always play Call of Duty games, but when I do…
Call of Duty: Black Ops II is going to break sales records, and everyone on your friends list is going to be playing it. That’s just a fact. But it’s usually on the Xbox 360 or the PS3 that this happens.
Call of Duty has appeared on Nintendo consoles before, but anyone who cares about killstreaks, clans, or graphics aren’t going to buy it for the Wii. That said, the Wii U is Nintendo’s first legitimate chance to woo the Call of Duty crowd over to their side,by looking and playing nearly the same as it does on other this-generation consoles (stop calling them next-gen!). But does the Wii U’s Gamepad boast enough advantages over other versions to get gamers to ditch their Gamertags and PSN IDs?
Probably not, but it’s one hell of a first attempt.
The biggest difference is local multiplayer. Using the Wii U Gamepad is like having a LAN party with a buddy from the comfort of your couch. There is no splitscreen. Instead, one player will grab a Pro Controller to play on the big screen of the connected HDTV; the other uses the Wii U Gamepad as a second screen.
I know it doesn’t sound like that big of a difference, but it is. Most importantly, you’re granted the full field of vision, not a squished segment piled on top of another. Even better is the fact that the second screen, although smaller, looks just as crisp and quick as the HDTV. Treyarch is shooting to get the full 60 frames per second Call of Duty experience on the Wii U Gamepad, and they’ll hit their target if my eyes didn’t deceive me. (Then again, I was playing Call of Duty, and I had to pinch myself a few times to make sure that I was awake and not in some sort of alternate reality.)
On the single-player side, the Gamepad’s touchscreen can be used to call in killstreak airstrikes or deploy a drone to scope out the competition ahead. You can also view multiplayer maps or swap loadouts on the fly without disturbing the on-TV action. It’s probably not going to make or break your game, but the visual touch is always a bonus.
Playing on the Gamepad takes a little getting used to, but as long as you map out the buttons strategically, it can mimic—and even build upon—the standard controller experience. For example, the first Gamepad I picked up had melee mapped to a face button that made it a little hard to reach. But another Gamepad setup had it mapped to the right analog stick (R3), making it a breeze to knife anyone that dare cross my psychotic path of destruction (aka, me dying a shit-ton of times).
After only a few minutes, I was nailing long-distance headshots and tossing out frags like I’ve been playing the last ten Call of Duty games in MLG. Or at least I like to tell myself that. I’m confident—so what?
For all the real MLG gamers answering the call or anyone who takes Call of Duty games seriously at all, what the Wii U offers may not be enough to get you to abandon your buddies playing on a console all of you already own. However, the fact that a Nintendo console not only has an on-par Call of Duty: Black Ops II experience, but also expands on it by offering Wii U Gamepad exclusive advantages is a major step in the right direction for a company that catered more to casual gamers with the Wii than they did to the gamers who actually spend money and buy the same game again and again. Zing!