As Nintendo itself states, “experience your own personal panoramic tour.” That certainly sounds like quite a strong premise, and Panorama View is indeed a beguiling proposition, especially when the GamePad is first grasped in-hand and all viewpoints are explored. As marginally explored in some of the true gaming experiences on offer at Nintendo’s post-E3 event in London, UK, the development team is eager to encourage players to realise the world outside of the confines of the TV space. In this particular case, the GamePad controller gives access to numerous scenes from around the world in a 360-degree view. It may sound like an unbelievable claim, yet watching the scene on the HD screen of the controller was not limited to a straight-ahead view. Without any exaggeration, moving to point the GamePad above head height, down at the ground, or even swivelling on the spot to see behind, gave a full insight into the happenings of the video playing, be it spying on the person paragliding to one side or dancers walking past. The change in perspective was so realistic, as if actually being there at the time and simply turning around.
Tilting and zooming to check on your surroundings is a great prospect, but the visual acuity was lacking, with the blurry nature of a close-up from Google Maps’s aerial photography being the order of the day. Buying your first HD Nintendo system and watching fuzzy imagery is not going to appeal too much, unless this turns out to be a download-only title, or at least a very cheap retail product.
What turned out to be of more personal interest was the possibility of what could be included in the final product. A map feature allowed watchers to see where in the world the scene they were watching was. However, it was only an up-close view of the continent, with no ability to zoom back out to see the location in context to the wider world, and there was also no other accessible information on the area in question or scene currently playing. The opportunities for educational uses are countless, but equally so are the chances for downloadable content. Anyone growing tired of the limited amount of pre-recorded videos could well want to extend the experience further, and would likely be more than happy to spend a token amount on receiving more content further down the line. After all, nobody likes a redundant product, right?
One last point -- be careful what you watch and zoom in on, since several guys were caught staring at busty dancers, thinking they had got away with it only to be embarrassed at the end of the sequence when the game played back ‘highlights’ of the current run…
- Adam Riley, Operations Director.
Four different scenes were on offer to explore in this very interesting piece of software. The user could jump into the middle of a street parade in Rio, Brazil, and feel very much in the party atmosphere as gorgeous ladies in extravagant costumes danced and sang as they passed. Then there was a lovely little journey through cherry blossom tree-lined roads of Japan in a cart, where we got to sit next to a traditional Japanese woman dressed in her kimono, able to see in detail the beautiful views of the far Eastern land.
London was a special case since there was the unique ability to switch the scene from daytime to night time at the press of a button, in what was made to look like a real-time change. It was a very curious few moments where we flicked between seeing such famous sights as the London Eye going around in sunlight, and observing the difference as it lit up its colours during the dark of night.
One of the more impressive demonstrations available in Panorama View was the hang gliding trip, with the camera attached to the flyer and taking us along for the ride. It was almost like being on the front of a plane as it took off, and it was quite an extraordinary experience. Whilst in the air, a quick swivel of the GamePad let us see birds to our side flying along, whilst merely tilting below gave a bird’s-eye view of the ground. It was quite an amazing feeling, since it actually felt like the user was flying.
Only one thing was going through my mind as I twisted and turned in the air, though, and that was how perfectly this idea could be incorporated into a Star Fox game. Regular readers may have heard discussion in the Cubed3 podcast about potential uses for the future of Nintendo’s space shooter with the Wii U GamePad, and having experienced the flying demonstration in Panorama View, I can safely say the concept could work wonders in the series. The GamePad itself would act superbly as a cockpit view, just like the one featured in the original Super NES game, Starwing (just Star Fox to non-European readers). I very much felt like I was there in the flying demo, so just imagine how an action space shooter would feel like!
Additionally, one can see just how easily the same type of feature could be implemented into a first-person Metroid game for use as a scanning feature. Not only could the player look around freely in all locations, but also use the control stick to move forward, rather than being fixed to the spot as in Metroid: Other M. Some people may have already realised that the Panorama View concept has great potential for a variety of locations, with none more so than underwater. An Endless Ocean-type game would look absolutely beautiful as the diver explores the great depths of the sea, looking at coral plant life and tropical fish. Certainly, there are a lot of possibilities as to how Panorama View can be enhanced and enhance itself into other games.
- Aaron Elias, Previews Editor.