This is going to be quite a brief opinion on Nintendo’s newest controller because our time with it was, well, brief. In fact, the console itself wasn’t even the focus (it resembles a curved Wii at this stage but it could change) and it was the controller that Nintendo was showing off.
It’s a piece of tech that is already dividing opinion across the gaming globe. Some call it another technological revolution from those red-capped lot at Ninty, others think it’s an impractical device backed-up with a console playing technological catch-up with its competitors. I think it’s a little bit of both.
First thing to clear up is that the official specs for the console (or even its final design) have yet to be announced. So while plenty of multi-platform titles have been confirmed, there’s no word whether it matches the power of Sony and Microsoft’s consoles, or surpasses their capabilities. Titles like Battlefield 3, Aliens: Colonial Marines and Arkham City at least inspire confidence.
The controller itself looks like a weird iPad prototype with a melted Nintendo DS dribbled over it. The 6.2 inch touchscreen dominates the controller, acting as both an aid for action and also a screen to play games on when the television isn’t available – however, while the console is HD the controller’s screen isn’t.
Battle Mii proved an interesting demo to play. Using the new controller, you control a ship in the sky (resembling Samus’ from Metroid) and battle players on the ground using Wii Remotes. Controlling the ship, your third-person viewpoint is presented on the controller’s screen, while the other players use the TV. You can turn the controller to aim and use the thumb sticks to move and shoot with the R Trigger. It’s a fairly simple experience but one that feels fresh, unique and completely Nintendo.
It’s you versus the ground troops and it’s all presented in the usual cutesy manner that Ninty has adopted since the Wii. It’s no surprise really that they have chosen to do this, keeping the same aesthetics, approachability and, crucially, remained compatible with all Wii’s accessories.
This was just one of many tech demos that Nintendo was showing off at E3. Others provided further examples of the unique controller, others showed off the graphical flourishes that the processor can chug out. In the brief time I had with the console/pad, there’s no doubt that it’s another groundbreaking piece of technology. Battle Mii showed some of the versatility and gameplay opportunities that could potentially be hosted on the new console but time will tell whether developers will utilise the console in innovative ways and not just shower the white-brick with cheap mini-games.
It’s remarkably odd but an ingenious piece of technology that is sure to take the world by storm – seriously, it looks likes Nintendo may have done it again.