Published on August 4th, 2012 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
Getting to Know the Wii U Gamepad from a Mass Effect 3 and FIFA 13 Kind of Perspective
The biggest question for the Nintendo and the Wii U is, can Nintendo repeat the Wii’s success? Some would consider the phenomenon in which people purchased the 2006 console hand over fist to be an anomaly, particularly considering today’s landscape in in gaming.
After spending some time with titles stemming from the EA Summer Showcase, it looks as though—yet again—we will see some third party software able to move this “Wii” hardware.
Thus far, GAMINGtruth has spent quite some time with the upcoming console. We’ve already defended ourselves against the dead in the Ubisoft title Zombi U, dashed for coins with buddies in Super Mario Bros. U and now, we’ve got some other titles that are looking to put good use to the Nintendo Wii U Gamepad.
Although the Nintendo Controller Pro hasn’t hit its final design, it was already started to shape up as a must have for traditional gamers. Although this is true, there is everything about the Wii U Gamepad that you’d want to enjoy during gameplay. For games coming from EA, titles like FIFA 13 and Mass Effect 3, both being on opposite ends of the gaming spectrum in terms of genre, are two big names that fully utilize these features.
After spending some hands-on with FIFA 13, it was apparent that the Wii U Gamepad was almost made for this game, or, was this game made for the gamepad? Mind boggling, I know.
FIFA 13, Wii U
FIFA 13 looks as though it is going to be a great addition to launch titles for the holiday console. In console gaming, controls can make or break a game. In the case of FIFA 13, you don’t necessarily even have to be in direct control of the ball in order to enjoy the game. The controller’s touch screen delivers various options to simply manage your team without having to get your cleats dirty.
The touch screen on your gamepad hosts various in game options. You can hit any one of these to gain access to a different menu such as your in game view, rosters and game menus. You can choose to navigate these options for your own superiority or utilize these to pair up with your partner’s wits. What we mean here is that the screen opens giving you details about each player and their stats making it easier to make adjustments in real time without pausing the game.
Shooting accuracy percentages can be important when sculpting your team. Along with endurance, pitting players using both of these features can impact your match outcome. The Team Management Controls give you a managerial role in guiding your teams precision moves. Need to swap out a player? Tap them, their sub and hit the swap button for on-the-fly switches. No more menu hopping just to get the players you need, which can be a tedious task when you’re just trying to get done with a quick match.
Other options to improve on the fluidity of the game are things like sending players on a run or switching views in the game. Having the top down view of the field and the ball can leave you with a nice header, or bring out the tactician within without even having to look at the traditional screen. This might seem like you are not playing real FIFA, but me and my partner were just as successful setting up players to press the offense, lining up the through ball passes, and set up a nice header for the goal. The opposite can be done on defense by identifying holes in your defense and sending a player in to stop a pass dead in the water. It is rather interesting to monitor the game by switching in between real time views of the field and moving dots with player names on them. It’s almost like you are seeing the future and where the ball will be moving to next.
Most of what we played was in the co-op mode and had all of the options that you would see on screen available on the controller for easing swapping. Tapping players and then dragging them allows you to manipulate their run direction or put them to press a tougher offensive player. Speaking of offense, a good defense can make or break your scoring run. You can also select certain players and call for the goal, or pass, which is indicated by an icon at the bottom of the screen. This is done so your partner has an idea what you are scheming up on your gamepad.
In the case of the Wii U, you can change your player options to either be in the game or flip back to the manager role as mentioned above. Just like the trailer, you use the shake and shoot feature on the control pad to get a net view, making your shots easier to place–but still lined with finesse. Changing defense options can also be done on this screen. Although, if you choose to run your team into the ground, much like real life players, the team will be eager to get off the field without the energy to continue on.
Both of these options shorten the distance between hardcore FIFA fanatics and the casual gamer who is just looking to join up for a quick match of soccer, I mean football. Having played the Wii U version of the game, I can easily see myself now sitting down side-by-side with someone who is a diehard fan and be able to lessen the gap between experienced and casual player. It was a thrill being able to provide support without knowing which way to dribble or knowing the ins-and-outs of the sport. If you were wondering, the game will also be running on the same collision system as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game.
Switching gears for hardcore gamers, we also got to spend some time with Mass Effect 3 on the Wii U. Much like the other two console releases of the title, we are yet once again in control of Commander Shepard as we explore the depths of space.
Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut, Wii U
The game will feature similar attributes as seen on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 console releases. At first glance the game may seem like only a port of its release earlier in the year, but as we began to learn, the title was built more as a hybrid. Nick Clifford, Assistant Product Manager for BioWare, informed us that it was kind of “half and half” as far as the development goes. Such things as the engine are the same, but other details, such as the hand drawn maps for the gamepad, were input exclusively to make it work just right on the Wii U. This is especially important being that this is the first time a BioWare title will also be featured on a Nintendo home console–second if you include handheld.
One of the first things you will notice about the game is the enhanced controls. Even though the game doesn’t necessarily add “more buttons” it does however give players various options with the touch screen. Things like powers, squad movement and area maps can now be accessed with a simply touch, and much like the FIFA character selections you can drag your squad mate to an exact point. The hand-drawn map makes it easy to get a quick view on your location and can make easy escape route in a pinch.
Even though these options were added, it can still leave players to customize their style of play. Our other editor, Chris Ramirez, was also on scene with aiding my efforts as my life guide in ME3. Even though I was presenting my squad with various tactical efforts and powers, I didn’t necessarily drag them to be as strategic as he did. Also, he liked to switch the view from the big screen to the Wii U Gamepad screen for a closer look–yeah you can totally do that. If you didn’t know you could do that before, BOOM! Now you do. This screen also looks great, showing off every detail that’s displayed above.
The game will also feature a back story that spans the prior titles, Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. This is so Wii U players aren’t left out in the dark when it comes to various decisions of the game. And much like what was done with the PlayStation 3 release of ME 2, an interactive comic will help shape the events of ME 3 for Wii U owners. Dark Horse comics are once again lending its talents to create an interactive comic with some important choices for new players to make.
Much like the comic and map exclusives, there are also a few additions to this extended cut. The game will also feature the extended ending of ME3, something that won’t chap your Wii U hide on launch day. Other inclusions will be the heavy weapon known as the Ladon, which, much like your uncle Bill after a whole can of beans and BBQ, one puff from this heat packer and you can clear a whole room in one toot. Heck, with this cannon you can clear a whole village and everything within a one mile radius. Okay, maybe not that big—you you can seriously blow $#it up.
Both games are shaping up to provide a unique experience on the Wii U. Although the Controller Pro is still in the works for a final facelift, the gamepad makes great use of the features and abilities shown off in these hands-on demos.
Graphically, FIFA 13 did seem a little less than what we expected for a HD view of the game. This didn’t bother us one bit being that it was an older build of software and we still have projected months to go before launch. Mass Effect 3 on the other hand was fluid, vivid, and oh-so pretty to look at.
There is no doubt that EA is just as excited to bring its titles to the Wii U as other third-party developers out there.