We’re a month away from the release of Nintendo’s newest console – the Wii U. Of course the most important part of a new system’s release are the launch titles. While most launch titles are eventually overshadowed by later games that harness the new system’s capabilities a lot better, there is usually one or two games that are not only highly memorable, but also helped to define the system . The Turbo-Grafx 16 had Alien Crush. The Sega Genesis had Altered Beast. The Sega Saturn had Panzer Dragoon. The PSX had Battle Arena Toshinden. The Xbox had HALO. The Wii of course has Wii Sports. So on and so forth. With the Wii U, there are twenty-three games coming out within the launch window of the console. Will one of them stand head and shoulders above the rest? Four Diehard GameFAN staffers give their picks for the Wii U release titles they’re most excited to experience.
A list of the Launch Titles on November 18th:
Assassin’s Creed III – Ubisoft
Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition -Warner Home Video Games
Call of Duty: Black Ops II – Activision
Darksiders II – THQ
Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two – Disney Interactive
EA SPORTS: FIFA Soccer 13 – Electronic Arts
ESPN Sports Connection – Ubisoft
Game Party Champions – Warner Home Video Games
Just Dance 4 – Ubisoft
New Super Mario Bros. U – Nintendo
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge – Tecmo Koei
Nintendo Land – Nintendo
Rabbids Land – Ubisoft
Scribblenauts Unlimited- Warner Home Video Games
Sing Party – Nintendo
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed – Sega
Skylander Giants – Activision
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Wii U Edition – Namco Bandai
Transformers Prime – Activision
Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper – Tecmo Koei
Wipeout III – Activision
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013 – Ubisoft
ZombiU – Ubisoft
There are also approximately thirty other games listed as “launch window” titles, meaning anytime between November 19th and March 31st, 2013, some of which you’ll see mentioned below.
I’m always hesitant to pick up a system at launch due to hardware bugs. In fact I’ve only ever purchased a system at launch four times – The Sega CD, The Nintendo game Cube, the Nintendo 3DS and the Playstation Vita – the latter of which was a gift. Oddly enough the Sega CD is the system I[‘m probably most happy with in terms of launch releases as I still own Sewer Shark, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, and Night Trap. With the Game Cube, I originally picked up Luigi’s Mansion, Batman: Vengeance, Super Monkey Ball and All-Star Baseball 2002 – of which I still only own Batman: Vengeance. With the 3DS I picked up Bust-A-Move Universe, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars, Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition and Super Monkey ball 3D. I still own and love Bust-A-Move Universe and Shadow Wars , two of only five games I’ve found worth keeping for the system. Finally there is the PS Vita which didn’t have a single launch title that interested me. It wasn’t until April’s release of Disgaea 3, I actually got any use out of the system which is now kept extremely busy via The Pinball Arcade and Zen Pinball 2.
I bring all this up for a reason because the Wii U is going to be the system I purchase the most launch games ever for. I’m THAT interested in what’s coming out. This is especially important if you’re a regular reader as you know that I’ve been less than impressed by 2012’s offerings so far. Yet somehow I’m looking at five launch games (six if you count the The Avengers: Battle For Earth game coming out in December) for what just might be my last ever console.
First up is Rabbids Land. I love those crazy little alien bunny things. I also loved the first three games in the series, although I HATED the platformer. Ick. Last time I was feeling a bit burned out on gaming, it took the Wii and three unexpected titles to bring me out of my gaming ennui : Rayman Ravings Rabbids, Carnival Games and Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, so I’m hoping (Hopping?) that the Rabbids can revitalize my interest in gaming the same way they did before. I like funny games, having grown up on a staple of titles like Sam and Max Hit the Road, Maniac Mansion and other LucasArt gems, so I really appreciate it when a game can make me laugh. The Rabbids titles have never failed to do that and this is honestly the title I’m looking forward to the most as it’s been four years since I’ve played a truly good Rabbids Game.
As a fan of Singstar, I’m interested to see what Nintendo’s first party Karaoke game, Sing Party is going to be like. Of course, Nintendo wants to promote Sing Party as a party game first and foremost where multiple people can get in on the act. I’m down with that. The game promises fifty+ songs on the disc, but what is going to make or break the game is whether there will be downloadable tracks as well as what exactly the track list is going to be. I mean, if the entire game is filled with crap like “Call Me Maybe” or tracks by Coldplay then count me out. The fact I can have Lordi one second and Billy Joel the next on Singstar is why I loved that game so. Hopefully Nintendo can get that kind of depth and diversity with their karaoke title.
