DIGESTIVE GAMING NEWS: 17TH – 23RD FEBRUARY

IrrationalGamesLogo

Ken Levine, God Father of Bioshock and head of Irrational stated this week that he would be closing the studio he helped to set up in 1997.

Mr Levine released a statement that claimed he was not able to create the kind of games that he was interested in at Irrational, so will be moving on with around fifteen members of staff whilst leaving the majority of the employees at Irrational facing unemployment.

Bioshock Infinite

Many within the industry have put this rather ‘Irrational’ move, (pardon the pun), down to a fact of economics. Whilst Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite were critical successes that had reasonable sales figures., the time and resources that these titles took to develop meant that Irrational’s owner, 2K games, would have received very little back in the way of profit.

It is strange that Irrational was shut down completely though. It’s almost as if Levine didn’t want to leave his legacy in the hands of someone else, like a spoilt child not wanting to share his drawings. What’s even stranger is that the studio were working on porting Bioshock over to the PS Vita, a project that seemingly has been put on hold. Provided that the Vita is as powerful as Sony would have us believe and its an easy job to port Bioshock over, I wouldn’t have thought it would take long before 2K games farm the project out to another studio to try and recoup some more money from one of their more expensive investments.

You can see our review of Bioshock Infinite here if you have not yet played the game.

Kiefer Sutherland

In other news Kiefer Sutherland has apparently told reporters that he has been working on a previously unannounced Mortal Kombat game. We assume that he means he has been doing the voice over work and not any character design. Otherwise it will soon also be announced that a moody teenage 80’s styled vampire and a gruff government operative whose fatality is to waterboard people to death have been added to the roster.

Microsoft took a further bashing in the current next gen war as Sony released the PS4 finally in Japan and announced that the sales of the PS4 are around double what Microsoft have managed to shift of their Xbox One console.

Hideo Kojima also added fuel to the fire of the current battle between Sony and Microsoft by releasing his very own comparison video for Metal Gear Solid Zeroes. It shows the upcoming stealth em up running on 360, PS3, PS4 and Xbox One. The comparison video, for those who can’t be bothered to watch it (lets be honest these things are so damned dull that not even the cinematic Kojima can make them interesting), shows the game looking best on the PS4.

While we are very firmly of the belief that its not graphics that make a game, but gameplay, when you are selling a system claiming to provide the ultimate gameplay experience and charging a premium over your competitors it’s a bit embarrassing when you don’t deliver. At the moment the Wii U has more titles running at 1080p 60fps than the Xbox One does. It also has more exclusive titles worth playing. Hopefully the internet will realize there really is no reason to hate Nintendo so much and then the Xbox One can become the new Wii U.

Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze

Nintendo released Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze for the Wii U this week. Nintendo fans were excited because the software drought that is affecting all of the latest gen of consoles is hitting the Wii U hard. If you are thinking of picking up the game, then why not check out our informative, and amusing review here.

This is the end

For those who don’t remember the cinematic travesties that were Super Mario Bros, Street Fighter the Movie, Max Payne and so many others I’ll get arthritis in my fingers from typing, then get excited! A new videogame movie is coming out! Before we get too negative, rather than being based on a particular title, the film is actually to be based on the book Console Wars by Blake J. Harris. The book charts the console war between Sega and Nintendo and most intriguingly looks to have Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg at the helm. These are the guys responsible for the funniest film (In our opinion,) of last year This is The End.

Sony VR

And finally, not content with resting on their laurels over the success of the PS4 and the growing audience with PS Vita, it has been leaked that Sony are preparing to announce their very own Virtual Reality unit to compete with the Occulus Rift.

If you feel like we have missed anything out or are lonely and just want a chat please feel free to tweet us @notjustgraphics or just drop us a message below.

Review: Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock Infinite

The first Bioshock was probably one of the finest first person shooters of all time.

