As mentioned in the Play Expo 2012 thread I got to play on the upcoming WiiU and here are my thoughts.
Before I begin let me just say that I am a huge Nintendo fan (have been since the NES) but, and it's a big but, I'm also not one of those people who thinks that everything Nintendo do is absolutely amazing. For a start I thought that Mario Bros. Wii was dull as ditchwater and the 3DS launch was a right royal screw-up but because of this it means that I can go into the launch of a new console with an open mind.
When the major details regarding the WiiU were finally announced back in September I had pretty much decided that I was definitely going to be buying one at some point (a post that can be read here) but even then there was still doubts, like how will the pad be utilised within games, will it be uncomfortable to use, while the games certainly look enjoyable will they play well? doubts that I had even as I was queuing to play on the WiiU, doubts that quickly disappeared as soon as I picked up the pad.
Lightweight and comfortable to use I had absolutely no problems at all using the pad, even when having to tilt it to progress on Rayman Legends. I suppose the only 'problem' that I had with the pad was when playing Ninja Castle on NintendoLand as I found it a little bit difficult to line it up to hit the Ninjas with the shurikens but that was more me trying to slide/throw at different speeds and times than anything to do with the pad.
Talking of NintendoLand, I also played on The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest and Luigi's Ghost Mansion, one was great and one not so. I love the LOZ series and I was hoping to say the same about this but unfortunately I just found it to be a bit slow and dull. I played using both the pad and the Wii remote and I have to say that using the pad was better as the game was a little bit more fun. When using the pad the player plays as an Archer while the other player(s) play as characters using swords. I found the Archer to be better as you just had that little bit more to do with having to hit enemies in the air and aim for crystals in higher up places to open doors. Giving the pad a little shake refilled your arrow bag but overall I just wasn't that impressed with the game play.
Luigi on the other hand was absolutely brilliant and is definitely worth playing. The player using the pad plays as a ghost who has to chase the other players and grab them to 'kill' them. The thing is though is that the ghost can see every player on the pad/TV screen while the players using the Wii remotes cannot see the ghost at all, meaning that all they see on the TV screen is blackness where the ghost should be. Players can kill the ghost by shining their torch on it (and like in the original Luigi's Mansion game the ghost has 100 points) and can also resurrect other players but at the expense of the possibility of their torch draining which means that they have to hunt for a new battery. The game is really interesting and fun and can be quite strategic, especially when there are four other people playing.
Unfortunately ZombiU was roped off for over 18's only, though you could still see it in action over the rope, and so due to not wanting to queue again I only got to see it in action. I thought that some of the graphics looked a little ropey but the game play did look interesting, though I have to admit that I did start to wonder if it would get a little predictable after a while. A couple of memorable bits were using the pad to scan Zombies for ammo whilst not knowing if they would come back to life and having to decide when and where to use the torch to conserve battery power. It's a game that looked like it had good atmosphere and interesting sections but without properly trying it not one that I will be rushing out and buying.
I didn't intend for this post to be so long so I will wrap it up by saying that I'm now 100% convinced about buying a WiiU and that after playing on one (well several really) I can honestly say that I would recommend it to other people.