E3 2011: The Legend of Zelda Wii U Hands-On Preview

We get an up-close look at the Zelda tech demo for Nintendo's new system.

While it was only an interactive tech demo, a version of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was on hand to demonstrate some functionality of Nintendo's new Wii U system, its unique tablet controller, and the system's graphical capabilities. The demo begins with Link walking through a narrow passageway into a massive room, and it's at this point that the Nintendo representative draws our attention to the Wii U tablet controller's screen. When we look down, we see a map of the area Link's walking into, complete with a small vision cone indicating where he's looking. There's also a skull icon on the map showing the location of the boss awaiting him--in this case, the spider boss named Armoghoma.

Upon closer inspection of the tablet screen, we also see three interactive buttons. We touch one on the far left with a sun icon on it, and suddenly the entire scene changes from day to night on the fly. This change in lighting displays some of the technical wizardry of the Wii U. Tapping this button creates some dramatic lighting and shadow effects as the characters and the surrounding environments go from being bathed in light to soaked in flickering shadows produced by flames in nearby torches that spring to life. This change in lighting also highlights some spectacular water effect as Link dodges his way around the massive spider.

The second button we tap changes the camera angles on the fly. We quickly zip from a dramatic, behind-the-shoulder view of Link to a distant perspective that puts the camera in the ceiling. The third interactive button produces perhaps the most noteworthy technical feat of them all, because tapping it swaps the action displayed on the TV with the inventory/map screen originally on the tablet. Aside from the streaming technology taking place, what makes this remarkable is that the screen on the tablet is pretty high quality--obviously, it's not on par with the HD resolution being displayed on the TV in front of us, but it was impressive nonetheless, and we could easily see ourselves using this feature in the manner Nintendo demonstrated during the conference (switching to the tablet when someone else needs the TV).

Quite frankly, if this is a sign of the visual fidelity that the Wii U will be capable of and the kind of detail Nintendo plans on putting into its games, then we're excited. If anything, the Legend of Zelda tech demo shows that the visual capabilities of the system far surpass those of the Wii and are comparable to those of the Xbox 360's. Be sure to check e3.gamespot.com for more info on the Wii U.

For more info on Nintendo's latest console, the Wii U, be sure to check out our Nintendo Wii U: Everything You Need To Know feature or watch Nintendo's E3 2011 Press Conference to see the full reveal!

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Discussion

93 comments
Thunderbear24
Thunderbear24

The Wii U looks really good and I am willing to buy one, but don't you think the new control may be a bit to big. Also, I loved how the last Zelda allowed you to move your sword freely with your hand. With the new control system, won't this quality be lost?

epic542
epic542

I agree Slayersith, The wii always had great games but the games that were also available on the 360 or the Ps3 were much better, graphics wise and gameplay wise, but i do look forward for the games that were always good on the nintendo (i.e. Zelda, Mario, Metroid).

slayersith1720
slayersith1720

the system and controller look great but i dont see it getting ppl to switch from their xbox 360 or PS3. ppl with a wii will get this and ppl who want all consoles like me will get it but i dont see them making ppl want to switch to it. But time will tell. they should have better explained what it was and not leave so much room for ppl to speculate.

TBoneTony
TBoneTony

Playing a game on the tablet while the non gaming family are watching the TV will be a bonus for those who only have one TV in the house. I was often a poor victim of this when I was the only one who wanted to play Ocarina of Time on a few occasions but I could not do that because the entire family wanted to watch something on TV and I was booted off doing what I wanted to do. That was often the case with me. I am happy to know that Nintendo was thinking about those situations when they came up with the WiiU.

drumminggamer20
drumminggamer20

@vega13mv AGREE! Look at games like super mario bros. 3, super metroid, the old castlevania games, contra etc etc etc... They're still as big a blast, as they were back then!!!

owenandjoni
owenandjoni

I'm super excited about this. I think it's going to be great. I still love my ps3 and Xbox, but as far as consoles go, my money is going towards the WiiU =)

grove12345
grove12345

@ekalbtwin ya like me. I was like oh a new console in HD with a tablet controller. Ok Nintendo Then they came and confused me and said its not a console but a controller dependent on the console. Current one being the Wii. Oh its a add on? But i guess its a console with a tablet. But i fear yet again, not enough power, not enough support, Nintendo will abandon it like they did all their consoles since N64. Nunchucks wave of the future. Now its a tablet? I know u can still use both. But Nintendo took back their words. This better have a huge advantage over me getting a next xbox or PS4. Price, technical, or games.

ekalbtwin
ekalbtwin

Nintendo really needed to give a better rundown on this new console, as there are still tons of people who think it is an add on to the wii. As for the controller and system itself, the more I see of it the more I like it.