On it’s surface, it’s a pretty basic corridor shooter set in the decaying post revolution under water world of Rapture. If you dive a little deeper though the action mechanic of the game becomes a lot more complex. Along with the usual line up of weapons, players could equip their character with Plasmids, a sort of steam punk science fiction equivalent to magic that allows players a wide range of powers including the ability to fire lightning bolts from your hands. It seems in Rapture all residents needed to do if they fancied having super powers was visit their local apothecary for a tonic and they were able to spit Bees out of their fists like McCauley Culkin’s worse nightmare.

Plasmids made combat within the game incredibly varied so Bioshock became an instant favourite amongst many gamers. There were a few who felt that the limited amount of exploration detracted from the experience and as a result Irrational provided just a Polaroid of Bioshock’s game world Rapture.

Irrational didn’t seem to be content with providing just a snapshot, and Ken Levine felt that he and his team could do better.  So he set about creating Bioshock Infinite. For the third game in the franchise (Irrational didn’t work on Bioshock 2, instead developer duties for that fell to 2K Marin who did a worthy job), players wouldn’t be returning to the world of Rapture, instead Levine decided to base Infinite in the same location as his aspirations and that was in the clouds.

Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock Infinite is based in Columbia, a floating city built by a self-proclaimed prophet called Comstock. The flying paradise was created as a way of extolling the virtues and beliefs of the American people upon the world. Unfortunately, the Utopia is far from perfect and elitism and racism are rife amongst the population of Columbia. Just as Rapture fell to the greed and flawed ideals of a genius madman, Columbia also falls into a civil war.

In the first Bioshock when players arrived at Rapture the city had already been destroyed. Artefacts had been left around the city such as voice recordings and museums that players could see and listen to in order to gain a sense of what a great place it could have been. This made the whole locale even more realistic, and even spookier. Like a ghost town.

In Bioshock Infinite players are placed into the role of ex pinkerton Booker De-Witt who is tasked with going to Columbia and retrieving a young girl called Elizabeth. The game opens in a very similar way with players being rowed out to a lighthouse in order to travel to their destination. Where the games differ though is that when players arrive in Columbia, the city is yet to crumble into disarray. Players arrive just in time to see the powder keg of oppressed layers of society explode tearing the city from the sky.

Bioshock Infinite

Unfortunately this removes some of the magic from the location. In our opinion setting the game out in the open in the clouds was also something of a mistake. The lofty, huge open skies of Columbia lacks the terrifying claustrophobic atmosphere of Rapture.

One of Levine’s aim with Infinite was to open levels up more and allow for more exploration. He has been successful in doing this but there still isn’t the level of exploration that you would find with more RPG focused titles such as Skyrim.

Booker also has the skyhook added to his armoury. This can be used to bludgeon enemies to death in a particularly brutal display, or it can be used to traverse the many Sky rails In the game. Sky rails are littered around levels to help move cargo from place to place, however when Booker takes advantage of them he can quickly whisk around helping to alleviate some of the boredom from back tracking through levels. The Sky rails also help to speed up combat and give it an additional layer of strategy.

Bioshock Infinite

Its not just Booker’s new abilities spicing up the combat either. Elizabeth, the reason why Booker finds himself in Columbia, has the ability to open what the game refers to as ‘tears’. These are weak spots in the fabric of reality that allow Elizabeth to bring through items from other dimensions.

In a combat situation players may find themselves pinned down, however there may be several tears around that Elizabeth can utilise.  One may bring in extra cover for Booker to hide behind, a cache of powerful weapons that could be used to bombard enemies with or it could be a security bot which will ally with Booker and deal death on his foes from above.

As a result Levin and his team at Irrational really have blown open the world of Columbia and made combat a lot more interesting. There are still the weird psychokinetic powers that Booker can attain and level up during his travels. However these are no longer the gene splicing plasmids of old. In Infinite, these powers are called Vigours.

