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The Next Level In Gaming

Not yet owning a Wii U console, I was still quite excited to try some of the console’s offerings at this year’s EGX. Nintendo have got a fair few exclusives this generation, from their own core series, to a handful of special exclusivity deals. With the PlayStation and Xbox brands littered across the show floor full of cross-platform titles, the Nintendo section was as busy as ever, with fans eager to get a glimpse of those exclusive goods. Here’s my round-up of the Wii-U games I was able to get my hands on.

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD

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I don’t think there’s a single HD remake that could warrant the purchase of an entirely new console, but Wind Waker HD comes pretty close. Displayed proudly next to a working copy of the original GameCube version, it was instantly clear how much better the new version looked. Allowing players to run around Link’s home, Outset Island, you could really appreciate the work that’s gone into this one.

Of course, fans of the original game will feel right at home, but there have been a few tweaks in terms of gameplay. The demo allowed us use of Link’s sailboat (earlier than the game normally allows), which is now able to travel twice as fast as in the original game - with many people complaining about how much sailing was involved in the original. The full game will also give access to an optional “Hero Mode” difficulty that make’s combat more difficult, as well as apparently tweaking one of the game’ infamous fetch quests to be less time-consuming.

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For the most part though, the visual changes are the key to this remake, but it’s fantastic to see how improved the title looks. And with the last two titles being relatively realistic, I think it’s the perfect time to see Toon Link again on a new console.

Bayonetta 2

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One of the Wii U’s most controversial titles, many fans are frustrated that the Wii U is getting a sequel to a title previously featured on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. However, I was eager to have a go at the sequel to one of Platinum Games’ best titles.

I must admit, as soon as the demo started I was immediately reminded of the Eurogamer demo for the original Bayonetta. In very similar fashion, the level involved having to battle enemies whilst standing on the back of a moving platform - in this case, a plane soaring through a city. Combat was instantly familiar - using a mix of melee and ranged attacks, mixed in with execution attacks to dispatch enemies. “Witch time” makes a return, allowing you to slow down time by dodging an attack at the last instant - giving you a chance to deal a devastating counter-attack.

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Bayonetta was also equipped with a pair of swords as an alternative weapon – so it looks like we’ll be seeing plenty of new weapons in the next entry. A new twist in the story has Bayonetta’s ”Umbran Climax” – summoning a demon to dispatch enemies as with the original game – only the demon turns on you and becomes a boss you have to face instead.

Bayonetta 2 looks to be more of the same, but that’s not really a bad thing considering how good the original game was. Hopefully, the story and alternate weapons will set the game apart from the original - but for many Nintendo fans, this may be their first foray into the series anyway.

Sonic Lost World

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The other big entry I was interested to try was the newest Sonic The Hedgehog title – Sonic Lost World. The game has taken quite a new direction in terms of both level design and gameplay. Easily drawn in comparison to Super Mario Galaxy, the game has strange abstract levels that allow you to run around in all directions as the level rotates with your movement.

The new style means that there are often multiple paths you can take, with springs taking you from one place to another. Unfortunately, I found the level design to be fairly bland, and almost punishes you for going fast. Sonic is able to move at a slower speed, or hold a button to sprint – however, new to the game is the ability for Sonic to lose a life if he hits a wall when moving at high-speed, and also to fall off of the stage if you take wrong turn - while it adds an element of risk to speed, it spoiled the flow of Sonic’s speed for me – something that is core to what I personally love about the series. Insta-death traps and pitfalls are my least favourite hazard in Sonic, and there’s plenty here.

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The game does also feature some side-scrolling sections, which I preferred - but Sonic felt somewhat sluggish. Wisps make a return from Sonic Colours, opening up a few different abilities that Sonic can use such as the Drill and Rocket abilities. It might just be my personal taste, but I just found the game to be very uninspired  while it’s design encourages you to be more careful, I don’t feel that the game’s levels are very interesting to look at. One noteworthy section in 3D involved a skydiving section that mixed things up a bit, but it isn’t really what I’m looking for in the series.

I must admit, I am worried that the game’s style is being marketed at a younger audience, with the Deadly Six reminding me of something you’d expect from Skylanders - while most of the gamers playing the demo seemed to be in their 20′s-30′s. That said, the difficulty seems quite high for such a game so it’s hard to tell which audience would appreciate the game more. I’m not sure I’ll be picking this one up anytime soon, but it could just be personal taste – and the traits that I love about Sonic - that’s turning me off of this entry.

The console

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Overall, the console seems fairly solid. Visuals are clean and in-line with current-gen consoles, and it’s growing selection of exclusive titles are definitely of interest to me. While I’m not too sure about how comfortable the tablet style controller is, I must admit that it’s pretty interesting overall. Having that DS-reminiscent secondary screen is pretty useful for inventory and maps, etc – but the killer feature for me is the ability to play the Wii U’s entire library remotely on the controller itself. A very cool feature, I’ll definitely be making use of that feature once I get my hands on my own console.

- Leon

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Leon On November - 11 - 2013

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