The way too early mostly unfounded 10 best bets for the Wii U Launch

Well, the official release list of what will be available launch day with the Wii U has been released by Nintendo, and maybe breaking new graphics ground isn't all it's cracked up to be because rarely in terms of AAA titles has a launch lineup been this strong or varied with pretty much at least a couple titles out there for everybody. Now I'm not including any downloadable titles because while several already guaranteed to be awesome games like Trine 2 Director's Cut & Mighty Switch Force HD are set for November, they aren't for sure day one titles. This may seem early, but with only 51 days til launch, it's probably time to start saving for a rather expensive day if you're looking to get more than just Nintendoland. Here's 10 out of the lineup that should be good solid bets for most gamers:

#10: Call of Duty: Black Ops II-While the Wii had some strong original online offerings such as Smash Bros. or Monster Hunter 3, it didn't have any particularly compelling online FPS games. Black Ops II is arguably the riskiest COD title in some time, ditching modern or historical settings in lieu of a near future deal. It also gives an opportunity for Nintendo to show that they really are serious about at least having a competitive online presence so look for this to be one of the big titles for their online push.  Beyond that, it's most likely to be an incredibly solid shooter for couch play as well, especially with the exclusive gamepad option.

#9. Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition: Yeah there is no Smash Bros. But Until then, the latest release in the Tekken Series is hardly filler. It's pretty wacky all on it's own, and with some crazy Wii U exclusives like "Mushroom Mode" it's bound to be some crazy fun.

#8: Epic Mickey 2: To say I was massively dissapointed with the original Epic Mickey would be one hell of an understatement. The god-awful camera made the game pretty much impossible to play. But the sequel looks to have improved on that and other aspects quite a bit as well. It has a strong co-op component that no other Wii U title can really boast, and I'm very interested to see if this "video game musical" can really deliver and odds are it will.

#7: Rabbids Land: Yeah the Rabbids got a little over-exposed on the Wii (though Rabbids Go Home is a wonderfully underrated gem). But that makes it all the easier to forget that the original Raving Rabbids was one of the best games in the Wii launch line-up, making great original use of the Wii remote. Ubisoft is clearly making a big investment on Wii U as they are providing a lot of the initial original content, so look for Rabbids Land to make as good use of the Wii U gamepad as Nintendoland if not better with its unique mini-game collection.

#6. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed: It's extremely rare that any Sonic title would make any positive top-ten list these days. But the last Sonic Racing game got really solid reviews, essentially being called a very solid Mario Kart clone, and there's really nothing wrong with that, especially for those looking for a fun racing game to play with their friends.

#5: Skylanders Giants: The Wii U has no rpgs at launch you say? Ok it doesn't really, but this follow-up to the surprisingly good addictive Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure does provide some decent almost Diablo-style roleplaying elements along with solid gameplay. Granted, the whole collect 'em all aspect can get expensive, but it also provides much longer legs than many games in the Wii U's launch line-up.

#4: ZombiU: This has been one of the most hyped and interesting titles for the Wii U launch, with very interesting ideas such as using the gamepad as a scanner and when you die you come back as a different survivor and need to kill your old zombie self to recover your items. It's an original mature title specifically meant to shake the image of Nintendo consoles something with only kid-friendly titles so it's likely to be a rather stellar launch title.

#3: Darksiders II: Darksiders II of course is already out on the PS3 & the 360, but those planning on getting a Wii U and wanting a really solid deep Zelda-esque adventure may want to wait for the Wii U version as that's exactly what this will provide. It's already gotten incredibly strong reviews, so unless they massively screw up the port this is easily one of the best bets on the Wii U if you don't own it already.

#2: Nintendoland: Sure it's a pack-in with the "deluxe" (i.e. real) version of the Wii U, but it's also what Nintendo is essentially hedging all it's bets on to really sell the concept for the Wii U, so look for it to have an incredibly high level of polish and just be an incredibly fun time.

