My initial reaction with the Wii-U (hands on)

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So yesterday I was invited to the upmarket Slow lounge in Sandton to go hands on with the Nintendo Wii-U and, well, I have to admit I was very surprised by my reactions to the device.

Now to clear things up before hand, I’m a big fan of the Nintendo Wii. It’s possibly the most used console in my house but that’s simply because I have two small children and a wife who doesn’t play games on anything other than the iPad usually.

ZombieU

So as a family we’ve piled hours of our lives into Super Mario Galaxy, Super Mario Bros Wii, Just Dance, Kirby, Donkey Kong and other such assorted gamed. As you can see these aren’t hardcore games like Gears of War or Resident Evil and that’s always been a good thing. I don’t want my Nintendo console pandering to the hardcore gamer as I have my Xbox and PlayStation for that. I enjoy what Nintendo offers.

So when Nintendo said they were going to be offering full HD gaming experience with zombies and shooting I was pretty disappointed, this isn’t what I want and they really do have no chance of competing with the Xbox Next or PlayStation 4 in terms of graphics and third party support so why bother.

As such I headed to the event expecting to be disappointed and I have to admit that I was completely taken by surprise. The Nintendo Wii-U is actually quite an impressive piece of machinery and Nintendo has once again managed to find unique gameplay mechanics that it is planning to use to forge its own path.

Now everything I played was a glorified tech demo so I’m not reviewing anything here but a big selling point for the Wii-U is ‘asymmetrical gameplay’. Which basically means you can have two different types of games running at the same time.

For example I played Zombie U, Wii-U’s hardcore title where you run around and shoot zombies and use the gamepad to do interesting things.. that was all expected and nothing overly exciting but then we snuck our way into a multiplayer mode of the game and that really got me intrigued.

Pixelated for your safety

I started out with the Wii-U gamepad, or Xbox controller if you will, and I controlled a survivor who had a shotgun, pistol and crossbow and had to capture some flags while holding off waves of zombies. So nothing new there except that David Greenway was using the Wii-U tablet to control the zombie placement, he had a view of the entire map on the tablet and could choose from a variety of zombies. He would then place them at strategic locations to make my life a complete misery.

He couldn’t control them after placing them when they would act like mindless zombies but that added human strategic element made the game entirely different and is something I am really looking forward to experiencing in a final game.

This asymmetrical element was also utilised in Luigi’s mansion and animal crossing to great effect, so much so that we spent a little too much time playing these titles and missed out on any real in depth experience with Wii-U-Fit or Mario… and you know I’m really not sad about that at all.

Oh and I can’t not mention how very very good the gyroscope in the tablet controller really is but we’ll give a proper review of that once we get an extended hands on session.

In essence before yesterday I had no desire to buy a Wii-U and was pretty sure it was going to be a disaster for Nintendo as a company however now that I’ve tried it I can see why Nintendo themselves are so excited.

Pikmin

It’s not going to convert the Nintendo haters of this generation but Nintendo themselves aren’t going to have any trouble selling this to the mainstream market and with a large in-mall marketing explosion planned for the end of this year you are going to be able to go hands on with the device yourself before picking one up.

I however will be getting one on launch day to play Pikmin and Nintendo Land, those two titles alone are going to be worth the price of entry.

Last Updated: June 29, 2012

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

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