Infinite’s plot is also just as strong as the first Bioshock. At the outset, it does appear like the story is a bit of a rambling existential postmodern mess. As the game progresses though, it becomes very clear that Levine and his team know exactly where the plot is going and are experimenting with videogame narrative in a way few other developers have. Without wanting to give too much away, there was a show down with a spirit in a graveyard that was both terrifying and heart rendering in equal measure.

Even with the strong plot, improved combat and increased exploration, Infinite didn’t feel as strong as the original. It wasn’t because we felt jaded with the series, which is often a problem that the third title in a series will find. There were more than enough new ideas and fresh spins for Infinite to feel more like a cousin than a brother to the original Bioshock. Perhaps, the problem was that while each new addition to Infinite was a positive one, there were maybe too many.

Bioshock Infinite

What made Bioshock such a unique experience was the setting. With a terrifying world acting as the stage to the compelling and twisty narrative, the linear progression within levels wasn’t truly apparent. The moral choices that players were forced to make when dealing with the fate of the Little Sisters was also fantastic. Would you free the little girls from their slavery from collecting ADAM or would you kill them for their ADAM thus allowing you to level up your abilities quicker.

As such, it feels like Irrational have over egged their pudding with Infinite. And whilst there have been so many technical improvements, a little of the original title’s soul is missing.

Allowing player’s to use their imagination and wonder what Rapture would have been like before it had been destroyed was fantastic, and its not often that games actually allow players to engage their imagination. The original Star Wars trilogy was brilliant because it hinted to a civil war that viewers had to imagine and the aesthetics of the space ships and technology gave the film the look of a ‘used universe.’ The ridiculous story about a young boy joining a cult and following a weird hermit into space whilst falling in love with his sister was so much easier to believe when it was set against the backdrop of a huge space opera. The newer films, whilst they had improved visuals, were no longer grounded by any folklore and what was considered myth previously was made cold scientific fact. The magic had been removed.

Now, I’m not saying that Bioshock Infinite is as bad as the latest Star Wars films. However, by allowing players to see the decline of the Columbia and allowing for greater exploration, a little of the ‘Je Ne Sais Quoi’ has been removed in a bid to placate critics.

Bioshock Infinite

That’s not to say it’s a bad game. It is a thoroughly enjoyable title and one that, if you have not yet had the opportunity to play, you definitely should do so. The biggest benefit of the new locale in the series is that you won’t feel like you are missing out on anything by jumping straight in and playing the third game.

Score: 7/10

System: PC (AMD 8320 CPU, AMD ATI 7970 GPU, 8GB RAM)

Bought from: Steam Download

Review: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze

And so Nintendo welcomes Donkey Kong onto the Wii U with his first brand new adventure in four years.  Now, we feel very sorry for poor old DK as he must have a massive amount of pressure on his shoulders. Donkey not only has to look after Diddy and Dixie making sure they go to school and get a good education, but he must also look after elderly Gorilla Cranky, because there isn’t a nursing home under the sun that treats their residents like anything more than creatures in a zoo.

Along with his family, Donkey Kong also has to deal with some overweight Walrus and Penguin type creatures calling themselves the Snowmads who have decided to evict DK from his Island. Just when you think poor old DK should have had enough, he’s also got Nintendo on the phone. There aren’t many Wii U releases over the next couple of months so this one better be pretty damned good.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

As killer apps go, those Nintendo fans expecting Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze to come along and save their system are massively misguided. If Mario couldn’t achieve system saving sales success, then what kind of hope does Donkey Kong have? After all, Donkey Kong Country is a series that traditionally is a lot harder and less accessible to gamers than Mario is.

Donkey Kong Country is also a 2D scrolling platformer that doesn’t have the technical wizardry that Super Mario 3D World has. To the average Joe on the street DK is less superior than his plumbing counterpart.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

This is a shame because Tropical Freeze is a rich, colourful platformer. Retro Studios don’t explore the huge amount of variations on the platforming theme that Nintendo did with the latest Super Mario 3D World. There are still an extensive amount of ideas within Tropical Freeze though, that will keep players excited to unlock new stages and progress. The visuals are also stunning. Even though silhouetted levels are becoming something of a cliché nowadays, in Tropical Freeze, the hidden shadow stages are absolutely beautiful.