#1. Super Mario Bros U: Unoriginal? Probably. A little too much of the same thing (especially if you've also played the DS & 3DS games)? Quite possibly. But that classic Mario formula is always fun, then add in the co-op, social networking aspect and the fact that while there have been a couple of 2D Mario games in the last few years, the number of 2D platform games is few and far between for this whole generation of consoles. The Wii was actually quite a good home for 2D platformers in general and hopefully the Wii U will do the same. And frankly for sure bets at launch, it's hard to go wrong with anything with the name Mario in it.

Ok that's the list. Some of these titles admittedly may not pan out all that well, but there's still plenty of content for virtually any gamer of any type so you should have no shortage of choices come launch day. I should have another post up Friday or Saturday. In the meantime, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Promised Land


10 unlikely franchises I would love to see on the Wii U

The Wii U will certainly have a lot of current third parties franchises and classic Nintendo franchises. Hopefully many of which will make great and original use of the unique tablet controller. However there are a bunch of franchises most probably wouldn't think of that can be a great fit on the Wii U, either as a port or a whole new entry. Here are 10 I would love to see:

10. Suikoden: This great long-running rpg series hasn't had a proper game in 6 years, and it would be great to see it resurface on the Wii U. As much as I love the series, managing all 108 stars of destiny, be it switching out members & base management could be tedious and a pain. Throw all that onto easy access on the gamepad for more efficient management of everything and you've got a winner.

9. Chu Chu Rocket: This Dreamcast classic could be easily reinvigorated as a great multi-player option on the Wii U. You could pretty much change nothing and it would still be a great fit, but I think the simple addition of cats vs. mice mode with one player on the tablet as the cats and other players as the mice would work wonders in showing off the gamepad.

8.   Dragon Force: Dragon Force was a fantastic real-time strategy rpg that didn't see nearly the audience it deserved since it was on the ill-fated Sega Saturn. A remake or whole new entry could do really well on the Wii U, as the gamepad is well suited to strategy rpgs in general. You could handle troop movement and castle management on the pad and the battles could be on the big screen, and that's just the simplest of ideas.

7. Warcraft: Starcraft would work of course as well, but we just got a new Starcraft. It's been a decade since we've seen any new entries in this classic RTS series. But more to the point, RTS games haven't made a particularly strong showing on consoles to date. It's been repeatedly pointed out that the gamepad would be ideal for this genre, and a big RTS franchise like Warcraft would go a long way towards showing what it's capable of in that aspect.

6. Lost Vikings: Well we already sort of have this, with Trine 2: Director's Cut, coming to the eshop. But Lost Vikings or at least title like it can really expand upon the whole asymmetrical gameplay thing that Nintendo is pushing. Not just slightly different abilities but drastically different gameplay styles going on at the same time. Nintendo has already shown bits of this concept in Nintendoland, but that's still a glorified tech demo, a fully developed game with this concept would really go a long way towards showing off the potential of this concept.

5. Mutant League: Because fuck Madden and its yearly roster update. But seriously, even if it's not Mutant League, the Gamepad brings back something that hasn't really been possible since the Dreamcast-Local play on sports games where you can make your plays without the other player(s) seeing what you are planning. Makes it a great platform for virtually any sports title.

4.  Actraiser: Games having at least two very different types of gameplay are nothing new of course, but the gamepad allows them to be done in a new way, and what better way to show that than with a classic god-sim that also has a fair amount of action? Actraiser pretty seamlessly blended these even without the help of a gamepad, being able to do it on the Wii U would be an even more perfect experience.

3.  Toejam & Earl: Aside fro this being one of the all time co-op greats, simply put putting it on the Wii U and giving each player their own screen creates a ton of possibilities for much improved and expanded exploration possibilities, not too mention the ability to implement tons of different gameplay types going on simultaneously.

