you have to go through with just about every console really.

After looking at the system, I finally moved onto the games, and really, I guess you can see this from two different view points. I'll just flat out say it, but if you stuck with only Nintendo systems over the years and you have never played a 360, PS3, or a PC game, you'll be VERY impressed; however if you have played a 360, PS3, or a high specs PC game, you will not be.

The games they had up and running are as followed.

Assassin's Creed 3 - Not much I can really say about this one... It's Assassin's Creed 3... Yeah it looks great and all, I love AC just to let you guys know, but it's the same game on all of the other systems. It's just nothing special to show off unless you've never played an HD AC game before.

Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge - This game is impressive because it's a MUCH needed improvement over the original, but it's still NG3. Gameplay aside, it looks just like the same game that you can play on the other systems as well.

Batman AA - It's Batman AA... The very same game that has been out for quite awhile now.
Mass Effect 3 - Once again, it is Mass Effect 3. Nothing to really see here since it has also been out for quite awhile.

Zombi U - This game looks great if you love Zombie games. The graphics are nice, and I can easily see it as being one of the selling points for the system. This is the type of thing they should have been showing off instead of the other games I listed above. Brand new titles no one has seen before.
Rayman Legends - It's a new game that isn't out yet, but once again, it isn't exclusive to the Wii U, and it still plays like Rayman Origins. The touch controls on the tablet were kind of nice, but that's all it really had to show off.

Nintendo Land - A collection of mini games, but sadly, I didn't get to try this one out... Sorry guys... (Then again there are hundreds of videos of this allover the internet, so it's not too hard to find out what it's like.)
and finally there was New Super Mario Bros U - Not really too much I can say about this one either actually. The graphics are nice and sharp, and the 3D models are larger, but for Mario's first HD game, it really doesn't show off the Wii U's power. I mean I don't want Mario to look very realistic or anything, but it's basically the same game as it has always been, but without the jagged edges around the models. So yeah, it does look really nice and bright, but it's nothing to make you go "wow" at when you see. Plus it still has the standard gameplay, with a few extras for the tablet controller.

Sadly though, this is all I was able to actually check out on the Wii U since most of the menu screens were locked off. I will say though that I found it a little bit annoying to keep running into that "Wii U" white screen which would then force you to look down at the tablet to continue through the menus. I'm not sure how often you come across this, or if it's just a demo thing, but it's kind of strange that they would do that.
As for the tablet itself, all I can say is that it's basically Nintendo DS/3DS controls. Yeah it's new for a console, but it's the very same set up we've been using since 2004 if you're a Nintendo fan.

So all in all, the Wii U actually wasn't too impressive. I know I'll still be getting one, no way am I passing up Nintendo's exclusive games, but for the most part it's just more of the same. It's the same quality HD graphics we've been using since 2006, and the tablet is the same old touch screen menus/controls we have been using since 2004. It's just that now they are mixed together.

If you're a Nintendo fan who has never stepped outside of Nintendo's systems, you'll be amazed, but if you're an all around gamer, there's nothing more to see here than a new Nintendo system you'll have to buy if you want to keep following them. I still am really looking forward to getting the Wii U, but I know I won't be rushing back to play the display model anytime soon.