The Wii U Launch Title Buying Guide

With just a few days left until the Wii U launch, Hardcore Gamer has dug through the massive selection of launch titles to give our opinions, knowledge and suggestions for which to nab. If your biggest problem is which games to pick up and not how you’re going to get a Wii U, count yourself lucky and read on. Make sure to check back Sunday and throughout the rest of the week for full reviews of many of the undermentioned titles.


For those who want to meet the founding fathers without a time machine:

Assassin’s Creed III

Has anyone waited to play Assassin’s Creed III? It’s certainly hard to stay away from a game, even if just for a few shorts weeks, with trailers as epic as the set ACIII had. Those who had enough restraint, however, will be rewarded with Wii U Game Pad functionality, including the ability to to change weapons on the go and have a large version of the map on screen at all times (very helpful considering just how many destinations are packed into ACIII). Remote Play is also supported, allowing for the full game to be played on the game pad. We awarded the game a 5/5, praising it as one of the most ambitious games ever released. It will be a great test of the Wii U to see how well it can handle such sprawling environments and detailed characters.

A better option than… dropping a rock on your head to have a flashback.


For those who like dressing up as nocturnal animals:

Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition

Warner Bros. Interactive was right in picking up Rocksteady Studio as they have done amazing things with the Batman license. One of the best games of last year, Arkham City had everything you loved from Arkham Asylum, plus so much more. Use the Wii U Gamepad to your advantage with easily accessible gadgets, first person modes for scanning the environment and throwing batarangs, touchable explosives, and so much more. This is the ultimate version of Arkham City that adds intriguingly entertaining content and new ways to interact with DC’s well crafted universe.

You will also be happy… Chris O’Donnell is nowhere to be found.


For those who like Michael Rooker:

Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Activision’s flagship title will be making its debut on the Wii U at launch with quite possibly the definitive console version. The second screen will feature the ability to access a mini-map, score streak abilities, or if you have a buddy on the couch next to you, both of you can play without having to use split-screen. The best thing, though, will be taking your online experience with Call of Duty all around the house, but make sure you keep that voice chat turned down. We really enjoyed Black Ops II as it has a surprisingly ambitious single player experience (with entertaining multiplayer modes, too), and by enhancing it with the Wii U’s capabilities, you get the best Call of Duty yet.

You may also enjoy… Platoon (why hasn’t Charlie Sheen been in any CoD games?)


For those who want don’t want THQ to be delisted:

Darksiders II

A very enjoyable romp as Death through a Zelda-esque adventure, Darksiders II is a great follow-up to one of the best new big budget IPs. It’s one of the few AAA titles where the gameplay mechanics are focused on more than making it feel “epic”. Even though the game has a huge scale, many hours are spent adventuring alone through dungeons. Clever puzzles are abound that are creative enough to lead to many a “aha!” moment upon solving. As combat has taken a backseat to puzzles, it’s more of an adventure game than anything. Don’t let the giant picture of Death and intimating font turn you off, this is a game that should appeal to a large audience and be more approachable than ever thanks to Game Pad touchscreen functionally.

You may also enjoy… Saint’s Row III, Red Faction, Company of Heroes, Metro, Homefront, Destroy All Humans! and WWE.


For those who like 3D platformers and nightmare fuel:

Epic Mickey 2

Ever dreamed about thinning the wonderful world of Walt Disney? Epic Mickey gives you the chance to do that in glorious HD. It follows up on the original’s single-player adventure with co-op gameplay. Now, a second player can control Oswald while player one uses Mickey. Each character has their own unique powers and the Wii U is the only system where two-player co-op gets its own screen. On the other versions, multi-player is a split-screen affair only. Fortunately, if you want to go solo at any time, you can, which allows you to just display the adventure on the Gamepad and progress normally. If the PS3/360 demo is any indication, EM 2 on Wii U will feature major fixes to the original game’s clunky camera and seems to offer up the best overall multi-player experience since each player gets their own screen. Given that there’s no 3D Mario at launch, EM 2 easily stands out as a must-own for system owners craving some 3D platforming action.

You should also watch… Mickey Mouse’s nightmare fuel-filled “Runaway Brain” short.


For those who like masculinity in their sports games:

FIFA Soccer 13

FIFA 13 is the only choice for those who love soccer (yes that’s right, soccer) and yet only have a WiiU for some inexplicable reason. Luckily, it would probably be the best choice regardless of competition with its bounty of exclusive features. The GamePad can be used to aim penalty kicks and set pieces by looking through it, and if shaken it activates Touch Screen Shooting Mode which allows for more accurate shots. Making the game more social, friends can send messages through the game in real time at any time by typing on the GamePad. It’s the only game in town, so if you like the sport, pick it up. Or start liking football (yes, that’s right, football) instead and pick up Madden. The ball’s in your court.

You probably shouldn’t… look at any GIFs related to the sport.


For those who are the best around and nothing’s ever gonna keep them down:

Game Party Champions

So you want a Wii U, but you’re still a snot-nosed little kid. How do you talk your parents into it? With sports, of course. Sure, they may say “why don’t you go outside and play sports” or “is ‘skill ball’ a real sport?”. But you hold firm; you tell them that you need this game to hone your skills so you can be good enough to play the real versions with people on the outside world. And then, and only then, will you have friends. Sure, it may be a sequel to one of the worst games of all time and yes, it’s $49.99. But what’s more important? Playing Super Mario Bros. U on a console you may never have or guaranteeing a Wii U to play such 1950s favorites as ping pong, hoop shot and table hockey? Wait, what was the first option again?

