‘Tis the season for awesome new games!
It may as well been Christmas morning as my brother and I entered the Fifth Social Club in Toronto for the Nintendo Holiday Showcase. Nintendo really put something together for us media-types this time; a much bigger venue packed with many popular games for us to play on the Wii U!
In front of us, there was New Super Mario Bros. U, Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, Ninja Gaidian 3: Razor’s Edge and many other games ready to go on Nintendo’s new system. On the other side, there was an area with at least 10 different Nintendo 3DS systems to try out.
However, the bread-and-butter of this event lay in the hands of Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Ubisoft’s ZombiU for the Wii U.
Unfortunately, everyone else thought so too.
New Super Mario Bros. 2
With many people waiting to play Black Ops II and ZombiU, we decided to start with the Nintendo 3DS section. There we stumbled upon a system with New Super Mario Bros. 2 on it.
Before I could start a game, the Nintendo attendant noticed it was two guys staring at one 3DS screen, so he suggested we play it co-operatively. On the other side there was another 3DS with the same game on it. After setting up the connection (which is super easy), it was Mario and Luigi taking on one of Bowser’s minions in an early castle.
It was hard not to laugh as we jumped off each other’s heads into enemies, traps and other deaths I probably could never repeat on purpose. Unfortunately, just as those deaths were funny at first in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, they got extremely annoying in later levels and more focused on beating the game. It’s very likely that will happen again with the 3DS version of Mario.
At points I was tempted to flick the DS (bad idea) in order to make Mario do a spinning jump or to bring my bubbled character closer to Luigi so he could pop it and allow me to come back into the game. New Super Mario Bros. 2 is very similar to its Wii counter-part, except you gain a hell of a lot more coins.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
After wondering around a bit, the booth with Black Ops II finally opened and we jumped at the chance.
Due to tighter restrictions this time around, we couldn’t film any gameplay, so I’ll be as descriptive as possible.
The first thing we noticed was how easy it is to switch between the touchscreen GamePad and the GamePad Pro; just double-tap the “A” button and voilà, you can use your preferred controller. On that note, I actually liked using the touchscreen controller to play Black Ops II because it gives the player a nice graphical advantage.
The GamePad screen displays some vital information that is usually cluttering up the T.V. screen, like ammo and the map, but goes one step further. Loadouts can be changed much easier via a few taps on the screen and the same can be said for calling in Score Streaks. This means you don’t have to scroll through your streak rewards (and waste precious killing time); you just have to tap the one you want to use at the moment.
And the GamePad doesn’t stop there!
You can actually take Black Ops II off the T.V. and play it on the GamePad! Hear that? That’s my mind being blown!
Although you need to keep the GamePad in the same room as the Wii U due how the system transmits data to the controller, it still allows someone to keep playing Black Ops II and give up the T.V. screen. This is great for those that have only one shared T.V.
As a bonus, according to the official Black Ops II FAQ distributed to the media, you can use the GamePad screen for multiplayer games in your own home, but we never saw this in action.
It’s blasphemy to admit this, but the controls are the same as the Xbox 360 version of Black Ops. If you know the 360 controls, the Wii U version has no learning curve, except for the added screen.
After killing the opposing team (a bot team, yes you can do setup bot games in Black Ops II), and calling in a few Score Streaks, I pleaded to take some video but was ultimately refused.
After killing some NPC soldiers, we headed over to the system with ZombiU. This isn’t the first time I got to play Ubisoft’s survival horror game, so the GamePad felt natural in my hands. Being comfortable with the controls allowed me to focus on the game’s story, and not having to rely on the on-screen control prompts. It’s nice to just know.
Being able to play for a good 20 minutes (and I don’t think I reached anywhere near the half-way point in the demo) gave me a great sense on what Ubisoft is trying to do with this game. You really need to survive; it’s about taking out the right zombie and checking everything.
At one point there was a zombie sitting in a corner of a room, seemingly not dangerous. Upon scanning him with a gizmo in my inventory, he was in-fact undead and apparently taking nap. A few smacks with my cricket bat let him take that nap forever.
Later on in the demo, there were three zombies in the distance and, of course, in my way. With the assistance of Ubisoft’s Jay Acevedo, I picked off one zombie with a backpack. Apparently in post-apocalyptic London, they love to carry around a backpack full of explosives. I’m not one to complain since it worked in my favour. The explosion took out the zombie’s other two buddies and the coast was clear to continue.
ZombiU is a true survival game, and one I’m looking forward to the most. The game will make you think about your next move, meanwhile making sure you’re always aware of your surroundings.
The end of a great day
It was over before we knew it, and after some good-byes we headed back on the subway for the ride home.
It was great meeting some of Toronto’s known gaming personalities, some new ones and, of course, playing the Wii U!
We give your greatest thanks to Nintendo for inviting and hope to see many more to come!
The Wii U console launches in North America on November 18, 2012.
Is Batman: Arkham City worth getting for the Wii U?
It really depends if you’ve played the game or not. If you’ve played it before then it will be the exact same game as the one on Playstation 3 or Xbox 360, including the same great graphics (which for Nintendo is an upgrade). Wii U brings a new way to play the game through the Wii Game Pad which allows you to change and use equipment a lot easier. However, the game is still the same levels, same objectives, and the same Batman: Arkham City.