2. Pac-Man vs.: Of course the thing is Nintendo laid the roots for this years ago. Anybody remember the whole gba connectivity thing that Nintendo pushed really hard on then died quickly with only two titles ever released?  Well opinions varied on Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, but Pac-Man vs. was amazingly brilliant and would be a real natural fit without much of an upgrade needed. They already have similar ideas like this shown in Nintendoland, but Pac-Man has that name recognition and could stand on its own without a bunch of other minigames needed to bolster it.

1. The World Ends With You: This worderful cult title already has you managing two battles at the same time, and single or co-op play on the Wii U with this series would be a fantastic fit, but also allowing you to play different game styles if they were implemented, really opening up the variety. I also would just love to see this series get another shot, it's so unique and would make great unique use of the gamepad.

Ok that's the list, but more than seeing these particular franchises, this list shows game types and ways to play games that you could only do on the Wii U. As long as developers realize this and really take advantage of it, there is no reason it can't go toe-to-toe with it's next gen competitor's because it will have something unique to offer. I should have another post up this weekend, until then here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Days of Blood


I'd love to see Borderlands 2 on Wii U...

But unless some announcement comes out of nowhere, this week's release will not be available to those who will get a Wii U but don't own a 360 or PS3. The tablet screen would be great for things like weapon customization, inventory management and quickly using skills and abilities. By all reports the sequel is bigger better and funnier so there's not much reason to not pick this up if you enjoyed the original. I thought the original was just ok, so I'll probably try and rent this soon and give my impressions.

Dragon Age III has been known about for a long time, but it was officially announced yesterday, with a rough release date of next year. Not a whole lot of details were forthcoming, but the detail that lead many to believe it might be for next-gen consoles is that it is developed on the Frostbite 2 engine. It's not necessarily the case, as Battlefield 3 used that engine, but it is optimized to take advantage of very high end PCs that are probably on par with what the next Xbox or Playstation has to offer. Also of note (and concern frankly) is that Dragon Age III is almost assuredly going to have multi-player, which I just don't see fitting in with that series. Multi-player with Mass Effect was a good natural fit, even if it was implemented poorly by basically forcing people to play it to access all the single-player content in the endgame. Dragon Age isn't just medieval Mass Effect. It plays very differently and doesn't easily lend itself to multi-player. I won't judge until we see the final product, but I'm not hopeful that this won't be seen as some desperate attempt to shoehorn in mp in a franchise that not only doesn't need it but doesn't work well with it.

Those PC gamers looking for a good amount of bang for little buck will probably be very excited about this week's release of Torchlight II. New classes, more town hubs and dungeons and much Diablo-style gameplay and looting to be had for only $20, when many much higher end games don't offer nearly as much. I'm not a pc gamer but I got this on Xbox and had lots of fun with it so hopefully it will release on consoles in some form and I'll be sure to snatch it right up.

That's it for today, I have a new top ten list I've been kicking around that hopefully I'll get up in the next day or two here. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Lincoln


So yeah I pre-ordered a Wii U...

Ok I initially had no plans to pre-order a Wii U, much less get one this year. But a scary thought occured to me-What does my gaming calendar look like over the next year? There isn't a whole lot that's exciting for me personally. There is only one holiday title I'm extremely excited about-Paper Mario for the 3DS. Next year? I'm looking forward to Ni No Kuni on the PS3, Bioshock Infinite and Luigi's Mansion 2. That's about it. 

The Wii U has several titles at least in the launch window that all look incredibly exciting even if they don't really put the tablet to good use. Also, I'm a gamer and I'm married to a gamer. This makes being able to play games on the gamepad while my wife plays games on the TV a huge incentive and value for me, virtually guaranteeing any multi-platform release will be a Wii U version because of that.

Most of what I said still holds though, we have no clue as to online strategy. The Gamepad hasn't really shown itself as any kind of revolution like the Wii was. Even if the potential of the gamepad never really materializes, you have those always incredible first party Nintendo experiences, arguably the best version of any multi-platform titles, and some original properties popping up as well you don't see anywhere else.

