Wii U Hands-On: StealthBuda’s Perspective [ZombiU, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge & New Super Mario Bros U]
On Tuesday (12 Jun 12), Nintendo Scene’s Reviews Editor (Katy) and I were lucky enough to get a hands-on experience of the upcoming Wii U console, as well as demo lots of Wii U and 3DS titles announced at and before E3. Rather than bore you with an extremely long, in-depth and technical article of every game on show yesterday, we decided to focus on three games each that really got us excited about Nintendo’s future.
You can check Katy’s analysis of her top three choices here.
My choices are ZombiU, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge and New Super Mario Bros U. These are not my top choices as such, but the choices that offer the best chance to comment on what the Wii U offers in new ways to play and in comparison to older Nintendo games and games on other consoles.
ZombiU – Wii U – Holiday
ZombiU is probably the best promoter for integrating the Wii U GamePad into the gameplay experience. The first thing I noticed when playing was how often you look between the screens. At first it is quite unsettling, being a survival horror you really want to keep your eyes on the screen and those few milliseconds where your eyes flick between the two are quite disconcerting. I found that I soon got used to it and settled in to a subtle routine of making sure any area is clear before flicking to the GamePad.
The demo we had access to started off near Buckingham Palace in what appears to be an overrun rendezvous point for the emergency services. Pressing the left shoulder button turned the GamePad into a scanner, which brought up an infrared display on the GamePad and turned the main display third person. You can then look around, physically holding the GamePad up and turning to view the world through your GamePad’s screen. I did this before even moving forward and a box was highlighted at the end of the street.
After a few steps forward a crouched zombie rose up from its hunches and began moaning as it approached me. A couple of shots to the head put it down, but left me worrying how close you had to be for a definite headshot or if the zombies could just take a lot of punishment. Already the doubts about my survival were there.
The GamePad also serves as your inventory, giving you a display of what weapon you have selected and how many of certain items you have left, as well as a mini-map. When you loot bodies or containers, the screens operate in the same way as the scanner, giving you a third person view on your display while you view items on the GamePad’s screen.
The demo continued into a school, where I had to find some antibiotics and then escape. Zombie’s come at you from everywhere, mainly closed door and lockers, as you attempt to find key cards to open doors until finally you end up in the basement where you face a zombie nurse. The zombie nurse flashes into a ghostly mist after she is hit and stalks you until she attacks again.
I consider myself pretty solid at first person shooter games, as well as stealth and any games where collecting stuff helps you survive. I also think that in a real zombie apocalypse, I’m well trained enough to probably survive the initial outbreak. But ZombiU had me doubting. You’ve got limited ammo, a single bite from a zombie kills you (respawning you as another character where you have to fight back to where your last character was and is now a zombie, where you have to kill them in order to loot their stuff and continue the mission), hand to hand isn’t that effective and only serves to keep zombies off you long enough to get some distance. All of this adds to the experience. The graphics I felt let it down slightly, but the way it makes you feel reminded me of the original Resident Evil, where you ran past some opponents in order to save ammunition and you were never sure where you’re next heal was.
ZombiU demonstrates the Wii U GamePad very well and on the basis of this demo will be a definite purchase for the Wii U, but the graphics didn’t seem to show off what I would expect from Nintendo’s next console, not where compared to the next game I will talk about.
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge – Wii U – Holiday
The first thing you notice about Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge on the Wii U is how graphically beautiful it is. Dismemberment is back (stunningly omitted from the PS3 and X360 versions) and it looks fantastic. NG3: RE really shows off the graphical power of the Wii U. It lets it stand side by side with the PS3 and X360, but I’m not sure how it will hold out against their next incarnations.
The Wii U controller in this lets you select weapons and execute Ninpo, but the second thing you notice about NG3: RE is how hard it is and how quickly you die. In the heat of some battles, looking down at the GamePad screen is rarely an option.
As a huge Ninja Gaiden fan, I was very pleased with this demo where I battled through waves of enemies in a desert town. The look and the feel are so right. What remains to be seen is whether this level of graphics can hold up against the future systems of the other big names.
New Super Mario Bros U – Wii U – Holiday
I comment on this purely in comparison to older versions of the game. Above I commented on a new Nintendo game, and a game available on other platforms, but how does Super Mario Brothers look on the Wii U? The answer is impressive. Graphically it is pretty stunning. The colours are sharp and the in game movement animation is polished.
Apart from a new Mario suit (the squirrel suit which lets Mario glide) and tiny balloon Yoshi (which Mario can inflate to boost before gliding down) it is the same winning formula, with one difference.
In two player mode, the GamePad allows a second user to create platforms to assist Mario on his journey through the levels. Mostly what I saw was players hindering their partners with platforms created just above their heads, impeding their jumps or badly placed platforms that they couldn’t reach. But with some practice, I imagine this will allow for some very intense speed runs though levels, or for parents to assist their children.
In closing, some impressive graphics, use of the GamePad and an old favourite. I wasn’t initially sold on the Wii U and I’m still not convinced that it will separate a ‘hardcore’ gamer from his Playstation or Xbox, but it will give options to those with only a Wii U and some Wii U exclusives will definitely increase sales and bring in some new users.
How do you feel about the Wii U and the GamePad? What game are you most looking forward too?
- Ubisoft’s E3 Show – Wii U Line-Up & More! (nintendoscene.com)
- All The Announced Wii U Titles, Right Here, Right Now. (nintendoscene.com)
- Scribblenauts Unlimited Announced For Wii U (nintendoscene.com)
- Nintendo Planning Larger 3DS And Wii U Price Revealed? (nintendoscene.com)