One criticism that has dogged the Wii U since its initial announcement back at E3 2011 is the amount of “already-released” titles set for the console’s launch window – games that, in some case, released on other systems up to one full year ago. To combat the sense that, in terms of high-profile third party titles, the Wii U was merely playing catch-up, Nintendo and the developers who are retro-fitting veteran titles for the console have been quick to push new features available exclusive on the Wii U.

Even though undisclosed hurdles have prevented Mass Effect 3 from running at 1080p on the Wii U, BioWare has been hard at work jamming new GamePad-friendly features into a “Special Edition” – which, in a new trailer, Nintendo Power dubbed the “Definitive” Mass Effect 3 version.

Similar to other Wii U launch titles that have been available on competing systems for months, the Mass Effect 3 Wii U Special Edition relies heavily on new GamePad features – most notably a tactical map that, with a single finger touch, allows players to control the location and activity of squadmates. Pinned down by an Atlas mech? Take cover and use the GamePad’s touch screen to direct one of your team members around the side of the battlefield, to flank the mech or draw its fire.

In general, the GamePad implementation works similar to tactical Kinect voice control on the Xbox 360 version – providing added combat control (and immersion) – without freezing combat by accessing the abilities wheel.

Check out the Mass Effect 3 Special Edition Wii U Official Trailer below for another look at how GamePad integration can aid in combat:

Of course that’s only one of the many uses for the GamePad in Mass Effect 3 on Wii U – as the controller also features slight tweaks during conversations, customization, and inventory management.

In general, added Mass Effect 3 Wii U functionality falls into a middle ground that doesn’t drown the core gameplay with gimmicks and counter-intuitive design choices (think Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition gadgets) but, at the same time, it’s hard to paint this version as the “definitive” experience – given the importance of interconnected story choices in the franchise.

Mass Effect 3 Wii U Gameplay

Since Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 are not available for the Wii or Wii U, important series decisions are whittled down to an interactive comic book intro and, subsequently, it’s hard to imagine longtime Mass Effect fans would agree that GamePad functionality is preferable to crafting their Shepard story over multiple game installments.

In the end, GamePad features aren’t likely to encourage a lot of Mass Effect 3 players to replay the game on Nintendo’s console but should deliver fun added-benefits for gamers who have yet to play a Mass Effect title.

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The Mass Effect 3 Special Edition is available now on Wii U. Mass Effect 3 originally launched March 6, 2012 for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.

Source: Nintendo and BioWare