If the Wii U isn’t a resounding success, it won’t be because of its bulky controller. The tablet feels fantastic using the face buttons or the touchscreen and is as intuitive to use as any of the established current generation control schemes.
The final model, which has been tweaked slightly since last year, is lightweight with strategically placed grips on the rear that make the seemingly flat device curved and comfortable to hold.
It’s lighter than an iPad 2, and can be raised and held at TV level for considerable periods without putting a strain on your hands. Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition and ZombieU use the inbuilt gyro sensor to have the player move the Wii U’s screen in-line with the TV and around the room. The light tablet and responsive motion controls allow these movements to become second nature.
The dual analogue sticks feel as nice as the single one on the Wii’s Nunchuck, and the 4 facebuttons (A, B, X, Y) take the diamond shape and feel from the PlayStation controller. My only compliant is that the ‘B’ button appears where the ‘X’ button is positioned on the Dual Shock 3. It was used to progress through Batman’s menus, while ‘A’ (the position of Circle) was cancel.
That took a few seconds to register after years of being conditioned to believe that A is always Select and B Cancel.
The ZR and ZL buttons rest comfortably at your index fingers and will be the primary option for firing weapons as the lower trigger buttons. The standard L and R bumpers are still there, but you’ll need to shift your hands upwards from the resting position.
The touchscreen is sizable and looks stunning in glorious HD. The whole of New Super Mario Bros. U’s single-player can be completed on the controller, and when Batman briefly shifted to screen mode, it looked every bit as good.
Only the very edges of the touchscreen can be reached when using the buttons, and that’s from a man with fairly long thumbs. You’ll need to release one hand to use your index finger or stylus. This configuration is less comfortable over extended periods, so ideally you will be able to rest it on a table or your lap.
The screen itself reacts as well as any tablet to single selections with your finger. More precise inputs, such as the keyboard in Scribblebauts, are best done with the included stylus.
The tablets on the E3 showroom where either black or white depending on which booth you were at. Both look sleek, and come with fully black or white control sticks. There’s also a ‘TV Control’ button between the Power button and battery indicator which I hadn’t really noticed before. Finally, the square under the D-Pad that was visible in the leaked developer controller has expanded to become a rectangle. We still have no idea what it’s for.
By Ben Salter - Bio