Nintendo Wii U first impressions
Nintendo hosted a few journalists in Sandton for a preview of the Nintendo Wii U – their new gaming system.
While the games weren’t quite final builds, the system itself is set for release at around the Christmas shopping period.
Boasting multiple controllers, the emphasis appears to be on backwards compatibility in both hardware and software. The Wii nunchuck will still work with the new system, and you can get a traditional controller too.
One of the selling points with the new system is asymmetric multiplayer – where players with different controllers can have different functions in the game. I didn’t get to see this in action, but it sounds interesting.
I am not a huge fan of touch screens, but the implementation of them is well thought out and the control is more comfortable to hold than I expected. While less well made games could become uncomfortable to play on it, the initial releases all appear to have taken this into account.
Nintendo has always had a reputation for having a high quality library, which is none-the-less tiny. Hopefully as more outside developers come on board to develop games on a system that is not a decade old, that weakness will be dealt with.
Unfortunately there is a new weakness creeping in, though it should only be a problem in the first year or so – namely oldish games getting a Wii U port. Batman Arkham City is an example of this, but also Mass Effect 3. Mass Effect is a series of games that is seriously improved by playing the whole trilogy, I feel a touch dubious over whether the third instalment will really work on its own.
It is not really a selling point that you can now play games on a Nintendo console that you could already play on other systems.
That said we are getting Pikmin 3 and a new Super Mario Brothers game as launch titles, and there is apparently new Zelda title coming. Nintendo is going all out to make this system appealing to gamers.
Overall my first impression is mixed. With a good line-up, third party developer backing it could end up taking over the console scene much as the Wii did (and it is important to remember the Wii had a lot of nay-sayers too).
On the other hand, some of that third party support comes in the form of games that are already out for the other consoles which at this late stage in their development, are likely to be a lot cheaper.