As I said in our TalkRadar UK podcast E3 special yesterday, Nintendo's biggest problem with the Wii U right now is that it has a great machine but has explained it badly. This thing is potentially brilliant, but at the moment a lot of people seem confused as to why.
Fortunately, Killer Freaks from Outer Space, Ubisoft's first announced Wii U exclusive (hands up who didn't expect those guys would be at the front of the third-party queue by now) does a bloody good job of selling the console's virtues. Combining what looks like a pretty slick traditional FPS and some clever Wii U augmentation that genuinely should add to the hardcore experience rather than garnish it with gimmicks, its concept is a great taster of why the Wii U could be fantastic.
Bear in mind we only have a couple of screenshots so far, which may or may not be slightly touched up. but so far KFfOS looks like a rather pretty and nicely stylised post-alien-invasion shooter, with a sci-fi horror-meets-camp-schlock tone that reminds me slightly of Tremors. And anything that reminds me of Tremors to any degree automatically gets points.
But the really interesting bit is the set-up of one of the game's multiplayer modes. Here, one player fights as normal, using the TV and a Classic Controller, while a second player, using the touchscreen-enabled Wii U controller, has a map of the level and controls enemy placement, much like a tabletop RPG Game Master. It sounds a hell of a lot like a two-player version of Left 4 Dead's vs. mode, only with the aggressor player given an RTS interface and only the protagonist player going first-person. Which to me, sounds bloody fantastic. Presumably single-player mode will work out just like a normal FPS, taking out the Wii U player and using normal AI.
This is exactly the sort of thing that's getting me excited about the Wii U. A serious core-game focus, with the tablet functionality of the Wii U controller used as a (very cool) optional augmentation rather than something which steamrollers the whole design. I think it's time we started seeing that Wii U tablet as a second part of the console hardware itself rather than the console's main game interface. The tablet pad has traditional game controls if you want to use it as your primary controller, but it seems there's no reason you should have to.
What do you reckon? Warming to that big screeny buttoned beastie? Or does talk of exclusive console launch Ubisoft shooters just remind you that Red Steel looked great at first too?
June 09, 2011