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Nintendo Wii U Preview Event Recap

Nintendo hosted a press event this morning to finally announce their launch plans for their new Wii U console. Reggie Fils-Aime goes straight to the announcement at the start of the media briefing that the Wii U is coming out on November 18. That date has been rumored for some weeks thanks to PDP, but it is now confirmed by Nintendo themselves. Reggie also confirms more rumors that there are two SKUs to choose from at launch. The basic set costs $300 and it includes 8GB of storage, a Wii U gamepad, and a HDMI cable. Then there is the deluxe set, which costs $350, and it has all the features of the basic set plus more. It includes a black console, 32GB of storage, stands for your console and controllers to recharge, NintendoLand packed in, and a deluxe digital promotion, which the details of that will be revealed at a later time.

After announcing the big details, Nintendo went on to show off some of their first-party lineup for the launch window. NintendoLand was up first and Bill Tretton was there to show off new mini-games called Metroid Blast and Pikmin Adventure. It is no surprise that NintendoLand was going to be the pack-in game for the Wii U since Nintendo spends too much time at press events demonstrating some of its mini-games and this morning was no exception. LEGO City: Undercover, the LEGO-based Grand Theft Auto-like game was also there with some new footage. Bill also announced new modes for New Super Mario Bros. U, the game I'm personally looking forward to at launch. Besides the main game that can be played alone or up to four players co-op like NSMB Wii, extra modes are in to spice things up for hardcore Mario players. Challenge modes present certain missions and goals for players to beat such as beating a stage without touching the ground or getting 1ups by jumping on enemies. Boost Rush mode is basically a speed run through stages, but the screen autoscrolls at fast speeds, so players have to be quick and reactive to do well in this mode. As seen in E3, MiiVerse is supported heavily with this new Mario game and these extra modes will add along to the fun of comparing scores against friends online. New Super Mario Bros. U comes out on the same day of as the Wii U's launch.

Nintendo also has big plans for the Wii U on the entertainment side with they call Nintendo TVii. This allows people to watch TV from the WiiU with services to choose from on the same screen for a small fee. These services are no surprisingly Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu Plus with a huge catalog of television shows and movies to choose from out of the gate. The Wii U Gamepad can also take screen captures of the show and others can comment on them via social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. DVR is also another option available, but TiVo is the only company supporting that for now. As a Verizon FiOS user personally, hopefully it gets supported sometime soon. Nintendo TVii will be available at launch with the Wii U console when you boot it up.

The biggest surprise from Nintendo's press event today is the announcement of Platinum Games's Bayonetta 2. What is more surprising is that this sequel is Wii U exclusive because it is being published by Nintendo themselves. Fans of the first game have been waiting for news of a Bayonetta sequel for a while, but being only exclusive to the Wii U is big for Nintendo. Along with The Wonderful 101, formerly Project P-100, Nintendo and Platinum Games' relationship is off to a good start on the Wii U. Reggie also announced that Capcom's Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate will be coming stateside on March 2013. With two big Japanese-based games Bayonetta 2 and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Nintendo definitely has some hardcore fans pleased in case they were thinking the Wii U is gonna be another console focused heavily for the casual audience.

Activision was also present at the media briefing announcing their launch lineup for the Wii U and more importantly confirming that Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will make the console's launch window. The Wii U Gamepad controls for the game were demonstrated for a bit and the graphics do look identical to the PS3 and 360 versions. Are new controls enough to get people interested in the Wii U version for Black Ops 2? We will see in November.

Nintendo's Wii U will have a launch lineup of over 50 games between November 2012 and March 2013. The November 18 release date for the console is expected considering their past history with console launches on November in time for the holiday shopping season. The $300 and $350 price points are a bit questionable however personally. The Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 are cheaper than the Wii U now considering the graphical power comparisons, but after thinking about it, the Wii U's launch price does make sense because of how much the Game Pad costs separately and the amount of stuff you're getting if you're buying the deluxe set. The major disappointment of today's presentation for Nintendo is the lack of announcements about the online support. They will address that closer to the console's launch, but other than that, I think they did a decent job with what they showed off and had surprising announcements such as Bayonetta 2 being Wii U exclusive. Are fans happy with the launch date and prices for the Wii U? Let us know in the comments below.


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