The massive variations between the different Islands also help to keep the aesthetics fresh and again, will propel you forward wanting to see everything right up until the final massive Walrus Viking Snowmad boss at the end. There are theatrical Lion King esque Saharan levels, Alpine levels with giant horn parping owls, and levels with bouncing jelly blocks that look so real you will shudder at the thought of poor old DK having to deal with his sticky fur.

Donkey kong Country: Tropical Freeze-18_PR_11

Our biggest complaint against DK isn’t towards the starring Gorilla, it’s more about the supporting Kongs. Donkey is joined by Dixie, Diddy and Cranky and players are able to choose which one of these characters they want to team up with after locating barrels hidden around the different stages. By allowing another character to ride on Donkey Kong’s back and treat him like a pony at the seaside, not only does DK get an additional two hearts on his health metre but he also benefits by gaining additional abilities. Diddy Kong can hover when jumping for slightly longer by using Diddy’s jetpacks. Dixie propels Donkey further by allowing her pigtails to transform her into a Chinook, or should we say a Chimp-nook. Cranky is able to bounce on his walking stick, sending Donkey Kong slightly higher, but also allowing you to traverse spiky ground. The problem is, Dixie’s abilities far surpass those of all of the other primates. Her skill to float like a helicopter effectively means she can do pretty much what Diddy and Cranky can do but slightly better. Therefore, the majority of the time, payers will find themselves picking Dixie Kong every time; apart from those very few moments where Cranky’s ability to navigate thorny ground is required. Character selection could have been refined a tad by Retro but, it’s hard to make too much of a fuss about this as it doesn’t really detract too much from Tropical Freeze. Should they get a chance to work on a third title, then its something Retro can definitely improve and build upon. Here’s hoping they don’t get the chance though and their next title will be a Metroid one. Well, we can dream can’t we?

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

As to be expected with the Country series, Tropical Freeze is a very difficult game. However, the difficulty curve is so well judged you won’t feel like you’ve been cheated when you die. It might almost be said that Tropical Freeze is a game of polar opposites. There are levels that allow players to wander around rich and fertile jungles, exploring at will and looking for secret barrels and exits that will take them off to new areas. As there is no clock counting down a la Mario, you are afforded a more leisurely stroll when investigating the nooks and crannies of some levels. There are times though, when you will be catapulted down a mountain in an avalanche or on top of a rhino dashing away from a wave of lava.  When these moments occur, you will find yourself huffing and puffing like a Penguin getting into a hot bath because the game requires jet speed reflexes and laser guided precision.

If you are reading this and thinking, “Hmmm that’s nonsense I thought the latest Donkey Kong was a bit of a doodle”. Then you are either lying or have the kind of abilities that the Ministry of Defence want to take advantage of in their jet fighters.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze doesn’t try to re-invent the platforming genre. It doesn’t even take full advantage of the Wii U’s hardware. If you are using the TV to display the picture then the image on the pad is de-activated and Visa versa, when using the pad to display gameplay. At least you get a choice of which screen you want to play on, how many other consoles give you that?

And thankfully Retro haven’t shoe horned in some touch screen mechanics just for the sake of it, like so many other developers would have been tempted to. As a result Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze is a well-refined 2D platformer. If you like hard-core old school gameplay then there are few titles available that come anywhere near as strong as this one.

Score: 8/10

System:  Wii U

Bought From: HMVDonkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Review: Luigi’s Mansion 2

Luigis Mansion 2

It must be hard living in the shadow of your older brother, especially if he’s shorter than you, you’ll probably end up with a bad back.

