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Panorama View (Hands-On) (Wii U eShop) Preview

Review for Panorama View (Hands-On) on Wii U eShop

Nintendo is all about bringing new experiences to the fold, and managed to draw in massive crowds on the Wii and Nintendo DS thanks to titles such as Wii Sports and Brain Training. However, could Panorama View prove to be yet another niche product that appeals to the wider audience, or is it going slightly too far into the leftfield this time? Cubed3 went hands-on with the intriguing piece of software…

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.

Screenshot for Panorama View (Hands-On) on Wii U eShop

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.

Screenshot for Panorama View (Hands-On) on Wii U eShop

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.

Screenshot for Panorama View (Hands-On) on Wii U eShop

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.

Screenshot for Panorama View (Hands-On) on Wii U eShop

Worth waiting for?

The potential for the range of locations on offer and what could be done with Panorama View is high, despite at first glance there not being much ‘gameplay’ involved. Panorama View is not only the type of product that could set imaginations wild and help educate families, but, on a different slant, gives an insight into what sort of ideas could be designed and brought into games we will be seeing on Wii U eventually. As a standalone product, it is difficult to see how this could ignite into a future best-seller, but many thought Brain Training would be a flash-in-the-pan. Whether or not this does indeed come as a retail package, however, is not yet confirmed, but as a downloadable application with additional locations from all over the world, perhaps with detailed information of the places and views users can explore, it could become an interesting educational experience well worth grabbing.

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24.06.2012

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Nintendo

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Nintendo

Genre

Adventure

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1

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Preview

Rob64 (guest) 24.06.2012 15:53#1

This sort of tech def needs to be used in something like Resident Evil! Could you imagine being able to spin around to see zombies or scan the ground/ceiling? Would be so cool.

As for this, yeah, needs download content to even be considered or else it'll be too short-lived.

There is so much potential here....

There are no hardcore nor casual gamers, we are all simply just GAMERS
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Exactly what I was thinking. Az went in one direction, in terms of how the technology could be implemented into other game styles, whereas I went down the route of how the experience itself could be expanded.

What are your thoughts, Entity? (and welcome to Cubed3 Smilie )

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Adam Riley said:
Exactly what I was thinking. Az went in one direction, in terms of how the technology could be implemented into other game styles, whereas I went down the route of how the experience itself could be expanded.

What are your thoughts, Entity? (and welcome to Cubed3 Smilie )

Oh thanks Smilie I have actually been here for some years, but mostly in lurking mode Smilie

But let's get on-topic shall we? Take a Metroid game for example. The scanning alone with the Upad is gold. And remember the rumour about Acid Ghost that seems to nothing but a rumour? It kinda kick started my heart (LOL) and creativity as to how to use the Upad in a room to scare people in the game. ZombieU shows already some of the potential the Upad has. Combine some or all of these thoughts with the touchscreen and camera and, most importantly, the creativity of a developer and we are going to see games like never before. The developers have the tools, now let us see how they actually use them! 8)

There are no hardcore nor casual gamers, we are all simply just GAMERS

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