There are a bunch of exciting games coming out this year for the new Wii U; at least 23 games have been promised for the November 18th, with others set to come out sometime between then and the end of March. Here’s a look at the 10 most promising games coming for the console this year, with reasons why you should be excited for them as well as caveats regarding why they might not be all that great after all.
Why you should be excited: Assassin’s Creed 3 is arguably the most significant multi-platform game coming to the Wii U, and while other multi-platform games will have been out for months before it launched, AC3 is hitting all the consoles within a month of the PS3/360 versions. Assassin’s Creed 2 was utterly brilliant, and this sequel promises to imaginatively expand the series, even offering sea battles. Some people even claim it will be the best-looking console version of the game.
Why you should be skeptical: From what I've seen so far it doesn’t appear to be making much use of the gamepad, so while it will certainly be fun, there may be no real advantage in waiting three weeks for the Wii U version.
Why you should be excited: The brilliant DS game Scribblenauts lets players solve puzzles with anything they could think of, an apple, a bridge, a werewolf. This Wii U sequel takes it further, allowing you to create non-existent objects – say a purple ghost-werewolf who throws apples and is afraid of bridges, and use those to solve your puzzles.
Why you should be skeptical: Since pretty much everything is done on the gamepad touchscreen, you will probably never look at your TV, making this essentially a glorified DS game. And since it’s also coming out for the 3DS, one has to wonder if there’s much advantage to getting the Wii U version.
Why you should be excited: No other third-party game has embraced the Wii U gamepad as eagerly as ZombiU, which is brimming with ingenious uses for the touchscreen (map, inventory, scanner, etc.). There are also cool touches having nothing to do with the gamepad; you can purportedly kill and eat pigeons for health, and if you die you are reincarnated as another character and must track down and kill your former, zombified self.
Why you should be skeptical: Two words: Red Steel. Also developed by Ubisoft, Red Steel embraced the Wii with comparable enthusiasm, using the Wii remote as a sword, a gun, and a grenade launcher and the nunchuk to overturn furniture. While this was all kind of fun, the gameplay itself was mediocre. Will ZombiU have anything underneath the gimmickry?
Why you should be excited: This dark action-adventure game seems to have combined Devil May Cry, Prince of Persia and Zelda into one stylish package of puzzles and combat. Already out for other platforms the game has been critically acclaimed. And the Wii U version is rolling in extra content only available as separate downloads on the other systems.
Why you should be skeptical: The game came out for the other platforms in August, meaning you may have already played it.
Why you should be excited: For Mario fans, the Mario brand is reason enough for excitement. This game offers the SMB series’ beloved gameplay with an added asynchronous element: a player with the gamepad is able to change the game’s environment, adding a new level to the gameplay.
Why you should be skeptical: Is a side scroller really what we want for a Nintendo launch title? It’s cute and all, but come on, it’s the launch; what we really want is a Metroid or a Zelda or a Star Fox! Will it be possible to play this without thinking about the Nintendo titles we'd rather have?
6. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Why you should be excited: The COD series has been remarkably successful on the Wii, offering full-scale uncompromised core titles on a system where those are rare. If the developers can do so much on the little Wii, just imagine what they can do with a system al least as powerful as the other consoles? Already we’ve seen how two players can forgo the splitscreen using the Wii U’s two-screen technology. And the game comes out for the Wii U only five days after arriving on other consoles.
Why you should be skeptical: The game will be missing the "Call of Duty: Elite" service available on the 360 and PS3. And while the online play will be there, people are already complaining that voice chat is not being implemented well on the Wii U. So if you're main focus is online multi-player you are likely to feel very skeptical about this one.
Why you should be excited: Because Nintendo is trying so hard to make you excited, talking up the game every chance they get. Also because it is the big asynchronous gameplay launch title that will open up a whole new way to play games with your friends, and because it should show off a lot of the coolest capabilities of the gamepad.
Why you should be skeptical: Even at their best, mini-game collections are generally a mixed bag, and Nintendo Land looks to be no exception, offering some very promising mini-games and some unpromising ones. And as a product designed to sell us on the Wii U, it lacks that clear focus and simplicity that distinguished Wii Sports.
Why you should be excited: The first game was terrific, and the sequel appears to have cleared up that game’s technical flaws. And even though he may not have had a lot of development time on the Wii U, the game’s genius director Warren Spector is almost bound to have come up with something cool for the gamepad.
Why you should be skeptical: So far we know absolutely nothing about how the game will use the Wii U; Disney only recently announced there would even be a Wii U version. This could be nothing but an up-rezed Wii game.
9. Trine 2: Director’s Cut
Why you should be excited: This visually stunning game has found a few nice ways to integrate the gamepad. Versions on other platforms have been very well received. And it includes previously released DLC content on the disk as well as some new gameplay.
Why you should be skeptical: The game will be almost a year old when it arrives on the Wii U, and as a simple eShop title it is likely to lack the epic feel of many of these other games.
Why you should be excited: This critically acclaimed sequel to a brilliant game is as eager to explore the gamepad as ZombiU, with scanners, explosive chargers that can be set off individually, and the ability to steer the batarang.
Why you should be skeptical: Like ZombiU, the game runs the risk of being too gimmicky. It is also the most ancient of the launch titles, having come out everywhere else over a year ago. There have also been consistent complaints that the game lacks the visual polish it showed on other platforms.