Quality CoD on a Nintendo console.
We have already covered the latest entry in the Call of Duty franchise from Activision on GGUK, and it is no secret that we love it. But recently spending some time with Black Ops II on the Wii U has actually been an eye-opening experience, and not in a bad way.
The Wii U version of Call of Duty: Black Ops II contains the single player campaign, the hugely popular multiplayer modes and the Zombies that can be found on the other versions of the game. If you want to read what we thought about the game on Xbox360, check out our review here. On the Wii U, you still have the engaging, but short, campaign which spans two separate timelines and offers a branching storyline that encourages more than one playthrough. All of the multiplayer modes exist and, given that this is where most players will spend the majority of their Blops 2 time, come with all of the tweaks and improvements found in the other versions. And the extended Zombie experience, complete with multi-location Tranzit mode, has made its way across to the Wii U. There are a couple of things missing, such as Call of Duty Elite and the livestreaming options, but the core game is full featured and complete.
In fact, it is all pretty much the same as you would find in the PS3 or Xbox360 version of the game. And that is something quite amazing…
The thing is, Call of Duty games have appeared on previous Nintendo consoles, but have been so much of a lesser game than their Xbox360 and PS3 counterparts that they are just different games. It is not Activision’s fault, the hardware simply wasn’t up to scratch. And so it was that CoD gaming and Nintendo just didn’t mix.
With the launch of the Nintendo Wii U however, offering comparable performance, controls and online capabilities to the other two consoles, things can now change. I don’t think any other series can show that Nintendo are finally playing with the “core” crowd better than Call of Duty. I would go so far as to say that, in places, Blops 2 even looks better than the other versions. But I will leave it up to a certain type of gamer to pour of comparison screenshots and then argue their case. The fact that it performs just as well and is the exact same game is good enough for me. As a multi console owner, I now have even more choice when it comes to which version of a game I purchase, without having to make any compromises on quality.
There are a few differences in the Wii U version, primary of which is the ability to play the game on the GamePad itself. This frees up the TV for other family members which, given the grown up fanbase and lengthy gaming sessions that Call of Duty encourages, can’t be a bad thing. Obviously you lose some of the quality when playing on the smaller screen, but you can’t put a price on keeping your family happy.
The other benefit of the GamePad is that multiplayer can now have two players playing locally without the split screen. The second player can use either a classic controller, Pro controller or the standard WiiMote and Nunchuk combo, which have differing degrees of success. Frankly the WiiMote and Nunchuk combo will probably be dropped by most players, but at least the option is there.
Another difference, albeit a minor one, is the use of the touchscreen during multiplayer. Many gamers will snub the idea of using a touchscreen interface, but here it is totally optional and, should you decide to use it, actually works quite well. Players can use the touchscreen to call in scorestreaks or even change classes. As I say, it is totally optional and doesn’t replace the standard way of doing things, so CoD veterans need not fear the GamePad. That being said, surely using the GamePad screen as the mini-map is something every CoD player could benefit from?
The downside to Blops 2 on the Wii U is apparent when it comes to multiplayer games. The console is still very young and gamers tend to be creatures of habit. Because of this, the majority of Blops 2 players will be playing the game on the same console that they played the last game on, resulting in far fewer players online. It is not really too much of a big deal, but it is noticeable. Time will surely fix this, if not for Blops 2 then for the next installment in the series.
Frankly, when it comes to which version is best, it simply comes down to personal taste. Either way, Black Ops 2 is an incredible game and being able to play it on a Nintendo console is such a novelty that I would encourage all Wii U owners to grab this game with both hands. An essential purchase for Wii U owners.