So I’ve had a full weekend of use of the Wii-U and I have games, tried them and bought them and enjoyed them and here’s what I currently think of some of them. Note this isn’t a full list of games as I am one man and the idea of forfeiting sleep just to play some games really doesn’t look appealing…
Let’s do this.
Essential horror gaming. Technically brilliant, using the U-Pad in a way that beguiles more than frustrates, with a solid narrative and a truly wicked sense of humour and attention to detail that borders on the OCD-edge, this is easily one of the finest games that UbiSoft have produced in many, many years and that is surely the point of doing it – a killer title that not only demonstrates the Wii-U and its strengths as a machine, but one that demonstrates that it has a real future and potential to really change up the industry.
NEW SUPER MARIO BROS. U
It’s sort of nice to get back to a traditional sort of Mario game. Some have criticised NSMB:U for being too much like Mario Bros. 3 – which is like criticising your girlfriend for looking too much like Rihanna. It’s the playful nostalgia coupled with new challenges and ideas that really makes this game sing – it’s a shame Nintendo didn’t use the U-Pad for anything more than the multiplayer help/hinder mechanic but when the game streams onto that screen without a whimper, you know some games will take advantage of that!
For me the weakest launch title but not because it is bad. If you have lots of friends and can get them around this Christmas, I am sure this game will be a total blast, it’s just a bit of a shame by the new year when it gets all quiet again that most will have shoved this into the box of Christmas decorations, in time for next year. I also find myself wanting an actual Metroid, F-Zero and Zelda as a direct consequence of this game; there’s something a little off-putting about minigames based on these franchises…
TEKKEN TAG TOURNAMENT 2: Wii-U Edition
Not only does this game handle well on the Wii-U, it comes with a raft of extras that its rivals can never hope to have. I have to concede that the U-Pad, for the moment, offers nothing above the concept of tying some moves to panels on the screen (which can be done on a Pro Controller too) but it’s still a technically polished little marvel with enough cheeky nods to Nintendo and enough bonus content to make it a superior offering to that of its siblings on other consoles. It’s a lot of fun!
CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS 2
If you look really really hard, yeah. The game isn’t quite as smooth as it is on the X-Box 360. But you have to be looking very hard, because the U-Pad once again dominates everything and really does add something far, far more interesting to the mix than you’d expect. Activision are not usually known for splurging much on this sort of thing but it seems the investment in making the U-Pad a central part of the experience was not wasted. Many players argue they will never go back from the U-Pad for FPS games. That’s a bold warning.
ASSASSIN’S CREED 3
Perhaps not a surprise from the effort lavished into Zombi-U, Assassin’s Creed 3 falls short in some areas technically, but that having been said the game wasn’t a perfect specimen to begin with. Most of the features the U-Pad brings are quality of life improvements, like a map and tapping the screen to call for your horse (effectively freeing up a weapon slot) which certainly make it an interesting alternative, but there’s few reasons to buy this if you already have it. It’s much the same as before, a pretty straight port.
MASS EFFECT 3: SPECIAL EDITION
After a difficult year for the Mass Effect franchise it’s somewhat comforting to know that much of the technical stuff from maps to squad moves are transitioned directly onto the U-Pad, which is a welcome change and a much nicer solution than the Kinect could hope to be. That said, it’s still a fairly bog-standard port and for all the talk of “Special Edition”, some of the upcoming DLC has yet to be confirmed for release on the Wii-U itself, meaning in the long run it could be the inferior version. I think “Special” isn’t used correctly here…
BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY ARMOURED EDITION
For all the talk and hype of this it’s perhaps one of the biggest disappointments for me that Armoured Edition brings very little tangible benefit. Aside the uses of the pad, the new armoured outfits are actually pretty ugly, the game doesn’t feel as fluid as it should do and there appears to be one too many bugs as well. Which is a crying, crying shame as this should have been the best version of a brilliant game and yet, somehow, they managed to botch it. My opinion? Too much of a good thing can go bad. And £50 for it? Heh, and no.
Again, the only real tangible benefit here is a map addition, and the included DLC does of course sweeten the deal for anyone who has previously missed out on what actually is a very good gaming experience. But there seems to be no real other reason to want to own this and most of us already have picked this game up for far less; the THQ sales on PC have been cutting this back very often to a tenner or so, and at that price even with traditional controls it’s an utter steal. The Wii-U version is just a bit expensive retailing for £39.99.
WARRIORS OROCHI 3 HYPER
Look, this is divisive. I personally don’t mind the Warriors series (Dynasty or Samurai) but there are plenty out there sitting in love camps or hate camps. So let’s talk about it. Is it a good game? Yes. Is it technically refined? Not really. Is it expensive? HELL YES! Not that I blame Nintendo fully for this, but for what this game is and for the shortfalls it does have, sticking it on the eShop with a £49.99 price tag is frankly rather insulting and as much as I enjoy dabbling in the series, this is simply too much for too little extra.
It’s nice to see a game that takes full advantage of the touch-screen and manages to make the whole experience feel better than on the PC version, even if it might technically fall a tiny tiny bit short (again, you’ll have to be looking for excuses to hate the game!). The ease of use and the wonderful charm of Trine 2 meld together and I’d be willing to state that this version is the best of them all; a real gem of a game and even if you have it elsewhere, the Wii-U version is certainly worth having.
Note that I have more to play/rent/buy but this is a good cross section. My overall viewpoint is that some of these games are great, but some of the ports themselves are just too expensive for what they are. And there’s not really an excuse for Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper to be that insulting in price. It’s not the end of the world, of course not, but that’s besides the point.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii-U Edition retails for a respectable £29.99 whereas Batman: Arkham City AE retails for £49.99.
I can’t explain that. Nor can I explain why the cheaper game is technically a much nicer port than the more expensive version. But do note that not all these games are equal. And none of them are terrible… I just wouldn’t pay so much for them right now. Wait until after Christmas, when a few of them will be in the sales.