Aching spine aside its hard to feel too sorry for Luigi. Yeah sure he’s usually the support character but Nintendo have been celebrating the year of Luigi well out of 2013 and will continue to do so until the end of March this year.

Luigi also got to star in what is probably one of the strongest titles available for the 3DS. And while he only ended up with an ectoplasm saliva snog from a ghost dog as opposed to a dainty kiss from a Princess. Luigi was still saving not only the day, but his brother Mario as well.

Luigi's Mansion 2

The missions are perfectly sized, yeah remakes like Ocarina of Time are all well and good for the 3DS as you can impress friends with your palm powerhouse in a bid to alleviate the small todger syndrome that’s constantly nagging at the back of most hand held gamers minds. But, in all honesty, who actually wants to sit at home on a hand held when there is usually a console to provide a more impressive experience.

Luigi’s Mansion 2’s bite sized levels make it possible to play on the bus. One of my favourite things about the original on the Gamecube was the massive mansion and constantly uncovering new rooms within the same huge play area. This kind of level layout wouldn’t have worked on the 3DS and thankfully Next Level Games realised this. Rather than shoe horn home console level design into a hand held title, Next Level created lots of different smaller mansions providing a more accessible and arguably improved and more varied experience.

Towards the end of the game I was beginning to feel that objectives were beginning to get a bit more formulaic and a bit over familiar. However the boss battles and well judged increasing difficulty curve were enough to keep me interested.

Luigi's Mansion 2

The main criticism that we have towards the game isn’t so much a criticism of Luigi’s Mansion 2 but more of the 3DS itself. The controls are slightly irksome and highlight how much better the system would have been if it were born with a second analogue stick. When facing ghosts with your flashlight charged it is impossible to turn, so if a pesky ghost quickly goes past you find yourself furiously trying to strafe in a circle like a crab with an inner ear infection.

Where the game really comes into its own though is through the characterisation of Luigi himself. The animations during gameplay and the cut scenes build a more likeable, realistic and loveable character than Disney have managed in ages. In fact I would go as far to say, that with his limited dialogue Level 5 have created the most endearing computer animated character since Pixar’s Wall-E.

Luigi's mansion 2

Once you have finished the game if you are hankering after some more Mansion action, then there are plenty of collectible gems hidden away in secret coves that will have you hoovering  like a granny who’s taken the wrong dosage of her painkillers.

There are also plenty of bonus levels to be unlocked by hunting down and sucking up all of the troublesome Boos. The multiplayer is also a noble attempt, being able to partner up online with other players to suck up ghosts is interesting but not half as much fun as running around trying to get more points than the other players and grabbing the treasure before they can.

If you are looking for a charming, easily accessible title for the 3DS then we really recommend you take a look at Luigi’s Mansion 2 on the 3DS, trust us you will have a spiritual experience.

Score: 8/10

System: Nintendo 3DS

Bought From: HMV

DIGESTIVE GAMING NEWS – 9TH TO 16TH OF FEBRUARY

This week was quite a heavy one for gaming announcements. Nintendo threw buckets of information at us with the latest Nintendo Direct.

Mario Kart 8 will be hovering onto the Wii U on May 30th and Bowsers minions, the Koopalings have all been announced as playable characters for the first time ever in a Mario Kart title.

Mario Kart 8

Little Mac was announced as a playable character for the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Whilst he lives up, or down to his name depending upon which way you look at it in terms of stature, Little Mac is able to deliver really powerful punches that send even Samus flying.

The game that joins two of the greatest super sleuths of all time finally got a release date. No, Mark Sloane and Jessica Fletcher haven’t got their own title, fans will just have to hold out for that one. But Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright finally got given a European release date of the 28th of March.

Professor Layton Vs Phoenix Wright

Gameboy Advance games are finally going to be finding their way onto the Wii U virtual console as well in the spring with Metroid Fusion, Mario & Luigi: Super Star Saga and Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3 being the first titles to arrive.

