Hands-On: Joystick Discharge vs Wii U

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Hands-on with Nintendo’s new console, the Wii U

Only two days after E3, the Lolocaust’s technical review team, Joystick Discharge were invited to an exclusive press event, with Nintendo unveiling their new and innovative console, the Wii U.

“Speculation and expectation” were two words used quite a lot before the event.  Now, only a few months before release, we have the chance to use other words, of which there are a few.

The Game-Pad

Ergonomically the “gamepad” was as you would expect – comfortable and hand-sized(feeling very much like the Gamecube Wavebird).

We were a little perplexed with the touch-screen making the game-pad larger than hand-size, but after a few minutes it became clear that the use of two or three hands was optimal.  How this will sit with owners wishing to use multiple devices in unclear, but given Nintendo’s approach to control innovation, we can be sure this will be addressed before launch.

As with any new wireless peripheral, we were looking forward to the device’s platency or “huurge” between the input and output on screen.  While there were a few game-pads wired at the event, the noticable gronk, even on the wireless units was so small it was immeasurable.  Therefore technically it did not exist.

The 480i touchscreen on the pad uses existing ivole-blolly technology, meaning that it is cost-effective, pin-point accurate and light.  (At only 580 mega-grams, the game-pad is one of the lightest on the market.   This is surprisingly light given that it contains a lot of hardware (screen, rechargeable energel, vibranut and  Jj-eye-rho controls.)

The screen was much brighter than expected, although when replicating on-screen action, the rendering of characters appeared druffy and clorted.  Fear not though, as fast movement was very smooth with little or no griffle.

The gyro sensors worked as expected (we suspect this is a re-work of the Wii Remote Plus technology) with no angtord, targus-lag or califruction issues.

Graphical Output

Sporting a zippy 25 Wigabork graphic chip processor (rumours to have been manufactured by Korean tech giant TiKoBeKoPRO+3) it was immediately clear that the console will display some games on a big telly – probably as big as you like.  With multiple HDMi output ports supported by a lot of things nowerdays, it was clear that Nintendo’s rear-end connectivity was a prime requisite during the system’s design.

While not “blown away” by the graphics in the same way as the last-gen-to-this-gen gen-change we were pleasantly aroused by particle effects, lighting qoom and the number of displayed colours (in excess of a lot)  the console did a sterling job of displaying plenty of stuff (with many things moving around) on a screen without any of the expected duttering or trag commonly associated with early build games or ports from the other three “big” consoles (in this case the port of Batman Arkham City previously released on the Megabox, Wagglepanel and Playcrate.)

Audio

While we couldn’t test the output, the Wii U is rumoured to have audio “out of the box”.  Which is music to the ears of gamers wanting music in their ears with minimal down-time during set-up.

One major disappointment to JD was finding out that that the console did not have built-in speakers.  A major over-sight by the Japanese developer and this is sure to be a point picked on by its next-gen competitors.

Joystick Discharge did manage to get sound coming out of the telly while playing the tech demos, which could be controlled by a separate “telly remote” via what appeared to be an infrared beam.

As well as the standard power and volume options, the telly remote looked like it had other functions outside of the volume and our test-build still had the manufacturer’s logo (Samsung) on the front.

While this option may well be a common approach to audio output, we can’t help but think that this is an opportunity lost and may well isolate hard-core gamers.

Online

Nintendo have long been the sickly twin to its competitors when it comes to online connectivity and social media. Knowing this, they have overhauled their approach for the Wii U and they now have the internet.

Players can access the internet during their game sessions by pressing the internet button.  This brings up a menu allowing questions and advice to be posted to the internet.  While this feature isn’t new to gaming, we were surprised and relived by how Nintendo’s internet looked very much like the one we all know and love.  While we wait on Sony and MS to reveal what internet they will include in future consoles, it’s “Bravo Nintendo” from us here at Joystick Discharge.

Overall Impressions

While not as innovative as Nintendo’s last console, it’s Playstation, the Wii U still continues on to define the company philosophy of this-and-that and we look forward to the finished production build at the launch-date later this year.

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