While Nintendo opted to go away from showcasing the console, something it featured back in 2004 when the Wii was first introduced, the Wii Uís console is significantly upgraded in the hardware department. The consoleís looks might not be that much different than the current Wiiís but a more sleek rounded appearance makes the console look more 2012-ish and less 2000-borish.
The Wii U will sport full high definition graphics; 720p, 1080i, and 1080p resolutions. It will also allow you to view video in the 4:3 ratio as well as the 16:9 aspect. The Wii U will have an HDMI out port as well as four USB 2.0 ports, an ďAV MultiĒ port, sensor bar power port, an SD memory card slot, and power supply port. The Wii U will support internal flash memory with expandable hard space through USB drives and SD cards. The consoleís processor will be handled by the IBM Power Architecture-powered multi-core microprocessor. The Wii Uís game discs will be proprietary high-density optical discs (think Blu-ray) allowing for massive amounts of storage.
While it will likely be some time before media outlets will get their hands on the Wii Uís console itself to dissemble it and dissect it, but I think itís safe to say that Nintendo has found a console that will finally be powerful enough to compete and surpass the big boys...for now.
During Nintendoís Wii U presentation several tech demos were showcased and one interestingly enough featured what a Zelda title might look like in glorious high definition. Whether Nintendo showcased this demo for a limited time to hint that a Zelda title might be in the works for the Wii Uís launch or rather just to display that the Wii U can make Linkís adventures look that much better with 1080p graphics. All the same, it was very refreshing to see a first-party title with a hardcore audience, such as Zelda, get shown a little HD love.
Another demo shown was of a bird flying and landing on a tree branch while a flower from the tree falls off and into the water directly below it. A fish from the water comes to the surface to greet the flower. While the demo was less than boring it showcased just what everyone had been harping Nintendo to include in their next console, the ability to handle highly complex CG.
The Shield Pose demo was shown to show those watching just what the Wii Uís gyroscope controller can do. The point of the mini-game was to deflect and block incoming arrows being shot at you. You block the arrows with the controller by holding it in front of you and everywhere an arrow looks to be heading. The amazing thing about the Wii U is that it allows you to never lose focus on the TV as the both the controller and television (using the gyroscope) project the same image no matter where the controller is pointing at the television.
One of the other demos shown was the Battle Mii mini-game which featured gameplay using the Wii Uís controller and two other Wiimotes. The two players with Wiimotes would shoot at each other and the player with the Wii U controller pilots a ship above the other two players and is responsible for shooting at the players on the ground. The demo was clearly aiming at showing everyone that games will be able to support more than one type of gameplay all at once. First person action, third person action, and vehicle motion will all be supported at the same time.
The last demo shown was the Chase Mii mini-game which has you and four other players playing a type of tag game. Four players use Wiimotes and try to ďchaseĒ down the last player who uses the Wii Uís controller to maneuver through a maze. The players with Wiimotes can only see the ďchase-eeĒ by trying to sneak at peek at him through the split-screen on the television while the ďchase-eeĒ can see every playerís position from a top-down aspect on the Wii U controllerís touch screen. Think a pac-man type view.
Third Party Support At Last
One thing Nintendo wants to do with the Wii U is erase all the bad tastes that gamers accumulated by being subjected to absolute horrid third-party shovel ware on the Wii. They look to be ahead of the curve by showcasing collective third-party support from hardcore gaming developers such as Rocksteady, Electronic Arts, Irrational Games, Epic Games, THQ, and more.
During a video montage shown at Nintendoís E3 press conference featured Darksiders II, Batman: Arkham City, Assassinís Creed, Tekken, DiRT, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Ghost Recon Online, Metro: Last Light, Super Smash Bros., LEGO City Stories, Ninja Gaiden 3, and Pikmin.
Whatís interesting is that we will be able to do with Batman in Arkham City with the Wii Uís controller or more specifically a potential BioShock title using the Wii Uís controller and gyroscope to harvest Adam. THQís Darksiders II was announced as a Wii U launch title. Electronic Arts also announced exclusive support behind the Wii U in all of their future titles and Iím anxious to see how Madden NFL incorporates this new technology.
Thereís really nothing holding the Wii U back from becoming the go to console amongst game developers. The original Wii had hardware issues and gimmicky controls, something that Nintendo has eliminated with the Wii U. Of course you and everyone else on the planet interested in the console still have numerous questions about the console. As of now Nintendo is being rather tight lipped about potential launch titles, further capabilities and 3DS inter-connectivity.
I expect Nintendo to showcase the Wii U further in the coming months and weíll eventually be shown more of what the console itself can do.
The company seems to hit a homerun when they stick to what they know best, first party gameplay backed by a fun console. The Wii U looks all the parts to take Nintendo in the next generation of gaming.