Nintendo also dove straight into the free to play market with the announcement of Steel Diver, Sub Wars. We have been playing that quite a bit the past few days and you can see a review here .

In non-Nintendo news, The Evil Within was given a solid release date from Bethesda. We are very excited about this title as it is from Shinji Mikami the creator of Resident Evil. Resident Evil has gone through an identity crisis recently, morphing into an arcade shooter and losing the horrifying elements that gave the series the massive fan base it has seemingly deserted.

Early footage shows the main character running away from a chainsaw wielding mentalist. As he has no weapons he has to take to hiding in lockers a la metal gear solid. This cat and mouse gameplay should hopefully inject some fear and tension into the title and we can’t wait to get our hands on it when it arrives on the 29th of August.

Evil Within

Capcom released a new trailer for Ultra Street Fighter 4 that shows off new character Poison. She joins the other newbies Elena, Hugo and Rolento. There is still one new character to be announced, which along with the six new stages this new update sounds like it will be worth the Ultra prefix.

USFIV

Gearbox delivered a bout of bad news to Borderlands fans this week releasing a statement that said that Borderlands 3 is not currently in development. Borderlands 2 is such a large title though, we are sure there is still plenty of life left in the old girl yet, and besides, for the Borderlands uber fans Walking Dead developer Telltale games are working on a point and click adventure title that will fit into the series.

Borderlands

Review: Steel Diver, Sub Wars

The Nintendo Direct announcement caused quite a stir last night amongst the Nintendo faithful. “What’s a Titanfall Beta?” Nintendo fans asked as they gathered around 3DS screens eager to hear Iwata’s hallowed words.

Nintendo Direct

There certainly was a lot for Nintendo fans to be happy about. Hot on the heels of the new Sonic exclusives announced last week, Capcom also stated that Monster Hunter 4U would be coming to 3DS in Europe and a new trailer for Bayonetta 2 was shown in all of its eye melting beauty.

Nintendo paraded their own wares as well. Bowsers Minions are to be playable characters in Mario Kart 8 and Little Mac was added to the roster in upcoming Super Smash Bros.

To be honest though, the thing that I found most exciting about last nights announcement was Steel Diver: Sub Wars. Iwata didn’t do a terribly good job in selling it though, claiming that it was “contemplative” slow paced tactical FPS.

Steel Diver Sub Wars

My favourite FPS’s and the ones I always flock to are those that are fast paced, with big explosions, colourful graphics a multitude of ridiculous weapons with names like BFG or Cerebral Bore. What Iwata seemed to be selling last night was Forsaken but with really bad lag.

As Steel Diver: Sub Wars is free though I though that I would give it a chance. This title marks Nintendo’s cautious toe dipping into the free to play market and as a first attempt it’s Admiral, sorry admirable. In single player mode the free version is limited to the first two levels, which are essentially tutorials and you can only choose one Submarine. The multiplayer mode is playable in its entirety though.

Due to Nintendo’s liberal amount of free content, Steel Diver feels more like an older Shareware game like Doom and Quake. Free to play titles nowadays tend to be so bloated with adverts it’s like playing an interactive infomercial.

How does Steel Diver play then? Well after playing through the first two missions of the single player (the only ones available in the free version,) it looks like it could be a really boring mess. The areas are lacking any detail to give them character. The radar only works for small periods of time so you constantly have to refresh it, which when combined with the sluggish controls make searching for that final enemy to kill a really boring chore.

3DS Steel Diver SubWars

But, the things that make Steel Diver’s single player mode so dismally boring are the exact same elements that help to make the multiplayer a tense and enjoyable game.

It’s a simple Team Death match style of play where the Red team and the Blue team compete to eliminate one another. Like Counter Strike there’s no re-spawning, so if you die you are forced to watch the rest of the game play out. If you leave the game early you lose any experience gained. This isn’t as bad as it sounds because the camera angles are so cinematic and the torpedoes move so slowly that you find yourself cheering them on as they try to connect with their target in a sort of natural aquatic bullet time.

