Last week, Nintendo gave the media a special preview of Wii U. While the console doesn’t launch for another three weeks or so, we had the chance to play a whole bunch of games and we want to give you our impressions of them. For those who missed our impressions of other games we managed to catch at E3 this year, check out this page for all the latest and greatest.
At the event, Nintendo made sure we were taken care of with a huge variety of games. So to make things simple, we’ll break down the six biggest titles at the event and let you know what you can expect when the console launches November 19th.
ZombiU is a title you’ve probably heard of before as it is getting an incredible amount of attention for a brand new IP. As the title suggests, you fight against zombies, but with a twist: when they finally get you – and they will get you – you start over as a brand new character, even having to go kill your previous zombie to get your tools and equipment back! The game uses the GamePad in a frighteningly terrific way. When you need to get a door unlocked or punch something into a computer, the game forces you to raise the GamePad to cover the television screen, so that when you put it back down, zombies are likely waiting for you to chow down on your flesh. One of the beautiful things about Wii U is not having to stop gameplay to do things like this, and the folks at Ubisoft have taken advantage of it to make sure they’re including some new fright mechanics in their game. After all, it’s not as if zombie games are anything new; some original mechanics are necessary to make the game a success.
FIFA 13 was also on display at the event, and while we didn’t think the Wii U would be our first choice for a sports game, the GamePad, as Matt Ryan at Nintendo of Canada informed us, really does provide unique experiences that make us want to choose the Wii U version of the title. It’ll be interesting to see when the game comes out just how much of a different experience it is, but from what we saw – touchscreen passing and GamePad-based penalty kicks being our favourite new components – we just might have a winner on Nintendo’s new console.
One of Nintendo’s biggest franchises (okay, it’s their biggest) will also be coming to their new console on day one, and that is Mario himself in New Super Mario Bros. U. With gameplay we spotted at E3 2012, there is a lot to love here, but the best way to describe it is a rehashing of New Super Mario Bros. Wii with a few different control elements when utilizing the GamePad. That isn’t a bad thing, as it gives some Nintendo diehards a reason to buy the new console, but also because came out three years ago, so if you could use another run through, why not play it on the new system?
If you want to be picky, Mario isn’t the only franchise staple returning. In fact, you could argue that all of big-N’s characters are coming back in the form of Nintendo Land. This game – or rather, series of 12 games – brings players into a multitude of universes, including that of The Legend of Zelda, Pikmin, and Animal Crossing, among others (and yes, one of them is Mario-based). Our favourite of the bunch is actually the single-player Donkey Kong’s Crash Course because the game is so frustratingly awesome that it will make you want to kill yourself. We know that sounds a bit odd, but we really mean it in the best way possible. Luckily, for those multiplayer enthusiasts out there, most games are based around multi-person gameplay, and they will also adjust based on how many people are playing the game, making Nintendo Land fun for crowds and pairs alike.
We chatted with Warren Spector a couple of weeks ago about Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two and how the game had come along since the original title. We’ll go out on a limb here and say that the Wii U version of the game is the one you should buy. Not because Disney and Nintendo seem to be a better fit than Microsoft or Sony and the aforementioned, but because the GamePad is a tool to create art, and let’s face it, that’s what Disney Epic Mickey is all about. In The Power of Two, you really get a sense of a massive world with a ton of different creations roaming around in it, some alive, some more stagnant, but all of them very vibrant. We’ll have our hands-on impressions of the game when it launches November 18th on every platform known to mankind.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 should need no introduction. So we won’t give it one. The Wii U version of the game has some really beautiful unique experiences, the most functional of which really revolve around multiplayer. To prevent screen watching from becoming the epidemic it has the power to be (okay, we do it, too), one player can play on the GamePad while another has the television to their advantage. Of course, this might sound like a huge disadvantage given the different size screen, but consider the size of holding a 6″ screen about a foot away from your face as opposed to a 42″ TV at six feet. Exactly.
In terms of the Wii U and GamePad hardware, not much has really changed since we gave you our impressions of both at E3 2012. Fortunately, the GamePad is becoming more and more familiar as we take hold of it each time. For our in-depth impressions, have a read here and be on the look out on Twitter and Facebook as to when we get our review units of the console and games, and then brace yourself as the reviews start flowing!