When most people think of the Call of Duty franchise, they think of the series on the Xbox 360, PS3 or PC. And while we’ve seen a few of the most recent games find themselves on the Nintendo Wii, it’s safe to say that they haven’t gained much traction, largely in part to their inability to keep up with its HD counterparts. Not just graphically, but in terms of features, controls, online structure and did I mention graphics?
Well all that is about to change with next month’s release of Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Yes the game is coming out for the previously mentioned consoles, but it too is coming to the Nintendo Wii U. After having played the game at a demo session earlier this week, I can safely say that what Activision has in store for Nintendo fans, is most definitely a legit COD experience.
During my demo, I was able to check out the Cargo (Port of Singapore) map, where I played a round of multiplayer to get a feel for the controls. Naturally I’m a COD player, so I was able to pretty much pick up and go, though I’ll admit it did take a few minutes to get used to the Gamepad. Obviously with the Gamepad being much larger than a typical controller, gamers may need to play a few rounds to become acclimated with it, but fortunately it didn’t take too long before I was piercing away with headshots and bulletstorms onto oncoming foes. Within minutes, I could appreciate just how good the game looked on the Wii U. You’ll notice some impressive lighting effects and textures, while the gameplay was extremely smooth. I appreciated the amount of detail in the game and honestly forgot I was even playing on a Nintendo console; let’s be honest, it’s not your typical “Nintendo” experience; and quite frankly I loved it.
Now with the press of the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ buttons on the Gamepad, I was able to switch my gaming experience over to the Gamepad’s screen. The transition was seamless and instantaneous and actually looked really good on the smaller screen as well. I could easily continue the action and didn’t lose a step, which will be great for anyone who needs to hand the TV over to a loved one who won’t leave you alone about a show their missing. Activision had also previously mentioned that with the Gamepad, two people could play co-op at the same time; each with their own screen, which is pretty sweet. For those who may not care for the Gamepad for Black Ops 2, you do have the option of also using the Wii U Pro controller, while Wii Remote and Nunchuck functionality is also there; especially useful for four-player madness. (The game also supports the Classic Controller Pro)
Getting back into the main screen, I was able to use the Gamepad’s touch screen to call up score streaks and also customize my load-outs on the fly. This was extremely useful and kept me from having to pause the game and go into another screen. Sure, you can still do that if you like, but being able to do it on the Gamepad felt so much more natural.
Speaking of load-outs, I dug the game’s new “Pick 10” allocation system, which gives you full control over how you want to equip any custom classes. You no longer have to take an item from each category and you can in fact, even create a class that has no guns. Are you feeling like going in with just a knife, grenades and a bunch of perks? You can do that! Of course if you go in that way, it’ll probably be useful to equip the Scavenger perk so you can grab a fallen soldier’s gun. You also get three Wild Card slots, which let you equip anything from any category, in case you want a few more guns or perks. I’m willing to bet this new create-a-class system is going to be one of the most popular aspects of the game.
Gamers will also get to enjoy CODcasting to commentate on your favorite game, equip new score streaks, such as The Guardian, which is a high powered microwave that can slow down enemies or take them out – great for use when sniping. eSports via League Play will also be possible on the Wii U, which offers skill-based matchmaking and seasonal ladders. Hardcore gamers can go up against skilled players, while those who are a bit more casual, can also match up against lesser skilled players.
According to Treyarch, the game will also include some additional Party Game Modes, Theater Enhancements, an Emblem Editor and of course Prestiging. Again, the Wii U version will stack up right alongside the other platforms, but with the added benefit of the extra touch-screen thanks to the Gamepad.
If you’re on the fence about which platform to get Call of Duty: Black Ops II on, and you’re already planning on picking up a Wii U, I’d highly recommend checking this version out. You might even say it’s the most complete package of them all.
Nov. 18 can’t come soon enough!