Mass Effect 3 for Wii U preview

While there are some novel ideas with the Wii U version of Mass Effect 3, I found the new features added by the GamePad didn't add much to the overall experience.

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The Wii U release of Mass Effect 3 comes months later than other platforms. While it comes with a few extras--an extended interactive comic and an exclusive new weapon--the focus for BioWare's port was GamePad implementation. While there are some novel ideas, I found the new features added by the Wii U controller didn't add much to the overall experience.

Visually, the Wii U version is pretty much the exact same game you've seen on the PS3 and Xbox 360. Don't expect higher-fidelity visuals or snazzy new special effects. You will be able to play the game on the TV or entirely on the GamePad--the latter is an interesting option, as seeing a game like Mass Effect 3 run "on a handheld" still holds some novelty. Doing so will provide an experience most similar to the other console versions, as none of the GamePad-specific features can be accessed in this mode.

When playing on the TV, the GamePad features a rotating map, showing the position of your squad, enemies, and objectives. It's a bit of information overload, and not really accessible unless you're already secured in cover. However, once you have a moment to process the info, you'll be able to command your squad, tapping routes for them to take and special moves to utilize.

Shepard's abilities are also mapped to the GamePad, letting you bypass holding the shoulder button to access your skill wheel. You can customize which abilities are mapped to the virtual buttons on the screen, giving you "quick" access to those custom actions. Unfortunately, this works better in theory than in reality. Taking your eyes off the action to look down at the GamePad feels cumbersome--and in harder difficulties, would likely mean the death of your character as it gets pummeled by enemy fire. The GamePad's odd size also makes it difficult to quickly access these buttons. Letting go of your right hand in order to press a button in the middle of the large controller doesn't feel fluid as simply hitting X on a controller, for example.

I actually preferred playing exclusively on the GamePad, as it was less confusing than the TV hybrid play. However, I felt as though there was a tiny bit of latency. My response time felt slightly slower than when playing on the TV--makes sense, given the Wii U GamePad is receiving a wireless video feed. Also, the game obviously loses some fidelity on the GamePad's low resolution screen.

Whereas the late PS3 release of Mass Effect 2 was enhanced with so much content that it felt like a "Game of the Year edition" of sorts, BioWare wasn't willing to comment on what (if any) other bonus content the Wii U version would have. While the GamePad features are novel, they do little to make the Wii U version feel like the "definitive" version--something a late-arriving port should attempt to do.

Mass Effect 3 will be available on Wii U... whenever the Wii U is out.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 8, 2012 12:00 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Mass Effect 3 for Wii U preview.

    While there are some novel ideas with the Wii U version of Mass Effect 3, I found the new features added by the GamePad didn't add much to the overall experience.

    • reply
      August 8, 2012 12:03 PM

      i'm usually all hyped for the nintendo stuff.. but this wii u stuff.. it's just so .. meh..

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        August 8, 2012 12:22 PM

        There is an odd level of "meh" from the gaming press surrounding the Wii U compared to nearly every other Nintendo platform ever. I'm not expecting much from any EA launch port right now given the rumors floating around.

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          August 8, 2012 2:06 PM

          I can't speak for the rest of the gaming press, but the fact that we're nearly in mid-August and we still don't have a set release date and don't have a price point for the hardware of the Game Pad has my enthusiasm a little tempered.

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            August 8, 2012 6:46 PM

            This is true, hopefully we hear something before TGS

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              August 8, 2012 7:22 PM

              Well Nintendo will have a Nintendo Direct soon and they have an event slated for September. The Sept. one I expect will be the blow out.

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          August 8, 2012 7:21 PM

          Well I think it started with this generation and the absolute hardon for Teh Grafix that people got with the jump from SD to HD. Because the Wii couldn't keep up, did things differently and didn't get that third party support, it was essentially brushed aside by the gaming press. We know the Wii U, while more powerful than the 360 and PS3, is not going to be the jump that PS4/720 will have and certainly not the like the jump from SD to HD. Therefore the gaming press and a lot of gamers are already writing it off. Shame really because I think it's got phenomenal potential. Playing without the TV at times will be a god send for those that share the TV (Me). It has graphical features that 360/PS3 doesn't have (GPGPU) that will be taken advantage off eventually and I think that once 720/PS4 comes out we'll see Wii U games look better because they will all use GPGPUs. And finally I actually do think asymmetric gameplay will be fun for getting people to play together. The port quality we are currently seeing is not the Wii U's fault nor is it Nintendo's it's the third parties trying to get games out in time and if they're going to spent time on things for Wii U, it will be GamePad implementation and not graphics enhancements. Essentially I think the Wii U can actually be an "everyone" console much more than Wii. Wii basically abandoned the "hardcore//mature/dudebro/whateveryouwanttocallit" gamer. Wii U hopefully will be able to be there for all types of gaming.

