I have a long day of writing about my hands on experiences with the Wii U, so I’m going to start with one of the least interesting titles on display. If you’re wondering how Mass Effect 3 is different from its PS3 and X-Box 360 counterparts, the answer is not at all.
The demo I played for Mass Effect 3 took me on a trip through Grissom Academy to rescue Jack and her students. The visuals of Mass Effect 3 were, so far as I can tell, identical to their console counterparts. Perhaps a side by side comparison would show an advantage for one particular version, but without a frame of reference the games look the same.
The controls for Mass Effect 3 on Wii U are similar to its console counterpart. The melee and sprint buttons seem to have swapped position, but aside from that minor change everything felt the same. The key addition in the Wii version is the ability to map up to six abilities to the touch screen. These abilities could be Shepard’s or his squadmate’s. In the beginning of the demo, I found myself constantly fumbled around for my commands, and I found the touch screen to be a distraction. Once I had memorized the position of the grenade, singularity, warp, and concussive shot touch buttons, I found myself using abilities more frequently than I had in my previous Mass Effect experience. Being able to use more than two of my squadmate’s abilities without pausing my game made battles flow more smoothly than they had in other versions of the game.
Mass Effect 3 can be played completely on the Gamepad’s screen. A simple button press put the game on my touch screen. From here the game played perfectly without using up the TV.
Some may still question the logic of putting Mass Effect 3 onto the Wii U considering the story driven nature of the experience, but at least the port is well done. If you’ve already played another version of Mass Effect 3, there is little reason to play this one. If you haven’t played Mass Effect 3 yet and don’t want to play the first two, the Wii U version looks like the way to go.