Wii U Third-Party Titles Preview

by on June 21, 2012

Wii U Third-Party Titles PreviewOur extensive Wii U preview coverage continues, as Lee takes a look at a healthy batch of Third-Party love.

Recently I had the opportunity to wrap my hands around a Wii U GamePad. This time around, I’ll be delving into my experiences with some of the many third-party titles available to play.

The games I’ll be looking at in this article are either ports of existing console or PC titles, or sequels. It’s interesting to see what approach third-party developers take to porting games over to a completely different console, in terms of control method.

Batman: Arkham City – Armored Edition

Wii U Preview Roundup - Misc Third Parties

First up is a Wii U port of one of the best games of this generation. Personally, I have played the absolute Hell out of Arkham City, earning every single achievement in the game (including the Catwoman/Robin/Nightwing Riddler DLC Challenges and the recently released Harley Quinn’s Revenge DLC), so the idea of playing almost the exact same game on the Wii U is a hard sell for me.

From the build I played, it looked very similar to the existing versions of the game, if a little unpolished at this early stage. Gameplay-wise, everything is as it should be, but the big change with the Armored Edition is the changes that the Wii U GamePad brings, the most obvious addition being the ability to have the area map viewable at all times via the GamePad; an unoriginal feature, but a welcome one in any case. But the big draw is the way you use the GamePad for gadget management.

When holding the up direction on the D-Pad, the GamePad screen changes to an array of icons for each of your gadgets, which can be selected by touching them. I found it a little cumbersome and much slower than simply touching a direction on the D-Pad (as per the console versions). Then there’s also the issue of looking between two different displays, which I imagine will take some getting used to. Touch control also changes how you break codes with the Cryptographer gadget. Now you must run your finger around a circuit board, while avoiding lasers that move across the screen.

Remote Batarangs have also been given a new lease of life, thanks to the GamePad’s tilt sensors. As well as using the classic analog stick method of controlling your projectile, you can tilt the GamePad instead. It works well, although it’s still easier to use the old method. The final big addition to Armored Edition, is the Battle Armored Tech (BAT). This new version of Batman’s suit adds a gauge to the GamePad screen, once filled (It wasn’t clear how you fill it), you touch an icon to instantly power up and deal more damage to goons.

My general feeling about Armored Edition is that although it’s great news for the Wii U to have its own version of Arkham City, the new additions are awkward and aren’t an improvement over using a standard pad. If you’ve never played Arkham City, then the Wii U version could be a sensible buy, but by the time this game comes out, it’s going to be a year behind the other console versions.

Trine 2: Director’s Cut

Wii U Preview Roundup - Misc Third Parties

Trine 2’s demo unit was unused throughout my time at the event, which is a shame as it’s quite a nice little title. A platform puzzler, you take control of three different characters – Amadeus the Wizard, Zoya the Thief and Pontius the Knight – as you traverse a fantasy world, taking down foes and solving puzzles using each character’s individual skills.

In terms of the Wii U’s abilities, all it offers so far is basic touch screen interaction for selecting characters and weapons, but it did allow you to play the game on the GamePad screen (no television required) and it actually looked pretty sharp on the smaller screen.

This Director’s Cut of the PC/Mac/Linux/PSN/XBLA title will be a downloadable game on the Wii U eShop, and not only will it contain the upcoming expansion for the game, but it will also be host to new a new “Party Mode” and four-player online or local co-op.

In regards to the game itself, it plays well and the three playable characters each offer different ways of solving the game’s puzzles. Although once again the GamePad doesn’t offer anything particularly new in terms of gameplay, Trine 2 gives me high hopes that the quality of downloadable games on the Wii U will be a lot higher than they were on the original Wii.

Ninja Gaiden 3

Wii U Preview Roundup - Misc Third Parties

I can’t say too much about Ninja Gaiden 3, because honestly, it was frustrating to play. Bad camera angles, the fact that you can’t tell your own character apart from the enemies you are supposed to be fighting, plus the demo’s ridiculous difficulty made for an unimpressive experience.

There was little in the way of GamePad usage, other than the standard touchscreen interaction of moves/weapons. Once again, nothing that would make me pick the Wii U version over the other console versions.

After less than 10 minutes play (never lasting more than a minute before dying), I simply couldn’t play Ninja Gaiden 3 anymore, and turned me eye towards other titles.

Scribblenauts Unlimited

Wii U Preview Roundup - Misc Third Parties

I never know where I stand with the Scribblenauts games. Don’t get me wrong, it is a brilliant concept that makes for an exceptionally fun sandbox experience, but when you apply that concept to a game, it never seems to live up to its promise.

Unlimited is the third game in the series and the first to arrive on a home console. It’s good to see those colourful children’s book-style illustrations in HD. From the short demo level I played, Unlimited is a lot like the other games, requiring you to perform tasks for other people in order to obtain stars. Honestly, that’s all I can really say about the game so far, if you’ve played the game on Nintendo DS or iOS, then you know what to expect.

You can use the Wii U GamePad as the main display device, and you also use it to type in the objects you wish to create and yes, you can still spawn Wyverns, God, Cthulu and all those other mythical creatures.

Judging by the limited demo I had, it doesn’t look like Unlimited brings anything new to the Scribblenauts concept, and I worry that it will suffer from the same issues as previous titles. In other words, it’s fun for an hour or two, then becomes a little repetitive. I really hope I’m wrong, and Unlimited really does the concept justice.

Stay tuned for yet more Nintendo preview coverage in the coming days, as Lee takes a look at some upcoming Nintendo 3DS games.