Transformers Prime is another game I’m contemplating getting at launch. It’s a Nintendo system exclusive, although if reviews of the Wii, DS and 3DS versions end up panning the game, I probably won’t have this on my launch day pull list after all. Still I do love Transformers and I’m hopeful that this won’t just be a bad game that exists only as a quick cash grab like so many licensed titles end up being. After all, look how good the last few Trasnformers based games have been!
I love fitness games. I really enjoy exercising and working out and fitness games have always been a fun bled of two things I enjoy. Sure there have been some bad fitness games like Wii Fit, Walk it Out and EA Active which are more of a placebo than anything, but the quality exercise titles like Get Fit With Mel B., Exerbeat and Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout are out there, even if they don’t have the marketing blitz the more familiar, but ultimately crappier titles have. That’s why I’m so interested in Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013. I really enjoyed the first Your Shape as it was the first game to really make use of a camera so that you can watch your own form and technique. The series has thankfully jettisoned Jenny McCarthy and I’m quite curious to see how things have (hopefully) improved over the last few years. I know I’m not alone with my love of the Your Shape series, as it is one of our most hit articles of all time and also holds the record for longest comment thread in the history of the site, so I’m hoping the 2013 rendition of Your Shape is as good/popular as the originator of the line.
Finally we have ZombiU. I’m not a fan of zombie games OR first person shooters, but this one has me intrigued, mainly to see how gameplay works on the Wii U and because I want to see how much it has changed since it was originally called Killer Freaks From Outer Space. Out of all the Wii U titles, ZombiU has the most potential to be a massive success or a horrible train wreck and I guess I want a front row seat to see which it will be. I’m cautiously optimistic because it looks like Ubisoft has really tried to do a lot with the GamePad and make this a memorable experience. I’ve got my fingers crossed here.
Games I’d buy on PC or another console
Aliens: Colonial Marines (PC)
Assassin’s Creed III (PS3 and Vita)
Trine 2: Director’s Cut (PC)
Games I already OWN on PC or another console
Batman: Arkham City (PS3)
Darksiders II (PC)
Mass Effect 3 (PC)
Games I would PROBABLY buy
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge
Let me get this out of the way first. I’m not buying a WiiU. Not at launch at least. I’m betting later it’ll depend on their Pokémon offerings as that was the only reason my wife and I picked up a GameCube and then the Wii later. Both of these two systems however have otherwise sat pretty much unused for over a year now. So there’s that. Out of the list we had to go over, I’ve already got three of the games on there: Batman: Arkham City on the PS3, along with Darksiders II and Mass Effect 3 on the PC. While I love all three games, the only one I’d plunk money down on again while still owning a copy, is Mass Effect 3, and that’s only because the trilogy set is tempting me for the PS3.
Now there were three games I’d buy for another console or the PC on their list of upcoming and launch titles. Assassin’s Creed III is the first in the series I’ve actually been interested in. I love the history of the Revolutionary War and I love the idea of combining the two, but this has already been earmarked for me on the PS3 and the Vita. The Vita’s Assassin’s Creed III:Liberation is because I like the setting and the lead interests me, and the PS3 version because they give each other some bonuses. Trine 2 interests me but I have Trine for the PC, so in the interest of keeping that series tied together I’d grab that on PC as well. Last up on this short list was Aliens: Colonial Marines. I prefer first person shooters on the PC. I like the mouse and keyboard set-up. Third person I can get away with consoles on, but I need that mouse and keyboard on a FPS. I’m old fashioned that way I guess.
So what titles would I actually buy? I was interested in Marvel Avengers until I saw it was a 3D fighting game. The genre doesn’t interest me all that much anymore. So that’s out. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate I’d probably pick up just to have an RPG on the list since I wouldn’t buy Mass Effect 3 or Darksiders II for the system. While I tried to get into it, the game feels like too much of a grind fest, and maybe being able to play with other might help it out more but no one in my area who had a PSP played it and well, that’s how that went with the first few titles for me in the series. I’d give this a shot though. Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge would be another more to have some variety on the system than anything else, and maybe a little nostalgia factor as Ninja Gaiden was one of the first games I ever owned on my NES. Yeah I’m old.