The cumbersome lever controls on the touch screen, along with the members of crew that pop up to keep you informed of imminent collisions and how many torpedoes you have make you feel like you are actually in command of a giant submarine. There’s a sense that your vessel is populated by a few hundred souls who have their faith that you are going to captain them to victory and make sure that they see their families again.

Steel Diver

The most impressive thing that Nintendo have achieved with Steel Diver though is the perfection of team speak. Rather than listening to shrieking teenagers who seem to have no purpose in life other than to cause extreme irritation, much like genital warts, in Steel Diver gamers communicate through the use of Morse code, which is amusing, novel and helps add to the nautical theme of the title. It also takes a while to tap out messages so people only tend to communicate when they have something intelligent or really important to say.

Steel Diver is an incredibly addictive online hit that Nintendo should be able to capitalise upon by adding more submarines and modifications that people can purchase and carry more of their own presence into the virtual world. Currently you can purchase a single submarine for the price of just 89p or you can buy the full game which includes 18 subs, all of which are customisable, and you get the full single player mode for just £8.99.

Steel Diver should be a successful first step into the world of Free To Play for Nintendo and hopefully more companies will take note and adopt a more shareware style of distribution. Lets just hope that Nintendo’s next effort has a much better single player mode as well.

Why Developers Need to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Wii U

It seems the Wii U is in danger of being put away into the cupboard of obscurity and finding itself nestled in between a Dreamcast and a Virtual Boy.

I find this particularly irritating, because, like the Dreamcast before it, the Wii U holds so much untapped potential. The Wii U’s touch screen interface is a great innovation that when capitalised can lead to some truly brilliant gameplay experiences.

Unfortunately, like the Dreamcast it looks like no one is taking advantage of the hardware and, with no games, there may as well be no system. Maybe it’s something about consoles with screens on the controller that cause gamers to condemn them as novelties and therefore to failure.

In order to try and stop this from happening to the Wii U, I thought I might use my years of gaming expertise to highlight some ways developers could Wii U’ise their existing titles to improve and open them up to a new audience.

Obviously I’m so important and such a renowned expert on these matters that developers are bound to be reading this. But just in case any actually are I shall open with a small plea. Whether you decide to support Wii U or not, please don’t just settle for higher resolutions, more complicated textures and particle effects so microscopic you can’t see them anyway. Life like imagery is all well and good but gaming is an escape, and therefore innovation is required, not imitation and I feel that the Wii U is the strongest platform upon which both gamers and developers can unlock their imaginations.

1.GTA V

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OK, its not like Rockstar need any help selling GTA V, it’s already reached record breaking audiences, but I feel like putting it on the Wii U would greatly benefit the game.

Rockstar Leeds did an amazing job creating a unique experience for the DS with GTA China Town Wars and I’m sure they could do the same for Wii U. My biggest critique of GTA V is that the controls can become confusing at times and I often struggle with radio stations or switching between characters. Imagine the touch screen turning into a car dash when you enter a vehicle with controls for tuning the radio and real working indicator and headlight switches. Or, more usefully imagine the pad acting like a sat nav allowing you to type in addresses and seek locations without having the laborious process of pausing and waiting for the menu to load up.

Even more impressively would be the ability to pre-view what characters are up to when you are not controlling them. If you are playing as Michael and want to switch to Trevor but want to make sure you aren’t going to end up in the middle of nowhere, imagine being able to see through his eyes on the tablet before you select him just to check out what he’s up to and where he is.

Rockstar if you want any more ideas as to how the touch screen controls can benefit Grand Theft Auto then please get in touch. I have plenty of thoughts as to how they could be used in the Strip Clubs but I don’t want it publicised just how dirty a pervert I really am.

2.Metal Gear Solid Ground Zeroes

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Now the MGS series isn’t really my cup of tea, in my humble but very strong and often outspoken opinion I feel its basically just a bit of a tech demo for cut scenes.