Those who aren’t should… try to be best, ‘cause you’re only a man and a man’s gotta learn to take it.


For those who want to dance without constantly being hit-on:

Just Dance 4

As stated in our review for the 360 version, Just Dance 4 is a hard game not to like. It really is the video game form of a dance party, with easy to jump into gameplay/menus and forgiving difficulty.  It also helps that the colorful graphical interface is very attractive and helps set the mood for the game. The interesting thing here will be to see how it handles on the Wii U. Traditionally, the Just Dance series has proven better on the Kinect, as it doesn’t require controllers and tracks entire bodies instead of just arms. While it will surely still be a fine experience worth picking up for those who don’t have a 360, the deciding factor for those who do will be how well it utilizes the Wii U Game Pad.

You should also… not invite any men over, because it’s probably still going to happen.


For those craving GTA blended with plastic blocks:

LEGO City Undercover

Have you ever wondered what a LEGO GTA game would be like? If not, then what’s wrong with you? Who didn’t enjoy playing with LEGOs as a kid and making little cities out of them? LCU has been a Wii U standout since it was first shown off many months ago. While sandbox games have been common for a decade, they’ve been scarce on Nintendo’s platforms, and having one that is more kid-friendly is an even bigger rarity. LCU mixes platforming with an open-world to explore and uses the Gamepad to aid in getting rid of criminals. It allows you to detect bad guys, track them, and capture them. You can also call for assistance from fellow officers with it. Within the game itself, you’ll have tools like a zip line and JACKHAMMERS to help you progress. So far, it looks like LCU is going to combine some light-hearted movie parodies with some self-referential comedy that pokes fun at gaming tropes, while also giving players the same kind of fun gameplay the LEGO games are known for, and give Nintendo system owners a much-needed dose of open-world gaming in the process.

You should also probably… not build LEGOs with children.


For those who like turduckens:

Madden 13

If you are American, you like football. And we mean the real football – the one in which feet aren’t used. Even more, you probably like John Madden – one of the most respected commentators in sports history, and also one heck of a former coach. Given these American facts, you’ve probably also played one of EA Sports’ Madden titles in your lifetime. Gamers who are curious whether or not Madden 13 is worth trying out for WiiU, we have one word: GamePad-play-calling. Yes, by using the GamePad players can pick plays, call audibles, and even design their own routes, bringing a new sense of immersion to the market’s only NFL game worth owning… because it’s literally the only one on the market.

If you want to win… don’t pick the Jaguars.


For those who like inter-species romance:

Mass Effect 3: Special Edition

Saving the world isn’t enough anymore as Commander Shepard is tasked with saving the entire galaxy from certain doom. Released eight months ago, and then updated heavily at the end of June, Mass Effect 3 is still one of the better games this year, featuring a great cast of characters and a sprawling galaxy to explore. I can find no better way to make use of second screen than adding a mini-map and ability selectors to the mix. Oddly enough, though, if you’ve played the last two Mass Effect games, you more than likely already played the third. The game will have an interactive comic like the PlayStation 3 version of Mass Effect 2 did, but where’s the Trilogy Pack, EA?

You’ll also feel depressed… that you were born in this century.


For those who like twin stick shooters:

Nano Assault Neo

If twin stick shooters are your bag, then Nano Assault Neo is a day-one buy for you. Nano Assault for the 3DS continued the tradition of Nanostray 1&2 on the DS, and now, Neo looks to bring the series to home consoles for the first time. Unlike its portable incarnations, the console version features twin stick shooting, which should make for a far more intuitive playing experience. While playing on a TV, the Gamepad displays simplified 3D models of the play area to show your progress and exactly where you are in relation to opponents. This can be useful if things get a bit hectic and you feel overwhelmed — now you can see exactly how much trouble you’re in without all the pesky guesswork that comes from dying repeatedly. Or, if you so desire, you can just go without that feature and just change the display mode to the Gamepad entirely. Nano Assault Neo will be available on the eShop only — so don’t go looking for it in stores. You still could, but it wouldn’t be a very wise use of your time.

You should also get… Geometry Wars: Galaxies for Wii.


For those who like anything involving Italian plumbers:

New Super Mario Bros. U

If stomping on Goombas and slinging Koopa shells is your personal gaming nirvana, you know where to go for your Wii launch fix — the Mushroom Kingdom. For the first time since the N64, a Nintendo console will launch with a Mario game, and like its Wii outing, New SMB Wii U lets you play as four characters at once, but now enables a fifth player to play using the Gamepad while everyone else uses Wii remotes (hopefully covered in comfortable BOSS controller shells). In this form, the Gamepad is used to effectively play God. If you’d like to create platforms to aid players, you can. Or if you’d like to make them pay for sticking you in the role of helper monkey, you can make life difficult by putting things in their way or simply play favorites and make things easier for some and harder for others. There are also extra modes like coin rush that use the Gamepad to place more coins around the world, a boost run that makes auto-scrolling levels more difficult, and a challenge mode that gives specific objectives to complete quickly. NSMBW\U appears to offer at least a few things that make it worthwhile for even the most jaded Mario fans out there.

You should probably watch… something better than the Super Mario Bros. movie.


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