Highlights and Lowlights of Wii U Launch Titles


Game publishers went all out in trying to coast on the waves of Nintendo's Wii U console. An impressive array of fresh franchises and ports of series Nintendo systems previously lacked are crowding together and jumping around, shouting "Mii! Mii! Mii!" to get shoppers attention.

I've spent the last few days trying out much of the initial Wii U lineup -- although I've sadly yet to get my hands on "New Super Mario Bros. U" -- and here's what I think so far.

The deluxe edition pack-in "Nintendo Land" is a stunner, rounding up the company's major franchises for engaging minigames. There's no better way to discover the system's capabilities.

Of the third-party offerings, I was most impressed with "ZombiU," a hardcore survival horror romp that lets you face down armies of the undead in the United Kingdom. While not as accessible as many other zombie-slaughterers, it accomplishes the crucial task of serving the adult audience and maximizing the system's uniqueness.

There's a conga line of other excellent games that most gamers have already played, but masterful execution and optimization of "Assassin's Creed III," "Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition" and "Call of Duty: Black Ops II," and all deserve looks if the Wii U is your only console.

"Scribblenauts Unlimited," which dares you to solve whimsical puzzles by typing in objects and adjectives that lead to solutions, is another winner.

There's a second tier of ports that aren't quite as spectacular as they were on other consoles.

"FIFA Soccer 13" gave me more trouble than it was worth to get online, and it lacked many of the upgrades on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions. "Mass Effect 3," while every bit the game it is on other consoles, isn't getting major upcoming downloadable content, and lacks the ability to import "Mass Effect 2" saves that other consoles have. "Tekken Tag Tournament Wii U Edition" and "Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2013" seem to be limp rehashes with little compelling content to offer on the console.

The oddball shooter "Tank! Tank! Tank!" has taken many lumps from critics, who knock a grating vibe and questionable design choices but I found its pick-up-and-play blast-a-thons to be amusing enough to mitigate shortcomings. Likewise, "Transformers Prime: The Game" is nowhere near as good a game as "Transformers: Fall of Cybertron" on the other HD systems, but at least it does a solid job of translating the show.

Just as with other launches, there is also some shovelware to avoid. Don't fall for the siren song of dull "Wii Sports" wannabe "ESPN Sports Connection" or "Rabbids Land," a monotonous collection of insipid party games.

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