It's no surprise that the crowd left Nintendo's Press Conference a little deflated, not receiving every nook of hardware information that explains exactly how the Wii U will revolutionize the industry with social networking and tablet based controls. What we did get, though, was a slew of games from both Nintendo and major third-party players. Some are forgettable, others are more or less repeats from last year, but the fresh entries are the ones getting top praise, and worthy of the list below.
Mario's modern side-scrolling series makes the leap onto the Wii U platform. Many of the visuals are reminiscent of the past Wii version, and in that respect it doesn't feel ground-breaking. The innovations comes with the new social aspects, with thought bubble comments sprinkled around the overworld from friends and other gamers in your Miiverse, all persistent via the Nintendo Network. The GamePad can add a fifth player to the action, able to create platforms and manipulate enemies on the tablet screen. There's also new power-ups, such as a Flying Squirrel suit that allows you to glide through the air and cling to walls, and Tiny Yoshis of assorted colors who offer up aid, with purple ones inflating like a hot air balloon, blue ones shooting bubble, and yellow ones glowing like an incandescent bulb.
Classified as a Nintendo theme park experience, NintendoLand brings major first-party franchises like Donkey Kong, Animal Crossing, Mario, and Zelda together for a very social, upscale mini-game experience. Nintendo is hoping this will be the Wii Sports of the Wii U, selling systems by using popular names to lure consumers. All the games will strongly utilize the GamePad in many unorthodox ways, promoting a new way of gaming and adding a major injection of social connectivity that works in tandem with the Miiverse. It's too early to give a verdict on whether this will be little more than a glorified compilation of mini-games or something more sustaining.
Ubisoft's most notable title for the Nintendo audience was a gruesome shooter called Zombi U. At first glance you'd think of it as a nondescript survival horror, but the gameplay actually looks gripping. Another title looking to capitalize on the new tablet controller, many permutations of input features were showcased at the press conference. Your inventory/backpack is stored on the GamePad, except no pause screen comes attached to it, so rifling through to find a weapon could prove costly with a horde of undead about to burst through the door. Shaking the GamePad will break a grapple with a zombie, and bypassing security locks requires the correct code be inputted. Areas can also be scanned for useful tools and objectives, but all in real-time, and it'll be more than nerve-racking averting your eyes from the main screen to glance at the GamePad screen when at any moment a zombie could jump out of the shadows. It may not be the most original title, but it's very obvious that Zombi U will be exclusive to Nintendo's new console.