That's really it for today, but I have another post I plan to get up tomorrow or Sunday. Until then. here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Castlevania: Ninja Gaiden


Thoughts on the Wii U announcements...

So Nintendo just ended their livestream presentation, so all the big news has come out. The Wii has a date, price, and a pretty good idea of what games we'll see in the first several months. Did any of it impress? I guess that's up to each individual, but personally, I'm really not sold.

First off the price. I understand the Gamepad is new and "revolutionary" technology, and that the Wii U is a new system. It's also no more powerful than what's on the market currently, and from Nintendo, who historically has the cheaper console. Two packages, one completely barebones with virtually nothing for storage (i.e. the one no one in their right mind should buy) at $300 and the proper package at $350 is too high when the competition offers better packages at either cheaper or the same price. Yes it's new, but to the average consumer just looking for an HD console, it's an incredibly hard sell.

The games are sort of a mixed bag as well. There are some extremely exciting titles. Everybody is hyped about ZombiU. Getting Bayonetta 2 as an exclusive is pretty big. Wonderful 101 (formerly Project P-100) looks incredible. But Nintendoland still doesn't impress. New Super Mario Bros U, while deeper than it initially appeared, still looks the same. And for the most part they really failed to show anything that really explains why we need the gamepad so we can get these unique game experiences you can't find anywhere else. Finally for the most part, it's nice that someone who is only getting a Wii U won't miss out on most 3rd party titles, but that just makes it the same as everything else, assuming they come out at the same time.

Then there's the hardware-Ok I do really like the idea that you can play/watch something while someone else is using the TV, it's a great idea for couples/families. But no word of online strategy or component whatsoever, and nothing about ideas they discussed previously (like using it as a universal remote).

Bottom line, I didn't come out of this presentation any more impressed really. The price is prohibitively high, the game selection does not impress (at least at launch) and we know nothing about online. I'm sure eventually I'll get one and it'll be great and provide some great unique experiences from Nintendo if no one else. But for now it's a pass.

That's all for today, I should have another post up this weekend. In the meantime, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: The Bay


10 Marvel Characters Who should appear on the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show...

We've known for awhile that a Marvel TV show was in the works, and now we know it will focus on Goverment Agency S.H.I.E.L.D., which is a great idea as it allows them to pretty much interact with the entire Marvel Universe. We may get the occasional visit from the big names like Fury, Thor, Iron Man, etc. But obviously this would a great way to introduce other lesser known heroes. Kind of a like a Marvel live-action version of Justice League Unlimited, which gave lesser characters plenty of opportunity to shine. Here's 10 that should make at least one appearance if not be regular recurring characters:

10. Moon Knight: He's sort of a low-rent Batman, but a good fit for a TV show, with his powers mostly being increased strength & agility under the full being something pretty easy to pull off on a TV budget. Moon Knight's typical enemies are something SHIELD agents would probably deal with on a regular basis as well without needing help from the big league heroes.

9. Cloak & Dagger: Yeah it's two characters, but few Marvel duos are as inseparable as these two, so they must appear as a unit. There are a number of ways this could be handled-They could appear from time to time to help out, be regular agents, or even spun-off into their own show.

8. Night Thrasher:  When I still read comics, New Warriors was a personal favorite of mine, and their leader, Night Thrasher, was easily my favorite character of the group. There's a lot of possible opportunities with this character. We could slowly build up to a New Warriors show/movie, a Night Thrasher solo spin-off. But he could also just be someone that Nick Fury is sort of a father figure/mentor to and that would work really well also.

7.  Blade: While a TV show based in the Marvel Universe is certainly a chance to introduce never before seen characters, it's also an excellent opportunity to re-introduce characters that may have already been on screen, but either need a fresh take or a complete reboot. Seeing as the last we saw of Blade was a short-lived TV show and the rights for the character reverted to Marvel last year, this seems like an excellent opportunity to re-introduce the Daywalker and a good way to introduce the supernatural element of the Marvel Universe that hasn't been explored by any of the actual Marvel movies to date.