However, Hideo Kojima’s franchise has been good to Nintendo in the past, with a remake of the PSone classic for Gamecube owners who missed the original being one of the system’s must have titles.

Ubisoft have already proven with Splinter Cell that the Wii U is a great home for gadget laden espionage stealth thrillers. Along with being able to control a wide range of gadgets the tablet could act as the communicator. Instead of switching to a 15 minute cut scene, or having Snake sit stationary, Otacon or whoever it is that needs to know what Snake wants for dinner can talk through the tablet. This would add an additional layer of involvement for the player without breaking up the gameplay.

Maybe there could even be a section where Snake must navigate a corridor with a heart beat sensor. Players would have to breathe in a controlled fashion onto the Wii U’s touchscreen in a simulated breath control exercise that slowed Snake’s heart rate and made sure he could slip down the corridor undetected.

Snake could also hack into security cameras, giving him a kind of Siren: The Blood Curse third sight allowing players to navigate around enemies without raising an alarm.

3.Fifa

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EA’s decision not support Nintendo’s latest platform upset quite a lot of people who enjoy buying the same game they have bought every year for the past ten years.

I actually think that Fifa, and other sports licenses that EA own such as NFL would be perfect for the Wii U. Being able to use the tablet as a sort of ‘Manager on the sidelines,’ is a fantastic idea, allowing players to chose and change formations mid play, keeping opponents on their toes and the gameplay even more tactical and exciting.

EA, if by some small, tiny sliver of a chance you are reading this but still feel like its not worth bringing any of your sports licenses to Wii U, despite the superior control methods I have just pointed out. Please, could you reconsider and maybe just release Mutant League Football on Virtual Console. I’ll be your best friend forever.

4.Tomb Raider Definitive Edition

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Dear Crystal Dynamics, I know you have just released what you propose is the Definitive Edition of Tomb Raider for the Xbox One and more impressively the PS4 (I’m not trying to start a fight amongst the fan boys, promise,) but I feel like you could actually release a Tomb Raider Super Definitive Edition in the form of a Wii U version.

Now, Nathan Drake has surpassed Lara recently and become the adventurer everyone is talking about. As a big Uncharted fan I feel there is a bit that Lara could learn from the new boy. Especially in the form of Uncharted Golden Abyss on the PS Vita, where players must use the touch screen controls to make charcoal rubbings, clean dirt off of objects and at one point hold up the camera to a light in order to look through a piece of paper. Now, sometimes some of these moments do feel a little ‘tacked on’, and just an excuse to show off the hardware of the Vita, so why don’t you guys look at implementing something similar in a Wii U version but improve and fine tune the ideas. If you were to do this then Lara would be back on top of Drake (don’t be smutty minded at the back). There could even be a special un-lockable t-shirt that Lara wears if you complete the game that reads ‘Drake, The Last Of Us was better!’

5. Battlefield 4

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The Wii U really could do with a MMO FPS and I feel like Battlefield could do with the Wii U. Imagine a bomb disposal mode where players have to use the touch screen controller to defuse the bomb. Now imagine how tense that would be with people shooting at you on screen.

The pad could also be used to display control panels when entering vehicles like Tanks or Helicopters. It could even be utilised for the standard HUD thus clearing screen space and making life even easier for those hard-core gamers desperate to be the virtual best.

Crystal Dynamics, EA, Konami, Rockstar and any other developers who have overlooked the Wii U for some of their major franchises, as you can see I have just given you some examples of how the Wii U pad can help improve the experience of existing titles. In doing so surely you can all understand that the Wii U’s hardware is more than capable of providing a captivating experience that far surpasses those of more graphically powerful systems. If we all club together we can create one of the greatest generations of games. Or we could just ignore this second screen thing and just carry on chasing the graphical white rabbit into the bottomless hole of increasing polygon counts and more complicated physics that become less and less impressive with each generation.

…that make a good video game