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Analyzing the Wii U’s launch lineup

Wii U Screenshot - Black Wii U

When any new system is scheduled to release, its launch window games are usually what persuades people to get excited for the system. So when the Wii U launches this holiday season, the question will be if this lineup worth buying a system for? The Wii U has an interesting lineup of games, including “game of the year” favorites from last year and new versions of Nintendo classics. So what sticks out about the Wii U’s lineup?

New Super Mario Bros. UNew Super Mario Bros U will be the main system seller when the game launches. This is the long awaited sequel to New Super Mario Bros that came out a few years ago for the Nintendo DS and the Wii. Anytime a Nintendo system launches with a Mario game, you can be sure that it will sell millions of copies and help drive systems at retail stores. The main portion of the game will be playable with the Wii mote controller (up to 4) while one player can help by adding blocks with the Wii U gamepad. If you’ve played the previous entries in the series, this game will feel right at home. The graphics get a significant boost from the Wii U’s graphical power, making it the prettiest Mario outing to date.

MarioMass Effect 3 – If you haven’t played this game on the Xbox 360 or the PS3 yet, this is a must have. Mass Effect 3 is one of the best action role playing games that I’ve played in recent memory and will include DLC on the Wii U disc. If you’re unfamiliar with the game or haven’t had the chance to play it before, buying it during the launch window for the Wii U will be a wise decision.

Batman: Arkham City Armored EditionBatman: Arkham City is another must have game, again, if you haven’t played it on the 360 or the PS3 yet. While Mass Effect 3 is a port of the same game, Arkham City adds Armored Edition extras into the fold. With Armored Edition, players can build up special attacks through their armor and steer weapons, such as the batarang, in mid air. This is another game you have to play if you missed out on the original or game of the year editions, and will launch alongside the Wii U this holiday.

Rayman LegendsRayman Legends was one of the games I had the most fun with during the Nintendo Wii U event I went to. It even made me buy a copy of Rayman Origins, one of the games I missed last year. This is a 2-D side scrolling game, think New Super Mario Bros U, which relies on teamwork if you’re playing with more than one player. In the brief demo I played, I controlled Rayman with the Wii U Pro Controller, the one that looks like an Xbox 360 controller, while my friend Dana controlled a fairy-like creature with the Wii U gamepad. The objective was for her to help me clear paths, collect items, and unlock hidden parts of the game, all while I was playing the game like normal. It’s the intuitiveness of using multiple control schemes that really made the game impressive, all without even thinking of the other player controlling the game in a different way. I was impressed, very impressed.

Pikmin 3Pikmin 3 was a fun game to demo. I have never played a Pikmin game before, and enjoyed what the demo had to offer. I was tasked to clear paths to get to new objectives while gathering fruit and bringing it back to my spaceship. You have to use Pikmin to clear paths, gather fruit, and attack enemies for you. This was accomplished by using the Wii mote to aim the Pikmin while using the Wii U gamepad as a map. I also unlocked the new rock-type Pikmin, which were used to break heavier barriers that regular Pikmin couldn’t get through. The game was a lot of fun and will be on my “must have” list come launch day.

Zombi UZombi U – This was the most intriguing game I have played for the Wii U. Sure there are Zombie games that are out already, but Zombi U feels more like a survival game. While making your way through the game, you have to manage your inventory wisely; the catch being that you can only hold eight items at a time. This gets extremely tough when you need to hold ammo, key items, and weapons at the same time. To make matters worse, you can’t pause the game to fiddle with your inventory; instead you have to use the Wii U gamepad in real time. This makes you vulnerable to a zombie attack at any time, and makes you have to double check rooms before you manage your bag of items. This is a very unique game and will be a top seller for the Wii U later this year.

NintendolandNintendoland is a collection of mini games that were actually pretty cool. We had the chance to demo three out of twelve games, and had a blast with each of them. The Donkey Kong mini game makes you survive a cart ride around a puzzle, using different control schemes to make your way around. Trying to beat your friend’s score was a lot of fun and was the highlight of Nintendoland for me. The next game was based on Zelda and had one person be an archer while the others used swords to attack enemies. Walking around sniping enemies with arrows was fun, but using the Wii motes to attack with swords looked more interesting. The final mini game I played was the Luigi’s Mansion demo, which was shown at E3. One player controlled the ghost on the Wii U gamepad while the others used Wii motes to hunt the ghost down and kill it with flashlights. There is a great deal of strategy involved in this game and requires players to work together to be successful. Hopefully this game will be a pack in with the system like Wii Sports was for the original Wii. If not, it might be a tough sell at $50 or more.

The Wii U’s Launch window is looking fairly strong. Even though a lot of the games seem to be ports, at least they're ports of awesome games. It has a nice mixture of hardcore games and mixes in mass appeal games, like Mario. We will hopefully get a release date and price for the system soon. My Wii U hands on impressions can be found here.

What do you think about the Wii U's launch lineup? Which games would you buy? Any games catch your attention that I didn't mention? Let me know in the comments below.

Follow me on Twitter at @AlexEqualsWin and Gamezone at @Gamezoneonline

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Alex Rhoades
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