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NYCC 2012 Wii U Round Up

Wii U had a lot to offer at this year's New York Comic Con. Here are some highlights.

At New York Comic Con 2012, one of the biggest spectacles on the show floor was the Nintendo Wii U. Releasing this November, gamers and curious bystanders were interested to see what the big deal is with Nintendo’s new console.  If the long lines and constant crowd was any indicator, Nintendo’s Wii U made a positive impression, with many great titles on display. Here are just some of those, and my quick impressions based on the demos available on the show floor:

Rayman Legends – The follow up to 2011’s Rayman Origins is extremely promising. My hands on with the game placed me in two different levels. In the first demo, I controlled Rayman with the Wii U pro controller. Anyone who played Rayman Origins will be pleased to know that the controls are completely intact. Running, jumping and attacking felt tight and responsive. Of course, the big draw of Rayman Legends comes with the Wii U GamePad functionality.

I got the chance to use the GamePad to control Rayman’s partner character in the second part of the demo. He has huge influence on the world, allowing Rayman to progress through levels much easier. Cutting down cages gives the player using Rayman a chance to jump to areas he normally wouldn’t be able to reach. Tickling enemies slows them enough to allow Rayman a chance to attack. Moving certain obstacles out of the way keeps Rayman healthy. In addition to all of that, touching power ups on the screen adds to Rayman’s total score at the end of the level. While this may sound like a secondary task, it is actually quite fun and encourages teamwork and precision. In some ways, I enjoyed using the GamePad just as much as I did using Rayman himself.

Rayman Legends is already looking to be one of the best games within the Wii U launch window. Whether playing as Rayman or using the GamePad, there is something to enjoy.

New Super Mario Bros U – Surprising no one, New Super Mario Bros. U sticks to the tried and true formula of the New Super Mario Bros. Series. However, there are a few new additions that look to spice up the experience.

The first is the inclusion of the Super Acorn, which grants Mario the flying squirrel ability. This gives Mario the ability to hover much like the Raccoon tail in previous games, but the Acorn allows Mario to gain altitude by shaking the Wii Remote. This causes a gust of wind to come up under Mario and help him reach new heights. While not necessarily original, this power is very useful when it comes to jumping gaps and finding secrets.

The newest and most interesting feature comes with the added Wii U GamePad functionality. Players utilizing the GamePad can create blocks for players to jump on, and stun enemies temporarily.  While some sections could be made easier because of the extra platforms, other partners might find it funny to use the GamePad to create extra obstacles, and maybe even trap you.

All in all, I found what I played was more or less what I’ve played already. Fans of the series will be comfortable to know that the gameplay they know and love is intact, but it’s a cause of concern that the game is doing little to spice up the experience.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 – Though Tekken Tag Tournament 2 has been out on the Xbox 360 and PS3 for a while now, the Wii U version still has enough appeal to win over many new fans. Namco Bandai has added a wealth of new features to the game, including the return (cross reference this one) of Tekken Ball, Touch screen quick combo’s and Nintendo related costumes and quick combos. Tekken Ball, which made its first appearance in Tekken 3, wasn’t playable but was shown in one of the trailers on display at the booth. Fans of the side attraction might be happy to know that it looks as crazy as ever.

The game feels smooth and responsive, meaning good things for the Tekken veterans. The touch screen displays combo commands which you can touch to activate the combo without having to actually preform the command making the game even more accessible to newcomers. One game type that was definitely aimed toward newcomers was Mushroom Battle. This mode has the Tekken cast in an arena that where different items from the Mario Brothers series, like super mushrooms, poison mushrooms and invincibility stars will spawn and have effects on the fighters. This mode provided some zany fun, but in the grand scheme is nothing more than just that. The items definitely ruin the balance of the game overall, and will likely not be played competitively.

Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition – Despite the fact that Batman: Arkham City has been out for almost an entire year already, Nintendo’s upcoming Wii U will see the caped crusader on its console. To compliment this new system there are some new features added to enhance the experience of the game, with most of those taking advantage of the GamePad.

All map and inventory functions are now handled on the GamePad. Some puzzles and gadget functions are also used on the GamePad screen. For example, when using the cryptographic sequencer, instead of using the mini game from the first game, you execute a mini-game where you have to find a passcode on the touch screen while dodging red lasers which can ultimately compromise your attempts.  The GamePad is also in use when controlling the remote-control batarang.

Tank! Tank! Tank! – This lighthearted game has an extremely simple premise: players take control of a tank and use heavy weaponry to lay waste to giant aliens and monsters.  Though there is not much to the initial concept, the gameplay is actually quite effective. At the beginning of a round, players can capture a photo of themselves to display as their avatar using the Wii U GamePad. When battling with the enemy, different power ups drop, like machine guns and health that aid you in your fight. The game is far from deep, but has a fun quality to it that I’m sure will spark the interest of some gamers.

Nintendo Land – I was able to get my hands on with two of the features of the upcoming compilation Nintendo Land. The first I was able to try was Metroid Blast, a Metroid inspired game where players take control of a Mii wearing Samus’ costume if they are using the Wii Remote. Alternately, players using the Wii U GamePad control Samus’ ship. There are different game types players can tackle. One has players working together against waves of enemies, while the other has the players using the Wii Remotes opposing the player using the Wii U GamePad.

The gameplay is quite simple, but lots of fun. During my hands on demo, I controlled the ship with the GamePad. The screen on the controller gives you complete view of what’s going on. Moving the controller around lets you aim freely and while it can be difficult to master its execution is pretty spot on. I was able to hit my opponents with satisfying speed and accuracy.

In the mini-game that had us working as a team against hordes of enemies, I would have an overall perspective of the map, and was able to get the drop on enemies so my teammates could follow up and continue the assault. In the competitive arena, I found that using the stage to my advantage was key. I had to use buildings and pillars for cover as my opponents would all try to strike me out of the sky.

Next, I got hands on with Luigi’s Ghost Mansion, which turned out to be one of the biggest surprises for me in regards to Nintendo Land. Players on the Wii remotes control characters on screen and work together against the player using the Wii U GamePad, who is an invisible ghost and can see the map from a different perspective. The ghost on the GamePad has to keep away from players for a set amount of time, while the Wii remote players have to find him and absorb him in the same amount of time. This simple formula creates an extremely tense gameplay scenario.

 In the allotted 5 minutes of gameplay, my partners and I, playing on the big screen, needed to coordinate with each other and create choke points in order to defeat the player using the ghost. It came down to the final seconds of the match, but after coming out on top, there was a great sense of victory and accomplishment. Luigi’s Ghost Mansion seems like one that will surprise players; it definitely surprised me.



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