Opinion: Battlefield 3 For the Wii U?August 6, 2011
On one hand, the Wii U has received mixed feedback from both gamers and journalists alike. The fact that Nintendo is focusing more on the hardcore crowd with graphical processing power reportedly 50% more powerful than the PlayStation 3, heavily improved online multiplayer, and increased third-party support is reason enough for someone like me to purchase Nintendo’s eighth-generation console. In contrast, the Wii U has been criticized for two things: the ridiculous name (if Nintendo is trying to reclaim its hardcore audience, then why would the name of its new console derive from what many people consider a kid’s toy?) and even more so, the controller. Motion control as opposed to traditional gameplay was one thing that kept some gamers from shelling out $250-400 towards a full Wii experience, and it appears that Nintendo is still focusing on motion control with the Wii U since it still uses Wii Remotes, along with a new controller that is similar to tablets like the iPad. The New Controller itself emulates both a Wii and a DS because it serves as a second screen that “compliments” the main gameplay experience… you know what, you probably already know about all of this. And if you don’t, every single bit of the known technical information is all over gaming and tech websites across the World Wide Web, so don’t fret. As far as my own opinion surrounding the Wii U goes, let’s just say that I’m cautiously enthusiastic about the new console.
Where Battlefield 3 is concerned, it looks absolutely incredible. It might not be a truly groundbreaking experience, but it certainly falls under the same category as Uncharted 2 did: it’s the fine line that meticulously blends state-of-the-art graphics technology and addictive gameplay. What I mean is that it will expound upon the already superb shooting mechanics of the Battlefield series, along with the most gorgeous graphics ever developed for a video game and genre-defining, class and team-based online multiplayer that DICE has always been known for providing.
However, what will happen if you mix both Battlefield 3 and Nintendo’s upcoming console together? DICE and Electronic Arts have not truly confirmed whether such a version of the game will be released, but its potential existence has been hinted at in Nintendo’s conference at E3 last month.
My immediate thoughts can be summarized like this: I have my reservations towards a possible port of that game for the Wii U. The first issue I have with a Wii U version of Battlefield 3 is the controls, because although the tablet controller is unique, I have a feeling that it won’t offer the same level of comfort as the Xbox 360 controller, which is my preferred choice for first-person shooters because of how perfectly laid out the buttons are. Has anyone noticed the placement of the circle pads on the Wii U controller? If you haven’t, they are positioned above the control pad and regular buttons, unlike most controllers. This means that the controller will require a lot more practice to memorize the button layout, and button memorization is crucial to multiplayer shooters because of how fast-paced the gameplay. In addition to that, moving my fingers down instead of up to press the “jump” or “crouch/prone” buttons will have a much different feel to it, and the size of the controller is also putting me on edge. Overall, the Wii U tablet doesn’t look like the ideal controller for first-person shooter gameplay, especially for a game as intense and frenetic as Battlefield 3, but we shall see if a port truly is released.
The next issue I have with the potential of Battlefield 3 on the Wii U ties back into the controls: how will the screen on the Wii U controller affect gameplay? First-person shooters not only require skill and button memorization, because players also need quick reflexes to take aim at another player/NPC, reload, and then sprint to a new location. This means that players also need to keep their attention focused on the game at all times, so if a Wii U version was developed, what could that mean for gamers if they need to use both screens? Perhaps DICE won’t focus on the second screen and will only require the use of it to a very minor extent, but suppose that it plays (no pun intended) a huge role in the gameplay; if I had to frequently switch my focus between the tablet and my flatscreen HDTV, wouldn’t you agree with me that that could become tedious and rather distracting? There are thousands of possibilities in which DICE could take advantage of the Wii U’s “dual-screen” capabilities, but that’s just some food for thought. Perhaps gamers would control the jet fighters with motion controls, or one could snipe enemy soldiers in the same manner, we shall just see if DICE really does develop this game and shows creativity with the gameplay.
One final thought I have with a Wii U port of Battlefield 3 is whether it will be a comparable version to the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC versions of the game that will be released at the end of October, especially since it wouldn’t be released until at least summer or early fall in 2012. First off, if the Wii U truly is at least 50% more powerful than the PlayStation 3, could this mean that the game would run at 60 FPS on Nintendo’s new console (the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions will run at 30 FPS)? That leads into something else: we have no idea what kind of online multiplayer experience will be supported on the Wii U, so how will that affect Battlefield 3? Will games be played in dedicated servers? Voice chat on headsets? 24, 32, or even 64-person multiplayer matches? Limited modes? I’m sure that DICE would try to keep the multiplayer true to that of the original versions, but one can only wonder, am I right?
A Wii U version of Battlefield 3 could mean big things for Nintendo, but in contrast, there are things that could hold back such a game from being the perfect launch title. What are your thoughts on the possibility of a Wii U port of Battlefield 3? Feel free to voice your opinions with a comment, please.