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All the Wii Launch Games: A Quick and Opinionated Overview

I've Played Pieces of Almost 30 Wii U Games in Two Weeks. Here's What I Think

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I have most of the 32 games released on launch day for the Wii U, and have been diligently checking out as many of them as I can manage. Eventually I plan to fully review a good number of them, but I can only play games so fast, so in the meantime here are my initial impressions. While my final scores for some of these will be higher or lower, here’s my takeaway from what I’ve seen so far.

Assassin’s Creed III

Ubisoft

Hours played: 25 ½

My take: Definitely one of the best Wii U launch titles, even though it doesn’t do a lot with the gamepad. Not quite as perfect as AC2, but still very good.

Rating: **** ½

Other critics: Many raves.

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Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition

Batman Arkham City
Warner Bros.

Hours played: 24

My take: Utterly brilliant game, and of all the ports, this is the one that features the most ambitious use of the gamepad. If you haven’t played it on another platform, definitely get this one.

Rating: *****

Other critics: Most agree it’s a great game but disagree on whether the gamepad improves or worsens it.

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Ben 10 Omniverse

Hours played: 1

My take: Ben 10 games are invariably disappointing, but from my brief look this one seems competent, at least.

Rating: **

Other critics: They’re ignoring it.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Activision

Hours played: 3 ½

My take: I generally like the COD games, but I haven't cared for the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare games. To me, this game feels like those games, overly cluttered and a bit confused. Still, I would have played more if not for the addition of a poorly conceived real-time strategy component. I found it really annoying, and since I already wasn't feeling the game, I just stopped. Nothing interesting done with the gamepad in single player, so that's also worth a demerit.

Rating: ** ½

Other critics: They love it.

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Chasing Aurora

Hours played: ½

My take: This is primarily focused on in-person multiplayer, with only one very uninteresting single player mode, so I can’t offer an opinion on this one until I can talk someone to come over and play it with me.

Rating: TBD

Other critics: Most seem underwhelmed.

Darksiders II

THQ

Hours played: 22

My take: Fun mix of elements from God of War, Prince of Persia and Zelda series. Great looking. More could have been done with the gamepad, but it’s used well enough.

Rating: ****

Other critics: They love it as they loved it on other platforms.

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Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of 2

Disney Epic Mickey - The Power of Two - Beetleworx
Disney

Hours played: 1

My take: The Wii U version does little on the gamepad and won’t let you control Mickey with the vastly better Wii remote/nunchuk control scheme of the original game, so I played this on the Wii instead. But after a few hours, I just got bored. The game just lacks something. The terribly-sung songs don't help any, either.

Rating: ** ½

Other critics: Mediocre reviews that say it’s not as good as the original.

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ESPN Sports Connection

Hours played: 1 ½

My take: This sports mini-game collection is a real mixed bag. The baseball game is rather ingenious, although batting is a bit broken, and football also has clever things in it. Soccer is a disastrous mess. The rest are okay but unexceptional. Overall it could be better.

Rating: ** ½

Other critics: The few that haven’t ignored it hated it.

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FIFA Soccer 13

Hours played: 1

My take: Fun little game, with a clever way to shoot goals using the gamepad.

Rating: *** ½

Other critics: Good reviews amidst complaints that it’s missing features and innovations available on other systems.

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Funky Barn

Hours played: 3 ½

My take: This cartoony farming sim seems more like something that should be an inexpensive eShop-only game, and I really can’t see playing $50 for a casual strategy game that I expect can be explored pretty completely in five hours. That being said, I played it compulsively for hours, so if you see it in a budget bin someday you might consider it.

Rating: *** ½

Other critics: Overlooked by critics

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