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Blog – First Impressions: Wii U, Rayman Legends

What started out as a quick trip to the local GameStop this afternoon turned into a slightly delayed affair; my original plans were to trade in a few games and pre-order Halo 4,but I quickly noticed something upon walking into the store: the brand-new Nintendo Wii U kiosk, complete with a GamePad controller and a wide selection of games to demo.

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Well, I use “demo” loosely…I spotted roughly a dozen videos for games such asNew Super Mario Bros. U, Nintendoland, Mass Effect 3, Batman: Arkham City, Aliens: Colonial Marines, ZombiU,andScribblenauts Unlimited.Unfortunately, there was only oneplayabledemo –Rayman Legends.

Then again, I had no reservations about seeing this version of the follow-up to Ubisoft’s critically-acclaimed platformer,Rayman Origins.In fact, along with another multi-console title I just mentioned –Aliens: Colonial Marines– I plan to playLegendson the Wii U, if anything at all.

Moving forward, I had some technical difficulties with the kiosk and couldn’t manage to make any of the videos work. I went straight intoLegends,and waited as the demo started up. It was around this time that I realized the GamePad controller wasn’t anchored to the kiosk, and I picked it up for the first time.

Just to summarize the span of thoughts that occurred in the next five or ten seconds, I went from “what the ****” to “whoa, alright” and finally “sweet, I’ve got it”. The GamePad is incredibly light, though it’s also admittedly clunky at first. I have larger-than-average-sized hands, and even I had some trouble feeling completely comfortable with it…for a few minutes.

After breezing through one of the “running stages” inRayman Legends(dashing to the beat of“Whoa Black Betty!”) I realized that I was already more comfortable with the GamePad than I had ever been with the Wii remote. To put it best, the GamePad feels almost like the “bottom half” of the Nintendo 3DS, where the TV screen is the “top half”. Switching between the two (which is necessary in theRaymandemo) is seamless, and the quality of the GamePad’s screen is impressive, to say the very least.Rayman Legendsmay not be the most visually-advanced game in the Wii U library, but it doesn’t lose anything in the translation from the big screen to the 6-inch GamePad touch screen.

Using the touch screen requires you to take your hands off of the right side (or left) of the controller; this may seem like a problem, butLegends’small-screen sequences were designed so that you don’t actually need to use the buttons or anything else on the right side of the controller anyway. As long as future Wii U titles are designed with this limitation in mind, I see the GamePad being as revolutionary and innovative as Nintendo has promised all along.

To put it best, even in the ten minutes that I spent withRayman Legendsand the Wii U’s GamePad controller, I noticed quickly how much utility is involved in using the device rather than a standard controller. Think of it as less of a new way of basic control, and more of a new tool for interacting with games in interesting and different ways. The mechanics that could be created with this thing are pretty exciting to consider; just using it as your radar/inventory inZombiUcould be completely different than anything before, the same goes forAliens: Colonial Marines’scanner device.

Will the Wii U prove to be as innovative and revolutionary as Nintendo hopes? You decide; make a trip to your local GameStop as soon as possible to see if they’ve got a Wii U kiosk of their own. Leave us a comment and tell us what you think, or discuss your thoughts about the upcoming launch on November 18!