|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: High Voltage Software||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SEGA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jun. 23, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-12||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Sadly, the story in The Conduit is pretty cliché, although I do give it credit for trying to keep players interested. It revolves around the games main character Michael Ford, who is recruited by a secretive organization known as the Trust. Very early in the game youre following orders from the Trust and trying to hunt down Prometheus, a character you know little about other than its your job to take him down and retrieve a prototype called the All Seeing Eye in order to help the Trust to combat an impending alien attack. From there, the story makes some pretty obvious twists and turns, but Ill remain spoiler free and leave those for you to discover on your own. Just know that there is clearly an intention here to make a sequel.
Beside using the All Seeing Eye frequently to solve minor puzzles, find hidden weapon caches, hack computers and doors, uncover data disks and invisible messages, and to deactivate invisible mines, the gameplay in The Conduit is very straightforward. You are able to carry two weapons at a time, which you can switch out when you find better options, be them human or alien-based, in order to make quicker work of the opposition. Youll need to make quick and effective use of your available weaponry in order to survive, as you are constantly led through the games incredibly linear levels, basically just moving down corridors from one enemy kill room to the next. The twist here, though, is that you dont always know whether theyll eventually stop coming if you simply just kill enough of them or if you actually have to find where theyre spawning and destroy whatever is causing it. It may initially seem like standing your ground is the best course of action, but you might just have to somehow wade through the horde of never-ending aliens in order to find the pod or conduit which is continually sending even more your way. This can get pretty frustrating, especially with some being difficult to find, such as being tucked away in a dark corner on the ceiling.
However, if playing against human opponents online is more your style and you only own a Wii, then you simply need to pick up The Conduit. With perhaps the best online component of any FPS on the Wii, The Conduit provides a wide assortment of modes and options to enjoy with up to twelve players, even with voice chat between friends thanks to Wii Speak support. Before every match of free for all, team reaper, and team objective play, players are given the ability to vote on what rules are used, the weapon set, and which map is played, with the most popular in each category being used. Some highlights of the rule sets include ASE Football (basically like Oddball from Halo 3), Last Man Standing (whoever is left alive wins), and Bounty Hunter. Bounty Hunter is by far the most interesting, as it tasks each player with killing a specific enemy and penalizes them for killing anyone else. For the most part, the online play works without a hitch but if youre up against some players with slower connections, you will have to deal with some lag jumping that can get very irritating.
There are definitely some good things happening in The Conduit that many third-party developers could learn from, but there is certainly still room for improvement here. With its inconsistent visuals, reliance on disorienting waggles for some abilities, cliché storyline, and the linear and often frustrating design of the single-player experience in this game likely wont pull many multiple console owners away from their plethora of readily available FPSs. However, if you only own a Wii, this game does provide sporadically impressive visuals, one of the best online experiences on the console, perhaps the best/most customizable controls of any Wii FPS, and a reason to blow the dust off of your system for awhile. So, while The Conduit doesnt end up being the Wiis Halo 3 or Killzone 2, it is a pretty good game that will likely be very appreciated by anyone who only owns a Wii and has been anxiously awaiting another FPS thats worthy of investing some time into.
CCC Staff Contributor