Six years after Nintendo unveiled the unique Wii console to the world with its fancy motion sensor controller dubbed the Wii Remote, the Japanese games manufacturer has devised a new way of interacting with video games by enhancing the user experience with the new Wii U.
The GamePad controller, featuring a large 6.2-inch display, camera, speakers and motion sensors feels like a chunky iPad. And yet it’s very comfortable to hold and use, as it’s not too heavy thanks to the Nintendo’s approach to ergonomic design.
The game playing features are taken directly from the popular DS and 3DS handheld consoles, whereby you have physical buttons (like the D-pad) and a touch screen to interact with.
Playing games with the GamePad is a joy as it brings a new sense of perspective and experience. Nintendo Land in particular shows off the many features on the controller by tilting, rotating and touching the screen to aid the fun and addictive game play.
While survival horror game ZombiU uses the GamePad as a form of a scanner to look for items as a way of staying alive from the zombies.
As for the Wii U, this is the first time that Nintendo has gone for the High Definition route and games now look absolutely breathtaking on a HDTV. New Super Mario Bros. U is a great example, as the environments look even more immense and lively thanks to the gorgeous visuals.
And yet the feature I love the most about the Wii U is the social network. The Miiverse reminds me of a combination of Facebook, Twitter and an online forum.
You can post status updates on games with text messages or drawings that everybody on the Nintendo Network can see. Players can ‘follow’ one another and rate status updates with ‘Yeah!’ approval. In addition, if you are having a difficult time on a level, just post a message on Miiverse about your troubles and a solution on how to complete it is given by the helpful players online.
This social interaction makes the Wii U really unique. Instead of the usual online competition to be the best against the rest, there is a sense of networking and embracing your online friends. It feels friendlier and you get to see the different personalities thanks to the witty messages and drawings.
Is this Nintendo’s finest console? The HD visuals do make the games look fantastic and thanks to the powerful processors, the Wii U can finally match the capability of Sony’s PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 from Microsoft.
As for GamePad, the touch screen elements work very well in the games on offer in particular Batman: Arkham City Armoured Edition. Although it will be fascinating to see developers creating new and exciting ways to harness the GamePad and the system’s other unique options to deliver one-of-a-kind experiences in the years ahead.