Wii U Impressions - Gamex 2012
Nintendo are just weeks away from launching their new system. Since I am not a hundred percent sure I will pick up my Wii U on day one I wanted to get my hands on the system to see if that could alter my opinion. That is the story of why I went to the Gamex convention in Stockholm.
Why hello there fellow g1s! Those of you who follow me on Twitter know I went to the gaming convention Gamex this weekend, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts coming out of the con with you guys. This first blog is just gonna be some short and simple impressions of five Wii U games I played on the show floor. I want to get straight to this, so let’s start this off with the title which is probably going to sell the most out of all Wii U launch games, shall we?
New Super Mario Bros. U
There were only three levels playable at the convention, and I suspect they were part of the earlier worlds in the game, but they were all fun to play through. The game controls the same as New Super Mario Bros. on Wii (at least if you’re playing with Wii remotes) with the exception of a fifth player holding the GamePad. I suppose most of you know that person places out blocks to help you with your platforming and also helps you kill enemies with the touch screen, so no need for more detail there. This, though, is where I start to doubt this game a bit.
This is great and all, but is it unique enough to really shine?
Once again, it’s (from what I played) a good Mario game, but I don’t know if it speaks to me when so many other games on the show floor use the GamePad in so many more unique and cool ways. Nintendo is known for using their new hardware in a most innovative way (we'll get to this in a bit), but this is unfortunately one of the few games where having the GamePad isn’t nearly as fun as holding a regular Wii remote and making your way through the level. It feels very weird since I’ve always looked forward to picking up a new controller when Nintendo launches a new system. The game controlled just as well as all the other Mario platformers, but I’m honestly less likely to pick this up day one than I was before playing it.
Now, about that "innovative use of the hardware."
Ever since Nintendo unveiled Nintendo Land at E3 this year, this game has gotten an incredibly bad rep simply because of Nintendo’s way of announcing and showing it to the public for the first time. I’ve remained cautiously optimistic about the title ever since for the same reason as anyone else, but I carry good news. Nintendo Land is shaping up to be an extremely nice pack in for the (premium) system.
Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros U
At Gamex, I got to play three of the ”minigames” (I kinda use that term loosely, since they carry way much more depth than what Wii Sports did) included in the game: Luigi’s Ghost Mansion, Takamaru’s Ninja Castle (it’s the Ninja star-throwing game you saw at Nintendo’s first unveiling of the system, just a little more fleshed out) and Animal Crossing Sweet Day. While the ninja game was fun as a short single player experience, and a good showing of what the GamePad can do, playing the other two with four other people is a blast.
Both games have four people with Wii remotes teaming up against the person with the GamePad, who has some advantages over the others, and these games easily outdo Mario Bros. when it comes to the use of the GamePad. I want to keep this brief, so I’m not gonna go into too much detail on how the games work, but from what I played, Nintendo Land is a must have for anyone who want to show off their Wii U in a great way and at the same time have a awesome time with friends.
To sum it all up, it’s Pikmin, and I love me some Pikmin. The demo was kind of short, but enjoyable nonetheless. Weirdly, Nintendo continues to force you to use the Wii remote and Nunchuk combination as the controller for this game, which works fine, but once again, I want to play using the shiny new cool looking tablet controller that’s right in front of me! As I said though, feels like a great new Pikmin game, and I’m definitely picking it up when it comes out.
Did somebody say adorable?
Probably the biggest third party game coming at launch for the Wii U, ZombiU was another game that used the GamePad quite brilliantly (why did that sound so British in my mind?). Your HUD is completely cleared out as you can find all of that (changing weapons, your journal, inventory management, etc. etc.) on your GamePad instead. You also use the GamePad to scan the environment around you by simply holding it up in front of your face and moving it around, as well as solving puzzles and other problems in your way. Apart from the GamePad functionality, the game is a standard zombie shooter, but that is fine with me since I had a lot of fun with it. Thumbs up (so far) Ubi!
ZombiU is one of those games that gets the use of the GamePad right.
The last Wii U game I’m going to talk about today is the follow-up to the gorgeous platformer Rayman Origins. I played both using the GamePad and the Pro Controller, and both were definitely enjoyable. The person with the GamePad interacts way more with the environment in this game than in Mario U, and it’s quite fun. I say "quite" because I think it’s still way more exciting to be the one in control of a character on the TV screen and doing the platforming like usual. Still, it’s a great platformer of course, but the fact that the GamePad isn’t really the controller I necessarily want to hold in this and Mario U is making me a bit worried.
Conclusion (sort of)
So, has my experience with the U turned me off or am I more likely to get one at launch now? To be honest, I feel largely unchanged in my opinion about the Wii U, which probably means I will be picking up one at launch. I loved playing Nintendo Land and ZombiU, and holding the GamePad in my hands has further convinced me what great opportunities developers are going to have with it, but I’m definitely less likely to pick up Mario U at launch (of course I will get it some point later on) today than I was a week ago.
I will continue posting impressions of other games I played tomorrow, including some thoughts on Halo 4, PlaysStation All Stars: Battle Royale and Dead Space 3. I also plan on uploading highlights from the BioWare Q&A panel to my YouTube channel (g1Museyfied), so stay tuned! :)