During Nintendo’s Post-E3 Event in Toronto, I was handed the Game Pad and immediately had problems with the controls. Being used to Xbox 360 buttons, I had some initial problems just trying to start the game. I kept pressing what I thought was “A” to move to the next screen not realizing that “A” and “B” were inverted, and I was actually backing out of the screen to the previous one (highly annoying especially when you have a group of people watching you). Once you play for a bit and get used to the location of the buttons, your enjoyment of the game will skyrocket due to the ingenuity of Nintendo and the Game Pad.
Now is Batman: Arkham City worth playing on the Wii U? The answer is a staggering YES; however if you’ve played this game before then there isn’t much new content to experience that’ll make it worth your money.
Check out the 11 minutes of gameplay footage below and see if you think the Game Pad makes Batman: Arkham City worth playing on Wii U.
Nintendo responded to Microsoft’s allegation that Mario’s next home is nothing more than a Xbox 360. It may or may not be the response you expected.
In case you missed it, Microsoft Game Studio VP, Phil Spencer, pointed out that the Wii U is “effectively a 360″ during an interview with Games Industry International. When asked if SmartGlass is a reaction to the Wii U tablet, Spencer denied but continued on with what he did see from Nintendo at E3.
I think their Pro Controller makes a lot of sense with the platform they’ve built. They are building a platform that is effectively a 360 when you think of graphical capability. Now they are really making an on-ramp for the back catalog of games that are on 360. It is easy for those games to move over the Wii U. They’ve moved the buttons around, and they’ve made a controller that feels familiar for 360 gamers, so I get why they are putting those pieces together.
It is easy to agree with Spencer. Like him, everyone focuses on graphical and processing power when Nintendo wants players to just have fun playing their system. When asked about Spencer’s comment, this is what Nintendo had to say:
The Wii U Pro Controller is an enhanced version of the Classic Controller Pro that has been designed specially to work with the Wii U console. It simply offers another way to play and more options for developers use. We do not compare ourselves to the other consoles.
If I throw it, will it come back?
What Spencer and gamers fail to remember is the Classic Contoller for the Wii (although rarely used; pictured right) and the original GameCube controller all have the boomerang-style feel to it. The boomerang-style controller is not a 360 trademark like Microsoft would like gamers to believe. As for graphic power, think of it this way: if gamers keep demanding better graphics (which is not entirely a bad thing; always strive to do better than last time), developers will focus on creating more visually appealing games like Cyrsis then games that keep the player submersed in a great story like BioShock or The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
So gamers, is graphics and processing power really that important to video games? Or is gameplay and a great story more vital to a game? Commenters over at GameRant seem split, while two gamers believe Spencer’s answer is out-of-line over on Steven Ruygrok’s article on Examiner.com. What say you?
This Thursday, June 28 yours truly will get his game-on with Nintendo’s new console, the Wii U. As an inclusive post-E3 event, Nintendo is giving a select few a chance to preview their next system at The Richmond in downtown Toronto. But that’s not the most exciting news; ThatShortGuy.com will get its first exclusive interview.
This image was not so fun to find. Thanks to Dutch for finding it for me!
And that’s where you, my beloved reader, comes in. What do you want to know about the Wii U? What left you aching for more information? What games do you want to know more about?
The point of an interview is to answer the public’s questions. With some research on my part, and some questions from you, we can get some brand new information about the Wii U and its games. So what do you want to know?
Now to properly come up with questions, you need to know what titles will be at the event. Games like Nintendo Land, Super Mario Bros. U and Pikmin 3 will be playable for the Wii U and New Super Mario Bros. 2 for the Nintendo 3DS. I asked about ZombiU, but the PR person I deal with was not sure what other games will make an appearance. I’m willing to bet there will be more games than just those few.
So let’s come up with some questions for the Nintendo spokesperson. I’ll add a few I have in the comments and any others that I come up with after to some research. If you think a question in the comments deserves to be asked, up-vote it below. If you have a question that is not already listed, add it. You don’t even need to sign-up to do any of those things. Easy-peasy, right?
Let’s crowd-source this shit! I’ll pick the top 10 on Thursday before I head off to the event.
Nintendo made a bold claim a few days ago, saying that Treyarch and Infinity Ward have an opportunity to enhance the Call of Duty experience by utilizing the Wii U’s GamePad controller.
Scott Moffitt, a marketing executive at Nintendo of America, had this to say about core gamers and the Call of Duty franchise:
Core gamers are very much part of our audience and the group of consumers we hope will find the way you can re-imagine games on the Wii U. The Wii U could become the preferred way to play those games for some of the core gamers.
You can imagine how a game like Call of Duty would work on the Wii U – the GamePad will allow you to declutter the TV and pull gaming items like maps down and not interrupt your interaction and enjoy the cinematic quality of the game on the TV. That’s one application that could be exciting and could enhance gameplay for a core gamer.
Taking the map (the mini-map I assume) off the screen and putting it on to the GamePad seems counter-productive. No core gamer wants to take their eyes off the T.V. screen in such a fast-paced game. It’s an obvious overlook by a company that hasn’t done any research into competitive first-person shooters. But they’re trying to sell to core gamers, so I get it.
Can Call of Duty work on the Wii U?
I’d like to think so. I’m a fan of the Wii U and Nintendo’s efforts to target core gamers, so maybe I’m a bit biased with my answer. The GamePad could become the scope of a weapon, or maybe new Perk in the game. We’ll see.