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Nintendo fans won’t get to play Call of Duty: Black Ops II on the Wii U until Sunday, when the new game console formally launches. That’s five days after tonight’s Call of Duty launch on the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

But Activision Blizzard has given Wii U players, who have the benefit of playing the game using Nintendo’s new tablet-like controller, a little treat. In multiplayer games, you will be able to look at your minimap on the upper left corner of the big screen to see who is nearby at any given moment. But you can also look down at the tablet screen and see enemy and friendly player movements on the entire level map. This allows you to get much better situational awareness about where everybody is at any given moment.

Of course, Black Ops II’s multiplayer isn’t cross-platform, so this “advantage” would apply only when playing against those who aren’t using the GamePad controller.

But it has a catch. With every advantage comes a counterweight. I tried out the Wii U version of Call of Duty: Black Ops II at a preview event. It’s harder to play with your hands so far apart on the GamePad tablet, and it’s heavier than a normal controller, so it definitely takes getting used to. Since you have to relearn how to play with the Wii U tablet controller, that erases any advantages you might get.


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You also get a benefit with the tablet. Two players can play the same version of Black Ops II in the same room, but they won’t have to split the screen. One player can look at the big screen, while the other can see different images in the same game by looking at the tablet.

This fairness issue is important, given that Activision Blizzard usually gets about 20 million customers a year for Call of Duty games, and making the game available on the Wii U is an important part of expanding the market. (Check out our interview with Nintendo’s Scott Moffitt on the Wii U launch).

[Image credit: Dean Takahashi]

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