Better On Wii U? Assassin’s Creed 3, Mass Effect 3, Darksiders 2 Hands-On

Adam Barnes


We had hands-on with a whole host of Wii U games, but are these best played on Nintendo’s Wii U? We take a look at each conversion and their new features.

Published on Sep 24, 2012

Nintendo’s Wii U has a release date of 30 November – at least here in the UK – but what about all those multiplatform games heading to the console? Are these the superior versions we’ve been promised, are they better on Wii U or should you stick to your PS3 and Xbox 360?

Nintendo is definitely trying to capture the hardcore gaming market as much as the family with Wii U, as seen by the numerous third party titles we had hands on with.

We’ve tested each of the upcoming multiplatform games at Nintendo Europe’s headquarters to find out whether or not these games are best on Wii U.

The naval battles are particularly spectacular to see in action. 

Is Assassin’s Creed 3 Better On Wii U?

What we saw

The demo we had hands-on with was the naval battle that Ubisoft had shown at this year’s E3. We were able to duke it out against three enemy ships on rough seas, switching between different cannon types to disable or destroy different ships.

How it played on Wii U

Assassin’s Creed 3 was the most impressive game running on the Wii U by far. Visually it looked as great as the PS3 and Xbox 360 gameplay we’ve seen, proving that Ubisoft knows how to handle the console.

Controls were fairly simple, too, so steering the ship and launching volleys of cannon fire was very easy and extremely enjoyable.

What is unique to the console?

During the naval battle the GamePad controller acted as radar of sorts. With our ship in the centre, enemy ships appeared in view around us. Additionally a field of view radar meant we could see where our planned shots were expected to hit.

Unfortunately it’s also possible to see this area of effect on the game as you play, and that’s far more beneficial than having to glance down at the GamePad so that element is a little redundant.

Elsewhere, changing weapon types can also be managed on the GamePad by holding ZR and tapping the cannon type you want. We imagine this would be the same for swapping weapons in the ‘proper’ game, too.

Is it best on Wii U?

It’s certainly as good as anything we’ll get on the PS3 or Xbox 360. Graphically it’s just as good looking and that proves that the Wii U can at the very least match current-gen consoles.

The menu stuff during the naval battles are admittedly kind of throwaway, and don’t really add anything to the experience – but does it really need to? If you’re planning on getting a Wii U, then holding out for Assassin’s Creed 3 certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Though the map/squad control functions aren't exactly original, they are useful at least.

Is Mass Effect 3 Better On Wii U?

What we saw

Here we played through the Grissom Academy section of Mass Effect 3. We had twelve minutes to play and ended during the section where you fight inside a mech.

How it played on Wii U

It played just as well as Mass Effect 3 on PS3 or Xbox 360, though issues with the GamePad’s size did make it feel a little weird. Visually it looked the same too, which is obviously a plus point.

What is unique to the console?

The ability to issue commands easier was the biggest improvement here. With a 2D map highlighting both you, your squad members and every enemy in the area, this is particularly helpful for managing your squad.

All you do is drag from one squad member to the enemy you want to attack, even if they’re behind cover. Simple.

Additionally you can select abilities from the map screen too, meaning you don’t have to enter the radial menu each time you want to use a special attack. Obviously this does mean looking away from the main TV screen, however.

Lastly, by pressing the TV button on the GamePad you can switch the screens over, letting you play Mass Effect 3 entirely on the GamePad rather than the TV.

Is it best on Wii U?

Some of the GamePad features really do make Mass Effect 3 better on the Wii U, but let’s not forget that this game is already months old – you’ve probably already played it.

Still, if you haven’t, then there’s every reason to play Mass Effect 3 on Wii U since it’s just as good as the current versions.

Having Argul's Tomb bundled in is a nice added extra.

Is Darksiders 2 Better On Wii U?

What we saw

Argul’s Tomb – the first piece of DLC for Darksiders 2 – was available to play on the Wii U.

How it played on Wii U

Fine, really. Despite the varied moves and possibilities available in Darksiders 2, it really only requires a couple of buttons to make the most of it.

Visually it looked as good as the Xbox 360 one, as well, though the art style was never going to prove to be a difficult thing to recreate.

What is unique to the console?

While playing through a dungeon the GamePad will present a map that moves along with Death. It’s a minor addition, but implemented well.

Additionally different abilities can be used through the menu, but this is largely throwaway.

Is it best on Wii U?

Not really. It plays fine, but a game like Darksiders 2 really benefits from a smaller form controller. Maybe if you were buying the Pro Controller you’d get more use out of it, but the added Argul’s Tomb doesn’t really do much to add value to the overall package.

The new Mushroom Mode is nothing if not hilarious.

Is Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Better On Wii U?

What we saw

The build we played had every character available to play, with one player on the GamePad and one on the Pro Controller.

How it played on Wii U

With both controllers it played exactly the same, but the GamePad felt a little bit more cumbersome than the Pro Controller. Obviously arcade stick peripherals will likely be better than both of these, but it’s worth noting that the GamePad isn’t practical for a beat-‘em-up.

Additionally it’s worth noting a distinct frame rate issue that was really noticeable throughout each fight. Whether this will be part of the final released build or not it’s hard to say, but for now it seems like a poor port.

What is unique to the console?

Mushroom Battle Mode you’ve probably already heard about, and is unique to Nintendo’s Wii U. It features unique power ups – such as Super Mushroom and Poison Mushroom – that affect the way your characters play and is mostly for entertainment purposes.

Is it best on Wii U?

Not at all. Unless the frame rate issues are solved before launch, there’s no reason why you choose to play a beat-‘em-up on Wii U over the PS3 or Xbox 360 – and the additional Mushroom Battle Mode isn’t worth getting excited about.

If nothing else Sonic & All-Stars Racing sets the standard for a new Mario Kart game.

Is Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed Better On Wii U?

What we saw

A single track was available to race on as Sonic against a slew of Sega characters.

How it played on Wii U

Requiring just the trigger and a couple of button presses meant the GamePad didn’t have any issues holding Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed from playing as well as any other platform.

What is unique to the console?

We didn’t have the opportunity to try them out for ourselves, but there are apparently going to be a number of mini-games in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed that will make use of the Wii U’s GamePad.

Is it best on Wii U?

Gameplay-wise Sonic’s latest kart racer played well, but there was a strange grainy effect while playing. This could be down to the set up of the TV, but none of the other demos at the event had a similar problem.

We’d remain cautious about this one for now, it could be a poor port.



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