Posted By: wraggster
One of the big highlights of the holidays would undoubtedly be the arrival of Nintendo's Wii U launch title, New Super Mario Bros. U - a reprisal of a familiar formula that now lets us crank the player count up to five, and also play the game solely via the GamePad's LCD. As if to imply the tussle of the Wii version's multiplayer mode wasn't manic enough already, this new release allows a fifth person to lay down platforms via the touch screen, delay the march of Koopa Troopers, and even reveal secret 3-Up blocks to the other four players. Of course, there's nothing to stop them abusing their new-found powers, supposing they've just had a rough day at the office.It's a sightly game too, brimming with bright, pastel-coloured stages and with an image quality that has been greatly clarified by the Wii U's digital HDMI output. Indeed, Mario Bros. U also marks the first title in the series to reap the benefits of a bump to 1280x720 native resolution, which, in practical terms, makes it far easier to decipher the on-screen action once the camera pans all the way out. With that 640x480 resolution barrier removed, we can see Nintendo's worlds and characters in all their splendour - but it also means there's little it can hide.The canon of "New" 2D Mario games takes pride in its simple-but-effective visual design and even running the preceding New Super Mario Bros. Wii through the Dolphin emulator at 1080p produces impressive results. However, considering the technological gap between that release and the latest Wii U version, we'd hope that Nintendo has developed the visuals of the game beyond a resolution bump alone - perhaps with an increase in character detail, higher resolution textures, or additional effects. It begs the question: have changes been made this time around, and if not, where might Nintendo have dug its heels in?To answer this, we've put our experimental hats on over the holiday break, and captured stages from New Super Mario Bros. U, before proceeding to pair them against similar stages in the Wii version. The idea is to look at asset quality alone in comparable instances and so, for the sake of visibility, we've captured the Wii version running through the Dolphin emulator at a matching 1280x720 resolution.