MrM9991
MrM9991

That new controller looks interesting, but I'm gonna wait till I'm able to get my hands on it before I give any criticism about it. Needless to say, I'm really looking forward to it.

tevic
tevic

Hoped the Wii U would be more powerful than the current gen HD ... Too bad...

why9090909090
why9090909090

I really like this actually. If you think about it, you can have a 4 player game with 4 local players, and no one can screen watch you. That seams like a great feature to have in a FPS game or some kind of local multi player game

FamousCalibur
FamousCalibur

@Number_1_Gamer well i said it was completely opinion based. its just that i see an ipad with buttons and analog sticks. thats not bad, but i could get the psvita for a most likely lower price when both are almost exactly the same except for size. i said it was innovative, but im gonna stick with regular controller cuz thats the way i've been playing, i dont wanna hold something big to play on tv and on itself. granted that the wii has been family oriented and mostly seen in the living room where ppl do change the channel a lot, but i have my own room. so im not being a stupid troll, im simply implying the reasons why im not getting it cuz i am satisfied with wut i have. i like the psvita more than wii u anyway. strictly opinion based.

xw1ng
xw1ng

i wonder how microsoft will copy this. i mean first sony will have to make the vita work like the tablet controller (i mean they're already very similar), but then what will microsoft do to copy this. if you're curious, yes i do hate microsoft (because it always comes off as an arrogant dickhead of a company at these E3 conferences) even though i have an 360 and love the games on it because it's a great console. I'm gonna rant a little more now so bear (bare?) with me, I f-ckin hate you godd-mn fanboys who troll on the comments sections of articles about the companies you don't like. Now having contradicted myself somewhat I will post this comment and watch the thumbs downs slowly increase.

ABC2K
ABC2K

@GamerEye Its alright. I am interested in seeing what this new console can do with the tablet. Just not interested in using the tablet on its own. If I wanted that then I would buy a 3DS or PSP.

XenoNinja
XenoNinja

The Zelda tech demo looks awesome. a full Zelda game like that would be cool. I don't care if other games look better graphically. it's the art style and overall design of the demo that impresses me.

GamerEye
GamerEye

@ABC2K Oh srry, after reading your post more closly I've come to relize that your only pointing out a feature you don't like, I'm sorry.

GamerEye
GamerEye

@ABC2K You don't need to play it on the tablet if you don't want to. If you want to you can just play it on the HDTV. I believe that this was only showing what the Wii U is capable of (though I know it's capable for so much more).

ABC2K
ABC2K

Nooo why would I want to play the game on the lower quality tablet screen when I can play on the HD TV. This feature seems kind of useless and gimmicky. I like the idea of intergrating it though so I can use the tablet screen and the HDTV at the same time. Now that could be interesting.

Number_1_Gamer
Number_1_Gamer

LOL @ the troll saying PS3 is better because it uses "regular controllers". How the hell are "regular controllers" better than this awesome controller. It's got everything: two analogs, one d-pad, 4 face buttons, 4 shoulder buttons, microphone, speakers, camera, accelerometer...... What does a "regular controller" offer that this awesome controller doesn't? Please be specific and list the features.

Number_1_Gamer
Number_1_Gamer

@FamousCalibur What's so great about "regular controllers"? What do "regular controllers" offer that this awesome new controller with a screen, camera, etc. does not offer? Or are you just a stupid troll?

Number_1_Gamer
Number_1_Gamer

"There is only one thing I don't get: why can't there be a way to play two games at once: one with the new controller and one using the Wii-mote" That would require twice the processing power dummy, because the system would have to run both games at once. Maybe if they were really simplistic games....

Chaceace100
Chaceace100

yeah for the people wanting a normal experience, go buy an xbox or playstation... I for one am quite excited to bring battlefield with me on the toilet... Hoping thats possible :)

Islandbeats
Islandbeats

@MertzaSkertz I wasn't saying that making it M-Rated would automatically make it better. I just think it would be fun and something that would be interesting to explore.

chyng85
chyng85

Impressive game play~

Distinctive_Fin
Distinctive_Fin

I wonder if the rumors that you can use the 3DS as an extra for the Wii U are true? There is only one thing I don't get: why can't there be a way to play two games at once: one with the new controller and one using the Wii-mote.

