The outlook for the Nintendo Wii U has never seemed especially bright. There is a level of confusion about what the new system is – many don’t even realize it is more than just a new controller – and it arrives a year before Sony and Microsoft roll out their new hardware that will instantly make it feel as though it is a generation behind. That the console is readily available at retailers even following Black Friday is a sign of either surprisingly low awareness and consumer interest or much greater supply than anticipated.
Regardless the user base for the Wii U isn’t very deep at this point and that severely hampers the value of multiplayer games. At peak times the number of users on have averaged 40 for Madden NFL 13 and 20 for FIFA 13 and NBA 2K13. Even a massive title like Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 only has in the hundreds on at a given time as opposed to the hundreds of thousands active on the other systems. So few being online means finding a head-to-head game is difficult and splintering that group between online-based modes basically kills them. NBA 2K13’s MyTeam or Team-Up modes and FIFA 13’s Online Seasons for all intents and purposes are not available to play on the system due to the absence of competition.
Performance wise third party ports are displaying some early issues. Framerate problems have been the most evident – games are not running nearly as smooth as on the other consoles – and graphically they aren’t matching up favorably. Despite that the tablet features have shown a lot of potential and have proven to be fun to use. It’s just questionable whether that is appealing enough to overcome those other drawbacks.
Madden NFL 13 is the most suited for the touchscreen features and capitalizes with responsive play calling, hot route drawing, and the setting of individual defensive player assignments all available to complete through the tablet. The poor framerate and lack of the physics engine hurts the overall experience significantly however. Full impressions can be read here.
FIFA 13 has the most options at hand feature wise with the tablet controller but all of that is difficult to take advantage of during the natural course of playing the game. It acts instead as the ideal way to play FIFA in Manage mode. Full impressions can be read here.
NBA 2K13 is the least interactive on the tablet with D-PAD functions essentially just shifted over to the touchscreen. It has some framerate issues and takes a step back graphically but content wise is more true to the 360/PS3 version than the other two sports games. Full impressions can be read here.