Despite the lacking E3 press conference, Nintendo had a fairly strong lineup of software to show at their booth. Walking through Nintendo’s area did little to raise our spirits after all our hopes and dreams were dashed to pieces at the conference. Seeing games like Batman: Arkham City, Assassins Creed 3, and Ninja Gaiden 3, all running in 720p could make you doubt the power and potential of Nintendo’s new console. ”How is this any better than current gen?” one would ask himself as he stares at Batman in 720p.
It wasn’t until I got home that my hopes were, at least somewhat, restored by Iwata’s comments about the potential power of the Wii U and people like Crytek stating that Cryengine 3 runs “beautifully” on the Wii U. Most recently, Unreal Engine 4 was declared scalable to work with Wii U’s hardware, further easing worries of 3rd parties abandoning Nintendo AGAIN.
I have come to the conclusion that the Wii U’s launch games are actually some of this generations best looking games, and if the launch games look this great, then I can’t wait to see what could be done down the road when developers make games specifically for the Wii U.
It is also not uncommon for a new console to have games that are somewhat underwhelming visually, as no one has fully realized the potential of these new machines. This is no more apparent than with the launch of the Xbox 360. The visual difference in quality from launch games to games made now is almost night and day. I have compiled a visual comparison of these games to help get the point across.
Underwhelming – Perfect Dark Zero
Sure, the ground had bump mapping and some stuff was shiny… but Perfect Dark Zero was not the best representation of what this “next gen” console could do. It didn’t look THAT much better than an original Xbox game.
Compare to – Halo 4
Compare to – Gears of War 3
Skip ahead 6 years. Is this the same console that brought us Perfect Dark Zero? Holy craps!! THE GRAFX, DUKE! THE TURBOGRAFX! This comparison alone proves my point. But since it’s so fun, here’s some more!
Underwhelming – Kameo: Elements of Power
(LOL at 0:17) Again, the bump mapping is great, but that repeating texture is AWFUL!! Another game that looks and plays like an original Xbox game. In fact, it looks fairly similar to those early Game Cube and original Xbox versions of the game.
Compare to – Kinect Rush
Kinect Rush will probably be horrible to control (given that there is no controller and the kinect is awful), but you can’t deny that the cartoony style of Pixar’s movies is captured perfectly in this upcoming game. Notice the textures don’t make you want to GAUGE your eyes out.
Underwhelming – Call of Duty 2
Ok, so CoD 2 may not be as underwhelming as it is JUST PLAIN OLD, but it serves as a great comparison from then to now as it is a series that has evolved over the last 6 years. I love the fatty polygonal hand that keeps popping up to cock the bolt action rifle.
Compare to – CoD Black ops II
The Black Ops II trailer was akwardly long… and would have been visually impressive if I didn’t fall asleep half way through it. So, “in the interest of time,” let’s just agree this looks way better.
Underwhelming – Amped 3
3:55… ‘Nuff said…
What’s that? Amped 3 doesn’t look that bad you say?
Compare to – SSX 2012
Yeah… I knew you’d see it my way.
Obviously, when comparing old games to new games, the new ones will almost always look better and play better. It’s a sign of the times and progression throughout the generation. Knowing that the Wii U’s launch games look at least as good as this current generation’s games is comforting. Couple that with the knowledge that it can only get better as time passes and fears start to melt away. I’m sure Cryengine3 and Unreal 3 (and 4, for that matter) have yet to reach their maximum potential as of yet. For me, I no longer fear that Wii U will be left to DIE by 3rd Party developers like they did with the Wii, at least not to the extent they did this generation. The question remains, will we see our favorite franchises on the Wii U? Will we see the return of “proper” Final Fantasies or Metal Gears? I guess only time will tell. We will see!