Shadow_Fax
Shadow_Fax

Deadman_est1982 wrote: "Why can't the big N keep it simple?" Because that's all everyone else has been doing so far. It's good to have N going the different way. It's also particularly good when this way of theirs works (as proven by DS and Wii).

DSfanatic5
DSfanatic5

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Prince_DarkDrop
Prince_DarkDrop

@ mellow09 What I meant is back in the day there were plenty of 3rd party games on all of Nintendo's systems . Right now it only hanging in there by their own creations .

Prince_DarkDrop
Prince_DarkDrop

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

capthappy8p
capthappy8p

@ArabrockermanX yeah seeing how button mashing this will run u the price of a new controller lol

Tekcor
Tekcor

@Sepewrath Right, two really is the minimum, but these days four is the norm. Games like Smash Bros really rely on people being in the same room. Doing the math, assuming the tablet has a resolution of 852x480 (reasonable guess) and the TV at 1920x1080, that equates to about 3.6 million pixels with four tablets. My 27" iMac does that with a Radeon 5750, and still tears up BF:BC2 at max quality, full 2560 x 1440 resolution, same 3.6 million pixels. So the tech exists. The question is, how much did Nintendo put into this thing?

wazzmalo
wazzmalo

@FamousCalibur good you have good reasons to stick to the ps3. I'm surprised you didn't say something like "WII u looks terrible" Mario and link in HD?! about time!

Prince_DarkDrop
Prince_DarkDrop

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

zeebenzene
zeebenzene

In Soviet Russia no wii mii, wii U.

Contra75
Contra75

Can the controller be unplugged and portable and capable of wi fi on it's own?

Action
Action

@Truelori I remember the Wii Remote and motion controls being a gimmick too. Then Nintendo beat the ever-loving crap out of the other companies in sales and now we have the PlayStation Move.

FamousCalibur
FamousCalibur

Wii U....um....I'll stick to my PS3 for several reasons: 1. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. 2. Regular Controller. 3. Still topnotch graphics. 4. I have my own room so no one is going to come in and change the channel. 5. Innovation is definitely a good thing, but this.....not a gimmicky as the Blu-Ray was but..... 6. No price for Wii U. 7. Other exclusives coming out. 8. Wii U's Zelda game probably wont come out for a while after launch. 9. Probably going to buy the PSVita. 10. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. This completely opinion based, I'm satisfied with what I have.

Kenshin0011
Kenshin0011

Stop comparing this to the Wii, it is different in terms of capability and available content (hardcore AND casual). This is a new system, not an addon to the current wii, with cutting edge graphics, capability of playing the most hardcore or casual games, and has a new innovative controller that can't go wrong because it doesn't interfere with classic dual analog and button controller gameplay, it just adds to it. All of that wrapped up with major games not only from Nintendo, but from 3rd parties. ******WHAT IS GOING TO BE MOST IMPORTANT FOR MOST IS THIS:::: Now I won't have to choose between having a PS3/360 to play GTA or COD, or a Wii to play Zelda. It's all in one! :D just think about that for a second! how can it fail??

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

Oh this title looks very good for a demo.

sora_heart
sora_heart

STOP MOVING THE CAMERA!!! I WANT TO SEE ZELDA!!!

ShadowofSonic
ShadowofSonic

Wii me? WII YOU! But really ,Nintendo will ALWAYS be the best. I would love if Nintendo made a HD Twilight art-style Zelda like that one.

StJerK
StJerK

@Sepewrath thats not true. Lots of people have more than one controller. Looking at this i think that the Wii U is just an upgraded Wii. The Wii U was what the Wii was suppose to be.

SIMIFU
SIMIFU

@Deadman Because Nintendo is always innovating, if it were simple or the same as xbox ps3 then there would be no difference in any of them. Mainly, it would be a boring competition. r_r

Puzzler_Aaron
Puzzler_Aaron

@ Neyowolf - Duct tape over the camera Sorry, but the government hasn't reached "1984" quite yet.

epic542
epic542

True, but how much to you think an extra controller will cost.