Transformers Prime would be a shoe-in because I’m a sucker for Transformers games. This version hasn’t been made for any other system other than Nintendo systems because adults couldn’t possibly be interested in a game based off the current show airing on the Hub, not at all. (Insert your favorite rolling eyes emoticon here.) The Wii U version is just an amped up version of the Wii game which isn’t a bad thing, but I hadn’t bought or planned on buying the Wii version because it looked awful, and yes I’m turning into a slight graphics snob, and while I can live with it looking only half-way decent, Prime on the Wii didn’t even look like they’d tried to make it look good.
Which leaves us with ZombiU holding my interest as well. ZombiU is the only one on my list that hasn’t been released on another console, including one of Nintendo’s, in the past. I never played Ubisoft’s original game Zombi, but I love the way that it looks they’ve implemented playing a survivor in the zombie apocalypse. If I had only one game to choose from out of my grim and slim pickings for the Wii U if I bought one, this would be the one.
I’m not going to be getting one at launch (to my knowledge anyway) due to financial reasons, but I still have some expectations for the console. I’m pretty excited to see what FIFA Soccer 13 is going to be like on the Wii U, as I think there’s some potential for some pretty cool football there. I’m a relatively big Marvel fan as well, so naturally Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth is on my list of games to look out for. To me, there is nothing cooler than the idea of suiting up as Tony Stark and saving the planet. I’m excited to see another installation of Pikmin for obvious reasons. Pikmin is a great series and it was definitely a smart move on Nintendo’s part to not only make a third game, but also to make it WiiU-exclusive. Finally, oddly enough I’m interested in ZombiU. ZombiU might be playing off of the popularity of other Zombie titles, but it looks like we have a promising new franchise in the works. All in all, there are a couple titles I am pretty excited to see and others I’m curious about but not enough to say I’d get the console for them (e.g. Wii Fit U).
Before I even begin, let me just say that I don’t expect the Wii U to duplicate the install base of the Wii. I also don’t expect their online service to be very good, nor will it likely get the kind of third party support that Nintendo has been lacking for years. This begs the question of why I would even bother getting a Wii U then. It’s simple really: the games. I don’t care that the Wii U doesn’t have the kinds of doodads that other consoles do, because when it comes right down to it, I’m buying the thing to play games. Since Nintendo manages to make enough games that I like to play to justify purchasing one of their consoles, then I shall continue to do so.
This isn’t to say that third parties don’t have offerings that interest me. Bayonetta 2, while not a launch title, is certainly one that I will keep my eye out for. Likewise, I find it impressive that Nintendo managed to lock up Darksiders II and Mass Effect 3 for release on the system, even though I can’t justify buying them again. Still, if it leads to long lasting support for the console to have these games present, then more power to them.
Ubisoft’s ZombiU is most definitely THE third party title that I’m going to keep my eye out for. A new zombie title that promises to use the Wii U tablet controller in some interesting ways? Sign me up. Despite my enthusiasm, I plan on taking a wait and see approach with this game, as the last Ubisoft launch game I was looking forward to on a Nintendo console burned me bad. Yes, I’m looking at you, Red Steel.
Of all the games coming out during the Wii U launch window, Pikmin 3 was the first to earn my pre-order. The original Pikmin title on the Gamecube was a fantastic introduction to a new franchise and despite its flaws, was one of my favorite games on the system. By the time the second one rolled around, they managed to polish it up and even throw in a new co-op mode. From what I experienced of it, Pikmin 3 is shaping up to be a better looking version of its predecessors but utilizing the Wii U tablet for added convenience. And I’m totally okay with this.
It’s my understanding that New Super Mario Bros. U will be an actual launch title on release day and is most definitely on my to buy list. While the NSMB games have been feeling less “new” with every iteration, it’s hard to overlook the addictiveness of getting four people in a room and running and jumping their way through each stage (while slowly on the road to no longer being friends by the end of it). Having a fifth person get involved by using the tablet seems like an interesting gimmick if nothing else, though I’m anxious to see how it will be implemented beyond the E3 demo stages.
That’s honestly about it for me. I never see more than a couple of games in a launch lineup for a new console that interest me, and this one is no exception. It’s the things releasing beyond the initial launch that have me excited: the aforementioned Bayonetta 2, the next Super Smash Bros., and the next Zelda entry. It may be a long time coming before any of these things finally materialize, but I still have a number of Wii games (believe or not) that I have yet to play through to keep me busy until then. Here’s hoping that this generation to come is one of Nintendo’s best.
So there you go. What Wii U games are you looking forward to at launch, if any? Anything we missed? Let us know in the comments section below.