We are less than a week away from Nintendo’s next console hitting the market. Since it’s initial announcement the system has had a lot of question marks and the real push for the console didn’t start until the day they finally announces launch dates and pricing. Just about every retailer is out of stock on these consoles, with the basic edition being the only one you can find to Pre-Order at out of the box locations. For those of you already locking up a system, or planning to go out and try to secure one from a store NOT doing pre orders, here what will be out along with my own recommendations for games and accessories.
First and foremost here is the launch list of Wii U games coming on Sunday.
- Mass Effect 3: Wii U Special Edition
- Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2013
- Rabbids Land
- Madden NFL 13
- ESPN Sports Connection
- Scribblenauts Unlimited
- FIFA Soccer 13
- Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition
- Assassin’s Creed III
- Just Dance 4
- Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed
- Game Party Champions
- Call of Duty Black Ops 2
- Skylander’s Giants
- James Bond: 007 Legends
- Darksiders II
- Transformers Prime: The Game
- Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper
- Ben 10 Omniverse: The Videogame
- Disney’s Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
- Wipeout 3
- Tank! Tank! Tank!
- Tekken Tag Tournament 2
- Ninja Gaiden 3 Razor’s Edge
- New Super Mario Bros. U
- Sing Party
Now lets give you a rundown of the accessories available that day (links provided for some of the more obscure ones)
- Wii U Headset
- Wii U GamePad Hardcase and Stylus Pack
- Wii U GamePad Jacket
- Wii U GamePad Nerf Armor
- Wii U Pro Controller (White & Black)
- Wii U GamePad Cradle
- Wii U Microphone
- Motion Plus Controllers (same as the Wii controllers, re-branded with Wii U logos)
So that is everything available that day, lets take a look at the games again sort out the gold from the crap (at least.. in my opinion)
New Super Mario Bros. U
Nintendo first party titles should be a no-brainer as far as choosing launch titles go, though I know there were concerns about this title based on the lukewarm reception New Super Mario Bros. 2 got on the 3DS earlier this Summer. From several hands on reports and breakdowns of the new modes offered in the titles it seems that Mario’s first leap into the HD world is going to be a successful one blending co-op play, better level design, and new control features thanks to the Wii U GamePad. With challenge modes for older gamers, and the easy Mario appeal of younger gamers this is one of the top two titles almost guaranteed to please day 1 buyers of the Wii U.
Ubisoft has shown up early as Nintendo’s largest 3rd party supporter for the Wii U console, showing off a ton of titles and work going into day 1 offerings. Two of their games stood head and shoulders above all others with the first one being ZombiU (The other is Rayman Legends, but seeing as it will not be a launch title we won’t cover it just yet). The initial concept put forth was a survival game about going through a world that is thoroughly screwed by the Zombie apocalypse. It is not about finding the cure, saving the world, or getting off an island. This game is solely about surviving as long as possible, while obtaining various things to keep you alive. It’s initial showing at E3 has people interested, but several bugs in the gameplay and mechanics had journalists concerned. The good news is that with each showing this game made at future conventions it got better and better, smoothing out issues, eliminating bugs, and maturing into a title that could very well be a console seller. It’s creative ways of using the GamePad to scan areas, manipulate inventory, and the fact the game NEVER PAUSES creates a title that will constantly have you on edge. Not to mention if your character dies you start off with a new survivor, losing all of your equipment, and going back for what you had dropped previously means going ill-equipped into an area where you must now battle our zombified previous life.
This franchise got it’s legs on handheld consoles when it debuted on the Nintendo DS. A title that required you to use your imagination to bring in objects and characters to help you get from point A to point B. It was something that was a remarkable title for kids, because if there is one trait you can say is a child’s strong suit it’s their imagination. This latest title takes it one step further into the HD world, and allowing you to not only create and insert imaginative characters, but customize them so they are truly your own. You want to put Cthulhu into a suit and top hat? go for it! Customize vehicles or change the color and style of the wings on a dragon, it’s all there with the creation tools. All this and allowing you to re-name them so you can call on them specifically are new and exciting tools to have kids (and even some adults) smiling at their television to see what their creations can do.
Solid Pick Ups
Games that I feel will provide you with enjoyment, but are not the system sellers like the previous titles. Ones that are good company to buy along with the ZombiUs and the Marios.
If you are acquiring the Deluxe Console this title is already in your library, but for those getting the basic this may be a worthwhile title. I certainly was not sold on the game when it was shown at E3 and almost demanded it be the included title if they wanted any hope of it being successful. Nintendo started to win me over however when they showed off more games such as ones featuring Metroid and Legend of Zelda. Upon seeing these I finally got the potential of having your buddies over and enjoying these small games for an afternoon. There is a large variety from A list titles like the previously mentioned Zelda, to more obscure like Balloon Fight and Luigi’s Mansion. This provides a strong look at what the console can do and give a level of entertainment similar to Wii Sports did for the previous home console.
Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed
The first Sonic All Stars was a well executed title that provided fun on a Mario Kart level. Sega did an excellent job pulling characters from their library, levels were well designed, and power ups were fun to use. It was a surprise how much fun the game provided, while not being an end of the year sort of title that kept people talking, it was one that provided a lot of fun to those willing to drop coin in it. The sequel adds more characters and provides a new element of transformation turning your cars into planes and water crafts. Combine new mechanics with a strong price point of $39.99 ($20 cheaper then most other launch titles) and it’s an appealing purchase to hold you over until Mario Kart makes its way onto the console.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2
TTT 2 is being regarded as one of the best fighting game offerings of 2012 which is no surprise given how good the first game was when it launched on PS2. Namco Bandai has made the decision to bring the game over as a Wii U launch title and has added some strong features to make it a good pick up for any genre fan purchasing the console. The full version that owners of XBOX 360 and PS3 have been enjoying is all intact along with bonus features such as a heavy stock of Nintendo themed costumes for your characters (see above). Those not familiar with Tekken, the game features the ability to create an online profile for yourself which includes customizing your favorite character. Now you have the option to dress them in big N characters like Captain Falcon, Mario, Sheik, and more. Also included is Tekken Ball, a volleyball battle game pulled from the realm of Tekken 3. As far as features for the Wii U GamePad it does allow you to input combos and save them to touch buttons on the center screen for easy access. These features show that Namco Bandai realized their re-release needed more then just some gimmick controls and is one of the few offerings in this category that stands out. It may not be strong enough for a second purchase, but for those that haven’t gotten the game yet it may be the version for you.
Best Left Off Your Checklist
Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition
You would think a Batman title as strong as Arkham City would be an easy recommendation when it comes to launch titles, but this game doesn’t really measure up as anything more than a cheap cash in. Armored Edition does not add nearly enough to warrant another purchase and the game has been out on shelves for other systems long enough that most people who wanted to play this game already did. The GamePad features look more like gimmicks then fresh additions and first hand reports of this title says the conversion from the 360/PS3 versions to this one look awful. Batman in Armor and Gyroscoping Bat-a-rangs are not enough to recommend this title in any fashion.
Madden NFL 13
If there is anything worse than a ported game that only adds gimmicky features, its a ported title that actually REMOVES features. Madden 13 can be added to a recent list of EA titles offered on Nintendo consoles that as you scratching your head and asking why? The Wii U version of Madden 13 will not have the Infinity Engine, EA’s heavily hyped physics engine that creates more realistic tackling and player reactions. Also out is the Madden Ultimate Team feature which is a game built around cards and works in a sense of Fantasy Football. In it’s place is the ability to use the GamePad to select and draw plays… completely underwhelming. As a matter of fact you are also better off skipping FIFA 13 as well as the game is essentially a ported version of the PS Vita title.
This is all so odd because at E3 2011 EA was at the Nintendo Press Conference saying they would have an unprecedented amount of support for Nintendo’s upcoming console and their launch offerings are completely lackluster. This has left the ball dropped by the company to be grabbed by Ubisoft, who has really ran with their level of support.
Mass Effect 3
For a trilogy whose biggest sell is the connecting storyline that spans from game saves spanning all 3 titles it baffles me that you would release only the final installment on a new console. Nintendo fans have not had the opportunity to experience Mass Effect and to cheapen it by only giving them the final installment in the trilogy and having an interactive comic be the only way they can made the difficult decisions given to the player by the first two games seems like a waste to me. They implement a lot of controls that were to be expected on the gamepad with your map being on the screen, as well as your squads’ powers and the ability to direct them. What makes matters worse is EA’s decision to make a Mass Effect Trilogy collection on both PS3 and 360 and not on the Wii U. I would say people would be willing to wait a little longer if you were going to give them the opportunity to play all 3 games using a unique controller experience.
ESPN Sports Connection/Game Party Champions/Wipeout 3
These are all shovelware games attempting to grab people because “oh boy it has a bunch of games on the disc!” one or two of these mini titles may be good but overall the purchase just won’t be worth the $40 – $60 bucks you would need to shell out on these titles. Just avoid them and you will be better off.
And The Rest
The rest of the titles on that day one list I feel are too varied to really pin point as a must have or avoidable title. Something like Call of Duty Black Ops 2 I feel will be a solid title, and the 2 player option to have one person on the TV and the other on the GamePad is really cool, but the competitive side of CoD is better left for other consoles as they will have a higher install base. I can only see CoD being a good title to pick up for those more interested in the single player experience and the co-op offered in the franchise’s Zombie mode. Other titles I just don’t know enough of what they offer to the Wii U and instead of trying to reason the purchase of these titles based solely on what I know these games will do on other consoles I elected to just leave them off entirely. Some of them could be quality titles offering unique experiences to owners while others can be passed along as inferior to their 360/PS3 brothers.
The cream of this console’s crop has to be the Pro Controllers. Designed similarly to an XBOX 360 contoller, they are perfect to play those ported titles, or to offer to a friend who will play hardcore titles alongside you. Fighting Games, Shooters, Action Titles, all will benefit from these conventional controllers while platformers and mini game collections will work just fine with your Wii Remotes and Nunchuks.
Everything else is based solely on who you are buying this thing for. If you got rough children I suggest any protective case you can get for the Wii U GamePad to ensure longevity. Styluses I will fill be unnecessary as most games using the touch screen also require the buttons on the pad making it awkward to have to constantly pick up and put down the stylus in favor of button commands. Headsets don’t feel like a necessary day 1 purchase, they feel like something you may want once the user base builds and you find it more likely that you will communicate with friends or fellow gamers.
Overall Launch Opinions
I feel this launch overall is solid, but the real test once again will be what they offer in the coming months. Rayman, Lego City, Bayonetta 2, Pikmin 3 these are all titles coming up in the next few months to look forward to but I am not sure if all of them are truly console sellers or titles that ease the anxiety of early adopters. Once Christmas passes Nintendo needs to reassure people for the future. Don’t make this a 3DS where the system didn’t really pick up steam until 6 – 8 months later making day 1 buyers feel like idiots for jumping the gun. Give us titles that we can look forward two into the Summer, and then at E3 lock in the big holiday titles and the monster franchises we all want to see.
Your options for November 18th are solid, bit make sure to take a look at future titles and ensure you will be just as excited for this console 6 months into the future as you are NOW!