Wii U Impressions after going hands-on with the system
I arrived at the Nintendo Wii U event with mixed feelings about the new system. After a disappointing E3 showing and a lackluster launch lineup, I didn't have much interest in the Wii U. After playing it, however, I have a new outlook on how the console will be perceived.
Wii U gamepad - The Wii U gamepad was surprisingly enjoyable to use. It wasn't too light or too heavy and had a good spacing between the analog sticks. Having a built-in screen that shows all the action could be a game changer depending on how developers decide to implement it. Using a mixture of the gamepad and the Wii motes was surprisingly intuitive in practice. For example, in Zombie U, the controller was used as the inventory screen for the character you were controlling and could scan rooms for important items.
Perfect for parties - The Wii U could be the ultimate party machine based on the various games I played. Working with teammates to conquer levels in New Super Mario Bros U and Rayman Legends was a blast. Nintendoland had its share of fun moments as well, as I used the gamepad to shoot arrows at enemies, while my colleagues Dana and Dan hacked away with their Wii remote swords in the Zelda mini game.
Launch games – While not all launch titles appealed to me, (dancing games, Ninja Gaiden 3, and Wii Fit U,) a lot of them were good. Zombie U, which I mentioned earlier, was a new take on zombie games. When you died, you would assume the role of another character and try to make it back to the area you died in for your old weapons, a la Dark Souls. The Mario game was a lot of fun, as was Pikmin 3 and the various Nintendoland mini games. The fact that the Wii U plays Wii games is also encouraging; since you can go back and play some great Wii games you might have missed.
Nintendo franchises absent - The Wii U needs a strong start to be competitive, and not having a Zelda, Star Fox, Metroid, or (insert missing Nintendo franchise here) game really hurts. Having an old school Mario game coupled with a new Pikmin is a good start, but any one of the above franchises could really move Wii U systems. Not to mention the New Super Mario Bros. games are certainly growing stale
The price and exact release date still hasn’t been announced. Dana and I, however, agreed after playing the Wii U the price should be $250 for the stand-alone console, or $300 if it includes a game like Nintendoland. This will likely need to include the Wii U gamepad and a Wii remote, since most games on the show floor required one or the other. Selling the console for more than $300 with a game could lead to disastrous results for Nintendo, who (depending on how you look at it) has at least a year head start in the next generation of systems.
I had a blast playing the Wii U at the Miami event. So much so, that I have an optimistic view on the console, assuming the price is right of course. This could be the ultimate party / get together system and a great way to introduce your family or significant other to gaming.
What do you think? Would you buy a Wii U if the price was right? What franchise would you want to see as the "(insert missing famous franchise here)" for the Wii U? Let us know in the comments below.