6. Daredevil: Speaking of characters that badly need a reboot/re-introduction, we still have nightmares about the horror that was 2003's Daredevil film. A good low-key way to bring him back (especially since I'm fairly positive the rights just recently reverted to Marvel) would be through this TV show. And he is an extremely awesome character that could fit in well with the TV show.

5.  Damage Control: In a Marvel series that Joss Whedon has any personal involvement in, this just makes too much sense as it would be a rich humor mine. It also works as it would seem SHIELD would pretty much have to work in some form with a construction firm whose main role is to clean-up disaster areas after super-hero battles. It provides a lot of easy plot lines as well.

4.  Luke Cage/Iron Fist: While they could certainly be introduced as individuals, these Heroes for Hire work much better as a team. They could always be on retainer when SHIELD needed a little extra muscle, and considering they've supposedly been trying to get a movie for either or both of these characters off the ground for years, this would be a great way to set that up.

3. She-Hulk:Granted, SHIELD probably deals with legal matters in their own special way, but being that Jennifer Walters is a really good attorney and can kick a lot of ass, she'd make a good fit to mostly deal with a legal issues SHIELD might face as well as handling any PR issues that might have, which let's face it, is not Nick Fury's specialty.

2. Spider-Woman: A super-hero with a long history as an actual SHIELD agent? Seems like a no-brainer here. Especially since she would be a good way to introduce HYDRA into the TV show given her history with that group as well.

1. Black Panther: Even at over 2 & 1/2 hours long, character development in The Avengers was slightly lacking. That's fine for the big 4, they had at least one full movie to establish themselves already. For characters like Hawkeye & Black Widow, we didn't get much insight into their origins or motivations or their shared history. This TV show could be a very easy way to introduce new members to the Avengers film series without bloating the movies themselves. And Black Panther is a major member of the Avengers that would require some back story, and could fit in quite nicely in the TV show. He could also be a way of having the Avengers present without constantly having to stunt cast one of the actors from the movies all the time if he was introduced via the TV show to begin with.

Ok that's the list, but ultimately, this TV show is a fantastic opportunity to greatly expand the Marvel Universe without risking a big budget movie on less well-known characters. I hope to see many characters pop up aside from the ones I mentioned above. It is potentially a great time to be a Marvel fan. I should have another post up tomorrow, but until then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Slimevolution


EA isn't evil, just fucking stupid...

Frank Gibeau, EA's current boss has said in an interview that he's "proud" of not publishing any single-player only titles, and basically that as long as he's in charge, there won't be any single-player only titles. Now, EA has every right to make money how they see fit in terms of what kind of games they make. If they no longer want to do single-player titles or at least nothing without some kind of multi-player component that's fine. But to say you are "proud" of that strategy like it's being innovative or risky or going against current trends is just fucking ignorant and stupid. It's already proven to diminish strong single-player franchises. Mass Effect 3's multi-player was good, but inexplicably tied to single-player for no real reason. People are already pretty annoyed about Dead Space 3 having multi-player when part of the experience is supposed to be just how alone you are.

It's even now heavily rumored that Dragon Age 3, which has never been officially announced but we are fairly sure has been in the works for awhile, will have multi-player. I don't even know how that would possibly work. At least with Mass Effect and Dead Space the frame work is there even if it dilutes the experience. I guess it could work a little like The Last Story's multi-player where you can test your team against another team. I just recently finished The Last Story, spent nearly 25 hours on it. I didn't even touch the multi-player. It just held no interest for me.

Again, I have no problem with the general mission statement here; that multi-player is the best bet for mass appeal, so we are including it in everything. That is fine, just don't say you are proud of the fact that you aren't taking risks or treat single-player like it's some necessary evil that you are doing us some big favor by even bothering to include. That's nothing to be remotely proud of...

That's it for today, I'll try and get another post up by Friday. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters