Wii U In 2013: All The Games Worth Getting Excited For (Updated)
Early adoption: it’s rubbish, isn’t it? You pay over the odds for a console with no games and wait ages for decent experiences while everyone on The Internet mocks your enthusiasm.
But Wii U has plenty on the cards to get excited about, from Rayman to Pikmin, Bayonetta and Project CARS. Forget next-gen (for now), Nintendo’s latest hi-def, Gamepad-touting home console has plenty to get pumped for, right now.
Naturally, we wrote this and Nintendo announced a slew of titles days later. So we’ve packed in a few more shiny Wii U announcements…
The Legend Of Zelda: Wind Waker HD
Possibly the most beautiful game Nintendo has ever made is now getting a lot more beautiful. Not just an upscaled HD port, Link’s only Gamecube-exclusive adventure is being rebuilt with crisp new assets and is set to drop this autumn.
Sure, it’s essentially a way of tiding gamers over until Zelda U ‘proper’, but given Skyward Sword’s five-year development cycle, Wind Waker will have to do for a while. Luckily, it’s absolutely brilliant, and we’re excited to set sail once more on the cel-shaded Hyrule seas.
The limbless wonder’s latest outing’s 1080p 2D visuals aren’t the main draw here – that’d be its sweet Gamepad integration.
Using the touchscreen, co-op players can cut ropes, bash enemies and find hidden secrets, while titling the pad can affect action on the big-screen. With support for up to five players, think of it like New Super Mario Bros. U’s Boost Mode, but with better integration.
Rayman Legends isn’t just the hottest-looking 2D platformer of the year, it’s also a serious contender for best Mario-beating multiplayer on the Wii U, full stop.
We still know very little about Platinum Games’s Nintendo-published sequel to one of the freshest and most exciting beat ’em-ups of this generation.
We know it’s slated for 2013, we know it will serve up another delicious dose of Bayonetta’s clothes-shedding ass-kickin’, and we know it would never have existed without Nintendo stepping in to save it from cancellation.
The internet might hate it for its exclusivity, but Wii U owners will surely love it for its eccentricity, flowing combat and downright madness.
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
Capcom’s expansive, life-claiming creature-seeking online experience’s Wii U version is the best-looking Monster Hunter ever. Fact. In glorious HD, it’s set to bring one of the most critically-acclaimed and widely played series into the modern day in superb style.
You can use the Gamepad as a second screen, pushing maps and inventories onto the pad while you play with a Pro Controller. Direct Gamepad play had also been rumoured, though this is unconfirmed.
Featuring a weapon creation system more advanced and intuitive than ever, over 200 quests and full 3DS link-up, it’s clearly set to be the best version of the game yet.
Shigeru Miyamoto. That’s all you need to know about Pikmin 3, Nintendo’s first game to hit the system since launch, to know it’s worth a look.
Whether you’ve played the GameCube originals or not, the fact the man who gave us Mario and Zelda is in control suggests it’ll be one of the system’s early defining titles.
The RTS game sees you take charge of a horde of up to 100 eponymous plant-like creatures, each with their own abilities. So Rock Pikmin can smash barriers and are tougher in combat than run-of-the-mill red or blue critters, while the second game’s purple and white creatures are confirmed to be returning.
From vast shimmering lakes of water to huge expanses of forest floor littered with creatures, flowers, foliage and fauna, Pikmin 3 is almost obscenely detailed and hopelessly beautiful. It’s the first Nintendo title to really show off what the new console can do graphically and possibly the first game which couldn’t be achieved on PS3 or Xbox 360 without compromise.
Lego City Undercover
GTA: Lego is an easy term to throw around, but Travellers Tales’ first fully original title is building expectations among Wii U owners for its superb mix of exploration, adventure and downright charm.
It may not feature Batman or Harry Potter, but the open world city packs in plenty of reasons to fight crime, Lego style.
Taking on the role of a mini-fig detective, you’re tasked with a mission structure taking down baddies, but you also have the freedom to just go for a spin around the block(s) in authentic cars, choppers and planes totalling more than 100.
The Gamepad can be used to place waypoints on the main screen, scan for clues and criminals and check mission updates.
Focused on fun but complex enough for seasoned gamers to enjoy, Lego City Undercover is set to be one of the best Lego games ever – and it’s another Wii U exclusive.
Packing in Formula 1, GP2, tourers and go-karts across a slew of real-world circuits, Project Cars is Wii U’s 1080p answer to Forza and Gran Turismo.
It’s not exclusive (sorry), but the title is sure to become the console’s most prized racer (sorry Sonic), promising graphics which threaten to trump Turn 10 and Polyphony’s efforts and a host of sexy motors including the Aerial Atom, Audi A4, Gumpert Apollo S and a host of vintage Lotus engines.
Real-world tracks include Germany’s Hockenheim, Japan’s Suzuka Circuit and Mugello in Italy.
Though it’s not confirmed, one strong rumour suggests the Gamepad could be used as a high-tech steering wheel, with its sensitive motion capabilities and large touchscreen making it perfect for aping an F1 wheel – complete with a range of buttons and switches to press on-screen mid-race. Lagging behind the pack on the home straight? Rain starting to spot onto the track? Change your car setup on the fly, without even pausing, just like Lewis Hamilton (but without crashing out in a rage). The potential’s enormous.
Slightly Mad Studios might be a relative unknown, but with how the game is looking, you’d be very mad to write it off.
The Wonderful 101
Platinum Games’ other Wii U exclusive is shaping up to be as unique as any of the output from the studio behind Vanquish, Bayonetta and Anarchy Reigns.
The superhero brawler carries shades of The Incredibles, and looks just as crisply, beautifully stylised.
Using the Gamepad, players can command groups of 100 heroes and force them to take various forms – like a large fist, a giant sword or even a protective gelatinous flan – to battle aliens and save the Earth from invasion.
The player is the 101st member, in charge of combining the right heroes to take down each boss and make the most of the fully-destructive environments by drawing strategic tactics on the map, Pikmin-style.
Long story short? It looks, um, wonderful.
There’s a chance EA’s second stab at Wii U football could actually be the best version of the game next time around. Honestly.
Assuming at least one of PS4 or Xbox 720 release by Christmas, it’s likely the platform(s) will receive a ‘launch’ version of the game, missing some features, like the Wii U’s FIFA 13. The Nintendo console, however, will have had more than one full turn in the development cycle, and more power than PS3 and Xbox 360.
Case in point: FIFA: Road To World Cup was Xbox 360’s first football game, the first available for what we used to call ‘next-gen’. It was rubbish.
For one glorious year, Wii U might actually provide the best FIFA experience.
The cream of the crop looks tasty, but the regular milk still packs plenty of action to recommend.
Here’s the best of the rest confirmed for 2013:
• Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2
• Aliens: Colonial Marines
• Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2
• The Amazing Spider-Man
• Sniper Elite V2
• Injustice: Gods Among Us
• Wii Fit U
• Game & Wario
• Need for Speed: Most Wanted
• Toki Tori 2
• Cloudberry Kingdom
• Mutant Mudds Deluxe
With Wii U establishing its feet under the gaming table, expect Nintendo to have something big up its sleeve to counter a potential next-gen threat over Christmas 2013.
Since the original version of this article, Super Mario 3D-U has been announced and is being made by the team behind Super Mario Galaxy (Galaxy 3, please).
A first glimpse at Zelda U is unlikely now Wind Waker is here, but Mario Kart U screens should be knocking about at E3, while Yoshi’s Yarn is looking decent.
There’s also the small matter of Xenoblade Chronicles devs Monolith Soft’s new game, currently unnamed, which looks like a delicious next-gen JRPG with scale and ambience in abundance, though this – like Mario 3D U and Mario Kart U – is unlikely to make a 2013 release.
We’d love to see whatever Retro Studios is working on, while GTA 5 as a multi-plat would be lovely.
Have we missed a game? What do you make of Wii U’s eccentric but exciting 2013 lineup? Let us know in the comments…