          In the end it's about games and features and we won't know about that until further down the track but for now I actually think it's looking pretty good, assuming third parties get on board.

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          August 8, 2012 8:36 PM

          Well, the best the Wii U is ever going to be power wise is where the PS3 and 360 are now, Nintendo is hilariously behind the times with their internet functionality, there's no games that are sparking interest, and the tablet doesn't have any functionality of a tablet, with the added plus of losing the group interest that made the Wii a hit.

          It's a console for nobody. The Wii at least could fall back on a unique control system. The Wii U doesn't even have that. Gamers are excited for the next MS or Sony products, everyone else already has a tablet.

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            August 9, 2012 3:13 PM

            Few things here

            1) The machine is quite a bit more powerful than current HD consoles. It has GPGPU functionality and about 3-4 times the RAM. It's not a highend PC and will not equal PS4/720 but it will be in a different situation to Wii in that it will have similar, portable architecture. Remember, it's all about games and features or else we'd all be PC gamers.

            2) Nintendo is doing a lot to their internet capabilities. Just look at the 3DS. In game chat, friend invites, gaming of course. Wii U will be that and much more. Accounts for one and according to Nintendo reps EVERY Nintendo game will be available at retail and for Digital Download.

            3) Gamers who can only see as far as framerate and graphical effects are jonesing for the PS4/720.

            4) The Wii U absolutely has a unique control system. That GamePad is nowhere to be seen on any console or tablet. NFC, mic, headphones, infrared remote, touch screen, stylus accuracy, sticks and buttons, gyro, accelerometers. It even has a god damned Wii Sensor Bar in it. Nowhere else can you get dual screen play like that, and at the touch of a button take a game like Mass Effect into the tablet only to free up the TV or play lying down or somesuch. Not to mention the asymmetric play.

            People who can't see the potential of that controller are either trolls or just too myopic.

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      August 8, 2012 1:40 PM

      other than that it's a pooooooooooooort

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        August 8, 2012 1:42 PM

        recently from reddit the ea guy speaking about nintendo origin deal that went sour .... all EA launch titles are low-budget straight ports

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          August 8, 2012 1:42 PM

          bf3 was also canceld
          bf4 for wii u is in development

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      August 8, 2012 2:29 PM

      Shepard's abilities are also mapped to the GamePad, letting you bypass holding the shoulder button to access your skill wheel. You can customize which abilities are mapped to the virtual buttons on the screen, giving you "quick" access to those custom actions. Unfortunately, this works better in theory than in reality.

      And there's the rub with all these Wii U titles.

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        August 8, 2012 2:52 PM

        Remember when the DS came out and everybody said meh, touch is a fad. And when the Wii came out, and everybody said motion control was a fad. Sure, everything may not be optimal Out Of The Box, but there's a lot of potential. It just needs to find it's niche. And to be fair, I'd rather see optional features implememted along the way than it being force fed. Touch and waggle have their place in games, just not every time every where. This too will have it's place, just not everywhere. And to be fair, it will take players a while to get comfortable with the new ways of doing things.

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          August 8, 2012 8:15 PM

          I'll admit that I had a very bad feeling about the Wii and I thought they were going to bomb on that one. I'm getting the same feeling with this one... but I was wrong before... so I'm trying to hold back my 'meh' a bit. So far I have zero interest in this thing though.

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          August 8, 2012 8:29 PM

          You are looking at two screens a couple centimeters apart. Big difference.

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          August 8, 2012 8:38 PM

          The difference there is that they were first to market with touch, motion control, and 3D. Now everyone has motion control, and everyone has a tablet with graphics ability about on par with what the Wii offers. I don't see this taking off at all.

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        August 8, 2012 6:48 PM

        Part of it I'm sure is getting used to it, being able to hit the right spot on the touch screen without looking at it will be important but in order to do that there will have to be some sort of standardization or there will be a learning period with every game.

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      August 8, 2012 3:15 PM

      Shocking

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      August 9, 2012 12:40 PM

      "Taking your eyes off the action to look down at the GamePad feels cumbersome--and in harder difficulties, would likely mean the death of your character"

      I've been telling Nintedo fanboys on GI how that alone is going to further increase the apathy many hardcore gamers feel towards Nintendo due to the Wii. They do have their 'pro' controller, but I mean, that touch screen takes a lot away from the Wii Us ability to offer a hardcore experience.

      Specs are so weak graphics will look like crap by comparison to 720/PS4. Ultrabooks will match and then outperform the Wii U in a few years. I'm honestly tired of aliasing distracting my eyes and interfering with detecting enemies this gen. Having to deal with high input lag because of ancient h/w...last rumor had the Wii U using a gpu with architecture from 06...let alone that clocks will be low if the case seen in pics going around are accurate.

      Honesty...create a controller which interfaces with a smartphone and then you have a superior input device compared to the Wii Us controller.

      I just don't see this consoles offering anything to gamers like myself...

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