Wii U Launch Overview: Part 1
A couple weeks back, it was announced that Rayman Legends,
a Wii U exclusive and sequel to the 2011 hit platformer Rayman Origins,
was no longer going to be a launch title for the Wii U and would instead be delayed until early 2013. So what does that leave gamers to be excited about come November 18th? Apparently, quite alot. Nintendo is releasing a veritable bevy of games alongside the system, 23 in total in North America, which is two more than the 21 games released at launch for the Wii in 2006. These games, as well, seem to be a lot more substantial than some of the initial releases for the Wii were, with a large selection of hit third-party games that have already been released for other systems, several other Wii U exclusives, and one or two large Nintendo mascot games that should really get the fans cheering. But since there are so many, today we'll just six of the titles that we will see on November 18th.
Assassin's Creed III
While the game will already be out for X-Box 360 and PS3 for a couple weeks before the launch, Wii U gamers will finally get their chance to finish Desmond's epic saga come November 18th. Gamers also have a few added benefits ala the Gamepad, such as the ability to change weapons and items from their inventory on the fly, and an everpresent map, but other than that, it will be mainly identical to the other systems' versions.
Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition
Another game that has been out for quite some time for other systems, this version of Batman: Arkham City will contain a whole bevy of new features. For one it will contain all of the released DLC on the game disc, including Harlequin's Revenge, Catwoman, Nightwing, and Robin DLC. This version will also include a whole "reimagining" of the gadgets to fully utilize the gamepad, which utilizes a wholly synthesized interface. Players will be able to choose gadgets off the gamepad on the fly, use the Gamepad as an interactive "Bat Computer" or map, and even a new "Bat Sonar" feature which helps map guard positions during stealth portions of the game. Finally this version will include a new combo system entitled B.A.T. Mode, which enables Batman/Catwoman to build up attack power and accuracy as their combos become higher and higher. This game was considered a masterpiece following its original release, perhaps the Wii U version will capture lightning in a bottle once again.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Another entrant into the long list of sequels being released this fall, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 takes us twenty years into the future. Once again, the Gamepad will be used as an interactive map and display, detailing weapons, ammunition, and inventory, but even the developer has stated that this version of the game is built for the classic controller rather than the Gamepad.There have also been grumblings in the gaming community that this version of the game will not have many of the key features upon launch that the others will naturally have, such as Call of Duty Elite (an online service created by Activision that logs your statistics and progress over several games, offers monthly DLC, daily challenges, and offers a vast Call of Duty social networking experience) and there have even been rumors that the Wii U version will not include the popular Zombies mode or even support DLC. While I think the latter will hopefully be rectified, it is a bit worrisome considering the popularity of the series and what it could do for the Wii U. This might be one, though, where it might be worth checking out on the other systems instead, where you can get all of your features in one place rather than piecemeal like on the Wii U.
While this action rpg/hack & slash hybrid came out a little in August for other systems, the Wii U version of Darksiders 2 will feature all of the subsequent DLC releases right off the bat, including the recent "Argul's Tomb" release that will add an extra three hours of gameplay time to an already massive game. As with several of the other games already mentioned, the gamepad will serve to streamline many of the menu options, adding for a wholly more immersive and efficient gameplay experience. The game will also feature some Wii U exclusive side quests, the ability to use some Legendary class armor/weapons right off the bat, and some other weapons and armor that will be unique to this version.
Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
The sequel to the 2010 title, Epic Mickey, will be one of the few third party Wii U exclusives that will be available at launch. Unlike the first title, players will now be able to control not only Mickey but the original character upon which Mickey is based, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. In fact, this game will feature "drop-in/drop-out" co-op throughout the adventure, allowing for a second player to enter the game at anytime. This also showcases the Wii U's ability to have a completely non-splitscreen multiplayer, with one player's screen on the television and the other's on the Gamepad. The developer himself has also promised to correct some of the major complaints from the first game, such as the very wonky camera system, claiming that the player will not have to touch the manual control button even once during the main quest portion of the game. Plus, this game will get all sorts of Disney, as it will feature full voice-acting as well as full musical numbers! It looks as dark, nostalgic, yet wonderfully creative and fun as the first game, so it might be worth checking out on launch day.
The latest entrant in the famous soccer series is coming to the Wii U on launch day, with a whole slew of neat features that are only on the Wii U. For one the graphics are rather stunning, being actually competitive to the X-Box 360/PS3 versions, with an increased texture for the ground, and an increase of resolution for the crowd. The Gamepad is used for many different features, including a precision shot where you will be able to place the shot, in first person and through touch screen, exactly where you want it. You will also be able to use the touchpad to pass to whomever you want with much more accuracy than you would with the classic controller. As well, if you shake the Gamepad during normal play and a net will appear on the display, and tap wherever you want and you will instantly shoot towards that mark (sounds easy, but many other factors can jinx the works as far as your shots). All of these, actions as well, only take place on the Gamepad screen, thus leaving the action on the television unimpeded by displays and menus. As well you can set up substitutions, view statistics, and change the formations/tactics all on the fly without pressing pause, streamlining much of the action and keeping the game fast paced. Along with Madden NFL '13, FIFA '13 is a launch day sports game that seems like it might be worth looking into on November 18th.
Those are the first six launch games that will be released for the Wii U on November 18th during launch day; check out Part 2, which will be published next week, and will look at six more games to be released for the Wii U.