Console launches are usually met with skepticism and wonder by the consumer public. But for the informed gamer we are all about doing our homework in order to decide whether or not we want to stand outside for hours in order to get a new console on day one. Sure sometimes it is only about gadget envy where we just want the new thing regardless of whether or not it is good. But beyond the early adopters, the launch games are what will really drive the systems sales and the Wii U has some great launch games.
Without going into whether or not the concept of the Wii U’s unique gamepad qualifies the system as true next gen (spoiler I think it does) that post will come when I actually have the system in my hands. Right now I just want to compare the launch games of the Wii U with the launch games of other consoles.
First, lets look back to the launch of the Nintendo Gamecube. The gamecube launched in 2001 with 12 games. The most notable first party games including Luigi’s Mansion and Wave Race: Blue Storm. For argument’s sake I will count Luigi’s Mansion as a Mario game and say that it was a definite system seller. Beyond that game, the system really only had a few 3rd party games to pick up the slack, Super Monkey Ball, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3, and Crazy Taxi stand out in my mind. But while they may be personal favorites for some of you, they most certainly are not critically acclaimed blockbusters.
Moving on to 2005 we see the launch of the Xbox 360. First party titles included PGR 3 and Perfect Dark Zero. Both of these titles were excellent examples for Xbox Live’s transition to the next generation. But the real system killer app was Call of Duty 2, which I spent countless hours playing and playing poorly.
Now we look at the Wii U. Not only does the Wii U start its reign with 30 launch games, many of them are already critically acclaimed. Does it have Mario? New Super Mario Bros U. Check. Does it have Call of Duty? Call of Duty Black Ops II. Check. With those two games alone the system is on par with the gamecube and xbox 360 launch. However, the system also has Mass Effect 3, Assassins Creed 3, and Batman Arkham City. All of which have obtained 90+ scores on Metacritic. I’m looking at the launch from the perspective of someone who doesn’t have a console or only a Wii and they are clearly getting the best system available. The system has all the best third party games from the current gen and adds the functionality of the Game Pad controller. All of this leads me to say that the Wii U has the best launch lineup in history.